Seating

Choosing your seat in advance

We recommend that you choose your seat as early as possible to get the one you want, and to avoid sitting separately from family or friends.

How to choose your seat

You can do this when booking your flight or afterwards through Manage My Booking.

If you have a booking, follow these simple steps:

  1. Log in to Manage My Booking
  2. Under 'Your booking details', click on your flight number
  3. Under 'Seating', click on 'View or change seats for this flight' and follow the instructions on screen
Choose a seat

Do I have to pay to choose a seat?

Whether your seat selection is free or you’ll have to pay extra depends on a range of factors, including the fare you choose and your cabin of travel.

You can choose your seat for free from 24 hours before departure when check-in opens, unless you’ve booked a Basic ticket (economy, hand-baggage only) where your seat is allocated to you.

With a Basic ticket (economy, hand baggage only), you can either:

  • Pay to choose your seat from when you book until check-in opens, or
  • We’ll allocate you a seat for free when check-in opens. You can then pay to change to a different seat, although your choice may be limited.

If you’re an Executive Club Member, you’ll collect Avios if you pay to choose your seat on a British Airways flight. You’ll collect at least six Avios per pound (GBP) spent. Find out more about collecting Avios on flights.

You may be entitled to choose your seat for free if you fall into one of the following groups.

Travelling in First

It’s free from the time of booking to choose a seat in our First cabin.

Executive Club Members

As an Executive Club oneworld® frequent flyer Member you're able to choose seats at different stages, depending on your tier.

You must be travelling on the booking, or in the case of Gold Members, one of the bookings, for these benefits to apply. They apply to British Airways-operated flights only and are not available on group rate bookings.

On some occasions, exit row seats on short-haul flights may not be available in advance due to operational reasons.

Gold/oneworld Emerald

Enjoy free seat selection when booking for everyone in your party. This includes friends and family on other bookings who are travelling with you in the same travel class and on the same flight.

Silver/oneworld Sapphire

Enjoy free seat selection – excluding exit row seats on long-haul flights – from the time of booking for everyone in your party. Exit row seats on long-haul flights can be selected for free from 24 hours before departure.

Bronze/oneworld Ruby

Enjoy free seat selection – excluding exit row seats – from seven days before departure for everyone in your party. Exit row seats can be selected for free from 24 hours before departure.

Blue

Enjoy free seat selection from 24 hours before departure, excluding exit row seats and not including travel on basic fares. Seats can be purchased from the time of booking.

Flexible and semi-flexible tickets

Tickets with increased flexibility allow you to make certain changes to the date and time of your flight. They also include free seat selection.

  • Flexible fares (Plus Flex) allow you to choose seats for free from the time of booking.
  • Semi-flexible fares (Plus) allow you to choose seats for free from 48 hours before departure.

You choose your flexibility when you buy your flights.

Choosing seats together on separate tickets

You can see which seats are still available together to choose for free from 24 hours before your flight, when online check-in opens.

However, if you are travelling with others on different bookings, you can pay in advance to choose specific seats to ensure you sit together for your flight. Just log in to Manage My Booking.

Flying with children

To get the best choice of seats and make sure your family sits together, it’s best to choose your seats in advance. You might have to pay to do this.

More about family seating

If you don’t choose your seats in advance

We’ll do our best to seat your family together by assigning seats a few days before your flight departs. However, seat selection may be limited at that time and your seats may be split across different rows or the aisle. We'll make sure each child under 12 years sits next to an adult from your booking but children over 12 years are booked as an adult in our system and may sit separately.

Travelling with an infant under two

Seats are free when you fly with an infant under two who won't be travelling in a seat of their own. You can choose a seat for you and everyone in your party free of charge as soon as you've made your booking, except for bookings of over nine people. One person in your group and the infant will be able to choose a carrycot/seat position, subject to availability. The remainder of your party will be able to select other seats for free.

Travelling with a disability

There's no charge for choosing your seat if you have a specific seating requirement because of your disability.

Find out about disability assistance

How to book your seat

In most cases, you can select your seat using Manage My Booking, but sometimes you may need to contact us, like for some non-visible disabilities. Here's what you need to do.

  1. Book your flight
  2. We recommend that you let us know about the assistance you require at least 48 hours before your flight leaves. Once you have notified us that you require additional assistance, go to Manage My Booking and click on 'Seating' within the flight details section
  3. Select your seat, and if you need any help, please contact us

Travelling in large groups

Contact us for more information

Groups of more than nine people

When you travel as a group, we’ll allocate your seats free of charge. While we'll try to seat your party together, we can't always guarantee it, particularly if your group is split across separate bookings.

To ensure your group is seated together, or if you would like specific seats, you can pay to choose your seats in advance. This applies to groups booked in the UK and Ireland only.

Paying for a seat

How much will it cost?

View seat maps

The cost of selecting a seat varies depending on the type of seat and the cabin you're travelling in. Prices are available when booking your flight or in Manage My Booking. You can pay in advance using a credit or debit card or by using Avios on British Airways-operated flights.

It may not be possible to choose bulkhead seats, as they're usually reserved for customers with a disability or those travelling with an infant.

