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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)

  • Nick G says:

    So let me get this right. Old world fleet crew were on upto £48k, some live abroad, and flew 3-4 times a month?

    Let’s compare to a public sector employee like a police officer. Police start on £21k. Once at the top of the scale it’s currently only £40k ish.

    I don’t need to point out the obvious, or mention the many other public sector jobs on equal pay.

    Someone I know works for virgin on long haul and lives in France. Her Facebook pictures (were) a lifestyle I could only imagine. I don’t agree some of what BA does or what it’s doing in the future but I think some of those legacy crews have it had it beyond good for many years

    • ChrisBCN says:

      Sounds like you want to live in France – do it whilst you still can!

    • Andy S says:

      So your friend chooses to live in France for her own personal reasons, then has to make her way to which ever UK airport she flies from hours before her flight. Then does her trip, more often than not at least one sector being overnight, serving a mix of lovely to very demanding passengers, then has to make her way back to France at her own expense feeling completely jet lagged herself. Cabin crew don’t get used to the hours as people think. Any doubts look up “circadian rhythm” If you still think its a life style you can only image, do it yourself instead of bleating.

      To compare employees of a FTSE 100 company and public sector in pointless and futile.

      Nobody, even self righteous people, would be happy what ever job they do if years into that job, their employer rips up their contract overnight. Offering a different contract to new employees is a totally different matter and one that the new employee must decide on themselves

    • ChrisBCN says:

      You should also look at the rental costs of that location in France vs within an hour on public transport from Heathrow. I’d wager your virgin friend is saving hundreds each month, for that she has a longer commute to work but can afford somewhere decent to live, hence your jealousy of her lifestyle. If you can save money and live somewhere nicer, why wouldn’t you? This seems to have nothing to do with how much they may or may not be paid, as neither of us know that.

    • Bob The Builder says:

      Nick G ,

      Let’s clarify if you were a legacy crew member and flew 3-4 times a month you would not earn £42k I’m legacy crew and I can tell you you would not earn £20k so where that’s came about is not factual.

      We all started on very low pay and remember we all had to retire by the age of 55 at one point and pension we were once final salary scheme of which we the company had to close as to cost ( not our salary’s but pilot salary’s )
      Talking of pilots long haul legacy captain 200k plus new entrants on the £40k plus the cost of COL to be paid back IS THAT FAIR because a policeman or woman starts on £20k ? I started on £9500k is that a good salary ? Market rate ?

      • BrianDT says:

        So, you’re legacy and if I read correct, you only get around £20k ?.. Porky Pies from a lot of people on here then…perhaps you should ask for a pay rise or ask to move to mixed fleet.

  • Tony says:

    “There is the potential for extra income on top, such as commission from in-flight sales”. If that means Highlife Shop sales then potential commission income will be close to zero on short-haul as the densified older aircraft and the neos have little or no space for on-board sales stock.

    • marcw says:

      + BoB commissions.

      • Bob The Builder says:

        BOB commissions

        On a AMS double that’s this
        LHR-AMS-LHR
        LHR-AMS-LHR

        Total commission 66p

    • BrightonReader says:

      hard to earn commission if BA gives you nothing to sell.

      They often woefully understock the BoB trolley. Hard to earn commission if you are offering stuff no one wants to buy.

      Ditto no duty free on short haul.

  • Nick_C says:

    I genuinely feel sorry for the legacy crew who are effectively being forced out of their jobs. And for the millions of other people who are going to lose their jobs in the great depression that we are now entering.

    But £24k a year for a part time (50%) job is not bad, and compares well with University Lecturers (who don’t get to travel, don’t get a three hour lie down during a shift, and don’t spend most of the day chatting to colleagues).

    Cabin crew do an important job and they are there for our safety. And on short haul flights they do work hard. Long haul looks like an easy job though. Feed everyone ASAP, then hide in the galley for 7 hours.

    BA legacy crew T&Cs are based on the days when air fares were far more expensive than they are today. They are no longer sustainable.

    • Bob The Builder says:

      Nick
      Where’s 24k a year for a 50% job come from its a full time job can you clarify please?
      There so many experts on here telling me what how when my earnings , how many
      hours I work etc!

