Paid seat reservation for Club World bookings? You've got to be kidding!

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This topic contains 75 replies, has 28 voices, and was last updated by  canucklad 23 Nov 2018
at 13:57
.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 79 total)

  • MarkivJ
    Participant

    Hi folks,

    Thanks in advance for your advice (as always).

    My parents are visiting us in September and I helped book their tickets on BA Club World (BLR – SEA) through ba.com. So, we finish the purchase > request special meal (Asian veg meal) > come to seat selection…. BA’s asking for a fee to reserve seats in advance! (with of course, the standard “you can reserve seats for free starting 24 hours to departure”).

    I always assumed that one could make the seat selection (for free) at the time of booking when flying Business (I’ve been able to, on every airline the last few years). So I was quite surprised when BA was asking upwards of US$50 for each sector for seat selection.

    My parents are quite old (Dad’s nearing 80) and I’d love for them to sit next to each other, preferably by the window. But I’ve also flown both LHR-BLR and LHR-SEA and both Club World’s get pretty full pretty soon and I’m worried that they may not be able to sit next to each other (get preferred seating) if we wait till online checkin (24 hours before departure). (Also, as they are Indian citizens flying to the US, they may not be able to check in 24 hours earlier online as airport agents will need to verify their US visas).

    How would you recommend I go about early seat selection without paying extra $$$?

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    flier74
    Participant

    If your parents don’t hold status on BA/Oneworld then the only way for you to make sure they sit together is paying for it I am afraid. This has been the case for many years now and is not exclusive to BA. This is a well known feature on many airlines nowadays. Otherwise wait until -24 hours and hope you can get seats together which depending on the Customer profile on the flights they will be travelling on,could be a gamble and might end up on them not sitting together. If they were my parents I know what I would choose to do.
    Sorry to be a bearer of bad news

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    christopheL
    Participant

    Business is business. When you are not a member of The Club, you have to pay a premium.

    It may not be exclusive to BA but I’m afraid it is almost exclusive to BA.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    It is a disgrace and one of the reasons I only fly BA as a last resort.

    A friend of mine paid £41 to book a window seat in C on an LHR CPT, the seat she was given was unfit for purpose, as it was dirty, broken and IFE non-op. Worst of all though, the man next to her was so obese that she was most uncomfortable (she is tiny) as he ‘overflowed’ into her space. The flight was full so the CC said they could do nothing. She wrote a very good letter to BA asking for – at least- a refund of the seat reservation fee.

    I think we can all guess what the answer was.

    BA – not fit for purpose.


    MarkivJ
    Participant

    Hmmm…. unfortunate. Thanks for the advice.

    The reason I assumed that biz class means automatic free seat selection (at the time of purchase) was for experiences I’ve had with both oneworld (I’m AA Exec Plat) and airlines/alliances where I had no freq flier membership/activity. For instance, I wasn’t even a Skyteam member (or VS’s frequent flier programme) yet able to choose my seat at the time of buying a VS Upper Class ticket. Same with Swissair biz class (the last I flew an LH group of airlines was 5 yrs prior to my Swissair flight, I had to call up LH Support for them to fish out my M&M #!).

    Again, thanks for the super quick responses.


    MartynSinclair
    Participant

    the man next to her was so obese that she was most uncomfortable (she is tiny) as he ‘overflowed’ into her space.

    Just curious – how does an obese passenger overflow from an aisle seat into a window seat in C on BA.. ??

    The pay for seat reservation has always been curious to me. If its $55 / £41, why does the airline not just increase the fares by said amount – would passengers really notice such a small increase.

    Most of my longhaul these days is to Asia or the East Coast USA. Either most pax are BA old or they are paying for seat reservation because when I typically book, 6 – 8 weeks out, most seats have already been blocked.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    You are correct Martyn, my typo. She was in Y.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

    stevescoots
    Participant

    I also have found it odd why airlines cannot just bundle it into the price as in business class I would think it make no real difference


    first_class_please
    Participant

    MarkivJ, try and see if in manage my booking you can assign your AA membership card against your dads name.

    If it accepts, then you will get free seat selection.

    Not sure how good the systems are these days in recognizing names, but must be fairly flexible as they can recognize if include first name, middle name or just initial.


    capetonianm
    Participant

    The sad reality is that the market is so competitive that including ancillaries into base fares would put airlines such as BA, who can only compete on price since they have little to offer in terms of quality, at a competitive disadvantage.

    Many of the better airlines, for whose customers quality is a more important criterion than price, do not charge for ancillaries. What’s the saying : “You pays yer money and you takes yer choice”?

    I am a firm believer in the modular approach for LCCs, both long and short haul, but for legacy carriers, everything should be included. BA’s problem is that it doesn’t know where it sits, it pretends to be a legacy carrier offering quality service, but it operates as an LCC, not even doing that as well as many of them.


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    This is a well known feature on many airlines nowadays.

    I’d be interested in a list of airlines that charge for all seats in business class.

    BA does not charge for full fares in Y, W or CW (mind you, few people would be mentally unbalanced enough to pay rack rate for this poor business product) nor for any seat in F. Otherwise they sting the pax.

    This does mean that I tend to get a decent seat for free in W, so BA is actually doing GCH a favour.

    A case of caveat emptor, unfortunately.


    canucklad
    Participant

    You’re spot on capetonianm, this relentless search for revenue making schemes within the legacy carriers (particularly BA) just devalues their whole premium, quality brand image.
    and as I’ve said before, if you think its a lot about choice and the airlines have reduced their ticket price, think again……Every one of these fees are add on’s to the already calculated full fare.

    I am a firm believer in the modular approach for LCCs, both long and short haul, but for legacy carriers, everything should be included. BA’s problem is that it doesn’t know where it sits, it pretends to be a legacy carrier offering quality service, but it operates as an LCC, not even doing that as well as many of them.

    Thanks

    A piece of advice to Markiv, speak to AA and explain the situation. You might not have joy with the BGL to LHR sector, but if I’m not mistaken the trans Atlantic leg is part of a JVC agreement, so you might be lucky ?


    rferguson
    Participant

    Hi MarkivJ.

    I agree with you….I would be disappointed when booking business class to find I have to pay (a not small fee) to reserve seats.

    Saying that, I wouldn’t worry too much about it if your main concern is your parents being sat together. A ground manager friend told me that the computer system pretty much allocates seats for the same booking at the time of booking anyway (although of course the customer doesn’t know that or where the seats are). I can also honestly say in my time of working god knows how many flights in J class passengers being not seated together is REALLY rare and has usually been the result of them missing a connection and being re-booked.

    If you are particular about which seats you want your parents to be sat in – for example you prefer the two by the window instead of the two in the centre – then it may be worth reserving and paying the fee.

    Unfortunately the seat reservation fee has been around for years now and it’s been raised a few times in the media. BA has never reversed its policy on it however.

    2 users thanked author for this post.

    Alex McWhirter
    Participant

    Most airlines now have a fee. Quality airline SIA has begun charging for seat selection. But SIA does not levy the fee for business class passengers.

    Singapore Airlines to charge for advance seat reservations


    FDOS_UK
    Participant

    I’d be interested in a list of airlines that charge for all seats in business class.

    Alex, charging for economy seats is a normal practice, agreed, but for business class?

    I think rare and possibly then for only certain top seats in business cabin.

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