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HBO fares - Have to pay to select seat in advance [free for GCH/SCH/BCHs @ 14 Jun 17]

HBO fares - Have to pay to select seat in advance [free for GCH/SCH/BCHs @ 14 Jun 17]

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Old Jun 14, 17, 10:18 pm   -   Wikipost
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  • NOTE: Free seat selection for BAEC status passengers was reinstated from 14 June 2017: many of the posts here will be superseded from that date. See posts below dating from 4 May 2017 - and their links - for more details.

    For bookings made prior to 14th June with travel on or after, status passengers whose bookings have not been updated to allow free seat selection need to pay for their selected seats and will be automatically refunded, nominally within 28 days but reports suggest a few days is more usual.

Hand Baggage Only fares (HBO) are available on domestic and EuroTraveller routes. They are offered at a lower price to those able to travel without checked baggage on point to point journeys only - they are not offered with connections, stopovers or with Club Europe. There isn't a special fare bucket for HBO, it's just a discount to all domestic/ET fare buckets, so even expensive flexible tickets offer HBO. The discount varies depending on route. For example, going HBO on LHR-DUB gives a 10 discount; 15 on LHR-PRG; and 20 on LHR-ATH. Online Travel Agents often book into these fares (including building stopovers) and are sometimes less than transparent about the baggage restrictions during the booking process. HBO fares do not earn OnBusiness credits.

BAEC status passengers from Bronze upwards get advance seat choice with these tickets.

How to get seat allocation if HBO and without status:
- Pay up. You can pay up at OLCI if you don't like the seat. Costs vary from 7 to 21 per sector as a minimum, with differential pricing employed for better seats (e.g. an exit row on LHR-DUB was 23 in June 2017). Usually, but not always, this invalidates the cost saving of HBO. You can also pay up in Manage My Booking (MMB) before OLCI.
- Cancel OLCI at the "confirm contact details" stage. Go in again and/or later and you may be offered another seat.
- Corporate travel bookings still offer seating to HBO in some cases. Sometimes this ability is temporary and doesn't stick.
- Ask check-in or the lounge agent for a better seat, so far this seems to be possible. Lounge agents won't be able to assist where they aren't part of the ground handling for BA (e.g. LBA).
- If your airport has a Self Service Check In (SSCI) machine AND you do not print your boarding pass (see below) then you can select another seat there provided check-in is still open, typically up to 46 minutes before take off. So if you are being allocated a rotten seat and you can see better seats available, you can take a risk and complete/commence check-in later.

SSCI machines are available at: LHR, LGW, LCY, MAN, EDI (on the general purpose airport machines, but only those by the BA check-in area), NCE, BRU, OSL, BLL, AAR, MUC, AMS.
They are NOT available at: ABZ, BHD, GLA, LBA, NCL, DUB, CDG, ORY, SVG, DUS, TXL, MAH, CFU, OLB, CTA, CAG, FDH, ANE, UIP, BIO, HER, SVQ, PMI, BRI.
You can also do this operation the night before at LGW and LHR, details here.

By "printing boarding pass" we mean not selecting that option at OLCI, or saving, emailing, faxing and/or downloading the boarding pass on the App.
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Old Mar 3, 15, 11:40 am
  #586  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Originally Posted by Dicksbits View Post
My Facebook feed is overflowing with people saying they're abandoning BA after their upcoming bookings, as this news of the changes sinks in.. Young professionals and some in their middle ages. BA have dropped a clanger on this one.. If there's more to come, they'd better be absolutely sure of lemmings who will take those seats.
I think that's now a major problem. A friend of mine was saying earlier how an email he got this afternoon from BA filled him with an instant sinking feeling, even though it was just one of those pointless "do you need to book a hire car on your upcoming trip?" emails. I feel the same way. You really don't want your customers getting an instant feeling of unease when you email them - an instinctive fear of a company name from your most frequent customers is surely the a death knell.

BA have now set a precedent for devaluations and removal of services. How can anyone confidently say "I'm going to make the effort to earn CCR/GGL/Gold/Silver/Bronze this year, as it will bring me XYZ benefits"?

I used to be a BA fanboy. I now feel stupid for having promoted them so much to friends and family as I now have to update them on all the negative changes.

In early January this year, I'd say I felt that BA were a reliable and trustworthy company (despite them just having destroyed a checked bag of mine, and delayed another). Now I don't feel like I can bank on them in the long run to offer any specific product/benefit over the competition.

