Some British Airways Fares 40% Cheaper On Ctrip – Whats The Catch?

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In early November, I was looking for fares from London to Budapest. There were no BA Reward Flight Savers (awards basically) available on the flights that would have suited me.

British Airways Mixed Fleet Second Strike

Was researching flight options using various tools such as ITA Matrix, Kayak and Skyscanner, when I saw some weird anomaly on British Airways flights that were considerably cheaper on Ctrip than on BA’s own website or other OTA’s. I thought that their inventory would be just off and the purchase simply wouldn’t go through. How wrong I was.

You can access Ctrip here.

Here’s BA’s price matrix for November 13:

BA LHR-BUD

Here’s Ctrip’s luggage inclusive price:

BA LHR-BUD Ctrip

BA’s price was more than 200 GBP while Ctrip’s luggage inclusive one was $185.63.

Ctrip’s receipt:

BA LHR-BUD Eticket

Used the BA PNR number to pull up the itinerary on the BA.com and added my Executive Club number. I could then choose my usual exit row seat and the itinerary also showed the correct number or Tier Points and miles earned for the flight.

Orbitz’ price:

BA LHR-BUD Orbitz

The price on Orbitz was basically the same as on BA’s website.

Ctrip policy:

BA LHR-BUD Ctrip Policy

What posted to my Executive Club account:

BA LHR-BUD Executive Club Account

Conclusion

The ticket was issued by British Airways but couldn’t get BA to email me eticket receipt. I was very interesting to find out what was the net fare that was received by the for this purchase. The price that I paid included Ctrip’s margin.

Seems that Ctrip has access to some extra inventory or to fares that other OTAs are excluded from. You don’t usually see price differences at these levels. Other explanation is that they have managed to sell a fare that is supposed to be sold when bundled with hotel accommodation or car rental.

Anyway, I am glad that Ctrip was around and I was able to buy a direct flight at a reasonable price.

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