Reader Question: Changed Seat Assignment On BA Flight?


A LoyaltyLobby reader sent me an email about seating assignment change on recent British Airways flight.

Reader Question Changed Seat Assignment On BA Flight

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Here’s the email:

I’m following your emails and as a frequent traveller, enjoys your tips and advices.

This is the first time I’m emailing you, unfortunately with a complaint on the way BA is treating me and my family.

Tonight we are flying from LHR5 to Tel Aviv on BA163.

Since I’m flying with my wife and 2 kids (3 years old and a 2.5 months old baby), I made the booking of this flight over the phone to make sure I’ll get the seats that provides access to cots.

The lady I made the booking confirmed that we reserved the seats in row 30 and I was very happy and paid for this booking. Yesterday, when I came to check in, I was assigned seats in another row, which would be very inconvenient for us.

I called BA and got an answer that this was done due to operational reasons of having someone with a greater need (probably on medical ground). The lady we spoke confirmed that the change was done on the 27th of November but had no answer why the company failed to notify us that they had moved us from the seats we reserved.

The representative refused to accept my call as a complaint and suggested that I will complain online (which I already did, although the website clearly state that complaints online are only for complaints on the website).

I see that as a breach of contract between me and the company and I’m afraid that it may have been a simple case of favoritism of a Gold member (I’m currently a silver member).

Obviously, I will complain today at the airport again, but I’m not expecting to get better clarifications from the company.

It is upsetting that after more than 12 years that I maintain my loyalty to BA and keep a status of Silver/Gold for all these years, I get this kind of slap in the face from the airline.

I hope this will make its way to your “Whine Wednesday” because I want to make people aware that BA treats its clients in this way, cheating us to believe that we have reserved seats, but leaving themselves the right to withdraw/change the reservation whenever they decide to do so.

I hope that the BA flight was uneventful and that the reader was able to switch to a better seating at the airport

The problem here is that, although seat assignment changes are not that common, they do happen from time to time. The airline may switch the equipment operating the flight where the originally assigned seating no longer exists or maps to different row (exit vs non-exit rows).

I don’t believe that there is an airline that truly guarantees that you will have the exact seat you may have reserved. I would send feedback to BA about this seating change unless airport was able to fix it. They may give few thousand Avios for the inconvenience.


It is very unfortunate if BA ended up moving the Silver member from their reserved coat seating to another part of the plane especially considering the flight time of this service (9PM departure & 3AM arrival).

It never hurts to bring up the issue at the airport and hope that the agents are able to resolve it amicably.

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