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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.


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)

  • AJA says:

    This sounds pretty harsh at first glance and I can’t see many crew accepting a pay cut of up to 50%. How many crew will be taking that much of a cut though? You would have to be pretty senior or have worked for a long time to be facing that sort of cut. I can see most legacy crew will be affected and that there are some crew that will be affected this severely but is it 80% or 20% of the legacy crew facing the 50% cut?

    I also note that you say there are only two grades. That suggests that the legacy crews had many more grades. I can see why this is attractive to BA and very unattractive to crew.

    I guess the 12,000 selected for redundancy will be coming from the many legacy crew for whom applying to work on this new contract will be very difficult it not impossible to afford.

    They’re caught between a rock and a hard place; accept this new deal or face the prospect of trying to get another job in the middle of this Covid-19 crisis and the likely recession that we are facing.

    I feel very sorry for all BA cabin crew and other staff facing redundancy or this awful new contract.

  • Lady London says:

    Are the crew supposed to be paying British Airways in order to work for BA? that’s what this looks like. Out of pocket expenses for hotels downroute CANNOT be touted by BA as ‘take home pay’.

    I am really quite horrified by this. Given the very long term loyalty some staff have shown.

    What will they do with pilots next? I’ll bet the pilots’ union will regret losing their bottle, lasy year, and letting their fair and civilised instincts take over last year, soon.

    • JAXBA says:

      “Out of pocket expenses for hotels downroute” – BA would still be paying for the room, but not meals downroute. Or rather, the allowance for that is included in that very low headline number.

      • Chrisasaurus says:

        So if that’s correct they are essentially rolling up their per diem and calling it OTE?

    • J says:

      “very long term loyalty some staff have shown” – but you are only really showing loyalty if you turned down a comparable alternative at another airline. Surely sticking with a job because they pay you more than their competitors would is in the staffs own interest as much as the company. Or am I missing something?

  • Richard says:

    Well if you are a BA shareholder you won’t be complaining with that offer. Certainly a serious attempt to cheapen the costs.

    I’m not sure cabin crew should be on 50k+ but for a job that means you have to be London or near London based, the take home pay BA are proposing is clearly very low. Too low.

    At the end of the day cabin crew are the people who are paid to be an effective last resort between safety and disaster, getting that wrong because a load of the right people for the job needed to make more money than a near poverty wage is.. uncomfortable

    • insider says:

      are you saying that if you get paid less, you are less good at your job? Or even unable to do the job? I don’t think that is correct. I trust the cabin crew on Ryanair as much as I do on BA. I don’t think either of them are any better or worse than each other.

      • Richard says:

        No, it is the staff that don’t come back because this contract is too cheap for them, and get replaced by someone else worse. And if all your new staff at whatever the very poor wage can get you aren’t very good..

      • JJ says:

        Well more fool you then. Four different languages doesn’t go well in an emergency. Six if you include the flight deck crew!

      • Nick_C says:

        My European friends speak better English than many English people.

  • Anthony Dunn says:

    Does BA actually wish to have any experienced cabin crew or just “cheap as chips” six-week trainees simply to make up the numbers for EASA/CAA regulatory purposes?

    Maybe the “in-flight service” they’re planning on in future will consist of monitoring the wearing of masks and maintaining physical separation whilst queuing for the lavatory. Otherwise, look after yourself.

  • Ziggy says:

    Amusing to read so many people happy to comment on how much or how little various cabin crew should be earning. I wonder how well these same people would fare if their jobs came under similar scrutiny? I’m guessing there are a fair few people commenting on here who are vastly overpaid for their limited skillset – they’re just lucky their jobs aren’t so obviously seen by the rest of us.

    • Colin MacKinnon says:

      Funnily enough, just posted my whole income details on my airfield’s Facebook page

    • Andrew says:

      Absolutely – I think most of us here are probably a bit overpaid for what we do.

    • Harry T says:

      My five years of university and six years of postgraduate experience have, if anything, led to me being underpaid.

