British Airways Versus – Who Has Better Price?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that buying directly with the airline is not always the most economical option when OTAs may discount the same flight at more than 50% off.

I wrote back in 2017 about buying an economy British Airways flight on Chinese-owned Ctrip (read more here), and I recently did it again on (renamed), where the one-way business class flight was more than 50% cheaper than buying directly.

You can access BA here and here.

I needed to buy a one-way Las Palmas to London in November, and the BA price for the flight was not something I was willing to pay. However, I might have been able to open up award inventory by calling the GGL line (one of the benefits).

The price in economy was more than 300 euros and in business for slightly less than 600. The price for two passengers would have been close to 1,200 euros.

I decided to check, which often has competitive fares for BA flights, and it seems that they could ticket using lower fare bucker than what BA was willing to sell directly.

The price for two is $566 instead of 1.200 euros. I know that many would say at this point that was merely cached availability, and they would never ticket at that price.

They, like most OTAs, make money by trying to sell various services that I always decline.

The flight ticketed at the displayed price, and the ticket was issued on BA’s 125 ticket stock.

Some will probably say why I would buy this on OTA because I would not earn Tier Points and Avios.

Wrong again. I pulled up the reservation on BA’s website and added my Executive Club number.

The website estimated the Tier Points and Avios that this itinerary would earn.

And here’s what was posted.


The POS (Point of Sale) that used likely had lower fare bucket availability than what BA used, or was using a negotiated or tour fare to ticket this.

I probably wouldn’t book anything using an OTA months out, as they deal with any possible rebookings due to flight changes and cancellations that could be more challenging than dealing with the airline directly. But last minute, I have no issues.

You may not always find flight pricing on the usual fare searches because they are all pay-to-play (read, they must pay for Google or Kayak to be included in their searches), and I tend to check them too.

The BA flight turned out to be an utter disaster (no surprises here) and will be a Compensation Clinic case at some point this spring. A touch of snow in London resulted in havoc, including this specific flight being delayed by close to 24 hours.

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