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First two BA strike dates announced – and what you can do to prepare

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Unite has announced the first two strike dates for British Airways mixed fleet cabin crew – Sunday 25 December and Monday 26 December 2016.

The current plan is to operate all long haul services.  Services from Gatwick and London City will not be impacted at all.

The following short haul routes are at risk of cancellation on 25th and 26th:

British Airways

  • Aberdeen
  • Bergen
  • Belfast City
  • Bilbao
  • Bologna
  • Basel
  • Budapest
  • Dusseldorf
  • Gibraltar
  • Gothenburg
  • Hannover
  • Hamburg
  • Helsinki
  • Kiev
  • Krakow
  • St Petersburg
  • Lisbon
  • Luxembourg
  • Manchester
  • Paris Orly
  • Oslo
  • Prague
  • Pisa
  • Stuttgart
  • Stavanger
  • Venice
  • Vienna
  • Warsaw
  • Zagreb

Passengers booked on these routes currently have the option of:

requesting a refund for their flight, or

transferring to another BA flight on a different day or

flying to another city within 300 miles not on the list above

BA will not move you to a different airline at this stage.  That would only be an option when your flight is definitely cancelled.

The official guidance on rebooking can be found here.

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Comments (85)

  • Roger says:

    This coupled with baggage handlers strike can throw your Christmas travel plan in complete disarray.

    • Andy says:

      Plus the ongoing Southern Rail dispute means getting to Gatwick by rail can be difficult

      • John says:

        Actually Thameslink trains are running on time for the first time since GTR took over (not that FCC was particularly good). When they have to fight for paths with Southern there is basically no timetable.

        I guess that’s no use if you live in parts of Sussex that are far from a Thameslink station.

  • Mike says:

    We are booked to fly to Lisbon from Heathrow on the 26th.

    In a short while I’ll be phoning BA to see if we can move to the LGW-OPO flight as a precaution if the strike goes ahead. This will mean transfer from LHR and a train at the other end as we have to be in Lisbon on the 26th for a planned trip. Online BA only let me move dates, not routes.

    If that doesn’t work then LHR MAD, although Madrid is 313 miles from Lisbon so may have to rebook tickets, due to BA policy.

    I’m not sure if insurance covers any additional cost. I doubt it.

    • Steve says:

      Also interested if insurance will cover some cancellations costs. I have a non refundable hotel booking, not sure if Insurer’s will pay out on this?

      • Genghis says:

        All insurance is different. You need to get the policy doc out and read it!

  • Lee says:

    Anyone who is lazy and strikes over Christmas is just going to spend the day as an extra holiday.

    Make them stand outside the airport all day instead of having lunch with their families.

    Lazy people.

    You’ll have figured out that I am not a fan of strikers. Just sack ’em

    • C77 says:

      Yes. Got your message loud and clear. Again.

    • Leo says:


    • Ed says:

      Not lazy, misguided by the union IMO.

      Average full time MF main crew salary is £21k-£27k. Union says no crew earn over £18k, I know a few crew, all earn over £21k. Crew are unhappy about other aspects of the job, but the union only chose to ballot over pay?

    • JamesW says:

      I do agree that they should all have to go and picket the airport or BA HQ rather than use the time to watch Christmas movies and drink more (acquired) miniature spirits !!

  • Will P says:

    Do compensation rules apply or are strikes considered “out of their reasonable control”?

    • Alan says:

      Duty of care still applies (hotel, etc) but no compensation payments during industrial action (either ATC or airline).

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Really? So an airline has a dispute with their staff, for me thats not out of their control. Sure someone or a collective group of people will test that soon.

          • Simon Schus says:

            The wording there in the link is too vague.

            The CAA highlight that industrial strike is an extraordinary circumstance under EC261 when the strike is “unrelated to the airline such as, airport staff, ground handlers, or air traffic control”.


            I don’t think that the wording there constitutes airline staff strikes being an extraordinary circumstance (but might need to be challenged in court if the airline refuses).

            Saying that, the EU’s NEB did put together a non-binding list of extraordinary circumstances as guidance. The list has problems which you can search for background about yourselves. Here is the CAA version of the list:

            I think a case could quite easily be made for EC261 due to strikes made by BA staff (as opposed to Air Traffic Control staff, airport staff where a claim would be difficult). Indeed, I would argue that BA has got the staff to operate these flights even if the whole of the MF went on strike.

