Bits: 10% off Qatar flights, Qatar adds Adelaide, Melia sale, BA seat fees

News in brief:

10% off Qatar flights, new Adelaide service launching

Qatar Airways has revamped its website as you can see here.  To celebrate, you will save 10% (base fare only, taxes excluded) on Economy and Business Class fares until 18th October using code NEWLOOK2015 at qatarairways.com.

Qatar has also announced flights to Adelaide in Australia.  This follows the recent addition of Sydney from 1st March and is the result of a new deal agreed with the Australian Government.

Flights will start on 2nd May and operate daily using the new Airbus A350 pictured below.  It will be a two class aircraft with no First Class.

Qatar, as a BA partner, is available for Avios redemptions via ba.com.

Qatar A350

Melia ‘40% off’ sale launched 

Hotel group Melia, which includes the lifestyle chain ME, has launched an Autumn sale with discounts of up to 40%.  You need to book by 27th October for stays until 28th February.

(Someone should tell them that 2016 is a leap year!)

Full details are on this page at melia.com.  Grand Melia Rome is pictured below.

Gran Melia Rome entrance

British Airways quietly increases seat selection fees

Finally, note that British Airways has sneaked up its seat selection fees over the last couple of weeks.  There is no published list of prices at ba.com so it is difficult to make a straight comparison.  However, it seems that short-haul seat selection has crept up by £3 to a minimum of £10.  It is substantially more – over £20 – on longer routes.

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Comments

  1. A380 upper deck economy seats now £36 each for A/B or J/K, that’s a huge premium but almost a necessity to have nobody sitting to you if you’re travelling as a couple on a 13 hour flight …. pfft!

  2. I booked Club World to Vancouver this month and was shocked at the £78 price if I wanted to book a seat.

    • Same price to book the upper level on a 747 to JFK in December. The AA 777 business seat on the return was free….

    • Agreed, I think paying to reserve a seat in business class is ludicrous, particularly given BAs overinflated CW fares, and only serves to lose customer goodwill.

      • Green Flyer says:

        Didn’t stop Karen or others though so it will continue.

        • Yes, some people have no choice such as families with a young child, lone parents, elderly relatives and so on. In addition to that group, the others include those who simply don’t want to take the chance, or are clueless as to likelihood of getting acceptable seats at OLCI or airport. That’s why I hate seat selection fees most; the airlines prey most on oassengers with needs or fears.

    • Totally agree Simon! I booked our LGW to PLS flights and was charged 75 per seat and for one of return flights MIA to LHR charged 88 to be on upper deck on 747. I had to do that for 3 seats including my 8 yr old just making sure we are sat together!

  3. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/british-airways-executive-club/1426895-ba-seating-policy-guide.html

    Has the full schedule of seat selection fees as of 30 August 2015 – including what status you need to do this for free & when.

    • Thanks, when will it all end ?

      • …with BA sleepwalking off the edge of a cliff. They must be terrified of a third runway at LHR getting the goahead.

        • They are. I listened to Willy Walsh on Radio 4 Today programme a few weeks ago … His spin was they think it is too expensive to be realistic as an option. HA. What irony.

          • Perhaps he’s missed a trick, he could add a TR (third runway) surcharge to augment the YQ, seat selection, baggage and premium meal fees.

  4. I wonder how long it will be before the BA code appears on all the Doha-Australia services on QR!

  5. Booked an economy flight to Edinburgh last night and it was still £7 for seat selection each way. Not bad value for an exit row. One result of the hand baggage only fares seems to be that very few people are booking seats in advance.
    But £70 for a Club World seat is ridiculous. Our agent used to be able to pre book seats for free but BA apparently stamped on that.

    • Interesting point. In theory, if more people are buying HBO then Bronze status, letting you do seat selection 7 days out, gets more valuable as more seats are left.

  6. Hi O/T news

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  7. If you have BA Silver – do these fees still apply?

