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Which Airlines Let You Choose Your Seat for Free?

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Cancellation Protection
Trusted Choice
  • Rated 4.5 Stars. Based on 3,581 service ratings over the past year
  • Dedicated customer service team on hand to help
  • Secure payments

Airlines With Free Seat Selection

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Top Tips

Many airlines will scaremonger you into purchasing seats before you've checked in for your flight, but, did you know, once you've checked in, it's highly likely that you'll be sat with your friends or family anyway? 

Most airlines (apart from Ryanair) will allocate your seats together once online check-in has opened, often 24 hours before your departure. The key is to make sure that you check in as soon as possible after check-in has opened so as to avoid disappointment and be sat together free of charge.

Sometimes there are special fares or add-ons which may allow you to get a 'free' seat but it's important to be wary that in some cases booking things separately may be cheaper.


Which Airlines Offer Free Seat Selection?

Qatar Airways

If you book an Economy fare with Qatar Airways you're able to book a seat for free at the time of booking. This takes the added stress away from waiting until check-in opens and scrambling to book seats next to your loved ones.


Japan Airlines

Japan Airlines also offer passengers who book an Economy fare the option to book free seat selection at the time of booking.


Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic provide a slightly different service for free seat selection. Only customers who purchase hold luggage as part of their booking are entitled to free seat selection before the check-in is opened.


British Airways

Customers who book with British Airways will be entitled to free seat selection once they have checked in a hold bag. Free seat selection is only permitted after check-in has opened.


Check out our guide on how to book airline seats here and be clued up and ready for when check-in opens.


What if I don't pre-book my seat?

If you decide not to pre-book seating before your flight, not to worry. If sitting next to the other people in your booking doesn't bother you and you're not fussed about the window seat then the system will automatically assign a seat to you. 


What are the best seats on the plane?

Seats that are considered to be some of the best on board the aircraft are typically those which people can exit the quickest. These seats may be in the aisle, exit rows or nearest the front so exiting the plane is quick and easy.


Can I get a first-class seat for free?

The chances of being given a first-class seat if you haven't paid for it, for free, is quite unlikely, however, not impossible. When checking in at the airport its always a good idea to ask the assistant if there are any spare seats going in the other fares. It's always worth an ask!


Can I book my seats with Alternative Airlines?

Yes! During the time of booking, you're able to book your seats with Alternative Airlines. Scroll down the booking page until you see the 'Seat Selection' tool, at this stage, you have the option to view the interactive seat map and decide where you would like to be seated. Once the seats have been selected you can then view them in 'My Account'.

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