CANCELLED (updated 20/9): British Airways pilot strike on 27th September is called off in a bizarre BALPA move

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If you are holding an industrial dispute – or indeed any sort of dispute – standing your ground is one of the keys to success.  Once you are seen as weak, your opponent realises that it has the upper hand.

I mention this because it was my gut reaction to the announcement that the British Airways pilot union, BALPA, has called off the strike on 27th September.

The reason for cancelling the strike is bizarre.  It is NOT because British Airways has returned to the negotiating table.  BALPA claims that it has cancelled the strike because BA is NOT willing to negotiate, which makes zero sense to me.

What is BALPA expecting now?  That British Airways will be rushing back to negotiations?  I’m not so sure.

British Airways strike off

British Airways has now reinstated a percentage of its schedule for 27th September.  If you had been transferred to another flight, either on BA on a different day or on another airline, you have the option of moving back.  If you accepted a refund, British Airways can rebook you for the price you originally paid.  What BA cannot do, of course, is move you back if you took a refund and then paid to rebook on another airline.

Who knows where this goes now?  This is the full announcement from BALPA:

The British Airline Pilots Association has today called off the next strike scheduled for 27th September in the dispute between British Airways and its pilots.
BALPA said the strikes on 9th and 10th September had demonstrated the anger and resolve of pilots. It was now time for a period of reflection before the dispute escalates further and irreparable damage is done to the brand.
BALPA hopes BA will now change its approach and negotiate seriously with a view to ending this dispute.
BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton, said:
“Someone has to take the initiative to sort out this dispute and with no sign of that from BA the pilots have decided to take the responsible course. In a genuine attempt at establishing a time out for common sense to prevail, we have lifted the threat of the strike on the 27th September.
“BA passengers rightly expect BA and its pilots to resolve their issues without disruption and now is the time for cool heads and pragmatism to be brought to bear. I hope BA and its owner IAG show as much responsibility as the pilots.”
Should BA refuse meaningful new negotiations, BALPA retains the right to announce further strike dates.

You can keep up to date with the strike news on this page of

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  1. Paul Pogba says:

    Could the flying of empty planes be the reason they’ve cancelled? The pilots get paid but BA have shelled out in refunds and re-bookings. Rinse and repeat.

  2. IndiaCharlie says:

    Mrs IC had her LHR-PRG flight cancelled on 28th and rescheduled for a (actually more convenient) LCY departure on 29th. we had to book a hotel which I’ve put in the claim for so hope they’ll still pay up!

  3. Wonder if flights get reinstated, will passengers who have been re-routed and choose to stay on their new booking are still entitled to original routing credit?

  4. Carrot and very large stick is what springs to my mind, not bizarre..

  5. Derek Scott says:

    I suspect BALPA had done this deliberately to mess BA around now that they’ve cancelled so many flights. It actually does indicate that BA won’t know the next move, which sort of does give BALPA an edge, as it’s now in an unpredictable position. I think this could get nasty

  6. The Savage Squirrel says:

    Tactics? BA either have the choice with the next strike of moving passengers early in which case BALPA can cancel again as the purpose of the strike (inflict pain on employer) has been achieved without the personal costs to members if the strike proceeds; or BA can wait until the last minute to refund/reroute … which causes BA increased pain in refunds/costs/disruption.

  7. IslandDweller says:

    Did you forget to take your pills today?

  8. Bizarre? No, a well thought out move in an ongoing chess match

  9. It’s got to be deliberate that this was announced just after BA had made the EU261 avoiding cancellations.

    Zero cost to pilots yet still just the same cost to BA as if they had gone ahead plus potentially some PR recognition for the pilots who the public may wee as being the reasonable ones…

  10. Michael Ollitervo-Murphy says:

    I think you’ve missed the point. Read Ben’s article here:
    BALPA come out if this looking so much better than BA, because BA take a huge loss and BALPA come out smelling of roses. It’s not bizarre, it’s smart.

    • But does BA have to reinstate the schedule on 27th given that they’ve already moved passengers to other flights and dates.? No more passengers will be inconvenienced.

      Alternatively BA announces a one-day flash sale for 27th and fills the planes with passengers. No empty flights so no environmental lobby issues.

      I am not sure BALPA come out of this too well. Looks like they’ve caved in first especially as they still reserve the right to hold strikes and have admitted they’ve not received ant revised offer from BA.

      • BA will be lucky if flash sale will fill 1/3 of spaces on 27th.

        They proactively have to offer free rebooking as well.

    • Must we have a link to OMAAT…

  11. BA played dirty with the first round of strikes, and now BALPA has waited until BA cancelled and reaccommodated passengers to cancel this round. They keep their salary, but BA don’t have the revenue and have lost money using other carriers.

    In the face of the broader public (I mean outside of our little community who know about EU261 et al), BALPA will look like the grown-up. They’re staring BA in the eye saying “your move”.

    If BA don’t move, this could get VERY dirty. I don’t expect that any next strike would be announced more than 1 minute earlier that it needs to be to make sure that BA can’t cancel on time. And they’ll probably announce one day at a time.

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