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 your family or friends.

You may be able to choose seats for free or have to pay, depending on your circumstances. The easiest way to check is using Manage My Booking.

Choosing your seat

It's easy to do, either at the time of 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 your seat in Manage My Booking

Are you a nervous flyer?

Did you know that if you sit near the centre of the plane, you don't feel the effects of turbulence as much? Turbulence is quite normal during a flight, but it can leave some people feeling uneasy.

If you get anxious when you even think about flying, our Flying with Confidence course can help you, no matter how severe your fear.

Find out if you have to pay for seats and how much it costs.

Choose your seat in Manage My Booking

Do I have to pay?

Whether seat selection is free or costs extra depends on a number of factors, including the type of ticket you purchase, your class of travel and your personal circumstances.

Unless you have booked a Basic ticket (economy, hand baggage only), you can choose your seat for free when check-in opens (24 hours before departure).

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

Please check if you fall into one of the following groups, some of which are able to choose seats for free.

Travelling in First

Seats in our First cabin are always free to choose from the time of booking.

Executive Club Members

As a Member of the Executive Club oneworld® frequent flyer you are able to choose seats at different stages, depending on your tier.

Tier Seat selection
Gold/oneworld Emerald Free seat selection from the time of booking
for everyone in your booking and friends and family on other bookings, who are travelling with you in the same travel class and on the same flight*.
Silver/oneworld Sapphire Free seat selection (excluding exit row seats on long haul flights) from the time of booking
for everyone in your booking. Exit row seats on long haul flights can be selected for free from 24 hours before departure*.
Bronze/oneworld Ruby Free seat selection (excluding exit row seats) from seven days before departure
for everyone in your booking. Exit row seats can be selected for free from 24 hours before departure*.
Blue 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*.

*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 rows seats on short haul flights may not be available in advance due to operational reasons.

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:

You choose your flexibility when you buy your flights. If you’re not sure what type of ticket you have, you can follow the instructions under 'How to choose your seat' and we'll tell you whether you have to pay or not.

Make sure your family sits together

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

If you don’t choose your seats in advance, we’ll do our best to seat your family together a few days before your flight departs. However, the seat selection may be limited at that time and your seats may be split across different rows or the aisle. We will 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.

Seats are free when you travel with an infant, (under 2 years) who won't be travelling in a seat of their own. You can choose a seat for you and everyone in your booking, free of charge, as soon as you've made your booking (except for bookings of over 9 people). Subject to availability, one person in your booking and the infant will be able to choose a carrycot/seat position. The remainder of your party will be able to select other seats for free.

Disability assistance

There's no charge for choosing your seat if you have a specific seating requirement because of your disability. In most cases, you can select your seat using Manage My Booking but sometimes you may need to contact us, e.g. for some types of developmental impairment.

This is what you need to do:

  1. Book your flight.
  2. Let us know about your travel needs at least 48 hours before your flight departs. Go to Manage My Booking and click on 'Seating' within the flight details section.
  3. Select your seat. If you need any help, please contact us.

Find out about disability assistance

Groups of more than nine people

When you travel as a group, we’ll allocate your seats free of charge. While we will try to seat your group together, we cannot always guarantee it, particularly if your group travel 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 (for groups booked in the UK and Ireland only). Please contact us for more information.

Paying for a seat

How much will it cost?

View seat maps

** Payment with Avios is only available for British Airways operated flights.

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, Gatwick and North America.

Pay with Avios

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

Of course, as an Executive Club Bronze, Silver or Gold Member you can choose seats for free in many instances. For more Terms and Conditions.

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.

More about seating changes and refunds

Full Terms and Conditions on paid seating


Paid Seating Terms and Conditions


Changes to seats


Exit row seats

Using Avios as payment for seat selection

Booking an extra seat for additional personal space

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

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 will need to buy yourself an extra seat for comfort if:

We can provide you with an extension seatbelt, if you should need it.

Please note:

Extra seat for an item

The item must be within the size and weight limits to be carried in the cabin, otherwise it will need to be checked into the hold.

How to book

Seat dimensions and information

Travel cabin Seat dimensions (standard width) Armrests
World Traveller (long haul) 17” to 18”/43 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).
Euro Traveller (short haul) 17" to 18" /43cm to 45cm All armrests lift fully so two seats to be used together.
Premium economy:
World Traveller Plus (long haul only) 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.
Business and First:
Club Europe (short haul) 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 (long haul) 19 to 20.5”/48 to 52cm As these seats are contoured individual units, the arm rests are fixed, and can't be widened/changed.
First 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 make a booking on or by calling a British Airways customer centre 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.