Seat fees (again) Head for Points article

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Old May 29, 19, 12:20 am
  #46  
 
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Originally Posted by KeaneJohn View Post


I was under the impression that Silver members could only assign seats for people on the same PNR not the same party? Also please can you explain how Silver members canTCP and what benefit this has as again itís not something that I was aware of.. I was always under the impression TCP was for Gold members to link unrelated PNRs so that seats could be assigned

Not sure why this was only published yesterday as other blogs featured this a while ago.
TCP (To complete party) is only available to Gold members where a gold member can assign a seat for another passenger on the same cabin but on a different PNR. Silver can reserve seats for people on the same PNR only.
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Old May 29, 19, 1:32 am
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Anyone can TCP but only Golds can then request seating for other bookings.
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Old May 29, 19, 2:07 am
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Originally Posted by KeaneJohn View Post
I was under the impression that Silver members could only assign seats for people on the same PNR not the same party? Also please can you explain how Silver members canTCP and what benefit this has as again itís not something that I was aware of.. I was always under the impression TCP was for Gold members to link unrelated PNRs so that seats could be assigned
Originally Posted by TravelManBiz View Post
TCP (To complete party) is only available to Gold members where a gold member can assign a seat for another passenger on the same cabin but on a different PNR. Silver can reserve seats for people on the same PNR only.
Just to expand on the answer given by windowontheAside, my understanding is that UKtravelbear is correct, but I can see where the confusion arises - I've been guilty of it in the past and I know people tend to conflate TCP and Gold seat requests, although they are not the same thing. Corrections most welcome but this is how I understand it works:

- TCP, as stated, is available to anyone. It simply creates a manual linking between 2 bookings. In normal operations there is no practical benefit to doing this, but in IRROPS it may become useful allowing an agent to see that 2 distinct PNRs are travelling as one party, to try to keep them together etc.

- A Gold seat request for someone on same flight, same cabin but on a separate PNR is done by sending a manual request to the seating team. As a prerequisite, the agent will link the 2 bookings via TCP (as a way to let the seating team know who the other passenger is?). This facility is only available to Gold and above.

So, since 99% [1] of "TCP requests" are actually Gold seating requests which have the TCP step as a prerequisite, people naturally tend to conflate them and will colloquially refer to the seating request as a TCP, even though it is not strictly the same thing. It is, however, less characters to type

[1] Warning: made up statistic, hat tip to c-w-s for stealing this phrase.
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Old May 29, 19, 2:25 am
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Tobias-UK View Post


What many who come here to complain about this policy appear not appreciate is that before BA introduced this policy it wasn’t even possible to reserve seats in advance unless by status or if you’d purchased a ticket in the higher-priced fare buckets. The policy was introduced to provide those passengers an option to choose a seat before checkin.

This is a perfect example of a non-starter. The fact that a policy might have been worse in the past tells us absolutely nothing as to whether the present one is a good one.

The fact that a cook used to use rotten eggs and tomatoes and now no longer uses rotten tomatoes but still uses rotten eggs does not mean that what is now provided is a sound and healthy meal on a par with those that contain neither rotten tomatoes nor rotten eggs..

Either the policy is a good and sensible one on its own merits or it is not. Whatever policy might have been there before does not have one iota of relevance in determining whether it is a good policy or not.
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Old May 29, 19, 3:51 am
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It doesn't bother me too much as long as I have status but i will always steer friends and family to other airlines because the cost is usually so prohibitive.

It's telling that after all these years BA is still the only major airline charging for seat selection in business.


Originally Posted by hfly View Post
As this policy has been around for a decade, and no other major airline has copied it, you can assume that it is a dud revenuewise and there is some deep seated reason that BA keeps this around - Airlines are lemmings and always follow eachother no matter what if they smell a revenue stream. Also, the idea that they are "reserving" better seats for elites this way is also a non-starter as there are many ways to block certain seats for Elites without resorting to this (as many other airlines do).
BA's model is so heavily dependent on keeping its BAEC members happy, much moreso than other airlines, i assume that is exactly why they keep the charges. Last minute J on other Oneworld airlines could leave you sitting next to the toilets but on BA there's almost always at least a half decent seat left.
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Last edited by 1010101; May 29, 19 at 3:57 am
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Old May 29, 19, 7:18 am
  #51  
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Pretty sure the driving force behind it all was to get more people to join, take part and enjoy the benefits of the BAEC reward programme.

A move which seems to have worked.
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Old May 29, 19, 7:42 am
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I've always been annoyed with this partly because I find it absurd for how much you pay for a ticket when even as a Y pax you can select SOME seat depending on fare purchased.

