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Old Jun 13, 12, 9:13 am   #1
 
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Policy regarding switching seats on international flight after boarding

So to keep it short, I am about to order a pair of tickets for my girlfriend and me to go to Norway to visit some of my family. The main leg of it is going to London, then a short flight from London to Stavanger. The tickets will be for the later part of August, and will most likely be with British Airways in the economy section but I am not 100% sure if I will be able to get two seats next to each other. I was just wondering if anyone has experience in switching seats with another customer on a BA/International flight? if so, were you successful? and what method did you use? Just ask a Flight Attendant while you're boarding?

Any help will be greatly appreciated, and sorry if this is a common post, I just found this site after searching around for helpful forums about this kind of stuff. I'll delete it once I've gotten a few good answers so I don't get in the way of other stuff!
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Old Jun 13, 12, 9:19 am   #2
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Welcome to Flyertalk.

If you click on the little triangle over on the left, you can ask a moderator to move this to the British Airways forum where you will probably get a much better response.
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Old Jun 13, 12, 9:24 am   #3
 
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Originally Posted by EricP0418 View Post
So to keep it short, I am about to order a pair of tickets for my girlfriend and me to go to Norway to visit some of my family. The main leg of it is going to London, then a short flight from London to Stavanger. The tickets will be for the later part of August, and will most likely be with British Airways in the economy section but I am not 100% sure if I will be able to get two seats next to each other. I was just wondering if anyone has experience in switching seats with another customer on a BA/International flight? if so, were you successful? and what method did you use? Just ask a Flight Attendant while you're boarding?

Any help will be greatly appreciated, and sorry if this is a common post, I just found this site after searching around for helpful forums about this kind of stuff. I'll delete it once I've gotten a few good answers so I don't get in the way of other stuff!
You can see what seats are available on the flight before you purchase it, on ba.com you go through the booking, enter names etc. and then you can pre-reserve seats ($10 per leg I think for that distance). That way, you get to sit together (assuming no equipement change, etc!)

Asking once on board is a recipe for disaster, especially as the seats are likely to be 3-3 to Norway, meaning if 2 people are sitting together, they will want to stay together, and if you don't reserve seats, you could both end up with middle seats far apart, and no one is going to want to swop their aisle or window for a middle seat, nor is it fair for you to ask.
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Old Jun 13, 12, 9:31 am   #4
 
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Originally Posted by emma69 View Post
You can see what seats are available on the flight before you purchase it, on ba.com you go through the booking, enter names etc. and then you can pre-reserve seats ($10 per leg I think for that distance). That way, you get to sit together (assuming no equipement change, etc!)

Asking once on board is a recipe for disaster, especially as the seats are likely to be 3-3 to Norway, meaning if 2 people are sitting together, they will want to stay together, and if you don't reserve seats, you could both end up with middle seats far apart, and no one is going to want to swop their aisle or window for a middle seat, nor is it fair for you to ask.
I'm not expecting anyone to agree to switch seats, nor will I have any bad feelings against them if they say no. My girlfriend sometimes has trouble flying, with the heights/hitting turbulence she gets a little anxious so I would like to sit next to her if I could. It is mainly the Boston->London flight I am worrying about, since the flight to Norway is much shorter.

Thank you for the advice, but is it just really up to finding a passenger who will agree to swap seats with you on a flight from Boston to London? or will the Flight Attendants/airline staff prevent that?
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Old Jun 13, 12, 9:39 am   #5
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If people really need to sit together, such as a very small child or a handicapped person who needs help during the flight, the GA or even FAs might help, but you can't expect a lot of assistance or sympathy when two adults just prefer to sit next to each other.

Look at seat maps before purchasing tickets and then pay the fee to reserve two seats next to each other on all flights.
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Old Jun 13, 12, 9:45 am   #6
 
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IME with BA, the flight attendants came around and told we could move if we wanted as it was a light flight. I was actually able to get an entire middle row and lay down.
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Old Jun 13, 12, 9:57 am   #7
 
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
If people really need to sit together, such as a very small child or a handicapped person who needs help during the flight, the GA or even FAs might help, but you can't expect a lot of assistance or sympathy when two adults just prefer to sit next to each other.

Look at seat maps before purchasing tickets and then pay the fee to reserve two seats next to each other on all flights.
I know it isn't a necessity, but it would make the flight a lot better if it was possible. I guess I'm mainly wondering if the FA/flight staff would prevent it from happening if I were to find a willing passenger to switch for whatever reason.

