Buying the Middle Seat Next to You for More Space: British Airways Raises Price But It’s Still Cheap

Head for Points writes about the increase in price that British Airways is pushing through for buying the middle seat next to you.

Truth is, this is something I didn’t know, just how inexpensively BA offered this in the past.

You would pay the same fare for the empty seat as for the one you were occupying, minus taxes. For short haul intra-Europe tickets this could be $10 – $100, since the bulk of the cost of these tickets is often in fuel surcharges.

A few weeks ago British Airways changed the method they use to calculate the cost.

  • They’ve set a minimum of £40 roundtrip on short haul flights and £300 roundtrip on long haul flights.
  • They’re basing the price on the fare you paid, not the fare at time of request. So requesting a blocked middle seat close to departure won’t increase its price.

You’re still reliant on BA to actually administer the benefit properly, which Head for Points says has been a mixed bag in the past. But it’s good to have a clear policy and benefit here, and at a relatively reasonable price.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Buying the middle seat next to you on BA should be considered upgrading, since that is essentially all “business class” in Europe is anymore.

  2. Just deplaned from a flight where I was squished in a middle seat between two overweight passengers. I wish United offered this option, much more valuable than a few inches of legroom.

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