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British Airways charge for seat reservation

Washington, D.C.
posts: 1
reviews: 14
British Airways charge for seat reservation

I recently booked a ticket on BA to London, and after I had paid for the eticket, it said that I could select my seat (a regular seat, not anything extra-wide) 24 hrs before the flight, or pay $42 to reserve a seat now (each way!). So--one runs the risk of a 7+ hr flight being seated next to a lavatory if one waits for the check-in window. I called BA to ask about the policy and said I could buy a comparable ticket at the same price on Virgin Atlantic or United without having to pay to reserve a seat. They wouldn't budge--said that's been their policy since 2009. Needless to say, I cancelled the ticket (it was withing the 24-hour window). Why would anyone subject themselves to traveling on BA with such a policy?

Scotland
posts: 1,329
reviews: 12
1. Re: British Airways charge for seat reservation

Yaaawwn - what old news!

At least now those who want to pick a seat in advance without status can. Not that long ago, you would have had no choice but to wait until T-24.

Edinburgh, United...
posts: 7,917
reviews: 15
2. Re: British Airways charge for seat reservation

I like the policy. Leaves more options for those that care where they sit, those that don't care can choose for free at the time of check-in. It also offers another perk to those that have frequent flier status with them.

I doubt you'd have run the risk of sitting next to the lavatory, there's always plenty of seats left at T-24 IME, at least in economy.

London, United...
Destination Expert
for London
posts: 46,820
reviews: 14
3. Re: British Airways charge for seat reservation

BA are not the only airline who have optional charges for seating, VS and UA are two airlines that also charge for certain seats.

If you had purchased a ticket in World Traveller there would have been very little likelihood of you having to 'run the risk of a 7+ hr flight being seated next to a lavatory if one waits for the check-in window' because very few people pay to select seats (or are eligible for free seat selection) in the WT cabin.

'Why would anyone subject themselves to traveling on BA with such a policy?' Because it's one that is not dissimilar to that of other airlines. A percentage of seats are held for OLCI and airport check in along with the large number that won't have been paid for, so by having cancelled your BA booking you've simply cancelled a flight with a good airline because of anticipatory worry about something that's not likely to happen.

Madrid
posts: 2,694
reviews: 7
4. Re: British Airways charge for seat reservation

That policy keeps the status flyers (BA gold and silver card holders) with a free choice of seat at time of booking.

I think looking after their best customers is a great idea.

Liverpool, UK
posts: 10,160
reviews: 24
5. Re: British Airways charge for seat reservation

You're happy to pay whatever the fare was for a TATL flight but quibble about a $42 optional fee to reserve a seat in advance of the free selection at OLCI - strange logic in my view.

Would be interested to know if you ended up paying more with whatever alternative airline you chose for a comparable direct flight compared to the BA fare + seat selection fee - it would be ironic if this was more than the flight you cancelled.

Finally the policy is clearly stated on the BA website and it shouldn't have been a surprise.

Scotland
Destination Expert
for Scotland
posts: 6,674
reviews: 18
6. Re: British Airways charge for seat reservation

I always wait till 24 hours before to select my seat and I always get a choice. Obviously some seats are gone, but I've never been stuck by a lavatory yet

Melbourne
posts: 1,407
reviews: 7
7. Re: British Airways charge for seat reservation

Qantas charge $25 per sector to allocate seats in economy.

I'm flying Melb - NYC in May this year, which actually goes Melb-LA-NYC. So it's $50 one-way to choose seats. I do care where I sit (I hate sitting in the middle section) so I allocated seats for myself and my boyfriend for an extra cost of $200 total.

I don't like paying for it either but it seems like this is how most airlines operate now. I'd rather pay to select my seats than wait until 24hrs before my flight and be stuck with middle seats only.

Melbourne
posts: 1,300
reviews: 1
8. Re: British Airways charge for seat reservation

I agree with Tom and MelbTraveller - if I'm flying far afield (UK, US etc.) then I *do* care where I sit and I'm prepared to pay for that selection. When I'm doing price analysis I just add it as a line-item in the budget and consider it part of the cost of the ticket. And when you're paying for long-haul tickets from Melbourne to the rest of the world, the price of seat selection isn't that huge. Not prepared to pay for domestic seats though.

Also I'd like to think that if you have paid for your seat selection, people who may ask you to 'swap' in order that they may be seated together (particularly those that have not chosen to pay) would be more accepting of your polite refusal.

Oxford
posts: 4
reviews: 35
9. Re: British Airways charge for seat reservation

Really it depends how many are travelling in a group, family of four with no status on BA, then its worth paying to be sure of sitting together.

For a single traveler, then there are always plenty of options for Isle, window.

If you do OLCI,at T-24 the more options you will have, its also worth checking the loading of the plane, as often a row of four seats for ones self can be had..

London, UK
posts: 1,535
10. Re: British Airways charge for seat reservation

Someone has to sit in the middle, by the toilet etc, what makes you think you have an automatic entitlement for it not to be you?