I don't think it will be that unlikely to find a passenger on the Boston to London flight willing to switch, as I have done the flight many times and have been happy to swap with someone who asked politely.
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Old Jun 13, 12, 10:12 am   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricP0418 View Post
I know it isn't a necessity, but it would make the flight a lot better if it was possible. I guess I'm mainly wondering if the FA/flight staff would prevent it from happening if I were to find a willing passenger to switch for whatever reason.

I don't think it will be that unlikely to find a passenger on the Boston to London flight willing to switch, as I have done the flight many times and have been happy to swap with someone who asked politely.
If it will make the flight better, pay for seats!!!!! You cannot expect someone to take a less desirable seat just so you can sit together. Without reserved seats purchased in advance, you will probably each have a middle seat and want to swap one of the middles for a window or an aisle for which another passenger has paid extra.
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Old Jun 13, 12, 11:54 am   #9
 
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I've swapped seats with people lots of times for just this purpose. It's even easier if you offer at least as good a seat (e.g., aisle for middle).
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Old Jun 13, 12, 12:07 pm   #10
 
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Originally Posted by EricH View Post
I've swapped seats with people lots of times for just this purpose. It's even easier if you offer at least as good a seat (e.g., aisle for middle).
Did you do anything in particular? or just ask someone that was sitting next to you/next to the person you wanted to sit next to, to swap? did you have to ask the Flight Attendants first?
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Old Jun 13, 12, 12:11 pm   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricP0418 View Post
I know it isn't a necessity, but it would make the flight a lot better if it was possible. I guess I'm mainly wondering if the FA/flight staff would prevent it from happening if I were to find a willing passenger to switch for whatever reason.
A couple of things:
  1. FAs won't prevent you switching so long as you make the arrangement with the other passenger
  2. If you do try to switch once on the plane - Do not squat! Never take the seat you want and then ask once the person arrives
  3. Ask politely and only for like seat for like seat. No one will switch an aisle for a middle and you shouldn't ask them to
  4. If someone says no, don't ask why or try to persuade them. It is their right to say no
  5. The best advice is relly to pay the $10 ahead of time to book seats next to each other
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Old Jun 13, 12, 12:11 pm   #12
 
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Originally Posted by EricP0418 View Post
Did you do anything in particular? or just ask someone that was sitting next to you/next to the person you wanted to sit next to, to swap? did you have to ask the Flight Attendants first?
No need to ask the FAs first
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Old Jun 13, 12, 12:16 pm   #13
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I'm not that familiar with BA...but if some sort of "desirable" seats are available for $10 each, I'd just pay the fee and be done with it. For this small amount, I'm assuming it's just confirming regular economy seats in the first rows of the economy cabin, not some sort of "premium" service or seat. That'd undoubtedly be more money.

If I am put into a situation where I definitely will be asking for a switch (e.g., traveling with a 5-year-old and separated due to IRROPS), I make sure to offer up my good seat for a lesser seat.

Two adults? We usually don't bother asking for swaps unless it's an easy case of offering up a clearly better seat to another person. We always carry books, magazines, iPad, etc. In a pinch, one can make it from Boston to London without a companion.
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Old Jun 13, 12, 12:45 pm   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emma69 View Post
You can see what seats are available on the flight before you purchase it, on ba.com you go through the booking, enter names etc. and then you can pre-reserve seats ($10 per leg I think for that distance). That way, you get to sit together (assuming no equipement change, etc!)

Asking once on board is a recipe for disaster, especially as the seats are likely to be 3-3 to Norway, meaning if 2 people are sitting together, they will want to stay together, and if you don't reserve seats, you could both end up with middle seats far apart, and no one is going to want to swop their aisle or window for a middle seat, nor is it fair for you to ask.
If you preselect, another tip for 3-3 seating is to pick a row that's emply and select the Window and Aisle. Single middle seats are usually chosen last, and if someone does wind up in your row they're always more than willing to swap for the window or aisle meant 2 two of you either get 3 seats, or you can still sit side by side. No downside to this at all.
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Old Jun 13, 12, 1:08 pm   #15
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EricP0418, welcome to FlyerTalk! As this does seem focused on BA flights, let me move this to the BA forum for more discussion. Ocn Vw 1K, Moderator, TravelBuzz.
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