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EXCLUSIVE: the new British Airways cabin crew pay offer revealed – big cuts for legacy crew

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British Airways has just given cabin crew details of the new contract and pay package for staff at London Heathrow which they must accept if they wish to remain with the airline.

It is VERY grim reading for legacy Eurofleet and Worldwide crew members, many of whom will have to accept a substantial pay cut of up to 50% if they wish to remain.

the new British Airways cabin crew pay offer revealed

What is the new British Airways cabin crew package?

BA is promising an OTE package of £24,000 for standard crew.   This comprises basic pay, flight pay and other allowances.

There is the potential for extra income on top, such as commission from in-flight sales.  There is a contributory pension scheme and optional health and insurance benefits.

It is worth noting that the unions have often claimed that British Airways ‘OTE’ figures are more than the majority of crew receive.  For example, the £24,000 figure includes the allowance that crews receive to pay for food in hotels whilst travelling.

Initial feedback is that even existing Mixed Fleet crew will be taking a cut in overall pay and benefits on this new contract although the exact figures are not available.

The contract allow for 30 days of annual leave, but this includes public holidays.  The equivalent for an office worker would be 22 days holiday, given that there are eight public holidays each year.

For clarity, there will be no ‘zero hours’ contracts offered.

New British Airways cabin crew contract

What grades are available?

The new structure has only two grades.  A substantial number of existing senior crew members will be required to downgrade to the level of ‘basic’ crew if they wish to remain.

  • Manager – leading a team of up to 21 cabin crew members
  • Cabin crew – standard crew roles

Some short-haul flights will have no managers on board.

Managerial crew must be willing to take on standard cabin crew roles on certain flights if required.

Crew must agree to work in departure and turnaround roles inside Heathrow if required.

What aircraft will be flown?

All cabin crew will fly a mix of long-haul and short-haul services.  

This will force many existing legacy crew members to resign.  Eurofleet (Heathrow short-haul crew) are unlikely to want to move to spending large amounts of time away from home.  Worldwide (Heathrow long-haul crew) are often based outside London – some even live abroad – and commute to London for each of their 3-4 monthly flights.  This lifestyle is not possible if a short-haul requirement is added.

One upside of combining the fleets is that those who remain will be able to bid for flights across the entire network.  At the moment Heathrow crew are restricted to the routes allocated to their particular fleet, ie Mixed Fleet, Eurofleet or Worldwide.

All crew will be licenced on the A320 and Boeing 777/787 family, with an additional third type on top – either A380, A350 or Boeing 747.


In general, this is what we expected to see – and, for legacy Heathrow crew, it isn’t pretty.  I would expect the majority of Eurofleet and Worldwide crew, who by definition have at least 10 years of British Airways service, to refuse to accept the new contracts.  Most will find it financially or logistically impossible to continue.

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Comments (505)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Derek Scott says:

    Rob, is there any way to moderate some of these posts?
    Sure this is a worrying time for ANY airline employee, not just BA, but some of the self-proclaimed Crew posts are just being downright rude and offensive on here. (No names)

    • J says:

      I’ve found the most offensive comments are from people demeaning the role – claiming it’s equivalent to working in Costa and deserves the minimum wage.

    • Rob says:

      We have given some leeway here given that they are crew and so directly impacted by this.

  • Ian says:

    The job market for cabin crew is like any other market. There are significantly more people wanting to do this job than jobs available – though why serving coffee at 35,000 feet is any more glamorous than doing it in a Costa store escapes me. BA will aim to pay the minimum it can for the services it requires, including people. BA is a business, not a social service and owes its employees no more than they are contractually entitled to. It’s time to get over this faux outrage and get into the real world.

    • Jack says:

      I hope you lose your job or your pay/benefits are slashed overnight. Maybe then you’ll show some empathy? And you know full well that cabin crew go through rigorous training and are vital to saving lives in an emergency.

      • Ian says:

        Your outrage doesn’t change the fact the number of people wanting to be cabin crew far exceeds the number of jobs available. You, and others like you showing such outrage, need to get to grips with some basic economic realities.

        • Rob says:

          I’m not sure that people are disputing the fact that, for a 19 year old living with their parents, £24k and a chance to fly around the world is an attractive option. The question is whether your entire cabin crew fleet should be made up of such people or whether you should be attracting people long-term with increasing pay and benefits in order to get some real experience onto the aircraft.

  • Novice says:

    I would like to clarify I know nothing about union laws etc and all my comments were made because I am a believer of fairness and equality. I don’t think being a crew member is a easy job and that’s the reason in an ideal world I would want everyone to have fair pay and for those ppl who have a better position to try to make it better for everyone.

    I’m a logical person so this is all the logic I was expressing but reading back on reactions/comments made on my posts has disheartened me. Some people have been rude. I didn’t comment in the past and will go back to not commenting again.