While Ive been OWE since 2001 or GGL since I switched to BA 3 years ago, I first was burned when I booked an avios ticket for my niece and discovered how much the charge was (she was young and it was her first intl trip so wanted to ensure she wasn't stuck in a middle J seat)

I don't see how difficult it is to add free seat selection and still block prime seats for golds and another subset for silvers and then either pay or wait until check in for all other seats--lile regular shorthaul

Further partner airlines like AA and CX who offer free seat selection still block off prime seats from OWEs but again BA remains the "special snowflake"
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Old May 29, 19, 7:52 am
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In many many fare comparisons, BA J class has been cheaper than other airlines. So paying £2k with free seat reservations on another airline or £1.5k with paid seats on BA is often the choice I see.
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Old May 29, 19, 7:59 am
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Originally Posted by VSLover View Post
I don't see how difficult it is to add free seat selection and still block prime seats for golds and another subset for silvers ...
Because:-
  1. There is no consensus on which are the "prime" seats, so that suggestion is itself difficult to implement.
  2. As shown by experience before it was possible to pay for seat pre-allocation, Golds, Silvers and full-fare passengers will take up a substantial proportion of the seats in the CW cabin. So reserving enough "prime" seats for them is equivalent to only allowing non-status passengers access to a small proportion of the seats, and the worst ones at that, whereas at present they can pay for almost all CW seats if they wish.
  3. Experience of flying on other airlines with free seat pre-allocation for all - even if there's a system of priority for status passengers - is that if you book even moderately late, you'll get either no choice, or a choice from the worst seats in the cabin. Even though the late bookers may be the ones paying the highest fares.
So it is not actually that easy to do this without irritating your best customers.

FWIW, as an anecdote: I have just booked a flight that's 2Ĺ months away. One sector is on a 744. Of the 6 upper deck seats that can be paid for, four have been taken. It's not possible to say whether any of them were paid for, but I strongly suspect that at least one (60B) wasn't because 60AB are both taken and it's unlikely that a singleton would take 60B when there are other options. Of the remaining 13, which can only be accounted for by Golds, Silvers and full-fare passengers, 12 have been taken. I think that this rather illustrates the "substantial proportion" point. Others will also remember how the main deck cabin used to fill towards the date of the flight, especially on some routes, even when it was basically only Golds, Silvers and full-fare passengers who could do this.
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Old May 29, 19, 8:24 am
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Originally Posted by Sealink View Post
In many many fare comparisons, BA J class has been cheaper than other airlines. So paying £2k with free seat reservations on another airline or £1.5k with paid seats on BA is often the choice I see.

And very often the picture is rather different, and you will have to pay a higher fare with BA, quite apart from their additional seat fees.

Take a popular route such as LHR-DXB. Random example dates in J class, out June 19, back June 26 :

lowest fare, with BA = £ 1978

lowest fare, with EK = £ 1904

And there are of course various other (included) benefits when flying EK.
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Old May 29, 19, 8:42 am
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Originally Posted by Globaliser View Post
Because:-
  1. There is no consensus on which are the "prime" seats, so that suggestion is itself difficult to implement
BA will know exactly what the prime seats are. They know which seats people pay for or select first.
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Old May 29, 19, 8:56 am
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Originally Posted by subject2load View Post
[left]Take a popular route such as LHR-DXB. Random example dates in J class, out June 19, back June 26 :

lowest fare, with BA = £ 1978
lowest fare, with EK = £ 1904
As always, it really depends on what dates you look at, there are other random examples in June where EK is much more expensive for a 7 day LHR-DXB rtn than BA, and other dates where BA is more expensive. Much more relevant would be mean or average fares rather than looking at one date.

BA

EK
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Old May 29, 19, 9:28 am
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Originally Posted by KARFA View Post
.................Much more relevant would be mean or average fares rather than looking at one date.

13 days out of 30 where EK offers a better price will certainly be very relevant to many people, who will be focussed on the price to pay for their specific trip rather than troubling themselves with calculations of mean or average fares.

And that’s even before complimentary chauffeur drive service (x 4), complimentary seat selection, and an onboard lounge / bar is factored in to the equation.

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Old May 29, 19, 9:50 am
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Originally Posted by subject2load View Post
13 days out of 30 where EK offers a better price will certainly be very relevant to many people, who will be focussed on the price to pay for their specific trip rather than troubling themselves with calculations of mean or average fares.

And that’s even before complimentary chauffeur drive service (x 4), complimentary seat selection, and an onboard lounge / bar is factored in to the equation.

so fewer than half of the days EK is cheaper than BA? I guess for those people travelling on any of the other 17 days which you could have picked at random BA would be cheaper, and with the saving more than covering a cab at each end.

EDIT: just to add that tbh I don't really have the same concerns as others do on this issue. it works very well for me and has done for years. I fully appreciate that for those without OW status it can be an issue, but with the amount of options out there for alternate carrier they can easily avoid BA if they wish to do so.
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Old May 29, 19, 9:58 am
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Surprising a state run airline can't always offer a cheaper direct fare to its home hub than the competition. Maybe something to do with the EU investigation into how they operate?
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