            I am aware that many will disagree with my interpretation, I am just suggesting that the “industrial strikes” is ambiguous when it pertains to airline staff (as opposed to ATC staff).

          • Simon Schus says:

            Further to my other comment, I am aware of Recital 14 of EC261 which reads that: extraordinary “circumstances may, in particular, occur in cases of political instability, meteorological conditions incompatible with the operation of the flight concerned, security risks, unexpected flight safety shortcomings and strikes that affect the operation of an operating air carrier.”

            The strikes wording is ambiguous and I still think that a challenge could be launched, especially as it is on the onus of the airline to prove that they did everything that could to reasonable avoid the issue. That BA has other cabin crew fleets (plus office staff who are trained as emergency cabin crew) that are not striking would, in my opinion, be really hard for them to argue that they couldn’t deal with this in advance. It is a court case that really should happen.

          • Simon Schus says:

            I think that the airlines would cling onto the “strike” wording in Recital 14. However, I don’t think they would really want it to go to a court case as they realise they could lose (there are some instances of Lufthansa paying out after their pilot strikes as a matter of “goodwill”). I will watch this with such interest, recognising that others will have different views and will interpret the words “strike” strictly and explicitly which is an appropriate choice.

  • Nick says:

    Where do you stand if like me you booked a BA holiday package in terms of rebooking a flight as we have a hotel booked aswell

  • Yuff says:

    Who was holding the gun when they signed their contract?

    • Dale says:

      Their families maybe, whom they support? There’s always a lot of moronic comment on this type of thread.

      • Callum says:

        That wasn’t remotely a moronic comment… You shouldn’t sign up to something you don’t like is a PERFECTLY valid argument which is logically sound.

    • Leo says:

      Are you not allowed aspirations that your circumstances might improve?

  • Cupoftea says:

    I used to work for BA and used to have to volunteer on the phones during strikes.
    Another thing worth considering in my experience is whether you’ll have access to cheap phone calls at your destination ( as if you have to phone up you might be on hold for an hour or so). If you won’t, and there’s someone at home who would be willing to do it for you, you can ring up now and ask to have them added to your booking as someone you’ve consented to have disclosure to. Due to data protection laws we were only allowed to deal with people named on the booking (either as a traveller or as the person who paid) and I used to get lots of calls from relatives who I wasn’t allowed to deal with.
    If you phone up and request it the agent can add a permission to disclose remark to the booking.

    • Anon says:

      Oxymoron ? 🙂

      “have to volunteer on the phones “

      • Cupoftea says:

        It’s the BA way – we used to be under a lot of pressure to volunteer to be shouted at for a few hours after our day job whenever there was bad weather/a strike/a volcanic eruption. I imagine the good will to volunteer on the phones will be zero these days – my department has been absolutely decimated by redundancies and the call centre I used to volunteer in is under threat of closure…..

    • John says:

      Some people (referring to the “relatives you aren’t allowed to deal with” are too honest…. :p

  • James67 says:

    They are all due a fair days pay for a fair days work. Anybody who believes IAG new contracts are fair reward to spend up to 15 hours in the air with a bunch of flatulent passengers every other day are kidding themselves. Sure, I’m sorry for the affected travellers and one day it may be me but I do wish to see the newer crew adequately rewarded as our safety and comfort depends on them.

    • Callum says:

      I’d say the objection most people have is that they accepted the conditions they’ll be working in when they signed up – if they don’t like it they shouldn’t have signed up.

      Though I’m hesitant to actually criticise strikes in general given they’re often the last fail-safe against an abusive employer.

      • John says:

        Agree in the case of BA and Southern, however not always the situation. For example, junior doctors only know the conditions they will be forced to accept 4-5 years after they have signed up (and the majority sign up at the age of 17).

        If they don’t wish to accept the conditions, they can never work as a doctor in the UK for the rest of their lives (that’s one of the conditions), and if they quit before completing the 8-15 years of training then they are again blacklisted from training in the UK.

      • Fenny says:

        And companies never change the t&c of employment? Our contracts changed last summer. Yes, we had the option not to sign and to leave.