    If someone was genuinely mad at my comments then all I can say is my comments were made with only logic and no industry practices knowledge other than the unfairness.

    Most of my knowledge comes from reading here regarding aviation industry and there’s a lot of conflicting comments.

    Those who have called me dull for always saying I’m young; I have always said it to make sure if I come across as ill-informed it would be obvious the reason.

    Anyway I wish everyone well.

    • marcw says:

      Novice, just ignore J.

      • Novice says:

        Worry not I’m not bothered about debates etc but some comments levelled at me have been personal digs.

        And I know I have won the argument because funnily enough the people who have been banging on about experience being so important have actually not realised that logically then these same people should trust Willie Walsh as he is ‘experienced’ in running airlines so in the logical argument he knows best. 😂

        I decided that maybe I’ve been wrong in commenting because I don’t like negative energy at all and this place seems to be full of it.

        • J says:

          Sure you win the argument. It is perfectly fair to strip long serving workers of their rights and pay.

          • marcw says:

            There´s a thing called “EVOLUTION”: survival of the fittest. Society, and companies, evolve as well. Society in the 70`s was different to how society is nowadays. The same with companies. Better or worse. I´m convinced that WW and EF think they are overpaid for the work they do, compared to salaries paid in similar companies, be ti LH, IB, AF, KLM,… if BA don´t adapt, they won´t survive, unless you want a Thai or Alitalia (but these companies, they become smaller and smaller – aka less competitive – with time).

            I just don´t believe employees of the same company, doing exactly the same job (they have same job description) should be paid differently. There´s inequality there. INEQUALITY.

            Anyway, we agree to disagree. Verstanden?

        • marcw says:

          Novice, I think there´s a generation gap. I don´t know about you, but I left uni when the financial crisis was hitting hard, then I went on doing an MSc, followed by a PhD. Researchers / scientist have probably one of the worst working conditions, there´s no job security and, considering the training needed for a Research Assistant / Associate (where usually jobs are tailored to highly specific people) pay is miserable. Sadly, no one cares (more people care about whether they are being served by WW/EF or MF) but the reality is… it´s a first world problem.

          • J says:

            I perhaps graduated a similar time in 2010 – London bias admitted, but I don’t know many people my age who support your very cut throat world view supporting a capitalism with little or no protections at all for workers. If the last GE was decided by under 40’s Corbyn/McDonnell would be running the country…

          • Lady London says:

            +1, J.

            there is a thing called evolution and it includes minimum social standards which are voluntarily given by society. i agree the generosity of society can be exploited by some significant segments. Like I’ve met families 3 generations of whom live in subsidised council housing and no one in 3 generations ever had a job they all just claim state benefits. But I would still rather pay for those people as part of minimum standards for all.

            In the UK there’s very inadequate protection for redundancy and pensions are so far behind the rest of the civilised world they make it look like the UK is declining second world not first world.

            Meanwhile I’ve worked in several companies where I’ve seen productive employees in the UK made redundant, even productive business units. The companies were quite frank they.wanted to make large numbers of employees redundant whose jobs were no longer needed in Germany, France, Sweden etc.
            But those companies had analysed it (I saw several sets of calculations). The law in those countries and the cost those countries would impose on the company to make those people redundant made those European employees ‘impossible’ to get rid of it was cheaper to wait until they retire. So productive people in the UK got sacked with no compensation if they’ve done the job for less in than 2 years.

            Even current crisis is a blip in the life of British Airways. but for someone with long service made redundant it may finish that person. British Airways can afford to be decent.

            If British Airways is not decent to employees with long service that are made redundant then I would advise any worker that is able to, to leave the UK now. If you’re an owner of capital you’ll be fine.

  • Briandt says:

    I understand from another general airline/employee blog, that BA have held out an olive branch to the unions, but it has been rebuffed .
    I didn’t get the impression that it was Fake News, but who knows.

    • J says:

      Yes it’s BA workers and the unions being unreasonable 🙄 an “olive branch” when they’re launching an outright attack on longstanding employees, give me a break.

    • Lady London says:

      what ‘olive branch’ ?

      hard to imagine anything that would truly be an olive branch, but try me.

      • Briandt says:

        This is the bit I picked up on,

        “The unions, however, have apparently refused to meet with BA and are instead mounting a legal challenge against the proposals”.

        • Lady London says:

          refusing to meet…. not smart.

          it does rather look like someone like the Daily Mail was short of a headline kr something impactful to say and just made it up. Having been misquoted by the Daily Mail in my time, I should think it’s just some reporter overdramatising. The union will be too smart for that.

  • Briandt says:

    Sorry if it’s upset you, I thought someone may be interested, that’s all. I thought that all disputes end up with some sort of compromise in the end.

  • John Wayne says:

    Isn’t it illegal to pay people doing the same job role different wages any ways? I know the BBC had some issues with something similar a year or so ago.

