How Much Are You Willing To Pay To Reserve Seats In Advance?

a seat with a seat and a seat with a seat and a seat with a seat and a seat with a seat and a seat with a seat and a seat with a seat and a seat with

Last week, there were some great Business Class deals floating around for travel to Europe later this year and even into next year. It seems like the East Coast gets the majority of the European deals, but this wave included departures from the West Coast (SFO and LAX) on either American Airlines or British Airways as low as $2,100.

While I’m never keen to transfer via London’s Heathrow airport, I was able to knock an additional $400 off the price by booking with British Airways and utilizing the AARP discount, so it was a no-brainer to choose BA over AA.

But after typing in all of my information, as I went to select my seats I was surprised to be presented with a $125 fee for the right to reserve my seats in advance. That’s $125 each way, per person, meaning that for 2 people to select round-trip seats we are talking $500 in total.

As a infrequent flyer of BA I wasn’t expecting the fee, but in this day and age where airlines keep coming up with miscellaneous revenue streams, I certainly wasn’t shocked. At first I went ahead and selected seats, but backed out at the last minute and simply bought the ticket without seat assignments.

As I’m thinking about it further, this is where my head is currently at:

  • If I was by myself I wouldn’t care as much about seat assignments, but given that I’ll be traveling with my wife, what’s it worth to me to make sure we are seated next to each other?
  • $500 is a LOT of money to pay for the right to choose seats in advance…
  • One long-haul leg will be on a Boeing 747 where I can definitely see value in securing seats in advance in the quiet and private upper deck. On the return we are on the Airbus A380 which has so many seats in both the upper and lower deck that maybe I should just take my chances
  • Based on the seat charts today, it looks like most people aren’t selecting seats in advance. If I’m quick and select seats at check-in 24 hours in advance, I may be able to get the seats I want for free
  • Since I was able to knock off $800 from the purchase of 2 tickets using the AARP discount, even though I’d be giving back $500, I’m still ahead by $300
  • But $500 is a LOT of money to pay for the right to choose seats in advance…

At this point, I keep going back and forth in my mind on this…what would you do? Are you typically willing to pay an additional fee for advanced seat assignments?


  1. I sometimes pay, sometimes not. Most of the time, I don’t. I guess my brain automatically computes a treshold, depending on the price of the ticket and the lenght of the flight.

    But 500 $ just to be seated together (it’s not an upgrade or a preferred seat – that would be more understandable) is a LOT, I agree with you!

  2. Having flown their business class, I would pay it..The seats are generally crappy, but you don’t want a crappy biz seat near the lav or kitchen. You should try for seat where you don’t have to climb over someone to get out.Dumb design.

    1. That’s pretty funny when you think about – BA’s Business Class seats are crappy enough that you’ll want to give them even more money!

      1. You’re right I hadn’t thought about how funny that sounds. I just remember the poor dude who couldn’t get any rest because everyone was lined up next to his seat to get into the lav.

  3. The only time I’d pay for seat assignments is if the seat afforded more legroom (e.g. exit row) that other seats in the same class. In Business Class, where you’re already paying a significant chunk of change for exceptional service, it’s really surprising that better service doesn’t include the simple ability to select your own seats.

  4. Bad move BA. Three J flights this summer. I flew AA each and every time because they didn’t charge for seat assignments.

  5. Not worth it. I got in on this deal too and I’m taking my chances. Not the end of the world if we get seats separately.

  6. I just wait for checkin to open and choose for free then. Haven’t been separated from my wife yet and we’ve still had good choices.

    It just gives the OCD control freaks the option to pay.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *