Virgin Atlantic is to start charging passengers £25 ($40.71) to reserve their seat in advance.

The new fee will come into place on the Gatwick to Las Vegas service from April next year and will be applied to customers wishing to specify their seat more than 24 hours in advance.

That would mean a passenger on a return flight to Las Vegas would have to pay £50 ($81.42) to guarantee their choice of seats in both directions.

Seat reservation will remain free of charge for those choosing where to sit less than 24 hours before take-off.

The same charge will be introduced on services flying to Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Australia from the beginning of May.

Customers on all remaining routes will be charged for selecting their seat from June 1, with the Britain to Tokyo route remaining exempt.

Passengers will be able to reserve their seat at the time of booking up to 336 days in advance.

On the Virgin Atlantic website, it says: “If you already have a seat selected for a flight that departs either before or after 01 April 2014 you will be able to keep it.”

The fee will not apply to unaccompanied minors nor to disabled passengers. It will also only be levied on passengers using Virgin’s long-haul services, with seat selection on the Little Red domestic services remaining free.

BA also charges passengers to reserve their seats in advance.

Last month, Ryanair also announced all its flights would have allocated seating from February, after easyJet moved to the same system.

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