Ex-EU tightening up?

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  LuganoPirate 20 Oct 2017
at 23:02
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Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)

  • stevescoots
    Participant

    This is not new information for some of us but I have done Ex-Eu many times and I know many others that do as well. My usual process is 1 ticket to AMS, then the ex-EU ticket AMS-LHR-HKG-LHR-AMS and the original ticket back to LHR.
    Usual process is to check in at the F counter for both tickets and they put my bag only on the LHR-HKG flight, so I fly to AMS and back with nothing in the hold, never had an issue. This time however they refused and said I cannot do this was, must either put my bag on the AMS flight, then collect at AMS and recheck. With the short turnaround time that would not work as time was too short. Other option was to leave it at LHR left luggage and on the return come back out, collect bags and check in.

    I went this this option but then ran into some problems. My flight to AMS was going to be an hour late to depart, which would knock on and put my LHR turnaround down to 45 mins, cutting it very fine indeed! I went to the ticketing desk and explained that as my departure flight was late I would miss my “short meeting” in AMS airport so could they cancel the AMS legs and let me just get on the HK one, a resounding no was the answer. I did explain this has happened before (which it has) but it was a definitive you must get on at AMS or the whole ticket cancelled.
    So, I had to go with the flow, sometimes when gaming the system, it works, sometimes not. Eventually landed back in LHR with 40 minutes to spare, sprint to immigration, which was empty, across to left luggage that had about 10 people waiting and a run back to the F desk to check my bag which then followed a 15 mins conflab as they would not check my bag, insisting it should have gone on at AMS, asked for a duty supervisor who was abrupt but agreed “just this once” to put my bag on the flight. Went to security and was denied entry and had to get the check in staff to get me through, ran to the gate and was pretty much last to board. Seems that they are either cracking down on this, or they have taken the ability of the ground staff to make any choices. Either way in future I will have to change my process and fly without hold luggage, a tough one for me as my trips are usually 2+ weeks. Or make the AMS transit much longer.
    It will be interesting to see when I check in at HKG if they will do my bag just to LHR, usually I just check there telling the desk that I need access to it, put in left luggage, pop over to AMS and back and pick up my bag.


    Flightlevel
    Participant

    This is not new information for some of us but I have done Ex-Eu many times and I know many others that do as well. My usual process is 1 ticket to AMS, then the ex-EU ticket AMS-LHR-HKG-LHR-AMS and the original ticket back to LHR.
    Usual process is to check in at the F counter for both tickets and they put my bag only on the LHR-HKG flight, so I fly to AMS and back with nothing in the hold, never had an issue. This time however they refused and said I cannot do this was, must either put my bag on the AMS flight, then collect at AMS and recheck. With the short turnaround time that would not work as time was too short. Other option was to leave it at LHR left luggage and on the return come back out, collect bags and check in.

    I went this this option but then ran into some problems. My flight to AMS was going to be an hour late to depart, which would knock on and put my LHR turnaround down to 45 mins, cutting it very fine indeed! I went to the ticketing desk and explained that as my departure flight was late I would miss my “short meeting” in AMS airport so could they cancel the AMS legs and let me just get on the HK one, a resounding no was the answer. I did explain this has happened before (which it has) but it was a definitive you must get on at AMS or the whole ticket cancelled.
    So, I had to go with the flow, sometimes when gaming the system, it works, sometimes not. Eventually landed back in LHR with 40 minutes to spare, sprint to immigration, which was empty, across to left luggage that had about 10 people waiting and a run back to the F desk to check my bag which then followed a 15 mins conflab as they would not check my bag, insisting it should have gone on at AMS, asked for a duty supervisor who was abrupt but agreed “just this once” to put my bag on the flight. Went to security and was denied entry and had to get the check in staff to get me through, ran to the gate and was pretty much last to board. Seems that they are either cracking down on this, or they have taken the ability of the ground staff to make any choices. Either way in future I will have to change my process and fly without hold luggage, a tough one for me as my trips are usually 2+ weeks. Or make the AMS transit much longer.
    It will be interesting to see when I check in at HKG if they will do my bag just to LHR, usually I just check there telling the desk that I need access to it, put in left luggage, pop over to AMS and back and pick up my bag.


    Flightlevel
    Participant

    Tom this was still open with Ss original script so just added airline to endeavour to close it,I have nothing to add.


    Flightlevel
    Participant

    Maybe hovered over the quote button – finger trouble – or comment for BT forum!


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    @steve – not wishing to “teach you how to suck eggs” 🙂 – this is how I handle check in…

    1. Print all paper boarding cards in advance at home

    2. Only present my LHR-HKG boarding pass at check in (do not show the AMS-LHR sector and certainly don’t ask for a new boarding pass to be printed)

    3. I have a colleague who sometimes just goes to bag drop and avoids a check in desk altogether..

    4. It is also worth writing to BAEC to ask the question so you have it in written chapter and verse for the future, whether you can check a bag in for a longhaul under these circumstances. Admittedly, I last checked a bag in for a longhaul many years ago… but then it did take a chat with a manager who confirmed 100% it was ok to do. It only came to the check in persons attention as I asked a question about the previous sector. It may be BA have altered their protocols, but it is certainly worth asking.

