British Airways is about to begin charging for the privilege of an advance seat assignment more than 24 hours in advance.  To be clear (and fair), BA hasn’t been offering advance seat assignments for most passengers.  The good news, now you can get an advance seat assignment.  The bad news, you’re gonna pay for it….even if you paid thousands for a business class ticket.   $90 dollars per segment, even in business class, unless you buy the walk-up business fare.  Connecting in London to get to the continent?  Yep, you’ll pay even more.  They have plans to charge $30 dollars for advance seat assignments in economy and $75 dollars for exit row seating.

I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again, I do not oppose airlines charging for items that can legitimately be considered as a “plus up” to the core product.  And as I said, BA has previously not offered advance seat assignments to most passengers.  But something about this one, especially the business class fee, where one can still pay thousands even if flying on a discount fare, just doesn’t pass the smell test.

The full skinny isn’t out on this new program yet, but its sure to be fodder for comedians, airline-haters, journalists, and bloggers.  And as far as I’m concerned, a gigantic incentive to fly someone else, especially if you are flying beyond London.  There are any number of alternatives out there, and I’d surely pick one of those over paying this fee unless I was really in love with the thought of flying BA.

Hat tip to Joe Brancatelli for scooping this info in his Friday newsletter.

Edited to Add:  There’s a really good summary of these new fees over at The Global Traveler.

Edited to Add x 2:  Here’s a link to BA’s website detailing who pays and who doesn’t.