How much are pre booked flight seats?

pre booked flight seatsMany people ask what the cost is to purchase pre booked flight seats, or is it even worth pre booking them.  Most airlines do not make it easy to find out the cost before you make the flight booking and there are not that many websites that will show you the cost of seats in 1 simple table.

I’ve put together a list below of the UK’s major charter and low cost airlines to help you see at a glance the prices of pre booked seats with Thomson, Thomas Cook, Ryanair etc.

The cost of pre booked flight seats

AirlineStandard SeatsExtra Legroom SeatsFront Row Seats
Aer Lingus€10€20€14
Air Canada$40n/an/a
British Airways - BA£40£100n/a
Thomas Cook£20£30n/a
Thomson - TUI£15£25£24

Is it worth booking flight seats?

If your travelling with family, friends or in a large party, and you want to sit together, it’s probably best you pre-book your flight seats.

If you don’t want to pay extra to pre book them, the best advice is to check-in as early as possible and select your seats. Most airlines check-in opens between 30 days and 24 hours before you fly.

How to pre-book flight seats?

Most airlines will offer you the chance to pre-book your seat when your booking your flight. If you’re booking through a travel agent, just ask them to add this on for you.

You can always login to the airlines manage my booking area to select and pay for your seat or call them. Some airlines also offer you free or charge seat selections at check in. These can usually be booked 24 hours before your fly.

Pre booked flight seats by Airline

Aer Lingus

Aer lingus now offer 4 choices of flight seats when travelling in Europe. Standard seats, choice seats (first 7 rows), exit seats & on certain flights (Malaga & Faro) they have lie flat beds. You can pre-book during your flight booking, login to manage my trip or when you check-in for your flight.

British Airways – BA

Prices start from £14 return for a European flight and from £40 for an International long haul flight. You can select your seat free of charge when check-in opens, 24 hours before departure.


You can choose from standard seats, extra legroom seats or front row. Seats can be pre booked when you are booking your flight, or added on later via manage my booking.


You can book seats free at check-in. Alternatively, pre booked seats in Economy cost £40. You cannot pre-book extra legroom seats. This can only be done at the airport. Business & First class passengers get free seat selections.


Just fly ticket holders will have to pay to select their seats. Get more passengers will get free standard seat selection, whereas All in passengers can choose standard or extra legroom seats, free of charge.

Like all low cost airlines, let you book seats when your booking your flight or add them on after.


Monarch airlines were one of the first to offer pre booked flight seats online. A few of Monarch aircraft have the first 1-10 rows blocked out, just for extra legroom seats. You can book them online or over the phone.


Low fare tickets mean you have to pay for your standard or extra legroom seat. All other fare types offer this service free of charge.


With Ryanair, you can book standard seats, priority seats (skip the queue and guarantee overhead luggage space) or priority boarding with extra legroom.

Thomas Cook

The seat pitch (how much legroom you have) differs depending on the aircraft Thomas Cook use. Again, you can choose from standard seats or extra legroom. Pre booking is easily done online.

Thomson – TUI

Thomas use many different airlines on their website, and charge for seats accordingly. You can choose from standard or extra legroom seats.


Virgin allow you to choose your seat, for a fee, nearly a year in advance. 331 days to be precise. Check in opens 24 hours before departure, and you can select your seat for free.

If you’ve got any other airlines you’d like me to add or if the prices have changes, please let me know

*The prices and charges are a minimum from price, based on a 2 hour return shorthaul flight (economy / standard) travelling to Europe in 2017 from the UK and are correct as of 19th May 2017. Longer flights or destinations, may increase in cost. Please always check the exact cost with the airline or your travel agent before pre booking flight seats. Virgin, BA & Air Canada are based on trans-atlantic flights and Emirates is based on the London to Dubai route.