BA starts selling Hand Baggage Only fares without a choice of seats (without payment).

BA Booking Screen

Some weeks ago BA announced that it was taking away the option to choose seats for passengers travelling on its cheapest, hand baggage only fares. Even elite members.

Queue over 1,000 posts on

I wrote to BA asking why they had done it. Two weeks later I got the standard reply:

I am sorry we have been unable to reply to you sooner.

I understand you are unhappy with the changes announced on 2 March 2015. We knew that it would affect some of our customers more than others and the change was made after very careful consideration, taking into account the competitive view and numbers of Members who purchase Hand Baggage Only fares.

Firstly, let me assure you that the decision to allocate seats automatically at check-in for Hand Baggage Only fares was not related to the changes announced to the Executive Club last week. This change affects all customers who purchase a Hand Baggage Only fare and we wanted to let our Executive Club Members know before the changes take effect. We recognise that some of our customers may not have a choice with the type of fare that they purchase due to their company travel policy and I am sorry if this affects you.

As a Gold Member, your feedback is very important to us and this will be shared with the leadership team who are personally monitoring all feedback on the changes.

Please let us know if we can help you with anything else.

Checking this morning BA seem to have littered their web site with warnings about the removal of the option of choosing a seat without payment, and offers you a chance to change the fare or to pay a supplement to pick up a seat and a checked bag at various stages.


BA Booking Screen

The £10 difference in fare to the bag+free seat is clear. Selecting the Hand Baggage Only fare gets you a pop-up warning.


BA Booking Screen

Pretty clear! And a chance to go back and pick again the more expensive fare.


BA Booking Screen

Of course as a Gold Member I can choose my seat on the Checked Bag fare at the time of booking, but I guess BA doesn’t get everything right.

The only confusion is the display at the top of this post which is displayed whilst BA calculates your price!

So, it starts today, and as I didn’t need the booking I didn’t go through to the end. Anyone booked one?