Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: How can we ensure our family will sit together on a BA flight?

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Q We are a family of five, and we are booked to fly on the new BA flight from Gatwick to Tenerife next year. I say we should pay extra to pre-book seats together. My husband says we don't need to. Who's right?

Anne Jones, London

A You both are. If you want to be absolutely sure that the Jones family will sit together, all in the same row, then you would need to pay a total of £50 each way to book seats in advance (this fee is waived for the whole family if one of the passengers is an infant under 2). But British Airways also provides, free of charge, a pre-allocation service for families: “If you decide not to reserve your seats in advance, we'll do it for you five days before departure,” says the airline.

BA does not guarantee that you will all sit together: “If you can't be seated together, we'll make sure each child is seated with an adult from your group.” But in my experience of flying en famille with BA, you can be confident that you will be allocated seats either in the same row or in adjacent rows.

Even if you are not allocated seats together, fellow passengers will always help to ensure families are not separated. On a flight earlier this year on Tunisair, I was travelling in a family group of five, including two young children. We were allocated random seats in different rows scattered the length of the plane. With a bit of shuffling around, everyone ended up happy.

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