The perils of planning ahead

After the difficulties I had finding accommodation this year (and ending up at a dreadful hotel, as I mentioned in an earlier post) I thought I’d better book a couple of trips to Scotland next year, and that is what I did a few weeks ago (and quite a few places are already full for most of the summer).

On my previous trips to the highlands of Scotland over the last few years I’ve been travelling by EasyJet from London Luton to Inverness (where I then sometimes hire a car). This usually works out cheaper (and a lot faster) than driving my own car there and and back and by getting a morning flight there and a late evening flight back, it means I can get a walk in on both the day I travel there and on the day I come home, making the most of my trip. The downside is it means I have to go to Luton Airport, which is a longer drive, the car park is mostly made of gravel and the airport itself is very poor and always a building site (EasyJet do also fly from London Gatwick to Inverness, but the times are not so good for me).

A few years ago British Airways resumed flying to Inverness from London Heathrow, (having previously abandonded the route sometime in the 1990s). Possibly as a result of the hacking incident with their website earlier this year the prices were cheaper than in previous years and pretty good. It takes me about half the time to get to Heathrow as it does to Luton, so I thought I’d give British Airways a try next year.

Of course, I should have known. This afternoon the following email arrived in my inbox.

It was shortly followed by a second email.

Well thank you for that British Airways. I booked 3 flights with British Airways in the last year. These two (which are now both cancelled). Unrelated to my coast walk earlier, I also booked a trip to Austria (in order to go walking in the beautiful Alps, I don’t just go to the coast!) and not long after I booked that flight I also got this email.

So that’s three flights in total I had booked with British Airways in the last year and all three were subsequently either cancelled or significantly changed. A poor show, British Airways and I guess after my experience going to Austria I should have known better than to entrust my travel plans again with our so called “flag carrier”. They clearly don’t bother to finalise their schedule before they start taking bookings for flights. Of course if I had made the booking myself and then subsequently decided I wanted to change to a later flight, I’d have to pay an admin fee. If British Airways want to change it, can I charge them an admin fee? Well of course, we all know the answer to that!

Along with the hacking incident British Airways had earlier this year, I’ve had enough of them. They cannot be trusted. I can only presume their pilots don’t like working mornings. I cancelled my flights with them and got a full refund (with no admin charge, because the change was as a result of British Airways). I booked again with EasyJet, as I should have done in the first place. And frankly when you look at these prices, it’s not hard to see why!

It’s a very long time indeed since I’ve seen an airline selling tickets for less than £5 (and this is in July).

I only hope I don’t have my plans for next year changed again!

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6 Responses to The perils of planning ahead

  1. We don’t use BA if we can help it. However, because John has to use them on business quite a bit he gets air miles so I don’t turn my nose up at that! They have been spectacularly good at losing his luggage on longer trips, though the only time I’ve experienced that myself was on our silver wedding trip when our luggage arrived a day late. So we spent our wedding anniversary wearing yesterday’s clothes! Thanks BA.

    • jcombe says:

      Oh dear. I’ve never had them lose luggage to be fair, but then I don’t have a great record of actually taking the flights I’ve booked with them! You don’t really want to spend the first few days of a holiday shopping for things you thought you’d bought with you.

      Doesn’t sound like your silver wedding trip got off to the sort of romantic start you might have liked in yesterdays clothes!

  2. owdjockey says:

    Hi Jon, i’ve decided that after you have completed your walk “Round the Island” you will not only have an in depth knowledge of our coastline but also of our public transport system! Very frustrating when you thought you had it already covered.
    Thos prices look very tempting as well as the significant reduction in travel time and not ‘losing a day’ in travelling up there. I may well consider this option when I do get around to the top/NE bit of Scotland.
    Still convalesing from a bug/virus and am gradually losing the aches. But very busy, daughter managed to get through through the two ballots for tickets to see the All Blacks at Twickenham tomorrow. Never been to a Rugby match before, so looking forward to it. I’m also just polishing off work for my Christmas Stall at a village Fayre on 1st December, so I doubt I will get to Scotland this November. Cheers Alan

    • jcombe says:

      Sorry to hear you’ve been unwell but hope you are on the mend!

      Yes indeed planning these walks can often take almost as much time as doing them I think and yes I do have to spend a lot of time going through bus timetables to come up with something that works.

      Hope you enjoyed the Rugby.

  3. What a bugger. And what a bunch of buggers for messing you about!

    I’m hoping to get up to Scotland next summer and we have talked about flying but I think EasyJet are more readily available from Bristol Airport and we’ll certainly be giving BA a miss!

    • jcombe says:

      Yes they caused me a lot of grief, as the flights bookings also included car hire, that got cancelled when I cancelled the flights, so I had to spend much of an evening re-booking it all with Easyjet.

      Yes Easyjet certainly fly from Bristol to Inverness. I think “British” Airways lost interest in any routes that don’t start or end in London some years ago (they sold most of their domestic routes to Flybe) so I don’t think you even have the option of BA from Bristol. They should be called “London Airways” really! I hope you make it to Scotland too and I look forward to reading about it, if you do.

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