Alternative to the Amsterdam Dodge

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  • TiredOldHack2
    Participant

    I posted a short while ago about how BA seems to have jacked up the prices of flying from AMS.

    This was previously my go-to starting airport for long-haul travel in J, as the huge saving more than compensated for the extra connection and the need to make a return flight to AMS.

    But BA is now pricing out of AMS as it prices out of LHR or LGW, more or less.

    However, fares from Madrid or Barcelona still offer a huge saving.

    I’ve just costed out for four people, LHR to JNB, CW, next year. It came in at GBP3994 per head.

    Same dates, but starting in BCN brought that down to EUR2059 (GBP1763) per head, including 10 days’ hire of a seven-seater. And every single flight is a BA one. Got the A380 flights to JNB as well, not the old 747s.

    You have to book on the Iberia site to get this rate. Booking the same thing, including the car hire, on the BA site gives a price of EUR3174 (GBP2720): still a saving of more than a grand on departing from LHR, but also a grand more expensive than booking it with Iberia.

    MAD is a comparable saving, by the way. Chose BCN because it’s a shorter flight and I have a friend there I can look up.

    I pass on this info in a spirit of generosity 🙂


    TiredOldHack2
    Participant

    Dear God.

    When I was booking, I got to the ‘pay’ stage, entered my card number, and it chunked away doing the verification and then dropped the connection to the server.

    I got a message saying: “You have not been charged. Try again.” And I did and got the reservation and confirmation.

    Went to check on the BA site, and there are two bookings! The really odd thing is that the other booking, which must be the one I was making when the connection broke, is actually booked as a BA flight (but no hire car) and according to the BA people, must have been made on their site (which, of course, it wasn’t). The ‘real’ booking, being made on the Iberia site, can’t be viewed on BA.

    Even more curious is the fact that neither booking is showing on my credit card![1]

    Anyway, I have to call the BA Holidays number tomorrow, which is in Bremen and only operates 9-5 and get the phantom booking scrapped. I haven’t actually received any email confirmation of the phantom booking, so something went wrong. But I’ve even been able to select our seats! (party of four)

    [1] The truth is probably that BA/IAG’s useless IT system has screwed up again.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    This reply has been reported for inappropriate content.

    The phantom booking probably has an automatic cancellation option if not ticketed by a certain time, and it will just fall away. They may not have even authorised your card.

    I looked into some bookings early today made by a relative as there was a query on a schedule change. They have so many poorly programmed robotics designed by the work experience kids in Bangabai or Chenngalore or wherever that it is miraculous that some bookings succeed!

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    TiredOldHack2
    Participant

    Thanks for that. I must say, the girl on the line at the BA EC was baffled. She coiuldn’t understand how a booking could be made on the Iberia website and yet show up as a booking made on the BA site.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    Elementary, dear Watson.

    The front line staff would not necessarily know, but it relates to how the interface between the public website ‘talks’ to the reservations system, through an application called ‘web services’. Every ‘office’ whether virtual or physical is identified by a ‘pseudo’ city or office ID.

    It will look at your IP address and point of origin in a sequence and depending on how it is set up, if you are in the UK and/or your departure is in the UK, it will go to the UK office ID. This will apply if you book with a One World partner, so you may think you are on the IB site but you might be routed to the BA office ID such as LONBA08X1 as in the example below. If your routing starts in Spain on a BA flight you would probably have a MADBA office ID, hence the confusion. It doesn’t need to be that way but that’s how they’ve done it.

    If you were able to see the booking in the back end, the header line would would look something like this. The ‘WS’ means that the last modification was made by Web Services.

    RP/LONBA08X1/LONBA08X1 WS/SU 25NOV19/1908Z
    LONBA08X1/0001AA/19NOV19

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    TiredOldHack2
    Participant

    Sorted now. The nice lady at the EC said this morning: “Oh, I’ve seen this before…”

    It transpires that the booking is replicated on the BA site to allow me to do things like choose seats (couldn’t do that in the Iberia site), print boarding passes etc. I’ve already made certain we’ve all got seats on the upper decks of the A380 legs. Interesting, and I’ve never encountered anything like this before.

    Quite useful, actually.

    Downside, if it is one, is that it doesn’t recall ‘ground’ add-ons like hotel or (in my case) car hire bookings. I’m relieved, and also still pleased at the bargain price. I wonder how long it’ll be before this one is closed off?

    Oh yes: forgot to add. After the Iberia site crashed and I had to restart, the fare dropped at the same time by 20 euros per head!

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