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Pre-booking seats with Virgin

(35 Posts)
TheGreenTriangle Thu 14-Jan-16 09:00:35

Hi, does anyone know about the pre-booking seat costs with Virgin?

Last year, I helped book a long haul flight and as soon as it was bought (several months in advance), you could choose your seat in economy at no extra cost. (Except for extra leg room seats, extra charge for those as usual.)

This year I've bought long haul tickets for March and so far Virgin are wanting to charge for all the seat choices in economy, normal (£25 / seat) and extra leg room (£50 / seat) seats. Obviously their policy has changed since last year.

My question is, in the hope that anyone knows, will there be a charge-free choice of seats when checking in time comes round? Or does Virgin always charge passengers if they want to choose for themselves? I can't afford the extra cost of ensuring we all sit together, so just want to know what my chances of being allocated seats together might be... TIA.

expatinscotland Thu 14-Jan-16 09:05:35

You won't be able to know what your chances of being sat together are if you don't pre-book because it will depend on how full the flight is. If you want to sit together, you need to pre-book. I'd count on not sitting together if I had not pre-booked seats.

TheGreenTriangle Thu 14-Jan-16 09:11:53

Yes expat I think you're right. Got a spare £150 for me? grin I hate this new charge!!!

SoupDragon Thu 14-Jan-16 09:16:20

You need to look on their website to see when you will be able to choose seats - it might be 24 hours before when you can check in online or it might be 3 days before if you are travelling with small children (this used to be the case with BA anyway)

Did you have an under 2 last year? It used to be the case (again, with BA) that you could choose seats free when travelling with an infant.

TheGreenTriangle Thu 14-Jan-16 09:24:19

Just checked their website in between posts, extracting from their spiel, I think the only charge-free period is the 24 hours of check-in. Unless you're a member of this or that club/scheme hmm , which I'm not.

No kids last year, flying with teens this year. Might be nicer for me if I didn't have to sit with them actually... grin . Thanks.

newpup Thu 14-Jan-16 09:50:13

Virgin now operates a policy of charging to pre-book any seat in advance. I think you can request seats when you check in but as most people will have paid to pre-book, not sure what the chances of getting seats you want would be. In the Summer we travelled to the USA with Virgin and a cheeky woman on the plane was trying to sit her children in my seat so they were across the aisle from her, I explained that we had paid extra to prebook those seats , £150 extra as they were extra legroom. She still was making a fuss and couldn't see why I would not let her have them! It was a very uncomfortable situation. :-(

MarmiteAndButter Thu 14-Jan-16 09:56:39

Now I know this! Join their rewards card miles thingie. It doesn't matter if you don't fly with them much, but if you are a family, you get free booking 48 hours before the flight, so before anyone else even. So presuming you have kids, you're sorted!

ajandjjmum Thu 14-Jan-16 10:06:08

With BA - even as an exec. club member - you can't choose your seats unless you're in First.

(And if you're in First, they may downgrade you anyway, so the seat selection doesn't count - bitter - me?!!!)

I've just had to pay over £350 to make sure that the four of us are sat together on a BA flight in the summer.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 14-Jan-16 11:02:37

Aj,

Re your comment:-
"With BA - even as an exec. club member - you can't choose your seats unless you're in First".

Who told you that, I ask only as that has not been my experience at all with making a seat selection through their online booking system.

From BAs website:-
Membership of the Executive Club, and equivalent oneworld partner frequent flyer programmes, includes seat selection at certain tiers:

•Gold Members (oneworld Emerald) – free seat selection from the time of booking for everyone in your travel party (except on hand baggage only fares).

•Silver Members (oneworld Sapphire) – free seat selection from the time of booking for everyone on your booking (except on hand baggage only fares and not including exit row or bulkhead seats on longhaul flights).

•Bronze Members (oneworld Ruby) – free seat selection from seven days before departure for everyone on your booking (except on hand baggage only fares and not including exit row or bulkhead seats on longhaul flights).

•Blue Members – free seat selection from 24 hours before departure when check-in opens (except on hand baggage only fares

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 14-Jan-16 11:07:41

VA now like BA before them charge for seat selection; its basically another revenue stream for them. Free seat selection now only comes into play 24 hours before the flight departs.

ajandjjmum Thu 14-Jan-16 12:21:43

Because I'm a mere Blue Member Attila - so the basic membership actually counts for nothing.

BA really don't care about their customers in my experience - although I find the majority of their flight crew superb.

Chilliandbanana Thu 14-Jan-16 12:21:53

We flew virgin long haul in October and did not pay to pre book seats. There were 9 of us in our party and we all sat together. We just chose our seats in the 24 hr check in period.