Payments at the airport

Like many airlines, we only accept debit or credit card payments at many of the airports we operate from, including London Heathrow, London Gatwick and North America.

Pay with Avios

You can use your Avios to pay for seats in advance via Manage My Booking, with full or part payment options available. This is available for British Airways-operated flights and gives you more ways to spend your Avios.

As an Executive Club Bronze, Silver or Gold Member you can choose seats for free in many instances. For more information see our terms and conditions below.

Changes and refunds

More about seating changes and refunds

If you’ve paid to choose a seat and we're unable to offer you that seat or a suitable alternative when you board your flight, you can claim a refund. See our terms and conditions for paid seating below.

Terms and conditions

Availability

  • All paid seating is subject to availability and is only confirmed once paid for.
  • Paid seating is available on British Airways mainline operated flights and on British Airways-operated flights marketed by other carriers.
  • Paid seating may be offered by British Airways franchisee airlines. The seating Terms and Conditions of British Airways franchisee airlines may differ from those of British Airways mainline-operated flights, therefore we recommend that you refer to the franchisee airline’s relevant Terms and Conditions.
  • Paid seating may be unavailable on some flights operated by codeshare partners.
  • Paid seating for group customers (bookings containing more than 9 passengers) is only available where the reservation has been made directly with British Airways Group Sales. Group customers who have made their reservation through a travel agent or a tour operator cannot currently book paid seating. Payment with Avios is currently unavailable for group customers.
  • All un-ticketed passengers, including those travelling on a cruise or package holiday who have not yet received confirmation of their ticket numbers, are unable to choose paid seating until they have received confirmation of their ticket numbers.

Changes to seats

  • On British Airways marketed and operated flights, you may change your seat (subject to availability) at any time. If you change your seat to a lower-priced seat, we will not refund the difference in price. If you change your seat to a higher-priced seat, you must pay the difference in price.
  • You cannot make changes to paid seating on British Airways-operated flights marketed by other carriers.
  • Paid seating is not guaranteed, as seating may need to be changed for operational, safety or security reasons, even after boarding the aircraft.
  • If we change your seat, we will attempt to find you a suitable alternative. If you are unsatisfied with your new seat, you can apply for a refund of the paid seating.
  • Paid seating is not transferable to any other passenger.

Refunds

  • Paid seating is non-refundable, unless
    • British Airways changes your seat to an alternative seat and you are unsatisfied with the alternative seat
    • British Airways cancels your flight
    • You become ineligible to sit in an exit row and you inform us at least 48 hours in advance of scheduled departure of your flight, or
    • You have paid for a cabin upgrade and do not wish to pay the difference to select your seat in the upgraded cabin.

The above does not affect any right to a refund you may have during a “cooling-off” period, if and to the extent applicable under local law. Details of this under Israel’s Consumer Protection Law 1981 are set out in our legal information.

  • For the avoidance of doubt, paid seating will not be refunded if you
    • Cancel your flight
    • Are involuntarily upgraded
    • Are considered unsuitable to sit in the seat type you have selected
    • Accept a voucher towards a future booking that includes paid seating (see further the relevant voucher Terms and Conditions), or
    • Have booked a British Airways operated flight marketed by another carrier and choose to move to a different flight.
  • On British Airways marketed and operated flights, if, in accordance with your ticket type, you choose to move to a different flight, you will be entitled to choose an equivalent seat on your new flight. If an equivalent seat is not available, any sums previously paid for seating will be forfeited and will not be refunded. Alternatively, you may choose a more expensive seat and pay the difference in price.
  • On flights marketed by other carriers, if you choose to move to a different flight, you will not be entitled to choose an equivalent seat on the new flight and you will not be entitled to a refund.
  • You have 30 days after the last flight in your itinerary to apply for a refund of paid seating, where due. Please submit your refund application online using our seating refund form. We cannot process refund applications at the airport or on board.
  • Unless otherwise stated, we will only make a refund to the credit card used to pay for the paid seating, or in the case of Avios payment, to the Executive Club Member’s Avios account.  

Exit row seats

  • Exit row seats are situated either next to or immediately behind the exit door.
  • If you choose an exit seat, in the unlikely event of an emergency evacuation you will be expected to assist us in opening the emergency door. For this reason, you must: be over the age of 12 years old, not be pregnant, not have accessibility needs or be substantially blind or deaf, be fit enough to operate an emergency exit door, be able to understand printed or verbal instructions given in English, and be willing, as well as able, to assist in the case of an emergency evacuation. When requesting an exit row seat, you will be asked to verify your eligibility.
  • British Airways has the sole discretion to determine whether you meet the requirements to sit in an exit row seat. If you do not meet the requirements, you will be assigned an alternative seat. The additional amount paid for an exit row seat will be forfeited and will not be refunded.
  • If, after the date of requesting an exit row seat, you become unable to fulfil the requirements to sit in an exit row seat, please contact us at least 48 hours before your flight in order to claim a refund.

