GOOD NEWS: Free seat selection on BA Hand Baggage Only fares for elites.

The Hand Baggage Only (HBO) fares were introduced back in 2013 with some initial success. HBO applied only to short haul European routes which featured Euro Traveller and Club Europe classes. Long haul routes did not have these fares.

British Airways logo

At the time, HBO fares were typically £15-£20 cheaper than the lowest economy class fare which gave good incentive for people to travel light, especially since BA has one of the largest cabin baggage allowances around Europe.

But in March 2015 they scrapped free seat selection for HBO customers, meaning if your HBO ticket was booking into the most expensive full-fare prices (often £500+ for even very short routes), you STILL had to pay £10 to select your seat even if you were a Gold member.

British Airways has announced that for flights beginning 14th June 2017 they will bring back free seat selection for BA bronze, silver and gold passengers to HBO fares, to bring it back to line with the standard seat selection policy. I should also apply to Oneworld Emerald, Sapphire and Ruby members.

So in effect, for HBO fares departing from 14th June:

  • Silver and Gold members can select seats for themselves and anyone else travelling on the same booking at any time,
  • Bronze members can select seats 7 days from departure for anyone travelling in the same booking.

But even with this positive change, you'll still be subject to buy-on-board.

About Tim

Tim is an engineer and a nerd who analyses every travel deal, travel hack. He has travelled to around 90 countries and also speaks Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin.

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  1. How does this work for award tickets? We recently flew BA from Lhr to Sofia we didn’t have to pay for our carry on baggage but we were charged for seat assignments. (And soft drinks which shocked us!) my greater concern on award tickets is the baggage.

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