Why am I not allowed to use the return half of a BA plane ticket?
Wednesday 21 May 2014
Q. A long time ago I booked a London-Rio return ticket on British Airways. Then I got a job that requires me to go to the US on a training course. Because of the dates involved, it made sense for me to ask the company to fly me straight to Rio – saving me from crossing the Atlantic twice. BA is now saying that I will not be allowed to take my return flight home if I don't show up for the original outbound flight. The cost of buying a new flight from Rio is £1,000. Michael, Hereford
A. You have been badly advised on two fronts: both by whoever arranged the US-Rio ticket, and by whoever said that a one-way flight from Rio to London costs £1,000.
British Airways, like many other "legacy" airlines, clings to the rule that if you fail to show up for the outbound leg of a return journey, then the entire trip is cancelled. The reason for this is bound up in the arcane structure of air fares, whereby many long-haul flights cost more for a one-way trip than a return journey. A good travel agent knows the potentially expensive consequences of being a "no-show".
Whoever arranged the US-Rio flight should have asked: how are you planning to get back from South America? Alarm bells would have started ringing if you then explained you were travelling on a BA return trip.
However, the cost of buying a new flight from Rio can be a lot less than £1,000, as long as you shop around. That fare is for a non-stop flight on BA, but if you are prepared to change en route, you can basically halve the cost.
The cheapest ticket is around £440 one-way on Ethiopian Airlines, though this is a long trip that involves a stop in Togo and an overnight stay in Addis Ababa. It would be better to make your way by bus to Sao Paulo, then fly with Air Europa to Madrid for about £425, and book a cheap one-way on easyJet, BA or Iberia onward to London. The total price should come to about £500.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 3 Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
£35 - 45k: Guru Careers: An MI Developer is needed to join the leading provide...
£20000 - £22500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leisure organisation manag...
£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Delivering an inspiring, engagi...
£17500 - £20500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for a great te...