A Guide to British Airways Fees

Here's what it will cost for some of the fees that could be added to your fare, and how to avoid them.

Dustin WallerNovember 16, 2020
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A guide to British Airways fees

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If you’re not careful, airline fees can really add up. If you’re planning on traveling British Airways anytime soon, know before you book what the fees are for checked bags, ticket changes, redepositing miles and selecting seats. Here is your guide to fees when flying on British Airways.

Not all bags fly free

The number and size of bags you can bring on a British Airways flight without incurring a charge depends on the flying class and your status level.

By ticket type

  • Basic economy: No free checked bag.

  • Standard economy: One free checked bag.

  • Premium economy: Two free checked bags.

  • Business class: Two heavier checked bags up to 70.5 pounds (32 kilograms) each.

  • First class: Three heavier checked bags up to 70.5 pounds (32 kilograms) each.

Size and weight limits for bags

Here are the size and weight restrictions for your bags when you fly British Airways:

  • Hand or laptop bags can weigh up to 51 pounds (23 kilograms) and can measure up to 16 inches by 12 inches by 6 inches (40 centimeters x 30 centimeters x 15 centimeters).

  • Cabin bags (carry-on luggage) can weigh up to 51 pounds (23 kilograms) and measure up to 22 inches by 18 inches by 10 inches (56 centimeters x 45 centimeters x 25 centimeters).

  • Checked luggage can be up to 51 pounds (23 kilograms) and measure 35 inches by 30 inches by 17 inches (90 centimeters x 75 centimeters x 43 centimeters).

Baggage above the weight limit could be subject to a charge of $100. Bags over 70.5 pounds (32 kilograms) cannot be checked.

Elites get more bags free

British Airways’ frequent flyer program, Executive Club, offers four different levels of status: Blue, Bronze, Silver and Gold.

Silver members can check two bags for free, up to 70.5 pounds each (32 kilograms), in economy, excluding basic economy, for every person in your booking.

Gold members get an additional free checked bag when booking any class, except basic economy, for bags up to 70.5 pounds (32 kilograms). This applies to everyone on your booking.

How much you’ll pay for extra bags

If you need to check more luggage than is allowed by your cabin fare class, you can pay a fee online or you can pay at the airport, which costs more.

Online, you’ll pay $90 for a second checked bag and $170 each for your third and fourth bags. At the airport, you’ll pay $100 for your second bag and $200 for your third and fourth bags.

If you need to travel with extra bags, check fares for the next-higher cabin of service. It’s possible that you could move up and use that bag allowance for less than you would pay in extra bag fees.

Traveling with strollers, medical equipment and other items

If you are flying with children, you can check two of the following items:

  • Fully collapsible stroller.

  • Car seat or booster seat.

  • Travel cot.

  • Baby back carrier.

British Airways doesn’t have weight requirements or charge fees for heavy medical equipment that is above standard allowances. This includes wheelchairs and equipment to help mobility. But bring a letter from your doctor if you need to travel with medical supplies like heavy equipment, liquids or syringes.

Fees for changing your ticket

If you’ve already booked your flight but need to change your itinerary, the fees you’ll pay depend on whether you bought your ticket using cash or Avios, the currency of British Airways’ frequent flyer program.

Change and booking fees for flights booked with Avios

If you want to redeem Avios for a flight over the phone instead of online, you’ll pay a $25 service fee. If you need to change your award flight or cancel and have your Avios redeposited into your account, the fee is $55 plus a $25 service fee. These fees apply to flights originating in the U.S.

If you have Gold status or higher with British Airways, you won’t have to pay a fee to change award flights.

Change fees for cash tickets

Normally, changes to nonrefundable tickets you purchased in cash can incur hefty fees that vary depending on your cabin, route and other variables. In response to the pandemic, British Airways is waiving fees to change your date or destination on a ticket booked March 3, 2020, or later for travel completed by Aug. 31, 2021. If your new itinerary costs more, you’ll pay the difference.

After Aug. 31, you can use British Airways’ calculator to get an estimate of how much it will cost to change your ticket.

Fees for selecting your seat at booking

Unless you booked a basic economy, you can choose your seat for free when you check in for your flight. If you want to select your seats sooner, you’ll have to pay a fee that varies by ticket but can exceed $100 each way in business class. Basic economy holders normally have their seat assigned by the airline at check-in, but they can pay either at time of booking or at check-in to select a seat, with fees varying by itinerary.

The bottom line

Each airline has its own fees for checked bags and ticket changes. Knowing these fees before you book can help you avoid unexpected costs or budget for expenses you know you'll need to incur. As always, plan ahead and research the airline's website for specifics related to your flight and situation.

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