British Airways fees increasing – credit card, seat selection

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The British Airways credit card fee increased yesterday from £4.50 to £5 per booking.  This is the first increase since the fee was introduced in 2009 (was it really so long ago?).

Despite this, British Airways still claims that it does not recover its entire credit card costs.  Arguably this is a moot point, since it is still cheaper than accepting cheque payments or running city centre ticket offices to receive cash!

Customers could use a debit card, of course, but would have no protection if BA went bust and would fail to receive the travel insurance benefits that come with most credit cards. BA would also lose business, especially for higher priced tickets, to online travel agents who do take credit cards – but also take a commission from BA.

The lucky residents of many other countries in the drop-down menu on still seem to be exempt from payment …..

At least BA has not gone down the Virgin Atlantic route with a flat charge of 1.5% whatever the total, which is a killer on long-haul bookings.  The BA fee is also per booking and not per passenger.

The seat selection fee also crept up a few weeks ago without most people noticing.

The current British Airways seat selection fees can be seen in this chart:

Seating list

Given the huge number of BA routes, it is impractical to list which flights fall into which band.  You can make a pretty good guess, though, based on how far you are flying.

LH is long-haul, SH is short-haul, ‘Upper’ refers to the top deck of a Boeing 747.

I am stunned that there are people paying £85 EACH WAY PER PERSON to prebook seats on a long-haul flight, but clearly this is proving to be a good revenue generator for British Airways.  It may be playing on the naivity of very occasional premium flyers, however, since anyone who flies more than two long-haul Club World trips per year is likely to have Silver status (and free seat selection) in any event.

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  1. slightly off topic but the virgin site for checking reward availably has been updated, now much easier to see availability in all cabins for each month at once.

  2. Canada does not allow credit card surcharges in general (but not sure if they’re covered)

  3. Cheshire Pete says:

    I’ve heard people say a few times about changing your country to avoid the Fee but never worked out how. I tried it once but the 4.50 Still appeared at checkout. I do take exception paying it with my BAPP card however. So I generally use Debit card if below what I think the 3 x Avios is worth paying the fee for. So probably around 300.

    I think it is a ripoff BA charging this for Cheap domestics. I once flew MAN to LHR for £35 and only realised afterwards I was charged £4.50. It’s when I first got my BA amex so was none the wiser. I realised I’d paid a fee of almost 15% to use my Amex to basically get 105 extra Avios, at the time I opened a dispute console with Amex as felt BA were in breach of regulations regarding this. I should have pursued it with the Ombudsman but didn’t at the time.

    Now I use Debit card mostly . But if someone could explain the country thing more clearly? Oh did a lot of BA day trips before the summer. £45ish each way. Paid with Debit. Then on offered PAUGs paid with Amex as upgrades don’t incur a fee!

    So aside from the principle of the Fee, their applying of it is completely inconsistent.

    • On, change ‘Country of card issuance’ on the payment page to, say, Ukraine and then use an Amex-issued Amex. No fee. You will be charged with a Visa or MC or non-Amex Amex.

  4. I book my BA flights at and I don’t pay a penny in credit card fees. Besides the fact that you can only pay with an Amex card (any Amex card, not just BA’s), am I missing anything?

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