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EXCLUSIVE: the new British Airways cabin crew pay offer revealed – substantial 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.

Conclusion

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)

  • Aston100 says:

    Someone please explain how ‘worldwide fleet’ people only do 4-5 flights a month.
    Obviously there is more to this but I’m unfamiliar with BA cabin crew t&cs.

    • Rob says:

      You can only fly 75 hours per month by law, averaged over the year. Let’s assume an average BA long-haul flight is 10 hours, so 20 hours return. You can do fewer than four of those per month.

      • Kevin says:

        Although adding in holidays means that your 75 hours per month, or 17 hours per week, should really be 19 hours per week (when working) or around 83 hours per month.

    • insider says:

      a return trip to Sydney for example could take (in the old days) 12 days in total. Then the required days off between trips, you can see how it adds up.

      • Cal says:

        Did crew fly all the way from LHR to SYD? I thought they changed in SE Asia and returned to LHR?

        • insider says:

          But then who flies the bit from SIN to SYD?! Yes they stopped in SIN, rested then went on to SYD, rested, flew back to SIN, rested, back to LHR

    • Chris says:

      900 flying hours a year is 75 hours a month.
      Say you do one long-haul trip a week.
      That’s approx 18 flying hours each trip. So 9 ish hours each direction (each trip is a return.
      That shorter than the likes of West Coast USA, most places in Asia, South Africa, most Carribbean etc.

      So you could do a JNB or LAX return once a week and exceed your yearly flying quota.

      • AJA says:

        Is the 900 hours after or before taking holiday? If its 900 hours after taking into account the 30 days holiday then that 900 hours is divided by 11 which is just over 81 hours a month which allows you to do 4 trips a month with 10 hour long return flights. If you’re on short haul flights you will be doing more trips. If you then combine long haul and short haul you will end up doing a fair bit more flying. The flexibility is good for BA, not so good for crew, if you prefer LH over SH.

        • Kevin says:

          AJA in you calculation you are seeing the 30 day holidays as just that. The reality is that these are 6 full weeks (so actually 42 days). Probably better go say that they work 230 days per year.

          I am sure the contract will state the number of working days as well as hours. Otherwise you could be expected to work almost every day but only flying a couple of hours every day.

  • Phil G says:

    As a loyal passenger you always knew which crew you had onboard the minute you boarded.

    • Journeying John says:

      I hope in combination with the ever declining service and the response to CoVid19 this will cause you to question your loyalty

    • mvcvz says:

      Couldn’t give a toss. I just want a safe, reasonably comfortable and reliable journey.

  • the_real_a says:

    Its sad for the staff but… £40-50k, “commuting” from a place in the sun, 4-5 trips a month – it was probably a better lifestyle than a company director, doctor or scientist. Is it really such a different job to a Tesco canteen person with a fire marshal and first aid qualification? Probably not, and the new pay structure reflects that.

    • Dave H says:

      Calling the crew a fire marshal with first aid training is a disgrace! I bet you think train guards just check tickets and open the doors too?!

      Most of the time you don’t need their training, but when there’s an emergency then you want a well trained crew.

      • Josh says:

        Some train guards aren’t even required to check tickets.

      • the_real_a says:

        I’m afraid you presume wrongly – since moving Northwards a couple of years ago I joined the 92% of the population that find train’s totally irrelevant.

    • Josh says:

      Being a scientist is more of a vocation, than anyone doing it purely for money…at least in Britain.

      • Alan says:

        Sadly true!

      • Bazza says:

        I know a couple of scientists in the NHS who are band 8 – it’s good money. 35 days annual leave. Start at 8 finish at 4.

        • Rob says:

          Investment bank traders do the same hours for often £1m+ per year, no educational qualifications required 🙂

          • CE says:

            I think most banks have come some way in the past 7/8 years since you left the business, Rob!

            Trading roles are fiercely competitive these days, and go nearly exclusively to very well-qualified students from top universities. It would be almost impossible to get one of these roles if you didn’t come from a target school, or have some serious connections.

            They (we) are still unbelievably well-paid (/overpaid!) but making £1m+ is not remotely common any longer, save for maybe the most senior/successful MDs.

    • Aston100 says:

      I was pondering the disconnect between the salary/benefits and the small amount of work put in.

  • Dace says:

    It is horrible that is is happening and I really do feel sorry for the crew that this is happening to, as once you have a job that you do well and you have certain provisions, you build your life around that.

    However, upon finding out that some where on £50-70k, with decent pension, for 4 flights a month, all I can think is that these crew members were living the dream.

  • BJ says:

    What if all of them, including mixed fleet, refused to sign these new contracts and left BA with no cabin crew at all after the deadline passed?

    • insider says:

      then I imagine BA would cancel the 5% or so of flights they are flying and launch a big recruitment drive at even worse conditions than offered. And I’m sure there will be more than enough demand to fill the positions

      • BJ says:

        Multiple barriers there, not least residency. EU residents running out of time and I hardly see BoJo standing idly by while BA replaced their mostly British crew with EU crew.

        • insider says:

          at the same time, there will be a number of crew that have been laid off from other airlines (see Virgin, Norwegian @ Gatwick, ex-Flybe staff) and probably a whole wave of university graduates unable to get jobs. Spending a couple of years flying the world whilst the economy picks up again suddenly doesn’t seem that unattractive.

