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Old Jan 12, 13, 5:07 am
Moderator: British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Airlines, Airport Lounges and Carbon Conscious Travel
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: London, UK
Posts: 20,476
Arrow BA Seating Policy Guide

Yesterday I was asked a question about how BA's paid seating policy works and I thought I had it nailed. I was wrong. The policy has evolved during the past year and I had become rusty. So following my own quick refresher course, I thought i'd pen this guide (much of which was judiciously copied from

Introduction and overview

For passengers travelling on BA flights (including BA operated flights codeshared by partner carriers) the policy is structured into five main categories.
  • Those who will be allocated a seat free of charge when check-in opens and have a option to pay to move to a different seat
  • Those who can choose their seat free of charge at check-in;
  • Those who can choose their seat free of charge up to 48 hours before departure,
  • Those who can choose their seat free of charge up to 7 days before departure, and finally
  • Those who can choose their seat free of charge when they make their booking

Note, if you are travelling on a BA codeshare flight operated by another carrier this policy does not apply, and you need to defer to the operating carrier's seating policy instead. Different rules apply to passengers travelling on Hand Baggage Only fares (now marketed as Basic fares) - see HBO fares - Have to pay to select seat in advance [free for GCH/SCH/BCHs @ 14 Jun 17] which has an excellent summary in its wikipost.

Who can choose their seat free of charge when online check-in opens 24 hours before departure?
  • All customers except those travelling on short haul Basic (hand baggage only) fares who will be allocated a seat by BA when check-in opens

Who can choose their seat free of charge from 48 hours before departure?
  • Customers travelling on a short haul flight on a Plus ticket

Who will be assigned seats at approximately 72 hours before departure and can change their seat when online check-in opens?
  • Customers travelling with children
  • Customers travelling on a group booking

Who can choose their seat free of charge up to 7 days before departure?
  • Bronze Executive Club card holders and oneworld Ruby equivalents

Who can choose their seat at the time of booking and change their seat at anytime up to 24 hours before departure?
  • Customers who have booked in either F, A, J, C, W, B, or Y
  • All customers who travel in First
  • Customers travelling on a corporate dealt ticket (using a BACCI code)
  • Premier, Gold and Silver Executive Club members and oneworld equivalents
  • Customers travelling with infants
  • Additional needs customers

It is important that you enter the Executive Club or any of the oneworld equivalent numbers into your booking so that you can access the seat map via Manage My Booking on


Paid Seating and pricing schedules
Twin seats and exit row seats
Additional needs customers and those travelling with infants
Group bookings
747 upper deck seats

Sources and further information
Theoretical Seating: Blocked seats and status master thread

Last edited by Prospero; Oct 18, 20 at 8:44 am
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