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.
How to choose 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:
- Log in to Manage My Booking.
- Under 'Your booking details', click on your flight number.
- Under 'Seating', click on 'View or change seats for this flight' and follow the instructions on screen.
Choose your seat in Manage My Booking
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If you get anxious when you even think about flying, our Flying with Confidence course can help you, no matter how severe your fear has become.
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
- pay to choose your seat from the moment 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.
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.
||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*.
||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*.
||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*.
||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 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:
- 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. 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.
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:
- Book your flight.
- 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.
- 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?
- You can pay to choose your seats in advance with cash or Avios**. Prices vary depending on the type of seat and the cabin you are travelling in. Prices can be found when making your booking or in Manage My Booking.
- Bulkhead seats are usually reserved for customers with a disability, or those travelling with an infant (under 2 years) as this is where the fold-down cot tables are positioned, so it may not be possible to choose these seats.
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
- 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 ineligible 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.
- 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.
- 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 have 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 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:
- you're travelling in economy and need more space to easily fasten your seatbelt for take-off, landing or during periods of turbulence
- you're unable to fully lower both armrests of your seat as it is a safety requirement to have a fully lowered armrest between each passenger during take-off, landing and turbulence.
We can provide you with an extension seatbelt, if you should need it.
- An extra seat does not give additional seat width – see our seat dimensions guide on this page for the minimum seat widths on our aircraft.
- On most of our long haul aircraft, the armrests in the economy cabin do not fold away into the seat back completely. They stop at an angle of 45 degrees when lifted and cannot 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 cannot be raised or lowered.
- You cannot buy an extra seat for comfort at the bulkhead or on an exit row.
- You will not be able to buy an extra seat on a British Airways operated flight if your journey includes a flight operated by another airline.
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
- 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 British Airways representative. 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, Gatwick and 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.
Seat dimensions and information
||Seat dimensions (standard width)
|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.
|World Traveller Plus (long haul only)
||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)
||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.
||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 ba.com 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.