Just a quick question that I can't seem to find an answer to:
I'm Australian and I'm travelling to Europe on Tuesday.
My flight is from Bangkok to Paris via Heathrow.
I'd like to skip my connecting flight to Paris and get out at Heathrow so I can stay in the UK for a week before heading to France. The airline wants a lot of extra money to change my flights which I don't have and since I'll be at Heathrow anyway it seems like this may be the easier option.
Is this likely to be a problem with regards to visas, etc?
As far as the UK goes, visa shouldn't be an issue as Australians generally don't need a visa to visit the UK as a tourist. Also, I believe that many countries in Europe don't require Australians to hold a visa if they're there as a tourist. Or are you holding a visa for your time in France?
The problem that I can think of is to do with luggage, and if it would get checked through to Paris.
Are you returning on the same ticket (i.e. flying Paris->Bangkok or Australia)? If so, you can't skip the London-Paris leg, or they will cancel the rest of the ticket and your return flight will be lost. You really can only miss out on the very last leg of a ticket.
Note as well that the conditions of the ticket do allow the airline to go back, reassess the price and charge you a new fare if you miss a leg. It very rarely happens, but it is a possibility so remember that if you are taking the chance of skipping out on the last leg of a ticket.
Check out this site from the UK Border Agency to take a quick quiz to determine if you need a visa: UK Border Agency. The answer is likely no.
If you baggage is checked through to Paris, you won't be able to pick it up. You have a couple of choices here. You could ask the airline to only check through the bag to Heathrow, saying (if they ask), that you need to get out a gift for a friend you are meeting at Heathrow for a drink before carrying on to Paris. Tell them you will re-check it at Heathrow.
Or, you could not check a bag at all, and then just stroll out with hand luggage.
why not just continue through to paris, and then at some point during your trip book a eurostar chunnel crossing train to london for a few days? it's only about a 2-2.5 hour ride, and when I went I was able to get round trip for $106 (I'm a 21 year old so it was a youth pass). To do that might be cheaper than the fee you'd pay to redirect your flights and change the plans that you already have...and be a lot less stressful. I did it the opposite. I bought a round trip plane ticket between New York-JFK and London Heathrow, stayed in London for several days, then took the train to Paris for several days. I booked a train back to London for the night before my return flight to New York and stayed at a hotel next to the airport.
You could either land in Paris as originally planned, spend the time there, then take the chunnel crossing to London for as long as you want, return to Paris the night before your flight home, and then depart from Paris airport.
You could land in Paris and immediately head to Gare du Nord for the chunnel crossing to London, cover London first for a few days, and then return to Paris for the remainder of your trip until you fly home.
just an idea...maybe it will help