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British Airways, help please


Lois R
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I am flying on BA from the states to Barcelona, and for some reason the one long flight on my booking says "Seat choices are only available at the time of Check In".

Is this normal?  I am on multiple airlines (if that matters) and all my seats for the other flights are already on there..........just the long one across the pond has this on it..........I know once I get closer to my flight I can call BA but just curious if any of you know if this normal?  I am flying out in June and will be in Business Class.

 

Thank you for any help.🙂

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What did BA say when you called them about needing to wait until Check-in?  I haven't heard about a restriction like that, but it's been a few years since we flew BA.

 

Can you tell if there are actually seats available?  (However, I can't imagine BC being over-booked!)

 

GC

 

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21 minutes ago, GeezerCouple said:

What did BA say when you called them about needing to wait until Check-in?  I haven't heard about a restriction like that, but it's been a few years since we flew BA.

 

Can you tell if there are actually seats available?  (However, I can't imagine BC being over-booked!)

 

GC

 

Hi, I haven't called yet. Thought I would post here first😀

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For BA, yes, it's normal, even in business class. The reasoning I believe is that often their frequent flyers book last minute (and pay accordingly), so they want them to have access to the better seats, which they couldn't if they had all been booked up by early booking passengers.

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You can pick a seat now, but it will cost a fee.  You will find that option be going to your reservation on BA site.  For that you will need your BA record locator. (If you booked through another like AA)

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13 hours ago, Lois R said:

I am flying on BA from the states to Barcelona, and for some reason the one long flight on my booking says "Seat choices are only available at the time of Check In".

Is this normal?

 

2 hours ago, Host Mike said:

You can pick a seat now, but it will cost a fee.  You will find that option be going to your reservation on BA site.  For that you will need your BA record locator. (If you booked through another like AA)

 

I suspect that Lois R is seeing that message on the BA website when looking at her booking!

 

It's normal for seat pre-allocation to require a fee even in business class, if you are booked in a discount booking class and you don't have higher-tier BA or oneworld frequent flyer status.

 

However, it is not normal for BA to decline to take money off you for this, if you are willing to pay it. The message "Seat choices are only available at the time of Check In" suggests to me that your ticket has not yet been issued, because (ISTR) the automated taking of payment for seat pre-allocation requires tickets to have been issued. But if you can get through to the call centre, they may be happy to take payment over the phone and do this manually.

 

Two words of caution:

  1. Make sure you understand the terms of the seat pre-allocation fee, including in particular that it is non-refundable in almost all circumstances. I think that this includes a situation in which the aircraft type is switched to another one on which it makes much less difference where you sit.
  2. Bear in mind that the fee is set at a level that is intended to deter most passengers from paying it. In other words, it is deliberately expensive to do this, so don't be surprised at how much BA asks for. You always have the choice of leaving it until check-in opens. Part of BA's check-in software is reportedly intended to reduce the chances of parties being split up if you leave it until then, although you may have rather less overall choice.

 

11 hours ago, Twickenham said:

The reasoning I believe is that often their frequent flyers book last minute (and pay accordingly), so they want them to have access to the better seats, which they couldn't if they had all been booked up by early booking passengers.

 

There are two other simple facets to this: the policy gives priority to anyone booking a higher fare ticket, and to frequent flyers who book early. These are the people to whom the airline would rationally want to give priority.

 

Sometimes, people advance the argument that BA could just save a few seats in the cabin for them. That argument overlooks an important piece of evidence that came from a phase in the policy when non-frequent flyers booking in discount booking classes could not pre-allocate seats even if they were prepared to pay. Therefore, just before online check-in opened, the only pre-allocated seats were those taken by those who had booked higher fares and by higher-tier frequent flyers. This often accounted for 75% or more of the business class cabin.

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Thanks to all of you for the replies🙂.  I am not paying extra for my seat........the flight is booked via my cruise line...I paid for an upgrade to Business class.  I will speak with my rep about it.  I guess I should say "I HOPE" I am not paying extra for my seat.......I will find out soon enough. 

 

I have the confirmation number and yes, my domestic flight is on AA and the European leg is on BA.

 

Thanks again.

