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Hi all.  I hope someone can give me advice on booking a complex ticket on aa/ba  to Croatia before I book.   We are going to Dubrovnik and split next April.  I plan to fly AA premium economy from Phoenix to London on weds April 22.   We will then pick up a short flight to Dubrovnik  on Friday from gatwick.  On our return, there is one direct flight from split to lhr on Sunday May 3.  Again, we will spend the night in London and fly home on Monday May 4.   To book all of this on one ticket, the price is outrageous, like $6,000 a person on aa. On ba, the combined flights are still about $500 a person more expensive then booking separately.  I was thinking of booking it as two separate  tickets.   The international flights booked on Aa and the flights from London to Croatia on BA.  Then the price is much lower.   However, is that a big risk on the return?  Since ba only has the one flight from split to lhr, what would happen if that flight is cancelled?  Since the two airlines have an alliance, would they help rebook my international flight home to a different day even  though it is on a separate ticket?  I think the answer is no, but wanted to check. Is there another way to get from Croatia to London in time for the morning international flight home should my split to London get cancelled ?     Also, any advice on how to book a combined ticket that is not three times the cost of booking separately?  Thank you.

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Booking separate tickets means you are on your own if your first leg gets screwed up. 

 

Easyjet, Wizz and Norwegian all have non-stop flights from Split to Luton/Gatwick. 

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My risk tolerance is that a full day/overnight is sufficient buffer for split ticket situations. For others this may vary. 

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An experienced travel agent can help you with this.

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2 hours ago, alidor said:

An experienced travel agent can help you with this.

 

And an inexperienced order-taker will be of no use whatsoever.

 

Caveat Emptor.

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Thank you for the input.   I just did a search and there are other flights that can get us to London should this flight get cancelled.  The risk is that the BA flight from Split is the last one of the evening.  So, if it gets cancelled at the last minute, we would be stuck.  However,  we can do the last night in Zagreb which has a ton of flights on Sunday to London.  This will also let us travel to Plitvice national park on the way to Zagreb on Saturday.   I do not find travel agents to be more than order takers in the US.   Thru research, I find I often know  more about the locations/transport needed.   They also do not seem to want to deal with air travel as they do not make commission on it anymore.   Last agent I had responded with "I don't mess with that stuff -- too easy to get wrong"  when I asked a question about travel visas for a European trip and "its easier for you to book your own flights as I would just be in the middle".   

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22 hours ago, mina said:

 is that a big risk on the return?  Since ba only has the one flight from split to lhr, what would happen if that flight is cancelled?  Since the two airlines have an alliance, would they help rebook my international flight home to a different day even  though it is on a separate ticket? 

 

Be prepared for the answer to be no.  When you book on 2 separate tickets and miss the first flight, the agent for the 2nd flight has zero obligation to change that flight to suit you, as they had nothing to do with you not being there on time.  There may be rare occasions when they would help but that would be the exception, not the rule.  I would be prepared instead to book a last minute flight back to London on another airline, even if it involves a connection.  Just be prepared to pay a very high, last minute price and if you book on a budget airline, understand that they probably have much stricter limits on both checked and carry on bags and it could cost a small fortune in bag fees to boot. 

For me personally, with an overnight separating the two, I'd be reasonably comfortable booking this as separate tickets, athough if the initial flight back to London, is in the afternoon or evening, I'd probably consider spending 2 nights in London instead of 1. If the first flight is later in the day, you'll automatically have more limited options for booking a last minute ticket that day.

 

15 hours ago, mina said:

 Thru research, I find I often know  more about the locations/transport needed.   They also do not seem to want to deal with air travel as they do not make commission on it anymore.  

 

^^^ this.  Back in the day, before everyone had home computers, it was difficult to research and book airfare on your own so folks relied on travel agents and the airlines paid them commission.  As more and more folks got computers and internet, fewer and fewer relied on travel agents and airlines eventually stopped paying them commission.  And with that, most TAs' experience, and thus knowledge, of booking air declined to the point that when it comes to air, most are just order takers these days. 