Seat allocations are gone. Earning rates are down. Burning rates are up. New LHR B4 flights have LGW style "lite" catering. I'm am fully expecting lounge access to be enhanced away on certain fares very soon. In a months time i'll be Gold for the first time (paid for 100% by myself as discentionary personal travel), and i've never felt more pessimistic about booking future travel with BA.

Last edited by shefgab; Mar 3, 15 at 11:47 am
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Old Mar 3, 15, 11:43 am
  #587  
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Londinium
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As long as we're going off piste (and I'm droning on and on)...random thoughts on hand baggage:

- Have never understood why airlines don't paint lines in the lockers and mark spaces inside with big letters "18A" "18B". Sure some would abuse, but people would at least get the feeling that they have an assigned space they should stick to.

- Before assigned seating, EZ used to let people who voluntarily gate checked their bags board first. Surely there are similar carrots BA can offer (priority boarding, duty free voucher, 50 bonus Avios, etc)

- At OLCI ask people how many carry-on items they're bringing and what size. Assign early boarding zone to people with no large bags, and if they violate, GAs make them wait to board.
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Old Mar 3, 15, 11:43 am
  #588  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
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1 hour and 10 minutes on hold to silver line and still no reply. Maybe everyone's phoning in to complain about the new policy - or maybe the next enhancement is getting rid of all the CS staff.
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Old Mar 3, 15, 11:47 am
  #589  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Originally Posted by SCSA View Post
As long as we're going off piste (and I'm droning on and on)...random thoughts on hand baggage:

- Have never understood why airlines don't paint lines in the lockers and mark spaces inside with big letters "18A" "18B". Sure some would abuse, but people would at least get the feeling that they have an assigned space they should stick to.
Because ignoring emergency equipment that would leave 10" per seat, but Ba sell 18.

As usual those who don't carry hand baggage on board subsidise thoughs who do.
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Old Mar 3, 15, 11:53 am
  #590  
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Join Date: Dec 2008
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Panorama ran a show at the start of the year on where it all went wrong for TESCO. Clearly BA mgmt were not watching because they are heading down the same pathway of taking customers for granted. It may take some time, but once the customers start to turn, it will not be easy to win them back.

Meanwhile the gap between the LCC's and BA continues to close....

http://www.independent.ie/life/trave...-31036167.html

In the end BA cannot compete on price versus the LCC's for SH, and are average at best for LH.

My advice to any 'long suffering shareholders' is sell while the going is good.
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Old Mar 3, 15, 12:34 pm
  #591  
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Originally Posted by shorthauldad View Post
I think RFS would be next in line for some kind of BA enhancement, as they're looking dangerously like good value.
I would be afraid of that too. Even thought they've already enhanced it quite a bit with two hikes to the flat fee, killing SH domestic add-ons, and removing IB.
Originally Posted by Calum View Post
Nothing wrong with Chavwick you say? It's a windowless hell. Add some windows and yes, it could be lovely.
I actually like the North terminal. Plenty of windows in the lounges. And the layout of security and the shops are way less annoying than the south terminal. Good thing BA doesn't use that one... oh, hang on...
Originally Posted by Ldnn1 View Post
One other consequence of this that's just occurred to me is that there will now be a LOT of pax requesting manual changes at check-in counters and in the lounges. Do you think the policy will be a straight up 'no changes if you're on HBO' or will staff be willing to do this? If so, they are going to have a lot more work on their hands...
My prediction? People will look for a seat change but won't get one because all the seats will have been preassigned at T-24.
Originally Posted by paulwuk View Post
A standard fare is one advertised in the GDS. Are HbO fares advertised in the GDS? Do they show up when looking at prices on ita? Or are they special fares you only book through ba?
HBO fares are in the GDS if you use a special account code.
Originally Posted by gordon0808 View Post
Free check in...? wow..
Ruinair charges 70 to check in at the airport although it has cut that to 45 with effect soon. It also reduced the fee for reprinting your boarding pass to 15 or so.
Originally Posted by SCSA View Post
Are they taking away lounge access on HBO as well???
Don't give them ideas.
Originally Posted by SCSA View Post
they don't seem the least bit interested in serving that market otherwise. You can tell in the significant difference in service and offer compared to LH. You can also tell by the fact that they opup to CE so infrequently.
No, they op-up to CE so infrequently because they can move the curtain forwards. It's even easier now they don't have to widen the seats
Originally Posted by SCSA View Post
- Have never understood why airlines don't paint lines in the lockers and mark spaces inside with big letters "18A" "18B". Sure some would abuse, but people would at least get the feeling that they have an assigned space they should stick to.
Because there isn't enough space for everyone to fit in something larger than a copy of the Daily Mail.
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Old Mar 3, 15, 12:43 pm
  #592  
 