    • Not in my experience (likewise with Bronze) – harrys link further up the page may clarify though :)

      Seats are “blocked out” for certain periods of time, which is dependent on status though

    • No – free seat selection at time of booking for silver. Bronze can do it 7 days before departure for free. We’ve got 3 long-haul CW flights in the next 12 months, so the seat fees were getting ridiculous (it would have cost about £900 I think if we’d paid for them all, and we probably would have).

      As a result, the economics of those Qatar fares to Bangkok were amazing for us as it earned us BA silver. The flights for the two of us cost £1600, and it saved us £900 in seat fees with BA, so the net cost was only £350 each! That’s under £100 per leg. I drank that much in champagne…

      • Sorry – should add, it doesn’t work for HBO fares. There is no free seat selection for anybody on HBO.

        • You still get to choose the seat 24 hours in advance, free

          • No you don’t. You end up in the bizarre situation of having to accept was is given to you unless you are willing to pay.

          • We just did HBO a couple of weeks ago & could choose seats free of charge 24 hrs before flight.

          • I guess we could both be right. I see this: We would like to advise you of the following change to our Hand Baggage Only (HBO) fare.

            Please note that for bookings made from 26 March 2015 British Airways will allocate a seat for all customers booking an HBO low fare on a short haul flight with us.

            When travelling on these great value fares, your seat will be allocated when check-in opens. Should you wish to change your seat you can pay to do so at that time or alternatively pay to reserve a seat when you book your flight. If you are travelling with an infant on an HBO fare your seat will continue to be allocated at the time of booking.

            —> and I might have booked our flights before that date.

    • I just had a look at an upcoming WT flight. I am silver, and they want to charge me over £50 for exit row seats. I think that’s new. (I can still select other seats for free.)

      • It does indeed look new, was free 30/8, bit tough to be the first to suffer. I reckon they’ll end up killing the golden goose/ corporate custome if they carry on like this. Does flyertalk have anything to offer?

  8. I constantly read comments by people travelling with children who pay to reserve CW seats to ensure they are sitting together. But has anybody travelling with children ever NOT reserved seats and ended up being strewn about the cabin? Somehow, I doubt that even BA would do that.

    • I have heard this can happen but not with smaller kids. Teenagers possibly.
      Never allow them to tell you there are no options. There is always an option as on every flight there are people travelling on staff travel seats and they SHOULD be moved in the event of any seating issues. On a recent flight from CPT, the man behind me who had a large chap next to him who kept leaning over him as he slept, simply refused to accept th st nothing could be done to change his seat, in soitebof the rammed flight. In the end, the Customer Service Manager conceded that people were flying using staff travel and a condition of that is that they can be asked to move.

      • Sussex Bantam says:

        Extract from the seating FAQ on BA regarding children:

        When you travel with an infant (under two years) who won’t be travelling in a seat of their own, you can reserve a seat for yourself and everyone in your booking (except for group bookings), free of charge, from the time of booking. If you don’t choose your seats in advance, where possible we’ll reserve suitable seats for you three days before the flight.

        If you are travelling with children (between two and 11 years), we’ll allocate your seats three days before departure. If you can’t be seated together, we’ll make sure each child is seated with an adult from your group.”

        Frankly – if they tried to seat me away from my daughter I’d be delighted – but I’d pity the poor soul that ended up next to her. (I don’t mean this obviously…)

  9. BA seat selection on Club Europe bookings is £20 and Club World £80 … Outrageous, I think considering the class of travel. Economy is also around £30 or higher and when other airlines do not charge at all plus all the other issues where BA does not seem to be meeting the latest standard of modern aircraft interiors, aging fleets and poor customer service from their call centre in India, one wonders whether the right thing would be to blow your Avios and start collecting elsewhere, or at least redeeming elsewhere.

  10. £1615 for 135,000 Avios, not quite as cheap as through Iberia :)

  11. Tom Allen says:

    I’m trying to book a Qatar flight from SYD-LHR – unfortunately it only seems to give me the price in AUD, not GBP, despite using the UK version of the site to book. Any ideas, anyone?