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Beware of Seat Selection Charge for Business on BA

Beware of Seat Selection Charge for Business on BA

Old Dec 19th, 2022, 04:13 PM
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Beware of Seat Selection Charge for Business on BA

I purchased business class tickets on flights for May & June on American Airlines, operated by British Airways. I have used Delta/KLM for business in the past, but after booking with American, I'm informed that the seat selection must then be made with BA on their website. It is then that I find that the seat reservation price runs from $424 to $312 for the 4 legs, per ticket! I certainly would have factored in this, what I consider a "hidden" cost, while comparing prices for ticket purchase. American made no mention on their website until the tickets are booked. Sure, I could cancel within 24 hours, but my gripe is that American assists BA by not indicating the actual price range for the full ticket. Some may say that I should have searched the fine print on every website, but can't BA just be up front on their prices? I can get a "free" seat choice within 24 hours of each leg, possibly near the left toilet or the right, but I can BS on BA, and American for being party to such BS! Not a good way to start a flight experience.
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Old Dec 20th, 2022, 07:04 AM
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Yes BA does charge for seat selection - except in First Class. Its not really 'hidden' because BA always charges but for people who haven't flown BA before it can come as a shock. That is why I try to avoid BA metal because of having to pay for seats (whether booked on BA/AA/IB or whoever). BA are greedy sots.

But two anecdotes of trips in the last couple of years that were AA booked and partially on BA metal:

• in Dec '19 I booked SMF > LAX on AA regional, LAX > LHR on a BA 747. I had to pay extra to get a seat upstairs in the 747 (and glad I did because they retired them less than a year later ) But didn't pay for the actual seat I wanted on the window because it would have cost even more -- so I picked a dreaded middle seat but at least it was in the upstairs cabin. When I got to the AA desk at SMF the agent said 'I see you're in a middle seat on the BA flight. There is a window seat available -- would you like me to put you there? SWEET! - got the seat I would have booked if there hadn't been an exorbitant extra fee . . . without paying that exorbitant fee . . .

• about 3 weeks ago I again flew SMF > LAX on AA and LAX > LHR on BA and return, booked as an AAVacation. I REALLY tried to book an all AA itinerary but the schedules were mostly crap and a lot more expensive. When booking, the seat selection option displayed and I was able to select seats for free on all 4 flights without having to pay for the BA seats. All I can think is either because AA operated two of the flights I was able to select all seats w/o paying??? Or - because it was an AAVacation - I really don't know -- but that saved me nearly $300
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Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 09:48 PM
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Previously when we flew BA as part of an American Airlines itinerary in business class we didn't have to pay for advance seat selection. Anyone know when this changed?
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Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Underhill
Previously when we flew BA as part of an American Airlines itinerary in business class we didn't have to pay for advance seat selection. Anyone know when this changed?
It hasn't changed -- been the same for ages. Anyone can select seats for free 24 hours before the flight. But if you are talking earlier than that, you need to be One World Sapphire (AA Platinum) or above to select seats for free at time of booking. Also I think if you book full fare fully flexible tix (normally very expensive).
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Old Jan 24th, 2023, 06:34 AM
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Underhill, if you have platinum status or better on AA that gives you sapphire status in Oneworld so you don't have to pay. I just made platinum status and I chose my seats free on our upcoming BA trip.

Editing: sorry janis, I overlooked your post.

One more thing, at the time I booked I was not platinum, but after reaching that threshold I was able to choose seats for free.

Last edited by P_M; Jan 24th, 2023 at 06:39 AM.
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Old Jan 24th, 2023, 09:28 AM
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to add on to P_M's post -- sometimes you still can't select seats immediately upon booking BA flights via AA (assuming Platinum and above). But once AA gives you the BA PNR you can go back in and pick seats.
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Old Jan 25th, 2023, 01:41 PM
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Our flights were booked on BA by an AA agent, but the BA site is insistent about paying for early seat selection.
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Old Jan 25th, 2023, 02:25 PM
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Underhill, do you have status with American? If you don't, you'll have to pay or wait until the day before the flight.

I remember a time when the airlines were kind and they didn't charge for everything. I don't remember when BA started charging for seat selection, but I do know that in 2015 when I last flew BA, they were charging then.