        Everyone on here has had a damn good moan at how badly BA changes are affecting passengers. Do you think they are all sweetness and light to their employees? They are the people who have to deal with all the people in first complaining that they no longer get a starter or a fourth glass of whatever. And I pity the poor cabin crew who have to cope with Harry demanding his free food & drink for the 17 flights he’s got booked in the next 6 months.

      • James67 says:

        True, and I might well agree too if everybody was free to pick and choose any job they were qualified for any place they wanted. However, the harsh reality is that most people, for one reason or another, do not have free scope to pick and choose what they want or where that suits them best. Many people, perhaps even most, have a limited choice from which to choose and often must settle for what they can get. Furthermore, even when people sign an employment contract I think they can reasonably expect some improvement in their earnings over time, it is difficult to argue that anybody other than MPs and a few others have seen reasobable income growth since 2008.

    • Leo says:

      I agree James and I’m flying over New Year so may be effected. I still support them.

    • Ossie says:


      • Simon Schus says:

        Me too 🙂 we are flying over Xmas (in particular Xmas Day) and also New Years (the 2nd) so we will be affected if everything goes ahead. Indeed, we are connecting from MAN-LHR onto long-haul on one of the routes.

        I support the cabin crew in their dispute and their prerogative to call a strike. Good on them.

    • Michael m says:

      Here here! I was absolutely shocked at how low the wages are. Not good enough from BA considering the price of some of the tickets. I’m happy to pay a fair price for a fair service that I can be guaranteed the people serving me aren’t living in hardship, stressed and overworked.

      • John says:

        Maybe part of the “fair price” is buy-on-board short haul and expensive seat selection fees for non-status passengers.

      • MDM says:

        It does sound like you should be looking to fly exclusively on the ”Bleeding Heart Liberal Airlines”.

        We pay for transport tickets at full, and often exorbitant, rates. The politics of the Unions (be they hard-core communists or otherwise) and Transport companies (be they good or bad employers) have nothing to do with what we buy when we buy tickets.

        Nothing at all. Whether or not you are a Guardian reader. And whether or not I am a Mail or Telegraph reader!

        Please do keep political views / opinions out of these discussions – they are totally irrelevant.
        There are countless places for you to express them – here is not appropriate at all.
        thank you.

        • Ben says:

          Thanks for your input – but we’ll continue to discuss the wider politics of air travel on this pages, including difficult topics like unions, climate change and the economy. I couldn’t be less interested in the decor of the latest lounge but do – like all people who fly – have a responsibility for the impact of my choices on others.

          • MDM says:

            I very strongly suspect that many readers of HfP agree with me on this matter.

            And in any event this is not a forum as such and I do not see it is appropriate to disseminate your ultra-predictable and boring left-wing” liberalista” views here. It is my very long and widespread experiencing that people like yourself are anything but ”liberal” in their dogmas.

            But as it will no doubt make you feel important and happier (a relative term), I am bowing out of here w.e.f.

            And that will make me very happy as I shall not have to read political cr*p from people like you.


          • Rob says:

            I generally delete comments which may be deemed offensive to particular races or groups. I have let the comments here remain because they are a fair response to a situation which is going to cause substantial inconvenience to many people albeit for reasons many of us may see as valid. Whether the end justifies the means is a valid discussion point.

          • Aeronaut says:

            MDM seems to be suffering from an acute case of bad attitude.

      • jonjones says:

        I’d be interested to get a response from BA over what the average salary is. A lot of numbers have been thrown around, so it’s quite hard to gauge where the true average is. It seems that £12000 is the base, and £3 per elapsed hour after that. Most crews fly around 700 hours a year i believe so that’s £2100 extra = £14100. The hourly rate also includes time away from base (so longhaul, that is elapsed time from leaving LHR and then returning). Presumably that makes a reasonably big difference, but could be quite variable.

        • James67 says:

          If your estimates are in the right ball park then they are taking home roughly half the frequently reported average salary for the UK of ca.£28Kpa.

    • Louise says:

      I totally can see their reason for striking. 12K a year for working at a London airport? What does 12K get you when you have living expenses to cover? It’s a little more than gold-guilded zero-hours contract. Really appalling.

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