    As for crew being like team members of ‘Costa’ – may I remind them that if there’s a medical emergency they can call an ambulance…
    If there’s an aggressive customer they can call the police…
    If there’s a fire they can call the fire brigade…

    Not to mention the fact that this ‘costa’ is 35,000 ft in the air.. I don’t think many people have a ‘fear’ of high streets but a lot of people have a fear of flying.

    It is wrong BA and other airlines are trying to use this situation for financial gain but I do strongly believe the pay structures should have been looked into long ago.
    In other countries crew is regarded a dangerous job role and is rewarded with a very generous pay packet however for some reason within the UK it is not despite having some great and outstanding crew delivering a very average product.

  • Briandt says:

    I’m just an ordinary paying customer, trying to understand the debate which seem to me to have arguments on both sides.
    However, it’s a bit annoying when I read comments without back up, like,

    ‘It is wrong BA and other airlines are trying to use this situation for financial gain’
    You mean having to lay off staff or what ? (Particularly ‘other airline’s’)

    And, ‘ In other countries crew is regarded a dangerous job role and is rewarded with a very generous pay packet ‘
    Fair enough, but what and where are you referring to ?

  • Nigel says:

    For anyone interested with regard the Costa comment, I can provide some insight from the years I spent as crew. Crew do work hard for the money, and I had many days shattered from the job, dealing with many challenges that you wouldn’t have to manage in say, a high street coffee shop with a few customers to keep happy.
    Like trying to resusitate a lovely old lady, who I’d been chatting to in the galley, but later in the flights had a heart attack. So working with the crew on a defib for well over the specified time with her whole family (and front cabin) watching. She sadly passed away, but we had to carry on the service with the majority of the aircraft knowing what had happened. Many still complained their meal was late due to the crew being pulled in to swap on the defib.
    Many children choking in mid-air, strokes, arguments, people trying to open the doors, restraining drunk or aggressive PAX, a first officer taken sick mid-flight, multiple technical failures and trying to reassure worried customers when there was an odd sound or smell, seizures, fits, the list goes on.
    So when your mid-atlantic, no you can’t call the police, no you can’t call the fire brigade, and no you can’t call an ambulance. You may be lucky and a medical professional comes forward and volunteers their support, but if you’re having a bad day like that, then its likely the crew will have to deal with it despite the infamous request we all are well aware of.
    My lasting memory of trying to help that dying lady was the letter the crew received from the family a few weeks letter. It was full of warm gratitude and recognition that we did everything we could for their grandmother, particualrly the time we took to sit with the family for the remaining hours from a very long inbound flight from Vancouver.
    All I ask is that people show a bit more respect to a job which is far more than serving tea and coffee in the sky. When something goes wrong, they’ll be the first people you look to for comfort, reassurance, and the way out of the aircraft if the worse should happen.

    • J says:

      Great comment.

    • Ian says:

      It’s what you choose to do. If you don’t think you’re paid appropriately, take your services elsewhere. Nobody forces cabin crew to go to work and I’m sick of the bleating about how hard it is for such terrible pay. The demand for cabin crew roles is so great (don’t ask me why) that Ryanair can even get people to pay for their own training. That tells you all you need to know about this type of job. I stand by my previous comment that cabin crew is not much different to any other waiting-on job. Many people in customer facing roles are trained in first aid and deal with critical situations every day. The bottom line is clear…if you don’t want to do this job for what BA wants to pay, then don’t.

      • J says:

        There will always be someone who will do a job for less pay and less benefits. Does that mean it should happen? I don’t want to see you lose your house Ian because your employer can find someone cheaper. Why can’t you afford the same generosity to others? If everyone had your attitude there would literally be no weekends, no sick pay, child labour and sexual/racist harassment in the work place would be OK. Cabin crew are not equivalent to staff in Costa – that you stand by this comment shows how misinformed you are.

        • Mikeact says:

          I guess the major issue that affects all in this situation, not just BA, is many people living way beyond their means…the biggest mortgage with today’s low interest rates, the best car, on a personal lease contract, and last but not least credit cards maxed out to the limit.
          And then, it all comes crashing down.

          Interestingly, in the US, the flight attendants union has written to all at United, basically saying look carefully at your financial situation and expenditure in the light of mass layoffs expected in September. Pretty good advice.

      • Lady London says:

        “Let them eat cake”, @Ian?

        • Ian says:

          We live in a free market economy so don’t be surprised when the free market determines levels of reward. What all the hysterical comments on this thread demonstrate is that there are many people who can’t grasp that simple fact. Ryanair, amongst others, realised long ago there are so many people who believe cabin crew is glamorous they can actually get people to pay for their own training. When people stop applying for jobs at £20,000, BA will increase its levels of pay. Again, simple economics.

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