Wherever you sit, you're still in biz class and it will be a pleasant flight.
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Old Jan 26th, 2023, 10:36 AM
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I have gold status with AA.

Most, if not all, of the airlines seem to have settled on extra charges for just about for everything that they can.
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Old Jan 26th, 2023, 10:43 AM
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That's one reason I won't fly BA I don't agree that most airlines do this, I have never flown on any other airline that did in Business class. Or even other classes, the class you book sort of sets the seats you can reserve. Except for maybe real budget airlines, but not the main legacy carriers that I know.

The first time I encountered this with BA was many years ago and I thought it was totally weird that you can't reserve a specific seat more than a day in advance or whatever. No thanks.
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Old Jan 26th, 2023, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Underhill
I have gold status with AA.

Most, if not all, of the airlines seem to have settled on extra charges for just about for everything that they can.

Yes there are some extra charges on many airlines . . . but of the majors/'legacy' airlines, BA is one of the few (maybe only - not sure about that) that charges business class travelers for seat selection.
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Old Jan 26th, 2023, 12:09 PM
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I have never heard of a seat selection charge for business class before. SWISS had/has a fee for choosing certain more desirable "throne" seats in biz class, but you could choose any of the other seats for no charge.
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Old Jan 26th, 2023, 04:53 PM
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Underhill, at the time I booked my ticket I had gold status. They told me I could choose seats a week in advance of the flight. If you move up to Platinum before your trip, as I did, then you can choose your seats immediately.
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Old Jan 27th, 2023, 01:26 AM
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The seat assignments are selected automatically by BA way in advance but you are only able to view/change them 24hrs beforehand.

Itís not a case of panic stations 24hrs before travel to find a seat on the seat map or trying to seat a family together. Seats have already been assigned based on info in your profile/FF details, if youíve completed that before you book, if not then itíll be random. At that point, if you donít like the seats selected, you can try to change them based on whatís available, which might not be much if the flight is full.

I fly BA regularly and I donít particularly care where Iím seated but understand if youíre flying business you might want to select seats yourself at time of booking. Itís linked to FF status as to what options are available to you.

Last edited by balthy; Jan 27th, 2023 at 01:29 AM.
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Old Jan 27th, 2023, 09:41 AM
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But how do I move up to platinum?
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Old Jan 27th, 2023, 09:48 AM
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Underhill, AA has changed the way you can earn status. You can get it by using your AA credit card, as well as many other ways aside from flying. The cut off for this year is Feb 28 so if you're already close, you need to get there soon.
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Old Jan 27th, 2023, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Underhill
But how do I move up to platinum?
With the changes last year that would take a 20 page owners manual to explain

You need 75,000 Loyalty points before March 1 - which can be earned by flying, buying things through the AA shopping portal, dining out at participating restaurants, staying in a hotel through AAHotels, and spending on an affiliated credit card. That's the short version. Check out the AAdvantage website where everything is explained.

Basically AA is now a credit card company with some planes attached

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Old Jan 28th, 2023, 09:22 AM
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Well phrased, janisj.
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Old Jan 29th, 2023, 10:13 AM
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I have never understood the loyalty to AA. I still have a bucket of miles that I don't want to use unless it's on a partner (but not BA).
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Old Feb 21st, 2023, 03:06 PM
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I'm with Christina on this one. I hate airline junk fees as much as I hate ticketmaster junk fees, especially non-disclosed junk fees!

After reading this, I got a little worried, because I very recently booked a flight through KLM (have Flying Blue). First flight was LAX to LHR. Second flight was Rome to LAX. Second flight is all on KLM metal. First flight to London is on their partner, Virgin Atlantic. All business class. Was able to book seats (always free) on the second leg at the time of booking. But not the first.

Tried to get seats through the KLM website for the VA and that didn't work. So googled a bit. Found that I had to go to the Virgin Atlantic site, manage my booking, the find the PNR that Virgin uses (just plugged in my PNR for KLM and it populated) and I was IN! Got my seats, no charge. But couldn't get the first row, as apparently you have to be an elite member of VA to snag that seat (the footwell is apparently larger).
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