BA abolishes seat choice on its ‘Hand Baggage Only’ fares…unless you pay

British Airways B747-400

British Airways has just sent out an email announcing a change to the options for passenger who choose their cheapest ‘Hand Baggage Only’ fares from 26 March. From this day passengers booking Hand Baggage Only (HBO) fares will be allocated a seat at check-in time. They can change this for a fee. The operative word here is allocated.

Other fares will continue to allow Gold and Silver members to pick seats at the time of booking and for Bronze members to choose 7 days before travel. Other passengers can choose at Check-In.

It seems odd that Gold members are be treated the same, from this point of view, as members with no status on these fares. They can still end up in a middle in the back row by the loos.

This is the exact wording of the announcement:


 We would like to advise you of the following change to our Hand Baggage Only (HBO) fare.Please note that for bookings made from 26 March 2015 British Airways will allocate a seat for all customers booking an HBO low fare on a short haul flight with us.When travelling on these great value fares, your seat will be allocated when check-in opens. Should you wish to change your seat you can pay to do so at that time or alternatively pay to reserve a seat when you book your flight. If you are travelling with an infant on an HBO fare your seat will continue to be allocated at the time of booking. The changes apply to all Executive Club Members booking HBO fares. For all other fares, Bronze Members can continue to select their seat for free 7 days before departure and Silver and Gold Members at the time of booking for free.

So Gold got a little less shiny today.



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