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Good points, waterbug.  I did not even think to add an extra day and spend it in London.  We love London.  So, we will either go to Zagreb and fly from there earlier on Sunday since there are a lot of flights later in the day after the BA flight, or we will stay an extra night in London.  Still will be a lot cheaper then booking it all as one ticket.    Appreciate everyone’s input!  

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The chances of the BA flight from Split to London being cancelled is really pretty remote.  BA are  not in the habit of cancelling flights unless the aircraft goes tech. Personally,  I would have no qualms with your  schedule.

If things did go pear shaped,  you should be covered by your insurance policy. 

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On 6/20/2019 at 2:20 PM, mina said:

I plan to fly AA premium economy from Phoenix to London on weds April 22.   We will then pick up a short flight to Dubrovnik  on Friday from gatwick.  On our return, there is one direct flight from split to lhr on Sunday May 3.  Again, we will spend the night in London and fly home on Monday May 4.   To book all of this on one ticket, the price is outrageous, like $6,000 a person on aa. On ba, the combined flights are still about $500 a person more expensive then booking separately.  I was thinking of booking it as two separate  tickets.   The international flights booked on Aa and the flights from London to Croatia on BA.  Then the price is much lower.

 

First, if you are getting a price of $6,000 per person on AA for the entire trip, then I think something is wrong. I have been able to use ITA to price an itinerary using AA flights for the long-hauls and BA flights for the short-hauls for the same price as BA is selling these - $2,178.13 per person today. (If you use that tool to price BA flights, the price will be stated as $2,206.13, but for technical reasons this is $28.00 per person higher than the price that BA will charge you for the exact same thing.)

 

That, of course, means that you still get the saving if you buy the long-hauls and the short-hauls separately. The reason for this is that if you buy it all on one ticket, you are buying a through fare from Phoenix to Dubrovnik/Split and back. If you buy the short-haul separately, you will get access to BA's cheapest point-to-point fares. However, I can't immediately see a total saving as high as $500 per person; the total cost that I see (after deducting that technical $28.00 uplift) is $1,667.83 + $291.60 = $1,959.43 per person. So the saving by buying the two bits separately looks like it may only be about $200 per person (which is nevertheless not inconsequential).

 

You've already been given advice about the technical position if you book these separately. If you do so, there's necessarily an element of risk. But I personally think that the risk is small, and you can reduce the risk further by booking the later London-Phoenix flight on 4 May. It's the BA-operated flight at 1445, arriving at 1735. This means that if the London-Split-London rotation doesn't operate on 3 May and not everyone can be rerouted, a rescue flight might be possible during the morning of 4 May. Alternatively, if the aircraft goes tech at Split and it can't fly again until the next morning, you still have a decent chance of making the onward flight.

 

Like for all of the flights between Phoenix and London, you can book the AA flight number on that BA-operated flight if you have a reason for preferring to do so. There's also no reason why you can't book an AA flight or flight number in one direction and a BA flight / flight number in the other, if that makes sense for you.

 

Personally, I would have no hesitation in booking Split-London on 3 May and the later London-Phoenix flight on 4 May. I would then also try to wangle a stay in the Sofitel overnight, as both flights will be at Terminal 5 and this would make the overnight stay dead easy.

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On 6/20/2019 at 6:24 PM, alidor said:

An experienced travel agent can help you with this.

 

Sadly, the number of experienced travel agents who can give useful advice about a trip like this is now pretty small.

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You are probably right about the travel agents.   I was trained a long time ago by one of the airlines and actually specialize in air fares, so I know it can be done.   You just have to look for one

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2 hours ago, Globaliser said:

 

First, if you are getting a price of $6,000 per person on AA for the entire trip, then I think something is wrong. I have been able to use ITA to price an itinerary using AA flights for the long-hauls and BA flights for the short-hauls for the same price as BA is selling these - $2,178.13 per person today. (If you use that tool to price BA flights, the price will be stated as $2,206.13, but for technical reasons this is $28.00 per person higher than the price that BA will charge you for the exact same thing.)