      • Nick_C says:

        Rob is saying max permitted hours for cabin crew is 900 a year.

        A full time job, 40 hours a week, 45 weeks of the year is 1800 hours.

        • Matt says:

          This is severely misleading.

          The 900 hour legal limit refers to flying hours only (from pushback to parking at destination). The actual working hours could easily be double that amount.

          For example, a Manchester double (LHR-MAN-LHR, LHR-MAN-LHR) is a typical shorthaul day for Mixed Fleet but only accrues 4 hours towards the 900 annual limit – despite being 9/10/11 hours at work, depending on turnaround timings.

          It is a full time job with minimal days off.

        • Rob says:

          Flying hours, not working hours.

    • PrinterElf says:

      That’s 900 hours airborne.
      So the 60-90 mins at LHR before the 45 min flight to AMS, plus the turnaround, plus afterwards at LHR again are all working hours, just not counted as part of the 900.

      Plus it’s hardly “throw food out and spend 7hrs in the galley” on a long haul. There *might* be 7hrs between services if you’re on a 12hr flight, but that’s hardly the norm.
      Take off, drinks round, prep the first food service, second drinks round, first food service, clear in, grab your own meal, break, prep the second food service, second food service, clear in, secure cabin for landing.
      From the time the cabin lights go down, to when they come back up again, take an hour off, halve the remainder, and that might be what you get to “hide” for, assuming no medical problems, IFE problems, passengers wanting extra food/drink/blankets, screaming kids, screaming parents, etc…

      £13k basic, plus maybe £3/hr flight pay, and then a breakfast allowance (which are the numbers BA are optimistically rolling up to try to get £24k) isn’t good pay for the job. I’m not saying £48k is justified, but when £24k is a theoretical maximum, it takes the biscuit a little.

  • FFoxSake says:

    What a sad decline for a once revered brand…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLloF1IYmss
    How can you not be moved by the end of this BA staff video?

    • Antony D'Emanuele says:

      Feel for staff, for BA to take advantage of the pandemic will leave a bitter taste in staff and customers for a long time. As the video highlights, BA is a profitable airline… If I worked for BA, even if I was not impacted, I would be looking for a new employer, one who values its employees… Many organisations have focussed on staff wellbeing throughout the pandemic….

  • Dave Winchester says:

    Playing devils advocate – to those saying how can people possibly deliver good service on £24k a year, the average waiter/waitress salary in the U.K. is £18,525 and while many of us have had poor restaurant experiences I’m sure many of us have also had excellent ones too on people being paid far less than cabin crew and working far harder and longer with no break in a nice hotel at the other end.

    • Rebecca says:

      Dave,
      When was the last time a waiter suffered permanent jet lag? A career of long haul flying is like being continuously ill. It’s only when you get some annual leave that you realise what ‘normal’ feels like.
      When was the last time a waiter had to put handcuffs on a drunk and unruly customer because you can’t just remove them from the premises or call the police?
      When was the last time a waiter had to deal with a panic attack, a stroke or heart attack because there is no access to a doctor and you can’t just call an ambulance.
      How many waiters work all through the night, not just until midnight, but until 8am the next morning. 75% of long haul flying is overnight.
      Average salary you quoted is for all UK is it? What is the salary for West London only?
      Heathrow crew on the Virus Fleet contract have to live within 90 minutes of Heathrow for standby duties. Bear in mind it takes 30 minutes to find an off airport parking space and then catch a bus to the terminal. Alternative is to commute and spend time in a cheap hotel if necessary for standby. This will take up much of the salary.
      How many waiters work Christmas, New Year, easter, every bank holiday for no extra pay. Nope, not a penny.
      How many are trained to deal with emergency landings, ditchings, hijacks, onboard fires, decompressions, smoke filled cabins, medical emergencies, incapacitated pilots and fume events?
      How many never get any tips?

      • Capitalist says:

        I get your points, but it isn’t like you don’t know what you are signing up for and you can leave if you don’t think the money is worth the hassle and, using the OPs example, become a waitress?

        Soldiers fight in wars for less than this and could die. They should earn more but whilst you can fill the ranks with the salary you are offering why offer more? They are a business and it feels like legacy staff have had it pretty good relative to new comers for far too long.