Mothersruin75 Fri 15-Jan-16 15:12:46

We've booked long haul with BA, could prebook our seats at the time of booking as travelling with infant. We booked the first bassinet seat to be taken but can't all sit together due to the configuration of the plane (which is fine - well fine for DH who is across the aisle from me and 2DC!). Went to alter our booking yesterday to add a child meal for DD and saw we've been kicked out of our bassinet seat and there's no more available on our return night flight. So even if you prebook your seat there's no guarantee you'll get them. We've now upgraded to Premium Economy for that flight and we've got a bassinet again. If I get moved from here I will not be responsible for my actions. On the plus side if we're moved away from bassinet in PE at least we have a bit more personal space to cope with DS on lap.

ajandjjmum Fri 15-Jan-16 15:26:30

Mothersruin
Don't expect BA to care - they really don't!
Hope when it comes you have an uneventful flight.

AlisonWunderland Fri 15-Jan-16 15:31:50

I wouldn't bother pre-booking seats.
According to a few MNers, you can just ask to use someone else's prebooked seat...
wink

Mothersruin75 Fri 15-Jan-16 15:49:56

Ajandjmum no BA really didn't care when I phoned them! I used to travel a lot with them many moons ago in a different life and was a Gold card, 7k a ticket business traveller. Funny they couldn't do enough for me then. It sticks in your throat that now I'm travelling with a lively infant and could do with a bit of help they couldn't give a toss as all our flights haven't come to a third of what my work tickets used to.

expatinscotland Fri 15-Jan-16 20:11:20

BA are pricks. With teens? I'd not bother pre-booking. I do it, only for long-haul, which are always KLM, only because my son has autism and I'm on my own with him and his elder sister.

SushiAndTheBanshees Fri 15-Jan-16 20:13:30

Call them and ask?

TheWomanInTheWall Fri 15-Jan-16 20:15:16

" It sticks in your throat that now I'm travelling with a lively infant and could do with a bit of help they couldn't give a toss as all our flights haven't come to a third of what my work tickets used to."

Mmm - but you can see their point, no?

Perhaps a Gold card traveller has booked the bassinet seat for their child.

ajandjjmum Fri 15-Jan-16 21:30:54

That is immoral TheWoman if they have already sold it to someone else. It's like saying gazumping is acceptable, because it's more commercially viable to the vendor.

They should have standards in the way they treat their customers across the board, and dumping people when it suits them is not a high enough standard in my opinion.

Who's to say that one day Mothersruin won't again be a gold card holder - and I'm damned sure that if that is the case she'll be happy to look at other options that BA. Who can blame her?!!

Doilooklikeatourist Fri 15-Jan-16 21:35:12

I paid £50 ( 2x £25 ) to book 2 seats together in economy ( I wanted to make sure DH and I could sit together on our first holiday without children )
It's free to book 24 hours before departure , but for this trip , for us it was worth paying

Bunbaker Fri 15-Jan-16 21:39:42

"I think the only charge-free period is the 24 hours of check-in."

Yes, that's right. The charge free option is only 24 hours beforehand, but it is risky.

When DD and I flew with Jet2 in October I wasn't going to pre-book seats until I decided to check the seating situation online about a week before our flight. There were about 6 unbooked seats left, and all but two were at opposite ends of the plane. AS DD suffers quite badly from social anxiety I didn't want us to be so far apart so I had to pay to book seats together.

I have just booked our Virgin extra legroom seats this evening at £35 per person each way. For a 9 hour flight for two people with long legs I think it is worth it.

TheWomanInTheWall Fri 15-Jan-16 21:58:03

Aj

"We've booked long haul with BA, could prebook our seats at the time of booking as travelling with infant. "

It doesn't say that she paid extra for this option so I think it's wrong to say it was sold. Somewhere in the T&Cs it will say seat allocations are provisional and depend on operational needs - if a plane type is changed, for example, there may suddenly be fewer bassinet positions.

And - yeah, one day she might be gold again, and if it was a toss up between her and someone with blue status who'd never had gold, she might win, but it's surely good business sense to offer current bronze/silver/gold members priority.

TheWomanInTheWall Fri 15-Jan-16 22:02:08

And 7k per ticket vs 2k for a family's worth of tickets... No one gazumps by more than 5x! And if they did, you'd have to be pretty darn crazy to turn it down!

WiIdfire Fri 15-Jan-16 22:14:16

I just booked a bassinet seat for a long flight. The lady on the helpdesk who did it, said that the person who had already booked that seat didn't say they wanted it for the bassinet position, so she would move them.

I'm pretty sure they had chosen that seat for some reason though. They're going to be cross aren't they?

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