Editor's Blog

Don't get caught out by check-in

Did you know that if you don’t check in for an outbound flight you no longer need, BA will cancel your return flight on the same booking? Many of you will know this, I’m sure, but despite being involved in travel for several decades, this came as an unwelcome surprise to me.

I had been invited on a busy-looking press trip to view new meeting facilities at a property near Edinburgh. The PR booked me on an outbound BA flight from Gatwick at 7.05am with a return the following day at 8pm. As the trip approached, I decided that the 4am start required to make the early flight was unwelcome. Does anyone sleep well before a 4am wake-up? And does anyone then enjoy a hectic day and long dinner having got up so early?

I have a pretty robust constitution – you have to have in this business – and can survive on little sleep and cope pretty well with jet-lag. But one early start for a fam to Tenerife a while back left me feeling so tired and unprofessional on a showround of the island’s lovely event facilities, that I vowed to avoid that again if possible.

So, the day before my early start, I found a £40 one-way flight that evening to Edinburgh on Easyjet. Together with a cheap hotel nearby, this seemed like the ideal solution. I could fly up the night before for very little extra expense and meet the rest of the group flying in from Heathrow at 9am. What I should then have done was check-in to my BA flight knowing that I was unlikely to need it. But I didn’t.

When I tried to check-in for my return BA flight during the trip, it appeared that my booking had gone. I apologised to the PR, who was also travelling with us, and she assured me that it must be fine – it was booked and paid for after all. But it wasn’t fine. The booking had indeed been cancelled.

BA wanted £150 to put me back on that same flight; Easyjet £50 for one an hour later, which the property I was viewing kindly agreed to cover.

The group I was with, travel press and experienced  event industry venue staff were all aghast. It was the first any of them had heard of it. So if you didn’t know either, be warned!

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