UPDATE: Thanks to the commenter below, it does seem that the fee only applies if you want to pick seats more than a day in advance. I was able to change seats today without paying. So apologies for the rant below, which I am leaving for historical reference.
Now I am dealing with reduced baggage allowance. This is the first time we are flying across the Atlantic with only one free bag permitted and a max weight of 23 kilos instead of 32. I am not bitching about this as it seems that we can fit into the new rules, although we are buying a new bag to consolidate two smaller bags into one....
On Monday we are off to Finland for Christmas vacation. Normally we drive up to New York and take the direct flight to Helsinki via Finnair.
However, this time the wife wanted to avoid the drive to and from New York. We could fly up to New York and then take the Finnair flight, but it is better to get on an international flight, this way you are changing planes closer to the midpoint of the trip, if for no reason other than a distraction for the kids. So we decided to take British Airways for a change. I used to use BA all the time but stopped after they uncovered the liquid bomb attack threat. I stopped going through London not for fear of a terror attack, but just to avoid going through a higher level of security check than faced in the US. (For a while they banned carry-ons, and I prefer to keep my camera equipment out of the luggage compartment)
So far going with BA this time around has been nothing but a hassle, and I have yet to even get to the airport. First, my Aunt wanted to gift us some of her BA points and upgrade us to Business as a Christmas present. But since we did not buy our tickets directly from BA, our tickets were not eligible for an upgrade. Fine, so be it. If those are the rules they have, lesson learned. (One reason my Aunt wanted to gift us points was because she was having a difficult time trying to use them.)
Now I was looking at our seats this evening and to my surprise BA wants to charge $30 a seat to change seats on the Atlantic portion of the trip and another $15 to change seats on our connecting flight. That would come out to $180 to change our seats and I suspect another $180 to do the same thing for the return flight. Fine, if this is what they want to do, so be it. Lesson learned.
I will admit that this is a pretty neat cash generator for BA. I never could figure out how they assigned seats and how best to request a window seat, which is where I prefer to sit. It always seemed like a hassle with BA to request a specific area where to sit. Oddly enough, half the time I did, I ended up not only with a better seat but one in a better class. That was one reason to switch back to BA. But now I am not so sure anymore. I am going to think twice before booking another flight with them. Especially since I think that knowing that I prefer a window seat BA will intentionally put me in a seat most likely to encourage me to 'upgrade' to a different seat.
Something tells me that BA still has other unpleasant surprises in store for my family and I when we do ship out Monday. So far, they have been a huge dissappointment.....