A little known feature of the British Airways website is the ability to pay off a flight over time. All you pay is a deposit and then the balance is due three weeks before departure.

Nothing is worse than finding an excellent deal and not being able to book it. I’m not swimming in cash, so this has happened to me on more than one occasion. Not anymore though!

Pay A Deposit, Pay The Balance Later

The way to trigger this feature is to book a flight plus a hotel or a flight plus a hire car. This turns it into a British Airways Holiday booking, essentially a package holiday. The buttons for this are located on the main page of the website.

Once you click an option, you can do a straight search which will give you a hotel based on your return flight dates, or a hire car for the same duration. Simple.

But I Just Want To Pay Off Flights!

Perhaps you don’t need a hotel or a hire car and only want to book flights with the ability to pay them off. This is where the “Create custom trip” button comes into play.

You use the custom trip tool and select an inexpensive hotel for one night, or one day of hire car, whichever is cheaper. Sure, it adds a little bit to the overall cost, but you can then pay off your trip. You have to add one or the other to gain the deposit and pay off ability.

I Love The Custom Trip Tool!

This thing is great! I had been searching Europe to Australia in business class and wanted to fly Japan Airlines via Haneda. BA codeshare with JAL, so I could get to and from Tokyo Haneda quite well and planned to book economy class flights onwards and back to Australia.

During my extensive searching, I found Oslo to Australia was on sale, so I could use the return part of that to save money. Therefore, I planned to book Dublin-London Heathrow-Tokyo (BA and JAL) and Sydney-Singapore-London-Oslo (BA) as my flights. Much to my unexpected delight, the custom trip tool offered some flight combinations that aren’t in the regular search.

For example, I was toying with flying via Helsinki originally (DUB-HEL-HND) to try the Finnair lounge. That was going to be in premium economy as the business class option was €600 or so more than all the other options. I also wanted to go via Hong Kong somehow, but that was a want more than a need. Either way, I threw both options out the window due to price and the fact it wasn’t offered respectively.

Not so on the custom trip tool! For €12 more than the original plan, I scored Dublin-London Heathrow on Aer Lingus, London Heathrow to Helsinki on Finnair, Helsinki to Tokyo Haneda on Japan Airlines for the outbound. Return is Sydney to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific, followed by BA for the rest of the way to Oslo. Delighted!

Overall Thoughts

The deposit for one of these holiday bookings is €300 and you can lose this amount if you don’t pay it off. That being said, it offers the ability to pay off a flight ticket that you may not immediately have cash for.

In my case I added a hire car for a day which added €80 to the overall cost, but I will use that on arrival, so it’s not lost money. The ability to lock in a good fare, have it ticketed and confirmed, and being able to pay later is worth the extra to me.

Have you ever used this feature at British Airways? What do you think of the custom trip tool? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons.