Economy basic OLCI seat selection strategy?

Old Aug 6, 19, 1:50 am
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Economy basic OLCI seat selection strategy?

Hi All,

I have no status with BA and often buy hand baggage only economy basic tickets which means that I am at the mercy of random seat selection (unless I choose to pay for it of course). I remember with Ryan Air that delaying OLCI until the last hour often resulted in getting row 1, an exit seat or an aisle seat during busy flights as middle seats were often allocated first to the those doing early OLCI. Does anyone know if the same applies to BA? I have tried early and late OLCI and seem to get middle seats pretty much all the time. Perhaps in BA's case it makes no difference?

I have stayed at airport hotels a couple of times where I was able to walk to the terminal 24 hours prior to departure and select my seat for free using the check in kiosks. Also, upon arrival at the airport prior to departure, check in staff have kindly offered to change my seat for free subject to availability. I have to stand in line for this which is fine if I have plenty of time.

Yes I know the simple solution is just to pay to select my seat but was curious to see if there are any alternative options.

Cheers!
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Old Aug 6, 19, 2:52 am
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I think you have nailed all the options. I understood that the seating system assigns you a seat and this notional seat is shown in some booking systems....(but not in MMB)
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Old Aug 6, 19, 2:58 am
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The options are all as you described, and if you don't have status, at a smaller out station where the agents aren't disposed to help, and no self check in machines, then you may end up having no choice or trying to switch once boarding.

But from your wording it seems this happens sufficiently frequently that is it worth getting Bronze or Ruby status on at least one oneworld airline? I'm not an expert on which is the easiest, though I suspect merely credit card ownership works in in some parts of the world (not with BA though). Then at least one week off you could do something more proactive about seat assignment. So maybe a few POUGs and weekend day returns may be useful?

If you did have status then you can simply defer boarding pass download / printing until your preferred seat becomes available.
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Old Aug 6, 19, 3:15 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
The options are all as you described, and if you don't have status, at a smaller out station where the agents aren't disposed to help, and no self check in machines, then you may end up having no choice or trying to switch once boarding.

But from your wording it seems this happens sufficiently frequently that is it worth getting Bronze or Ruby status on at least one oneworld airline? I'm not an expert on which is the easiest, though I suspect merely credit card ownership works in in some parts of the world (not with BA though). Then at least one week off you could do something more proactive about seat assignment. So maybe a few POUGs and weekend day returns may be useful?

If you did have status then you can simply defer boarding pass download / printing until your preferred seat becomes available.

Is this just for short hall or long hall ?

Also have no status with BA. Flying Economy Basic LHR to BKK next month ( hopefully )
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Old Aug 6, 19, 3:19 am
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Originally Posted by hotel_user View Post
Is this just for short hall or long hall ?

Also have no status with BA. Flying Economy Basic LHR to BKK next month ( hopefully )
It's the same process for short and longhaul services. So if you don't have status with an oneworld airline - not just BA - then you either need to accept the seat offered at OLCI, pay for the seat, or try to persuade an agent at the airport to shift your seat. After check-in has finalised, one hour before departure, as I understand it FLY doesn't provide a mechanism to collect seating fees so no agent would get into trouble for moving you at that point.
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Old Aug 6, 19, 4:44 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
It's the same process for short and longhaul services. So if you don't have status with an oneworld airline - not just BA - then you either need to accept the seat offered at OLCI, pay for the seat, or try to persuade an agent at the airport to shift your seat. After check-in has finalised, one hour before departure, as I understand it FLY doesn't provide a mechanism to collect seating fees so no agent would get into trouble for moving you at that point.