Using Avios as payment for seat selection

  • Executive Club Members can use their Avios to pay in full or in part for paid seating on British Airways operated flights in Manage My Booking on ba.com or by calling a British Airways Contact Centre.
  • Paid seating purchased with this payment option will be subject to these Paid Seating Terms and Conditions.
  • All seats selected must be eligible for full or part Avios payment in order for Avios to be applied to the booking.
  • The Avios payment rates are defined in a fixed set of currencies. If more than one Avios payment option is available, it is not possible to change the price option chosen once a booking has been made.
  • The Avios payable will depend on the cabin class, route selected and the number of people on the booking. This will be displayed on the booking page.
  • British Airways reserves the right to alter the applicable Avios payment rates at any time in its sole and absolute discretion, but this will not apply to bookings already made.
  • When an Executive Club Member pays for seating using Avios, the Avios will be debited from the Member’s Executive Club account for each passenger on the booking.
  • When Avios has been used as full or part payment for seating, those Avios will be refundable only in accordance with the rules detailed in these Paid Seating Terms and Conditions.
  • When a seat selection is made using Avios as full or part payment for a member who is either on the Household Account or the Family and Friends List, the Avios will be taken from each Member’s Avios points balance in proportion to the size of each Household Account Member’s Avios points balance. Members of a Household Account can make full or part Avios payment for paid seating for people outside of the Household Account.
  • Avios payment may not be used in conjunction with any other promotional offers, unless expressly stated otherwise.
  • Members do not earn Avios and Tier Points on paid seating.
  • It is not possible to use Avios for paid seating on bookings made through Concur or on group bookings.

Booking an extra seat for additional space

You can buy an extra ticket to keep the seat next to you free, for reasons like requiring additional personal space or to secure a fragile or precious item, such as a musical instrument or painting.

An item must fit in the seat, otherwise it will need to be checked into the hold. Find out more about baggage.

How to book an extra seat

  • Please contact us or your travel agent to make a booking for an extra seat as this type of booking cannot be made online.
  • If you arrive at the airport and haven't booked an extra seat in advance, please speak to a member of British Airways staff. If there are seats available in the cabin you are travelling in, you may be able to buy an extra seat.
  • At many airports, including London Heathrow, London Gatwick and some in North America, you can only pay using a card. Please check with a member of our staff at the airport to find out if options are available for converting cash to a payment card.

Additional personal space and safety

If you would like the seat next to you to be kept free for additional personal space, you can buy it as an extra seat for comfort.

You'll need to buy yourself an extra seat for comfort if:

  • You're travelling in economy and need more space to easily fasten your seatbelt for take-off, landing or during periods of turbulence, or
  • You're unable to fully lower both armrests of your seat. It's a safety requirement to have a fully lowered armrest between each passenger during take-off, landing and turbulence.

We can give you an extension seatbelt if you need it.

Please note:

  • An extra seat doesn't give additional seat width – see our seat dimensions guide below for the minimum seat widths on our aircraft.
  • On most of our long-haul aircraft, the armrests in the economy cabin don't fold away into the seat back completely. They stop at an angle of 45 degrees when lifted and can't be raised further.
  • There must be a fully lowered armrest between each passenger during take-off, landing and turbulence. 
  • Armrests are fixed in our First, business (Club World) and premium economy (World Traveller Plus) cabins and can't be raised or lowered.
  • You can't buy an extra seat for comfort at the bulkhead or on an exit row.
  • You won't be able to buy an extra seat on a British Airways-operated flight if your journey includes a flight operated by another airline.
Cabin Dimensions
Euro Traveller (economy short haul)

Standard seat width: 17" to 18"/43cm to 45cm

All armrests lift fully so two seats can be used together.

World Traveller (economy long haul)

Standard seat width: 17” to 18”/43cm to 45cm

All armrests lift to some degree. On a few of our aircraft they stop at a 45-degree angle, so they can't be positioned completely flat against the seat back (eg. A380).

World Traveller Plus (premium economy long-haul)

Standard seat width: 18.5"/46cm

Armrests don't lift apart from certain aisle seats for customers requiring disability or mobility assistance. Front row armrests are fixed and don't lift.

Club Europe (business short haul)

Standard seat width: 18"/45cm

All armrests lift, however, each set of seats may be divided by a fixed width centre console that cannot be raised. 

Club World (business long haul)

Standard seat width: 19 to 20.5”/48cm to 52cm

As these seats are contoured individual units, the arm rests are fixed, and can't be widened/changed.

First

Standard seat width: 22"/55cm

As these seats are contoured individual units, the arm rests are fixed, and can't be widened/changed.

Choosing seats with our partner airlines

If you book with us for a flight operated by American Airlines, Finnair, Iberia, JAL or Qantas, you can choose your seats in Manage My Booking.

If you’re flying with one of our oneworld alliance partners and are an Executive Club Gold/oneworld Emerald Member, a Silver/Sapphire Member, or a Bronze/Ruby Member, you can contact your local British Airways customer centre to choose a seat for that flight.

In all other cases when you're flying with one of our partner airlines, please contact them directly to choose your seat.

Please note that you cannot use Avios to pay for seats on flights that are operated by our partner airlines.

If you paid to choose a seat on a flight operated by any of our partner airlines and would like to get a refund, please contact them directly.