I'm be flying from AUS to LHR via British Airways and was looking into selecting my Premium Economy seats. Here are the available seats from that flight:

enter image description here

As can be seen in this picture rows 17-21 are outlined in gray. I assume those are the Premium Economy seats. What is row 16 for? I'd expect business and first to be cordoned off so I'm guessing it's neither of those.

This is of some relevance because I usually do two carry-ons. One goes in the overheard compartments and one goes underneath the seat in front of me. If there's a barrier in front of me cordoning off Premium Economy from Business or First or whatever I'd just as soon not be in that seat, since I'd then have to put both my bags in the overheard compartments.

The image makes it look like these barriers are in front of row 16 but if row 16 isn't Premium Economy I'd kinda expect the barriers to be in front of row 17, in spite of the way the picture depicts them.

  • neubert, can you state whether your ticket (the main ticket you are paying for) is "Premium Economy" or "Economy".
    – Fattie
    Jun 17, 2017 at 16:07
  • @Fattie - I paid for Premium Economy. The email says "Prem E". I paid $500 extra for the trip to LHR and the return trip from LHR to do Premium Economy vs regular Economy.
    – neubert
    Jun 17, 2017 at 16:09
  • 3
    British Airways reserves bulkhead seats for potential families travelling that need a bassinet (baby basket) - these are generally released for general selection 48-72 hours before departure.
    – user29788
    Jun 17, 2017 at 16:10
  • @Fattie - if you want to post that as an answer I'll mark it as such!
    – neubert
    Jun 17, 2017 at 16:12
  • To add to my earlier comment - they do this in Business as well, and there are no options to pay extra for that bulkhead seat, its just unavailable until a few days prior to the flight. BA would rather block them than have to move someone if a family needs the seat for a baby basket.
    – user29788
    Jun 17, 2017 at 16:15

2 Answers 2


I believe that everything you see in that image is in fact all of premium economy.

("Economy" is large and starts behind Premium Economy; Economy is not at all shown on your screen. Your screen shows only, and all of, Premium Economy.)

What you are seeing with the prices, $62 etc is the latest airline scam - after buying your ticket you can pay even more for a supposedly "better" seat - but that's strictly meaning within your section.

Furthermore notice in fact they ALL have prices: this is the latest variation of that scam: you have to pay for any known reserved seat selection.

My personal advice about the whole "pay for seats" idea is to forget it and just take the seat you get (for "free") on the day. (A fascinating point: when you take part in the "pay for a seat" scam, they are actually not even really guaranteed.)

{You ask about row 16, it's just the family row with baby-holders. BA's policy seems to change from time to time, and I'm sure it depends on the route / equipment. I once booked and got one of those even though I was traveling alone without my children. It looks like on this particular flight/interface you are not allowed/able to book them - it's unlikely you would want to anyway.}

Note too: the last I flew with them (it changes all the time), BA has a confusing system where you can pay to select a specific seat (just as you show) but I think when it comes to 24? 12? hours before hand, you can then pick one ("of those remaining") for free. And indeed when you simply arrive and book in you can just pick one of the remaining.

{On top of all that, a couple of times I've just complained bitterly/politely at check in that I have a "sore leg" (I mean, I did have a sore leg) so I "needed to" sit on the aisle - and they just shuffled things around so I did.}

But wait - do you know about this site and it's competitor sites:


it will give you total information on the topic you are asking about. On truly long flights (and that's you!) it's worth having a look sometimes.

  • 1
    This doesn't actually answer the question as posed - why is row 16 not included in the highlighted selection... it just comes across as a rant.
    – user29788
    Jun 17, 2017 at 16:18
  • Hi Moo, the question as posed is in the title, also I just mentioned that in an edit.
    – Fattie
    Jun 17, 2017 at 16:19
  • 1
    The title of this post has no question, its a statement... the only question asked is in the second paragraph, and its about row 16. Your answer still comes across as a rant about airline pricing policies with a bit tacked on about the real question...
    – user29788
    Jun 17, 2017 at 16:26
  • It's not a scam. What BA found was that people buying cheap tickets months in advance were taking all the "best" seats. Then when their best customers (those who buy tickets a few days before travel dozens of times a year), turn up, there are no good seats left. So BA makes seat selection free to oneworld Emeralds and Sapphires, high volume corporate customers, and those on full Y/W/J fares. In the original plan, no one else could have chosen a seat until check in; but now you can pay if you really want. I am told the policy wins BA a lot more business than it loses.
    – Calchas
    Jun 18, 2017 at 10:26

Row 16 is blocked off from seat selection because British Airways reserves those seats in case of families needing baby baskets - if they remain unselected by an airline agent for that purpose, they are released for selection 48-72 hours prior to the flight.

BA do this for Business bulkhead seats as well, its not just Economy or Premium Economy, and selecting that seat costs nothing in addition to any of the other seat prices, you just have to wait for them to be released.

  • BA reserves the front row of every cabin for its Gold Card holders until 72 hours or so before hand (I think, the lunchtime three days before the flight London time). If you have a BA Gold or a BA Premier card travelling in your party, it is possible to select these seats. In First class, the rule is stronger (only an actual Gold or Premier can choose the first row in advance, having one in your party is not enough). For others (including non-BA emeralds) the seats will appear as not available. In the case of bassinets, only the bassinet seat itself is blocked, not those around it.
    – Calchas
    Jun 18, 2017 at 10:32

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