Exclusive: BA to charge for advance seat selection

24 Sep 2009 by Mark Caswell

BA is to allow all passengers to select their seats at the time of booking, but there’s a catch: the carrier will be charging for the privilege, starting from £10 per sector for Euro Traveller passengers, rising to £60 for Club World customers.

From October 7 customers will have the option to select their seats when they book tickets, for the following charges:

  • £10 per person per sector in Euro Traveller and on domestic routes
  • £20 per person per sector in Club Europe, World Traveller and World Traveller Plus
  • £60 per person per sector in Club World

Customers in World Traveller and World Traveller Plus will also have the option to pay £50 to secure exit row seats, from ten days pior to departure.

The fees will not apply to Premier and Gold Executive Club members who are already able to choose their seats for free in all cabins (including exit row seats) at the time of booking. Silver card holders, customers with fully flexible tickets and customers on corporate deals can pre-assign their seats for free and will have the option to buy exit row seats in World Traveller and World Traveller Plus.

While the move will give passengers greater control on seat selection for their flights, it will be seen by many as a full-service airline moving towards the low-cost formula of charging for extras. Those who choose not to avail of the new service will be left to select from the remaining available seats from 24 hours before departure.

BA has yet to publicly announce the new charges, but in an internal memo posted on several frequent flyer forums the carrier said that the move “is in line with the airline’s response to surviving the economic downturn”. It adds that “teams from across the sales & marketing and customer directorate have been reviewing the airline’s entire customer proposition, looking at ways to reduce costs and bring in additional revenue”.

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Report by Mark Caswell

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