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Originally Posted by Dicksbits View Post
My Facebook feed is overflowing with people saying they're abandoning BA after their upcoming bookings, as this news of the changes sinks in.. Young professionals and some in their middle ages. BA have dropped a clanger on this one.. If there's more to come, they'd better be absolutely sure of lemmings who will take those seats.
You always get that. Fit of pique, spur of the moment stuff.

When the dust settles it will be business as usual, as people cannot let go their status or their marriage to Avios.
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Old Mar 3, 15, 12:46 pm
  #593  
 
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Originally Posted by stifle View Post
Ruinair charges 70 to check in at the airport although it has cut that to 45 with effect soon. It also reduced the fee for reprinting your boarding pass to 15 or so.
They also offer a mobile boarding pass, which you can download to a smart phone via their App.

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Old Mar 3, 15, 12:54 pm
  #594  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
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Originally Posted by BOH View Post
As I posted earlier I think it is a quite brilliant revenue raising move by BA. Many people on here moan and say "right that is it, I'm moving to another program" ....but in reality most don't and never will.

[.......]

The rest of us reasonably regular and status pax who value advance seat selection will simply move back up to the previous fares before HBO. So BA simply get back the lost revenue. This is what I will do....is no big deal TBH as it is not a great deal of money, nor is it my money as 95% of my flights on BA are business related. Those that are not are Avios ones.

[......]

As a long suffering shareholder.....I say good move BA and lets hope it clears the cabin overheads a little bit too

You forget the point made earlier - many of the business travelers now use online booking systems provided by the Corporate Travel Agent with built in restrictions. I can fly C for legs over 7 hours, otherwise it's the cheapest Y on suitable flights. That means HBO fares on BA domestics. Trading up is not an option.

I won't be looking to retain Silver. The only real bonus (ironically) is the ability to book Main Cabin Extra seats on AA at no charge!
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Old Mar 3, 15, 1:08 pm
  #595  
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Originally Posted by simons1 View Post
You always get that. Fit of pique, spur of the moment stuff.

When the dust settles it will be business as usual, as people cannot let go their status or their marriage to Avios.
This is perfectly true. Lots of posturing and threats to desert but it rarely seems to happen as the lure of Avios and lounge access is far to great.

Normal service will be resumed....in about 2 days I reckon!
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Old Mar 3, 15, 1:13 pm
  #596  
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Originally Posted by simons1 View Post
You always get that. Fit of pique, spur of the moment stuff.

When the dust settles it will be business as usual, as people cannot let go their status or their marriage to Avios.
Originally Posted by BOH View Post
This is perfectly true. Lots of posturing and threats to desert but it rarely seems to happen as the lure of Avios and lounge access is far to great.

Normal service will be resumed....in about 2 days I reckon!
You include yourselves in this trap of course?
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Old Mar 3, 15, 1:15 pm
  #597  
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You just aren't as high value to them as you think you are. That's it.
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Old Mar 3, 15, 1:22 pm
  #598  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
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Originally Posted by MAN Pax View Post
You forget the point made earlier - many of the business travelers now use online booking systems provided by the Corporate Travel Agent with built in restrictions. I can fly C for legs over 7 hours, otherwise it's the cheapest Y on suitable flights. That means HBO fares on BA domestics. Trading up is not an option.

I won't be looking to retain Silver. The only real bonus (ironically) is the ability to book Main Cabin Extra seats on AA at no charge!
I am so glad I don't have to put up with a company insisting I use cheapest (HBO) fares
personally I think its ridiculous a company forcing its staff to travel HBO
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Old Mar 3, 15, 1:26 pm
  #599  
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Originally Posted by jacobitetraveller View Post
I am so glad I don't have to put up with a company insisting I use cheapest (HBO) fares
personally I think its ridiculous a company forcing its staff to travel HBO
It's one thing to say "Look I prefer to travel in J over four hours so I won't take the job otherwise"

It's a bit of another to say "I always want you to buy me a checked bag fare even when I'm not going to check a bag"
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Old Mar 3, 15, 1:28 pm
  #600  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Maybe BA are taking their customer relations advice from Alex Polizzi?

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