          Unfortunately, the likely impact of C-19 is that many people will end up losing their jobs, so there will be a glut of supply on the jobs market

          • Richard says:

            The Armageddon that is going to be the graduate job market for the next 3 years at a minimum is going to be unbelievable

    • AJA says:

      Then i think the 12,000 redundancy figure will either be significantly higher or the selection process will be significantly easier for BA’s HR team. It’s a tough position to be in but refusing to sign a contract basically says you’re signing your own resignation.

      I wonder if this new contract is the final contract or is it an opening negotiation bid? I can’t see the unions agreeing to this without fighting it. But that assumes the unions are even talking to BA, I read on FT they were still waiting for clarification whether it is legal for BA to announce redundancies and start the 45 day consultation period when staff ate on furlough.

      • insider says:

        i suspect this is an opener from BA. You wouldn’t put this out there so early in the consultation period and not expect it to change. If they’re smart, they might even come to a solution that improves the terms of the current mixed fleet crew and gets them on side, leading to a divide and conquer outcome.

      • BJ says:

        My suggestion wasn’t whimsicsl AJA. Typical industrial action is not going to be an option so they need some other strategy to put a spanner in the works. If there is any way they can get the upper hand on BA then that would be an advantage to mixed fleet too. Mixed fleet is the week point though, wouldn’-t take much for BA to buy their cooperation if need be,, and for a while at least mixed fleet is all they would need.

  • Andrew says:

    I personally will be doing all I can to avoid flying BA where I possibly can in future, they really have shown their true colours in this crisis to both crew and Exec members. And with the legacy crew gone, the charm of the uniquely british personal service that was the airline’s only redeeming feature will be gone.

    • mvcvz says:

      And I will personally endeavour r to fly with BA as much as possible. I’ll just have to miss out on tha alleged charm.

      • Mikeact says:

        So will I….. always annoying those that intimate never again. You just know it’s total B.S..

        • Andrew says:

          And so the BA sycophancy begins…..

          • Mikeact says:

            Sycophancy… ‘obsequious behaviour towards someone important in order to gain advantage’. Explain.

        • JJ says:

          Well Mike and Cvz, you just lost all credibility as far as I’m concerned. Enjoy the race to the bottom on your hard earned 241s!

    • Nick says:

      Couldn’t agree more with you Andrew. The way BA has behaved during this crisis has left me with a sour taste. I too will think very hard about flying with them again.

    • mr_jetlag says:

      I will personally… keep on flying on the appropriate airline for the route / price.

    • the_real_a says:

      A little like when airmiles was binned a few years ago the masses vowed never to fly BA again… I was looking forward to empty planes… alas.

    • Londonsteve says:

      Totally agree with you, Andrew. I’ll spend my Avios pile with IB on some long haul flying in Business. The fact that they will be spent with IB is almost more important than the destination for me, so I’ll tailor my travels around where IB flies to. It’s all a new experience anyway. The remaining crumbs can go to BA in the shape of last minute RFS redemptions, but only if I’m also carrying a suitcase, otherwise the LCCs win on price, unless it’s ultra high season and there just happens to be a reward seat going at the last minute. Won’t make any effort to collect Avios, if I pick up any incidentally without altering my spending patterns then so be it, I’d rather pay cash to fly Wizz or any of the ME3. Or LOT. Or Bulgaria Air. Bye bye BA, it was over for me when you started charging 6 quid for a GnT served with a snarl.

      • Andrew says:

        Good good. BA think they are holding all the cards and can hold that crew to ransom, but of course we as customers really hold all the cards – no customers = no airline. BTW, maybe better not to even spend your Avios with IB, but another One World carrier outside IAG so it costs BA more to put you on that flight.

      • Nick_C says:

        Great idea. Fly with Iberia instead of BA. Or Aer Lingus. LOL

        You do realise they are just different brands of the same company.

        You think the IB brand is more ethical than the BA brand?

        • Londonsteve says:

          I fully realise IB is part of IAG, this is the reason why I can shuttle Avios between the schemes. IB is no more ethical, it’s the same company after all with the same CEO, but it’s forced to conduct itself with greater decorum due to more stringent employment legislation in Spain, IAG has admitted to this in so many words. The government in Madrid won’t allow them to play games with IB staff, so the axe falls where it can – on the legacy crew at BA. Quite apart from that IB’s hard product will continue to be vastly superior to BA until the point comes when all BA metal is fitted with the new club suite (how long will that now take?), the food on board and in the lounges is many multiples better (this is Spain we’re talking about, to be expected), last but not least IB redemptions don’t attract the rip off surcharges BA applies. In some cases it’s almost 50% cheaper to fly IB Business a similar distance compared to Club World. The fact that I don’t want to give BA my miles is the cherry on the cake. Yes, the revenue goes into the wider IAG pot, but, I get double value for my miles and cash. Have you tried the Velasquez lounge at MAD? No? If you had, you’d never want to fly with BA ever again, either.

  • Sebastian S says:

    This is just awful. I am so very sorry that British Airways is behaving in this way and taking advantage of Covid to so brutally restructure the company. Yes, undoubtedly, a restructure had to happen and yes jobs were inevitably going to be lost but this is brutal, unnecessary in this form – and above all morally wrong.

  • Martina says:

    Many crew will have to accept a 75% cut in pay actually and the conditions are terrible. In fact without the “potential” meal allowances etc this is barely UK minimum wage. BA have gone too far this time and the dubious morals of this company worry me for the future of business and large companies in general. If they get away with it then the gap between executive pay and the “workforce” will continue to increase. Remember is not just crew that will suffer, it is every staff member at BA that will be affected by similar enforced (not negotiated) changes in contracts.