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BA seat reservation charges 'may not affect backpacking travelers'

The introduction of optional seat reservation charges by British Airways (BA) may not be "bad news" for backpacking travelers, according to one industry commentator.

James Fremantle, the Air Transport Users Council industry affairs manager, stated in recent days that as long as the service is optional, then it need not necessarily impact on a person's travel budget.

"You can still reserve your seat for free up to 24 hours before booking. As long as you've got that, then passengers haven't got much of a problem as it is an additional service on top," he noted.

Mr Fremantle suggested that the move - which is due to the be implemented on 7th October 2009 - might affect families more than lone travelers as seats could be snapped up earlier, meaning groups cannot sit together unless they are willing to pay to do so.

However, he concluded by stating that it is not surprising that the decision to bring in the charges was made as other airlines have been offering additional services for an optional charge for some time.

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