Important: Check Your British Airways Seat Assignments – They Could Be Wrong

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I’ve written about the MyFlights App in the past and explained how it’s really helped me out when airlines put through changes to their schedules and aircraft without any notice whatsoever. Sadly, as of 31 December 2017, the MyFlights app will be discontinued but that isn’t stopping the app doing great work in the meantime.

Yesterday I got a series of emails from MyFlights letting me know that British Airways has been changing aircraft on a number of routes that I’m booked to fly.

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It can be easy to dismiss aircraft change alerts when they come in because, often, they look quite benign – moving from an A319 to an A320 or from an A321 to a A320 hardly looks significant:

a close-up of a logo

a close-up of a logo

But you ignore these alerts at your peril and, in my case, I’m very glad I looked into the changes a bit further.

British Airways short-haul economy class cabins offer just 30″ of seat pitch so, to avoid the incredibly cramped conditions, I book exit row seats if at all possible – I’ll actively avoid a flight where the exit rows are already reserved unless I absolutely have to fly on that flight.

This is where aircraft swaps can be dangerous if I’m not paying attention.

BA’s A319s, A320s and A321 may all belong to the same aircraft family but the emergency exits are located in different row numbers depending on which aircraft you’re flying.

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Needless to say when British Airways swaps the aircraft it’s using it neither informs the passengers booked to fly on the route nor does it appear to re-accommodate passengers in like-for-like seats.

On the route where my aircraft was swapped from an A319 to and A320 this is what I found when I checked my booking….

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….and where the aircraft swapped from an A321 to a A320 this is what I found:

a screenshot of a computer

My seat numbers were the ones I had reserved when I first made my bookings but, thanks to the aircraft changes, I was no longer in an exit row.

This turned out to be the case on all 7 short-haul flights for which I received an alert.

Had it not been for the MyFlights App I wouldn’t have known about these changes until I next checked my reservations (which could be weeks from now) and, by then, all the exit row seats could easily have been taken – I would have been stuck with 30″ of seat pitch on all those flights.

Bottom Line

I know for a fact that British Airways has been moving around a lot of its short-haul aircraft in recent days and there’s a chance that long-haul aircraft have been moved around too as the airline tweaks its routes and schedules.

If you have reservations with BA and have already selected your seats I would check your reservations asap – your seat numbers may not have changed but your location within aircraft may well have done.