Many thanks

I just find it annoying to pay almost 25% of the cost of a flight to reserve a seat ..... but that's another topic

First Long Hall in almost 30 years. Last time TA just booked everything inc seat. Strange thing is price for flight is almost the same !
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Old Aug 6, 19, 5:03 am
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Originally Posted by hotel_user View Post
First Long Hall in almost 30 years. Last time TA just booked everything inc seat. Strange thing is price for flight is almost the same !
But with inflation the true price has gone down in real terms over the years.
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Old Aug 6, 19, 5:37 am
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Originally Posted by hotel_user View Post
Many thanks

I just find it annoying to pay almost 25% of the cost of a flight to reserve a seat ..... but that's another topic

First Long Hall in almost 30 years. Last time TA just booked everything inc seat. Strange thing is price for flight is almost the same !
For a long haul flight it may even be worthwhile travelling to the airport 24 hours before departure with your passport and selecting your seat for free using one of the kiosks. Of course it depends on cost of travelling to and from the airport and time constraints etc. but this could in some cases be much cheaper than paying for seat selection. In the case of LHR the airport can be reached very cheaply via tube or coach but it may be a 2 or 3 hour round trip. If you have Priority Pass or similar you could also make use of one of the land side lounges to celebrate securing a good seat
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Old Aug 6, 19, 6:10 am
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Originally Posted by Saint4805 View Post
For a long haul flight it may even be worthwhile travelling to the airport 24 hours before departure with your passport and selecting your seat for free using one of the kiosks. Of course it depends on cost of travelling to and from the airport and time constraints etc. but this could in some cases be much cheaper than paying for seat selection. In the case of LHR the airport can be reached very cheaply via tube or coach but it may be a 2 or 3 hour round trip. If you have Priority Pass or similar you could also make use of one of the land side lounges to celebrate securing a good seat

Thanks. It sounds like a plan. Was planning to travel to airport day before just in case anyway. Much less stress than on the day travel.

Can I do this with BA Basic Economy ? I have the PP. So looking forward to the chicken / rice dish at 37000ft
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Old Aug 6, 19, 6:12 am
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Originally Posted by SonTech View Post
But with inflation the true price has gone down in real terms over the years.

Totally agree.

The positioning flight from Carcassonne is the same price as a seat selection on BA ....
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Old Aug 6, 19, 7:48 am
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Originally Posted by hotel_user View Post
Thanks. It sounds like a plan. Was planning to travel to airport day before just in case anyway. Much less stress than on the day travel.

Can I do this with BA Basic Economy ? I have the PP. So looking forward to the chicken / rice dish at 37000ft
Yes I have done it successfully a couple of times. Seat selection at the airport kiosks is free regardless of ticket type. The key thing is not to forget your passport (in addition to booking reference) as you'll need to scan it at the kiosk in order to complete the check in process.
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Old Aug 6, 19, 8:13 am
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Can anyone recommend a PP landside lounge at LHR that I will be able to access ? I have never been, let alone traveled from LHR.


Son booked my ticket ( He has deep pockets and short arms - and I had to pay ! ), and is currently a passenger on a land train from Perth to Queensland to his flight to BKK ..... for the family gathering. He takes money saving to the extreme level.
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Old Aug 6, 19, 8:21 am
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Originally Posted by hotel_user View Post
Can anyone recommend a PP landside lounge at LHR that I will be able to access ? I have never been, let alone traveled from LHR.
"Recommend" is perhaps a strong word here, but there is only one option in T5, and that is Aspire. They sometimes restrict access so you may consider paying for guaranteed access. But The rest of T5 is reasonably pleasant as far as large airports go, so I'm sure you will find somewhere to relax. Don't enter the airport too soon, 60 minutes before departure is plenty of time if HBO, the deadline is 35 minutes.

Aspire Lounge and Spa: Paid for lounge in LHR T5 - Information, photographs, reviews
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Old Aug 6, 19, 8:22 am
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Originally Posted by hotel_user View Post


Son booked my ticket ( He has deep pockets and short arms - and I had to pay ! ), and is currently a passenger on a land train from Perth to Queensland to his flight to BKK ..... for the family gathering. He takes money saving to the extreme level.
Wow! How long does that train journey take?
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Old Aug 6, 19, 8:33 am
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Originally Posted by flygirl68 View Post


Wow! How long does that train journey take?

Depends on how fast his "mate" can drive.... think he is budgeting on 4 days if there are no accidents.
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