After my Liberty TEG meetings last week, I spent the weekend visiting some of the relatives in Ireland. Since that obviously wasn't a part of my business trip, I purchased the tickets to go from London Heathrow (LHR) to Dublin (DUB) independently of my business travel tickets.
Well, that was a mistake that I soon found out when I got to LHR to head over to DUB. We had finished the meetings a bit early (around noon) and with a quick drive back to London, I was in the airport at 1 and asked if there was an earlier flight that I could get on. There was. At 5:40 PM. But to get on that flight I would have to pay an additional £200 (about $400), just to get in a few hours earlier. I decided to pass.
Next came my return flight. I was flying BMI to LHR and then United to Dulles. United is a member of the Star Alliance, of course. But BMI refused to check the bags through to Dulles. They would even refuse to check the bag through if the connection was a BMI flight. So, I had to pick my bags up in London, totally exit security and then walk over to Terminal 3 and come back in through checkin and security as if I was originating in London (could not use the flight connection center which makes this much easier). This was NOT a fun experience -- but, if it does happen to you, be sure to take one of the baggage cart and put your bags on there for the walk over. Even with wheeled bags I found the cart much easier for the long trip through the tunnels connecting the terminals (and, unlike most airports in the US, the carts are free).
Next time, I will use Aer Lingus. I've used them before and done the earlier flight (yeah, they did charge me £25, but that's much more reasonable) and they do check the bags through for me on the return. I won't get United miles (I'll get American instead) and I won't get my Star Alliance Gold treatement (that only allowed me to use the priority check-in and boarding), but I will get a much, much more reasonable airline.