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If this is a Cruise Air booking then you can't pay to pre-assign because it hasn't been ticketed yet. Once ticketing takes place, which could be very close to departure, then you should be able to pay.

 

This isn't something you can negotiate with the airline or "your rep" about, unless you can convince your rep to have it ticketed earlier and they'll give you the cash to pay for it. 

 

If you have oneworld Sapphire/Emerald elite status (such as AA Platinum or above) then make sure your FF number is in the booking as you'll be able to pre-assign for free. There's also a bunch of other qualifying categories where you can pre-assign for free.   

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57 minutes ago, fbgd said:

If this is a Cruise Air booking then you can't pay to pre-assign because it hasn't been ticketed yet. Once ticketing takes place, which could be very close to departure, then you should be able to pay.

 

This isn't something you can negotiate with the airline or "your rep" about, unless you can convince your rep to have it ticketed earlier and they'll give you the cash to pay for it. 

 

If you have oneworld Sapphire/Emerald elite status (such as AA Platinum or above) then make sure your FF number is in the booking as you'll be able to pre-assign for free. There's also a bunch of other qualifying categories where you can pre-assign for free.   

Sounds like you are an air specialist😃...thanks for the advice. I will still get with my rep....she is a very close friend and many times she picks up the extra charges for me on hotels, flights, etc.  So other than being a frequent flier, BA charges everyone for seats? No matter what?

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I booked through Princess EzAir for BA Premium Economy for May 26 and June 11.  I was able to reserve my seats when I booked for free.  On BA site it shows there is a charge for choosing your seats when booking direct.

 

I have found for this booking and another booking that BA changes planes without giving any notice so my seats were changed.  I had to make changes to select the seats I wanted.

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8 hours ago, Host Mike said:

You can pick a seat now, but it will cost a fee.  You will find that option be going to your reservation on BA site.  For that you will need your BA record locator. (If you booked through another like AA)

Hi Mike, it is all interesting reading about how airlines do things. I cannot pick a seat now. It specifically states that I cannot pick a seat now.  The cruise line has me on the flights but it is not fully ticketed yet so that might be why.  And yes, I can see the seats on my other flights....so not fully sure why this is one is not allowing me to pick one.

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43 minutes ago, phabric said:

I booked through Princess EzAir for BA Premium Economy for May 26 and June 11.  I was able to reserve my seats when I booked for free.  On BA site it shows there is a charge for choosing your seats when booking direct.

 

BA aren't not charging those who book through third parties.

 

In your case it depends on the fare basis of what Princess's Air Team ended up negotiating. It's pot luck but you could quite easily find the next time you book through Princess you might not get free seat assignment. 

 

1 hour ago, Lois R said:

So other than being a frequent flier, BA charges everyone for seats? No matter what?

 

No, there are plenty of categories that are exempt.

https://www.britishairways.com/en-us/information/seating/reserving-your-seat

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16 hours ago, fbgd said:
18 hours ago, Lois R said:

So other than being a frequent flier, BA charges everyone for seats? No matter what?

 

No, there are plenty of categories that are exempt.

https://www.britishairways.com/en-us/information/seating/reserving-your-seat

 

And in long-haul business class, the proportion who are not exempt can be quite small. On many flights/routes, most passengers are exempt for one reason or another.

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3 hours ago, Globaliser said:

 

And in long-haul business class, the proportion who are not exempt can be quite small. On many flights/routes, most passengers are exempt for one reason or another.

 

Yep, I am OneWorld Emerald and fly BA frequently, often fairly last minute (booked a week or two out) and, often, my seat selection options are fairly limited in Business class. I would say, especially on business-heavy routes, it's not unusual to see 90% of seats already taken because so many people have high status and can do so early. 

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We flew BA from London to Miami Monday (3/28) w/a steerage class ticket bought via Princess Air:

  • we were unable to select seats for free 
  • we were unable to check in 24 hours before and select seats because we still needed to complete covid stuff
  • we got to the airport and completed everything and got boarding passes with seats at no charge
  • her majesty and I were given seats together (center section, center seats)
  • great flight with the wine flowing....tea being served and chicken pie!

No need to pay tribute for a seat (unless you freak out about that stuff)....all seats arrived at Miami at the same time safely!

