BA to charge a seat booking tax

In a bid to stop the rot on losses, British Airways is set to start charging passengers who want to choose their seats in advance as they book flights.

These Ryanair styled seat taxes will impact on people that desire to secure a seat next to each other on a flight, which of course is pretty much any 2 or more people travelling together! Moreover, it will affect anyone with a seat preference such as window, emergency exit or even an aisle.

Until recently BA featured no such levy for passengers that wished to reserve seats in the 24 hours window prior to departure, however as from the 7th of October this has all changed.  Would be passengers that are willing and able to pay can now secure their preferences at the point of booking.

Interestingly the official at BA commented that the move would "give customers more control over their seating options."

Good question! For an economy class flight within the Eurozone, passengers will be asked to fork out an additional 10 GBP per person for the simple right to select a seat. The seat tax rises to 20 GBP for longhaul economy or short flights in business class and to a staggering 60 GBP in business
class on long-haul trips, about the same cost Ryanair intends to charge for future transatlantic flights. A seat in an emergency exit row will cost no less than 50 GBP and can be booked between 10 and 4 days prior to take-off.

Despite BA's assurances that quote: "Customers frequently request specific seats but in the past we've only been able to confirm them 24 hours in advance or on the day. We know people want to secure them in advance and have real control over their flying experience. This will allow them to do that." the reality is that the seat tax is yet another money spinner BA has implemented since recording a net loss of 375 million GBP in its last financial year, as the air travel industry edges towards freefall.

BA have committed to reduce subsidies on staff meals also in yet another cost control measure to save 2.7 million GBP annually. Its a fascinating situation brewing that few would have predicted 10 years ago, especially to see Low-cost rivals, easyJet, react to the seat charge via announcement stating it was the "same old BA, attempting to replicate lowcost principles but charging premium rates."

Its anyone's guess what direction this will take next and bets are on for which airline will be the next to go belly up!