Families and groups of friends say they are now being split up if they don’t pay extra to reserve a seat
BRITISH Airways passengers are furious with the airline after they were forced to pay up to £20 to sit next to family and friends.
The news comes just weeks after Ryanair passengers was accused of punishing passengers who don’t pay for reserved seating by spacing them through the cabin.
The Daily Mail has reported that customers who want to guarantee sitting together on a BA flight now have to pay £20 on long-haul flights and £7 on short haul flights.
Customers who have bought a cheap hand-luggage-only ticket are most likely to be seated apart, but even Executive Club members face being separated by the booking system.
According to BA, their computer system picks seats at random for people who don’t pay to reserve a seat, but they claim that it does attempt to seat people together.
One passenger called Symth C on Twitter said: “Checked in online with seats for me, my wife and our six- month-old baby, arrived at airport and you’d changed our seats to separate us as family.”
Another customer who was flying with BA called Gabo Pichardo said: “We managed to check in using their app. We have seats in different rows on different sides of the plane.”
A BA spokesperson told the Mail: “We can never guarantee customers will be sat together, especially on very busy flights, and we will always prioritise seating for families travelling with children and customers with special needs.
“Customers can choose to pay to select specific seats in advance if they wish to do so.”
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Last month, the Sun Online reported that couples and people travelling in groups on Ryanair had been complaining that they were being split up throughout the aircraft instead of lumped together.
Each person who didn’t pay to reserve a seat said they were placed in the dreaded middle seat – at opposite ends of the cabin to their friends or family.
The new reports about BA’s behaviour is one of a string of negative stories about the airline in recent months.
In March, it was revealed that British Airways would soon be offering less legroom than Ryanair on some flights.
Then in late May, the airline’s check-in and operational systems crashed on Saturday and saw thousands of people trying to travel on Bank Holiday weekend left stranded.
The company is now preparing for a two-week strike by cabin crew, which is due to start this weekend.
Sun Online has contacted BA for a comment.