 

Also, when looking at the seats available for pay 25 days prior, zillions of seats were available so I suspect only a few fearful souls actually pay tribute....because the plane was packed full....and I now know why they call the plane an airbus....because it is. 

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47 minutes ago, GulfShoresCruiser said:

No need to pay tribute for a seat (unless you freak out about that stuff)....all seats arrived at Miami at the same time safely!

 

Well, since you pointed out you were in centre seats some people would happily pay to avoid that...

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46 minutes ago, fbgd said:

 

Well, since you pointed out you were in centre seats some people would happily pay to avoid that...

 

Understood.....

 

But we were fine with our "center section, center seats" and glad our air fare included a seat at no charge!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/31/2022 at 2:30 PM, GulfShoresCruiser said:

and I now know why they call the plane an airbus

The A380 is not called an Airbus. It is made by Airbus, but most people simply call it a 380.

The "bus" title is commonly used for the 319s and 320s.

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On 4/15/2022 at 10:55 AM, wowzz said:

The A380 is not called an Airbus. It is made by Airbus, but most people simply call it a 380.

The "bus" title is commonly used for the 319s and 320s.

 

Looks like British Airways calls the plane an Airbus A380 Jet.  OK with you if I refer to this plane as an Airbus without using the code numbers? I experienced an Air Bus and I'm sticking to my name....LOL..All good........it was a huge plane.....

 

Flight Details

London To Miami

14:15 London Heathrow

Airline: British Airways

Aircraft: BA0209 (Airbus A380 Jet)

Depart London: Terminal 5, Tue, 26 Apr 2022, 14:15

Arrive Miami: Tue, 26 Apr 2022, 18:35

Duration: 9 hr(s) 20 min(s) 

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10 hours ago, FlaMariner said:

 

Looks like British Airways calls the plane an Airbus A380 Jet.  OK with you if I refer to this plane as an Airbus without using the code numbers? I experienced an Air Bus and I'm sticking to my name....LOL..All good........it was a huge plane.....

 

It's as appropriate as calling a 737 a "Boeing".  Along with calling the 717, 727, 747, 757, 767, and 787 models "Boeing".

 

If you are OK with those terms for aircraft ranging from about a hundred passengers to over 600 -- so be it.

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On 3/28/2022 at 10:48 PM, Lois R said:

I am flying on BA from the states to Barcelona, and for some reason the one long flight on my booking says "Seat choices are only available at the time of Check In".

Is this normal?  I am on multiple airlines (if that matters) and all my seats for the other flights are already on there..........just the long one across the pond has this on it..........I know once I get closer to my flight I can call BA but just curious if any of you know if this normal?  I am flying out in June and will be in Business Class.

 

As you already have been told, this is normal.

We only fly British Airways, unless we fly between Stockholm and Oslo, and the intercontinental flight always have a fee for seatselection when bokning a discounted fare even in businessclass. Connecting flights, for example between Stockholm and London, has free seatselection but the intercontinental flight cost.  

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  • 2 months later...

I started this thread back in March and now it is 4 days until I fly out.  As for my seat in Business class, I spoke with BA and was told even in Business Class, you have to pay extra if you want to book your seat early. Or you can wait until check in (24 hours before) and book the seat at no extra charge.  I am just waiting until Friday and will do it then.......and yes, my seat from London to Barcelona is already booked. So they only do this for the "long haul" portion.  Just have to hope all my flights depart and arrive smoothly and I make it to Barcelona for my cruise!

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39 minutes ago, Lois R said:

As for my seat in Business class, I spoke with BA and was told even in Business Class, you have to pay extra if you want to book your seat early. Or you can wait until check in (24 hours before) and book the seat at no extra charge.  I am just waiting until Friday and will do it then.......and yes, my seat from London to Barcelona is already booked. So they only do this for the "long haul" portion.

 

The fee for pre-allocation is what we've been telling you about from the beginning of this thread!

 

The difference between your two sectors is actually very likely to be for a more technical reason than simply long-haul/short-haul. It's to do with the booking class (inventory bucket) into which your particular fare is to be booked on each sector, and on the short-haul flight your fare appears to book into a booking class that comes with free seat pre-allocation.

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