The madness of ex-Europe airfares

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This topic contains 21 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  LuganoPirate 9 Apr 2018
at 12:47
.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 22 total)

  • Cedric_Statherby
    Participant

    I wish to fly from London to Hong Kong. Can anyone – anyone at all, whether in the airline business or not – explain to me why I have just been quoted nearly £1500 less for a routing which goes AMS-LHR-HKG-LHR-AMS rather than LHR-HKG-LHR. All flights on British Airways …

    I can therefore save nearly £1350 by hopping on a flight to Amsterdam to take a flight from Amsterdam back to London …

    Have airlines not heard of the green agenda, carbon footprints and the like? And what happens if I simply don’t take the last leg (back to Amsterdam)?


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    I wish to fly from London to Hong Kong. Can anyone – anyone at all, whether in the airline business or not – explain to me why I have just been quoted nearly £1500 less for a routing which goes AMS-LHR-HKG-LHR-AMS rather than LHR-HKG-LHR. All flights on British Airways …

    I can therefore save nearly £1350 by hopping on a flight to Amsterdam to take a flight from Amsterdam back to London …

    Have airlines not heard of the green agenda, carbon footprints and the like? And what happens if I simply don’t take the last leg (back to Amsterdam)?

    The airlines love to attack other’s home markets. The EC sees protecting consumer choice (and thus competition) is of paramount important, thus the perfect strom.

    Like you, in a world where climate change is a problem, I find it obscene.

    If you skip the last leg on an occasional basis, nothing will happen – best to select flights involving a change of airport, e.g. AMS-LHR-HKG-LGW-AMS and then you have a force majeuere excuse, e.g. heavy traffic.


    Cedric_Statherby
    Participant

    Thanks FDOS_UK. The EU may see this as protecting customer choice but surely either the BA air fare ex Amsterdam is honest (in which case the fare from London is gouging) or the fare ex London is honest (in which case the fare from Amsterdam is artificially undercutting KLM). They cannot both be true fares.


    LuganoPirate
    Participant

    It’s mainly because ex-Europe fares are much cheaper than UK fares which are a bit of a ripoff sometimes especially in the premium cabins. In order to compete BA have to match those fares or even slightly better them to make up for the inconvenience of changing airports.

    Another case in point is Zurich where the fares are very high. ZRH-JNB is CHF 19,000 return in First, yet MXP-ZRH-JNB is 10,000 return in F. All with Swiss.
    Mind you, even that fare does not compare with Emirates ex MXP which is about half the price.

    As to carbon footprint, I suppose one can always assuage ones conscience by paying the carbon offset fee, but from a recent BT survey I see very few people do that. I don’t know if it’s still the case but unbelievably Swiss charged a service fee on top of the setoff fee!!


    capetonianm
    Participant

    All of the above. Madness is a good description. So is greed.
    Airlines will compete to get traffic from non-home markets.
    A nonstop flight will attract a premium over a connecting flight, or if you prefer, it’s gouging.

    Example :
    1 BA 429 I 12APR 4 AMSLHR HK1 1015 1040
    2 BA 059 I 12APR 4 LHRCPT HK1 3 2140 1010+1
    3 BA 058 I 22APR 7 CPTLHR HK1 1930 0630+1
    4 BA 432 I 23APR 1 LHRAMS HK1 5 1440 1700

    The price for this journey is GBP2354
    The price for just the middle segments LHR CPT LHR is GBP3614, which includes GBP156 for the UK APD. The journey from AMS is exempt from UK APD as LON is a transit.

    Albeit to a lesser extent, the same applies here :

    1 KL1000 Z 15APR 7 LHRAMS HK1 4 0630 0900
    2 KL 597 Z 15APR 7 AMSCPT HK1 1000 2115
    3 KL 598 Z 23APR 1 CPTAMS HK1 2300 1045+1
    4 KL1017 Z 24APR 2 AMSLHR HK1 1320 1350

    This prices at GBP2826, whereas the AMS CPT AMS prices at GBP2975.

    It’s also about supply and demand. I’ve just looked at prices for a trip to Botswana. The prices of the tickets between CPT and MUB are more than the price of a (cheap) ticket to or from Europe.

    (I used to work in revenue management for an airline!!)


    FaroFlyer
    Participant

    I wish to fly from London to Hong Kong. Can anyone – anyone at all, whether in the airline business or not – explain to me why I have just been quoted nearly £1500 less for a routing which goes AMS-LHR-HKG-LHR-AMS rather than LHR-HKG-LHR. All flights on British Airways …

    I can therefore save nearly £1350 by hopping on a flight to Amsterdam to take a flight from Amsterdam back to London …

    Have airlines not heard of the green agenda, carbon footprints and the like? And what happens if I simply don’t take the last leg (back to Amsterdam)?

