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A friend contacted me yesterday looking to get back from MEL or PER to BHD or BFS, one way. My first port of contact was the *A website to see who came up with more options (SQ, TG etc). I guessed with BD being in *A and having codeshares on the BHD flights there would be a good chance of easy availability. I was very wrong.
I was a little surprised to find that while TG were listing flights via *A when redirected to their site I kept getting errors saying the flights were not possible. They didn’t even recognise Belfast as a destination at all.
SQ were also listing flights that could be booked via a link from *A but not directly by searching on the singaporeair.com, yet I can book from both airports in Belfast, just not to.
I tried ANZ, again I can book from BHD but not one way to. The *A website again said it was possible, but NZ weren’t having any of it.
LH would let me search it but not give results, I split the journey and it gave me some options.
United would ticket it with 5 flights but at ridiculous price for his budget.
BA & QF came up with results easily but again quite pricey – BA was almost twice the price of QF for the same flights.
I even tried splitting the journey across airlines, got a cheap route MEL-BKK-DEL-LHR-BHD but it was a bit too much hassle for an inexperienced traveller.
Emirates would quote, but I had to select flights before seeing the fares.
Qatar wouldn’t quote until I broke up the journey, they offered some good options and a number of ways into the City, via BE and BD at LHR, LGW and MAN.
In the end it was Expedia to the rescue, Ethiad worked out the cheapest for him. It was about $250AUD less that the others and he doesn’t have to transit at LHR. I could have sworn alliances were supposed to make travelling easier, my experience with *A and how disjointed it is has really made me think. How can *A say its a valid route *book here* and then the airlines say they don’t want my friends money. I fail to see how 3 or 4 flights is too complex for their systems. I fail to see how bmi can advertise their codeshares and say that TG and NZ market their flights when they wont allow booking to bmi destinations!
Too much effort for a mate I haven’t seen in 4 years, but seeing as he didn’t know where to look for the best fare I gave him a hand. Hes cutting his loses and running hence the need for the best price over anything else.