  • Alex says:

    It really is immoral that they can pay their staff this little, it appears to be less than Mixed Fleet where the basic salary is 13k and they have the ‘potential’ to earn 23-28k including all allowances. They can’t guarantee paying the living wage. Bye BA.

    • Londonsteve says:

      Good point, Alex. The Living Wage really should be an absolute lowest ebb for an employer with the muscle of BA. Altogether poorer or public sector employers are paying the Living Wage out there, why not BA? If I’m paying 4k for a return in Club to the US, I would feel mortified knowing that the person serving me is scraping by on minimum wage, while also expected to smile at someone they know is either rich enough to dump 3 months of a cabin steward’s salary on a plane ticket, alternatively it’s being picked up by their employer, for whom they’re important (and well paid enough) to justify a 4k flight to attend some team meetings and internal networking. I’d be tempted to leave them a 40 quid tip in an envelope and a thank you card, if I received excellent service on a transatlantic flight despite the apalling wages. A service provider needs to make their customers feel comfortable and welcome, not embarrassed and apologetic, which is what shelf-stacker grade wages would achieve. Fine for £39 down the back flights to Malaga, not ok serving Gold members in First, who may be wondering if the cabin crew are spitting in their food in the galley.

      • Nick_C says:

        London living wage is £10.75/hour. Cabin crew work a maximum 900 hours pa. So LLW for cabin crew is £9,675 pa.

        BA seem to be paying up to 2.5 times London Living Wage (for a part time job)

        • Londonsteve says:

          900 hours is the flying limit, I believe that’s a block to block time. They need to arrive at the airport well before the flight takes off, part in a remote car park, take a bus to the crew base and do all that while making absolutely 100% sure that they won’t be late, while negotiating the UK’s world beating levels of traffic, which means hours kicking their heels when they’re early. The waiting around, crew briefing, pre-flight checks will take up a lot of time. 900 hours split over 11 working months of the year is something over 20 hours flying a week. The aforementioned aspects of the job (and I’m emphatically NOT including the sheer commuting time, which is always unpaid but for some will be significant) will almost certainly bump that up to 35-40 hours a week, if not more if they’re rostered a lot on standby and don’t get flying hours that shift. I’m happy to be corrected by an insider if any of this is incorrect. Personally I’d rather work in an Aldi for in excess of the Living Wage – much simpler and with real opportunity to progress for people that show promise, up to manager and head office.

          • AJA says:

            We all pay our own commuting costs between home and work. Even if you are lucky enough to have a company car with all fuel paid for by your employer you will still be paying income tax and NI on the benefit in kind.

  • Mikeact says:

    Pensioner…..’every little helps.’

  • Chrish says:

    With regard to BA reducing pay and t & c Do you think that every employer “Should” half everybody’s
    salary ? Stop all “Bonuses” & Allowances make everybody who fly’s pay their own fare.
    Or limit salary’s to under £30k for everybody until the “Corona Virus” disruption has all been payed for say in 7/8 years
    Businesses that make more than £50k profit have the rest confiscated by our government just until we are back on an even keel
    Never happen of course, but how many complaining now would “Shut up” if it were happening to them lol

    • Sandgrounder says:

      It’s never good to see people having salaries cut, but if you choose to work in one of the most cyclical of all industries it is a risk you take. When choosing a career it is always wise to consider such things. You need to weigh up the market value and portability of the skills you will acquire and have a strategy to put into place in the event of a serious downturn.

      You will get your wish, other industries will suffer, and don’t worry taxes will have to go up to pay for this. People will complain, but nobody will listen. The UK electorate have consistently voted over the last ten years for less public provision and protection, cheap goods and services and to hell with employee rights and reward. Things will get harder, but that is the path the people have embraced. Read a copy of Britannia Unchained for an explanation of how the price of failure needs to be higher for us all to succeed as a nation.

      • Paul says:

        It’s never been higher for the poor and vulnerable. They paying with their lives now!

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