Paying for seat selection when flying has become the norm over the last decade or so. It isn’t even questioned any longer in Economy, although few airlines have gone as far as British Airways to charge for every seat in Business Class.
Are you wasting your money?
Since British Airways introduced Club Suite, we have argued that you are throwing your money away by paying for seat selection in Business. There are no ‘bad’ seats with Club Suite and the high level of privacy means that you can’t communicate easily with those around you. I’d argue that you have more money than sense if you pay £400 return to reserve two adjacent Club Suite seats.
Down the back, of course, it’s a different matter.
There are basically two approaches that an airline can take:
- do its best to allocate adjacent seats to people on the same ticket, as long as a suitable block is available at check in
- deliberately split up passengers on the same ticket to teach them a lesson and ensure that they pay next time
Which? magazine has just published the results of a survey of over 8,000 of its subscribers. The results are interesting.
Which? asked a question along the lines of ‘Assuming that you didn’t pay for seat selection, were you allocated seats next to your travel companions at check in?’.
In case you are thinking that family trips may skew the results, remember that parents have no legal right to be seated next to their children. The only requirement is that children are seated no more than one seat row away from their parents.
Here are the results:
- British Airways – 94%
- easyJet – 93%
- Jet2 – 90%
- Ryanair – 66%
- Wizz Air – 61%
The results are intriguing.
It seems that you are wasting your money, even in Economy, if you pay for seat selection on British Airways. There is a 94% chance that you will be seated with your ticketed companions anyway.
More impressively, the same goes for easyJet and Jet2.
To be honest, even the results for Ryanair and Wizz Air are not bad. Is it worth paying the often-crazy seat selection fees knowing that your chance of being together is still two out of three?
There are other reasons for paying for a seat, of course. On long haul you may have a preference for a window block rather than a centre block (or vice versa for a family of four). You may prefer to be near the front, or away from the loos, or on an emergency exit row with added leg room. Excluding these reasons, you might as well keep your money in your pocket.
You can read the full Which? report here.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 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.
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.
EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open 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.