British Airways is to increase the number of seats available for online check-in as it attempts to encourage more travellers to use its website and reduce congestion in airports.
From 5 December BA has promised to “substantially” boost the availability of seats for passengers, with only First Class, Gold and Silver Executive, and special groups of travellers such as families with young children, given pre-assigned seats.
The airline will introduce improved aircraft seat maps on BA.com to illustrate up-to-date availability for each flight.
Users will also be shown where emergency exit seats are located as well as toilets, infant cots and crew areas.
The new push for online booking follows the re-launch of BA.com two weeks ago and is part of a wider strategy to ease throughput at airports.
BA wants a substantial increase in the number of passengers checking in online ahead of its move to the new Terminal Five facility at London Heathrow Airport.
The new structure has been designed specifically to cater for a switch to online check-in, BA.com general manager Carsten Willert told delegates at the recent Travolution@WTM conference in London.
BA head of marketing and distribution, Tiffany Hall, said: “We recognise that our customers want to choose where they sit on the aircraft during their flight and we want to give people the control to make this selection themselves during the check-in process.
“With the popularity of on-line check-in growing we have seen an opportunity to improve our global seating procedures and provide customers with a simple, clear and dynamic way to choose the best seat available.”