Sometimes an airline does something which makes you want to bang your head against the wall at its sheer stupidity. The latest attempt by Iberia (which is BA’s little sister, remember) is just one of those events.
British Airways, of course, has seat selection fees. The most shocking of which, frankly, is the £60 per person, each way, fee to select a seat in Club World! Unless you are a Bronze, Silver or Gold BA cardholder, paying £1500+ for a business class seat does not actually give you the right to choose to sit next to your partner ….
Iberia has a found way to take it even further. Here are the fees:
Domestic – £3 before check-in, £5 at online check-in, £7 at the airport
Short and mid-haul – £9 before check-in, £13 at online check-in, £18 at the airport
Long-haul – £25 before check-in, £30 at online check-in, £35 at the airport
The best bit, though, is this. Partly for advertising standards reasons (if the fee cannot be avoided, it would have to be included in flight prices shown in advertising), Iberia gives you the option of NOT paying at the airport!
This is how it appears to work. You arrive at the check-in desk with no seat reservation for your Iberia flight to New York. The check-in agent asks you for £70 in order to enter into a discussion with her on selecting seats (eg ‘middle block or aisle?’, ‘front or back of the plane?’). If you do not hand over £70, the agent or her computer will randomly select two seats for you from the seats remaining, which you will be forced to accept.
Perhaps I am getting old, but this appears to be completely bonkers.
Even the fee itself is pretty shocking. The fees I quote are per person, each way – a couple would have to pay an extra £100 on an economy trip to New York. The good news is that the fee does not apply to Avios redemption seats. oneworld Sapphire and Emerald cardholders are also exempt.
Of course, Iberia isn’t charging business class passengers for seat selection. Because that really would be crazy, wouldn’t it, BA ….?