 

Thank you Globaliser.   I have been trying to book through AA.com and it comes up as only business class available and the $6,000 ish cost.  I also tried to price it as just a round trip to DBV (knowing we would need to transfer from LHR to Gatwick) and the premium economy showed up as about $4,000 a person.  AA's website must be having issues.     I will call them and see about booking it together.   I did price it on BA site  this morning and the cost is down a lot from the original $$ amount I saw.  I think I will call AA and see what is going on with their booking site.   If I can not get it through AA -- then will book the same flights through BA.com.   

 

In researching, I am really leaning towards the return out of Zagreb on Monday morning to London.  The cost on BA for the multi-segment trip this morning was about $1800 a person,  if we fly back to Phx on Tuesday.    The car trip  and a stop in Plitivice National Park would be a nice way to closeout out our stay in Croatia.   I believe the AA morning flight from LHR to Phx leaves out of terminal 3?  At least the BA one used to.   If not, will definitely stay the night at the Sofitel!  

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There are some BA short haul ticket/fare types that are on the cheap side and designed to compete more directly against easy jet, Ryanair, and other European LCCs. My experience is that in order to get those cheap flight segments, you have to book directly with BA- American and other alliance partners don't necessarily seem to have access to those fare buckets for those segments when constructing a more complex ticket. 

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7 hours ago, Globaliser said:

 

I have been able to use ITA to price an itinerary

+1 for ITA, it's a great starting point for air research.  The calendar feature is particularly helpful when there is any flexibility in the travel schedule.

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Part of the problem is that there's no premium economy on short-haul flights within Europe, so sometimes the airline computers look for a compatible "fare bucket" - basically the fare classification that corresponds to the long-haul premium economy one - that it can use for setting the short-haul portion of the overall fare, in your case the flights to/from Croatia.  But because there's no premium economy seating offered on those flights, the computer defaults to the closest thing, namely business class.  This can have the effect of increasing the whole (consolidated) fare to a business class one.  I know that sounds nuts, but anybody who claims to understand the airlines' fare algorithms and who doesn't have a diploma from Hogwarts is blowing smoke. 

 

Try this out.  Try two separate bookings, a round trip in PE to London, and a separate "open-jaw" reservation from London to Croatia (to Dubrovnik, back from Split) in economy.  You can use the likes of Expedia for the short-haul flights; just be sure to give yourselves plenty of time (say a day or more) between the long-haul and short-haul flights, in case something goes haywire.

 

My suspicion is that you'll end up with a total fare that's far more palatable than the combined fares you're seeing by ticketing through AA.  

 

And it case it hasn't been mentioned, I'd try to avoid any same-day transfers between Heathrow and Gatwick.  It's time-consuming, frustrating, and expensive.  Even if you have to pay more for using Heathrow for all the flights, the savings in aggravation (and the cost of transferring from one to the other) might be worth it.

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Thank you all for the advice!  I booked my tickets using BA site as Waterloo suggested last night.   I was able to get the long haul as premium economy and the short Croatia flights as economy.  I had set a price of under 2k for each person - and I got these for 1800 usd plus the seat selection.  So no more checking prices for me.  I have the seats I want -- bulkhead on the long hauls and I am satisfied with the price.  Now, I will just watch to see how many times the flights change before next May!   Surprise bonus was that I have  BA from Phx to LHR and it also looks like they are swapping out the old 747 they use now for a 777-300 by the time we fly.  At least that is what the reservation says.  fingers crossed.  

 

Gardyloo, thanks for the warning on the transfer.  We are spending the night in London before the Croatia flights, so we will take blackberry cars to the Hilton at Gatwick on arrival in LHR and relax before the flight to dubrovnik the next day.  On the way back, the only complication will be figuring out what LHR hotel to stay at as our flight from Croatia arrives in T5 around 5 pm and our AA flight to Phx leaves from T3 at 9:30 am.   So, thinking about trying the soon to open Hilton at terminal 2 so we do not have to scramble in the morning.  However, the Sofitel  at T5 would be a nice way to close out the trip!   

 

One last question -- do we really have to be at Gatwick three hours in advance for the Dubrovnik flight? That is what the airport site says.   Was hoping to be able to sleep a bit more!  

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