    In your example BA are trying to take passengers who would otherwise have got on a KLM, or CX, non-stop to HKG. You will see similar examples ex Paris, competing with AF or CX; Madrid competing with CX, CPH or OSL competing with SAS.

    Likewise KLM, AF, SAS & AY have much lower fares ex UK, via their respective hubs than they charge non-stop from their home country hubs.

    If you haven’t already used it try http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ and put in all of the airports that you would consider originating from and a range of dates. You will see that it is not just BA going crazy, but all airlines.

    FDOS advice regarding the last leg is sound.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    When I first starting travelling to Asia ca. 14 years ago, I was using ex-UK tickets via Germany on LH. I then switched to ex-Europe tickets on BA. Each is the same principle, longer, no direct flights are cheaper – FACT.

    What is also madness, but for different reasons, is in real terms my travel costs have reduced significantly over the years. When I first started travelling to Asia, my ticket costs, either ex-Europe/ex-UK, were in business between £2,100 – £2,600 and in F, between £3,800 and £4,200. My December 2017 trip cost £1450 and my forthcoming trip in a months time cost a little more at £1,650, in business. I no longer bother with F, on BA there is not really that much of a difference, as long as I have the extra space in a window seat upstairs on the 380 or 747

    Added to this, are the AVIOS. 36,000 of them, making the positioning flight free (apart from the taxes) and giving me sufficient avios for around another 5 – 7 European sectors for just taxes. Meaning in actual monetary value, I believe BA are paying me to fly.

    So I agree with you Cedric, these fares are madness, but probably for slightly different reasons than your thread intended.

    As for the green footprint, I have to laugh when I am asked whether I would like to offset the carbon footprint, when buying tickets on ba.com


    stevescoots
    Participant

    All the carriers play this game to some extent, several times in the past I have done CAN-HKG-LHR on CX as its saved almost £1000 on HKG-LHR


    AMcWhirter
    Participant

    It’s somethng I’ve been writing about in the magazine for decades.

    Another fare anomaly I discovered recently was with BA’s J class fares to New York.

    If you choose the flights carefully (times, arrival airport etc) it is cheaper to fly J class DXB-LHR-NYC-LHR-DXB for *less* than the LHR-NYC J class return.

    In this case BA (as an indirect carrier in this example) has to compete on price with EK’s non-stop DXB-JFK services.


    BugAdvisor
    Participant

    Don’t forget the UK Air Passenger Duty which I believe doesn’t apply when the departure point is outside of England.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    As I stated in my post #857722, APD does not apply where there is a transit via a UK airport. If it’s more than 24 hours it is (generally) considered as a stopover and the APD will apply.


    SwissExPat
    Participant

    I, and a few people in my small firm, have been travelling from ZRH to NYC quite regularly recently. Return we seem to pay +/- CHF 750 (approx GBP 560) for Premium Economy with BA. With all the other carriers (direct) there is only either Y or J and J is at least CHF 4,000. The CHF 750 is IMHO a great deal, often cheaper than a basic Y ticket.

    The routing accumulates 200 Tier points and enough avios for half an upgrade to J which I try to get on the return leg.

    I see that ex UK, a simimlar short duration trip to NYC is GBP 2,000 in Y+. Looks like I am benefitting from a very competitive market.


    TiredOldHack2
    Participant

    I’ve been using Amsterdam (and occasionally other European airports) as departure points for years. It makes no sense, but the savings can be epic. For myself, Dr. TOH and our Second Born, EUR2,163 (GBP1,890) return to Durban this November, including 10 days’ car hire, and the car hire means you don’t have to pay immediately but in interest-free instalments.

    Incidentally, it’s not just confined to Europe. A friend in Santiago de Chile, when he flies to Europe, starts his journey in Mendoza, Argentina, a 40-minute hop from SCL, and then transfers to the direct LAN flight to Paris or Frankfurt. He saves a fortune in J seats as well.


    TiredOldHack2
    Participant

    FDOS advice regarding the last leg is sound.

    Dammit, I never thought of trying that!


    Alex McWhirter
    Participant

    Incidentally, it’s not just confined to Europe.

    Indeed. As we have written in the past the savings are worldwide. It depends on where you start your trip, currency values, airline marketing and so on. For example if you are in Singapore it may be cheaper to fly long-haul out of Kuala Lumpur because of the differing currency values.

    In an earlier I gave the example where a BA J class ticket for DXB-LON-NYC-LON-DXB cost less than LON-NYC. The value there of course is for a traveller who has to make two trips (one to DXB, another to NYC) and is able to arrange them both at the same time.

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