Who can book and sit in the exit row seats on British Airways? It is not a simple question as there are legal issues as well as ones imposed by BA.
British Airways places restrictions on who can book exit rows on its aircraft, in the same way that they restrict the first row of every aircraft to British Airways Executive Club Gold card holders.
The BA rules are in addition to the legal restrictions on exit row seats which the Civil Aviation Authority administers. This means that you must be over the age of 12 and able-bodied to be seated in an exit row since you are required to operate the exit in case of an emergency. You can read more about the CAA requirements here.
Who can book an exit row seat on British Airways?
The rules for booking exit rows on British Airways are as follows:
On shorthaul aircraft, those with Executive Club Silver or oneworld Sapphire status (or higher) are able to book exit row seats free of charge at time of booking. Bronze and oneworld Ruby members can book these free of charge 7 days prior to departure.
On longhaul flights, Gold members are permitted to book exit row seats at time of booking for themselves and their companions on the same booking. All other members can pay for an exit row seat between 14 and 4 days before departure.
In reality, there may be occasions when you cannot select an empty seat even if meet the status requirements. On lightly loaded flights, for example, British Airways will often stop anyone booking the seat next to a Gold member.
This article explains how much it costs to reserve an exit row seat on British Airways if you have no status.
(This article is part of our ‘BA Q&A’ series which explains how British Airways Executive Club works. You can see all of our ‘BA Q&A’ articles here. )
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How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (December 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
There are also good bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These are available to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.