    5. The LHR- AMS sector running late… do you go out to Europe on the LHR-AMS sector on the same aircraft that is presumably returning, AMS-LHR. If so, you have a boarding card, AMS is currently an ex-Europe “wait at the gate” departure point, so presumably if the AMS-LHR is running late, you are covered as the onward flight to HKG will be changed automatically. You would have to be really unlucky if BA schedule a different aircraft for the AMS-LHR to the one that you went out on (LHR-AMS), causing you to miss the first part of the ex-Europe AMS-LHR (in which case you are stuffed)..

    6. My last ex-Europe ticket, the HKG-LHR sector was 2 hours late, causing the LHR-AMS sector to be changed by BA, but I had a near shouting match with the BA managers for them to change the separately ticketed AMS-LHR sector (but they did)..

    The only time, BA have allowed me to use the tickets out of sequence, was an ex-Europe ticket starting from Milan, where the separately ticketed LHR-LIN was cancelled, due to snow, thus the returning LIN-LHR was also cancelled – then I was allowed to fly onto USA with out of sequence tickets..

    The main question for me, is do BA ever substitute alternative aircraft for AMS-LHR sectors, to the aircraft that flew LHR-AMS.. when everything goes according to schedule…?


    stevescoots
    Participant

    Hi Martyn,

    I am always open to learning new ways to suck eggs haha, i didnt think of just doing bag drop!
    point 5, correct, it’s the same aircraft but turnaround time does not allow for bags deplaning, picking up at the carousel and then checking back in, and BA won’t interline as its separate tickets.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    Hi Steve

    I think anyone is being extremely brave checking in bags and expecting to collect and re check in before the returning flight an hour later..

    My point was that if you are in receipt of your boarding card for the both the LHR-AMS and the ex-Europe start AMS-LHR, and it is late departing from LHR, does it matter if the delay causes you to miss the LHR-HKG flight? BA should automatically, re route you.

    The fact you have checked in your bags (if you have managed to do so in London before the positioning flight) shouldn’t matter, because if you have a schedule change, your bags “should” be married up to your new flight.

    The problem that could occur, is whether AMS-LHR is ever on different aircraft than the scheduled previous LHR-AMS..?


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    Bearing in mind the savings being made, I’d be tempted to book an earlier flight, then check bags through and re-check them in Amsterdam or MXP. Just not worth the risk of the airline cracking down.

    The only problem I see is where the placing flight, eg. LHR-AMS is on the cheapest ticket and you have a hand baggage only fare for that, but maybe 2 heavy cases to check in for the long haul F or C flights.

    I was recetly told the best First and Business bargains are ex Warsaw. I’ve not checked it but has anyone tried it?


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    LP – there is the added problem of course at MXP, when the Flight Transit/Security decide to go on a 20 minute T break, stopping all passengers re entering back into the system…. 😉


    stevescoots
    Participant

    In some ways its not so much about the cash cost, and goes back to an earlier post about Value for money.
    If I do Ex-EU the ticket price compared to me Using EK out of BHX to HKG is average saving £500.
    But when I factor in Petrol, carparking charges or Taxi/train combo which I don’t have on EK then the saving comes down to around £150 (if not using Avios for the AMS legs) not so much of a saving on cash for the bottom ache of it all and a crap product.
    However, where it does work and why I do it from time to time is the Avios as I use those in Asia on CX, each ex EU get me up to 2 CX flights in economy HKG to SGN and back which with the flight times I use usually cost around £400


    EasternPedlar
    Participant

    I plan my ex EU trips a little differently, and do the European side trip the day before the longhaul flight – typically on the weekend. Then there is no issue with luggage.

    For example, I’d go to AMS on the Sunday. You are allowed to stay overnight in London on the ex-EU ticket as long as you fly out within 24 hours of arrival, so I’d book AMS-LHR on Sunday as well, and then fly out long haul on Monday morning. My bags get checked in on Monday morning.

    I find this arrangement less tiring. Cost is not a consideration because I can take the tube to LHR for next to nothing!


    thecartoonman
    Participant

    I find these reports fascinating and there is no doubt @martynsinclair is a bit of a dab hand at it, though even he has had the odd issue, I think Dublin last year was one from memory.

    I think I prefer @easternpedlar approach, though I dare say, after the first couple of successful trips, since this is a pretty full proof way of avoiding the issues discussed above, albeit with extra hotels, meal costs etc the temptation must be to do it without the overnight stay, it’s becoming more of a game of cat and mouse, still if I remember, Jerry always had one over Tom in the end.

    As ever, keep us posted guys.


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    For me the maths is simple:
    LUG-ZRH-JNB return in F with LX = CHF 14,500
    MXP-ZRH-JNB return in F with LX = CHF 7,000

    MXP-DXB-JNB return in F with EK = CHF 5,000

    MXP is 50 minutes drive and I allow 90 minutes to check in
    LUG is 15 minutes drive and 20 minutes to check in.

    Is the extra time worth the saving, definitely.
    Is the midnight shuffle in Dubai worth the saving, depends. Above CHF 1,000 it is. Below, maybe not.
    Also with EK I get chauffeur drive at each end, and that’s worth about CHF 400 alone.

    So MXP over Lugano, no contest, Milan wins every time.

    As a PS to this I’m flying Business with Lufthansa to Portugal ex MXP for EUR 500. Same flight ex Lugano (except via ZRH instaed of FRA) is EUR 1,300
    For two of us that’s a saving of over EUR 1,600, so well worth the extra 90 minutes!

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