Hahaha, they may have us on national health care, but even in its current crappy, decrepit, abusive condition, America's airline industry is still ahead of the Brits on some things.
British Airways announced they'd start charging passengers £10-60 [$16- $(6x16)] for advance seat assignments, or as Cory calls it, a "fly next to your children fee." Seats can be selected 4-10 days in advance, as opposed to the current 24 hours.
I don't fly BA, so I have no idea, but I have to laugh at the ghetto third worldliness of an airline that already wasn't letting you pick your seat when you bought your ticket. Also, I have to assume that none of this fee nonsense applies to Executive Club members.
Ah, here it is: Executive Club Gold members: no fees. Silver members only pay if they want the emergency exit row. Also still able to choose advance seats for free: "Customers traveling with infants."
New Seating Policy from 7 October 2009 [britishairways.com]