British Airways has decided to charge passengers who choose their seats before they travel from 7th October…
So, who will this affect?
Families who want to ensure they sit together, business travellers who are using the flight to work alongside fellow colleagues, and normal punters with a preference for window, aisle or emergency exit seats (am always an aisle man myself).
The cost? Reports say this will range from £10 per person for European economy flights, to £60 for long haul trips in business class. Ouch!
BA currently allows passengers to reserve seats 24 hours prior to departure when online check-in opens. The new charge (aimed at passengers wanting to reserve seats earlier than this), can be booked between 4 and 10 days before take-off. A BA spokeswoman said:
“Customers frequently request specific seats, but in the past we’ve only been able to confirm them 24 hours in advance or on the day. We know people want to secure them in advance and have real control over their flying experience. This will allow them to do that.”
This move is just one of a number of initiatives that aim to bolster the balance sheet (after a £401m loss in the last financial year). It follows BA’s decision to cut luggage allowances and abolish free meals on short flights.
This may be seen by many in the industry as something of an own goal, given that the airline ran a campaign a few months back looking at the comparative charges low-cost carriers charged for the add-on ‘extras’, seat selection being at the forefront of that push.
Looks like BA may be in for another bumpy PR ride over the coming weeks. Expect a tactical ad or two from Virgin Atlantic any minute NOW…
Iain Morrison is a senior marketer in the British Tourism Industry. And thinks they may have been wiser to move to cheaper wine…