        • Ziggy says:

          Except the legacy crews aren’t now going to be getting what they signed up for are they?

          • Capitalist says:

            Because that is no longer the going rate? As in it seems like basic economics and the only reason it has lasted this long is the threat of strikes.

            The ones I feel sorry for are the mixed fleet who have got screwed over for ages, but now equality is trying to be addressed

          • Rob says:

            It’s not the going rate for an 19 year, no. I would suggest it is the going rate for someone older with substantial experience who is not living with their parents. You have to decide what staff you want.

            If you were told your local GP was being replaced with a newly qualified medical student to save money I’m sure you’d have something to say about that.

          • Capitalist says:

            Fair point. But I guess I have just never seen the benefit of a 19 year veteran cabin crew member over someone else. And I have flown business/first quite a few times. Maybe I got unlucky and didn’t see the benefits due to the service I received being good regardless, but I just don’t see it the same as the doctor situation at all

          • Ziggy says:

            @Capitalist You’re changing your story.
            Your original statement read “but it isn’t like you don’t know what you are signing up for and you can leave if you don’t think the money is worth the hassle and, using the OPs example, become a waitress?”
            I pointed out that what Legacy crews are dealing with now isn’t what they signed up for.
            Now you’re suggesting that the reason things are different to what they signed up for is that their pay packet is above the going rate.
            That would seem to contradict your opening assertion…unless you believe that Legacy crew members should have been able to predict the future when they signed up?

          • Capitalist says:

            there are a wide number of issues with this, so i agree that i have stated two separate points. I made no attempt to say they were the same point so telling me i am changing my story doesn’t avoid the issue at hand – they can leave if they don’t like it.

            I guess i come from the finance industry where changes in pay are par for the course and you don’t have job security. I would still argue that if the legacy fleet don’t feel like they are getting paid the “going rate” for their role/experience, they can leave and try to get that rate elsewhere at another airline (just as i would go to another financial institution). However, based on the outrage and the fact that i am not sure they would get the same pay elsewhere (I have no evidence to back this up), this screams that they have been getting above the “going rate” for quite some time.

          • Rob says:

            If you’re in finance you’re almost certain overpaid yourself 🙂

          • Capitalist says:

            haha wasn’t my point but can’t disagree with that! we all are although i have taken a 20% pay cut due to covid-19 so definitely haven’t escaped some pain

    • Aston100 says:

      Well said.
      At the end of the day, cabin crew are just glorified waiters with some additional h&s training and sometimes with an attitude problem as an unexpected bonus.
      Why on earth should these people be so outraged that they are ‘only’ going to be earning 24k?
      Perhaps they can go find a better paying job elsewhere if it bothers them so much.
      Ungrateful.

      • PrinterElf says:

        I think you’re missing the point somewhat.
        Cabin Crew are expected to have a detailed knowledge of the all the various types of aircraft they could be working on (A319/20/21, B777-2/3, so 5 as a minimum), of which you could see all of them in a week. Not just the detail on how to get up to 500 passengers out safely in 90 secs, but where all the emergency equipment, medical equipment, restraint equipment, etc… is stored, the differences in operating the galleys, IFE, across each aircraft type, everything else that you as a relatively ignorant passenger expect them to automatically know about every aircraft you step on to.
        In addition to the variances between aircraft, they’re expected to be fully trained to handle drunk/violent passengers, medical emergencies, & aircraft emergencies.

        On top of all that essential knowledge, the more pretentious passengers (in all cabins) expect them to be food critics & sommeliers, as well as nannys, negotiators, tour guides, airport guides, and a whole host of other things because seemingly the common sense of 90% of passengers is left at the gate.

        Now if I was to put that level of detail out in a job advert, even omitting the hours, the jetlag, the potential for physical & verbal abuse, I’d be expecting the salary to be a damn sight higher than “*maybe* getting £24k if everything works out perfectly”.

        Taking it a stage further, is it wholly unreasonable to expect the people responsible for getting my sorry arse out of a flaming/sinking tin tube if it all goes tits up to perhaps not have at the back of their minds a worry about their living expenses, the fact they’ve not slept properly, or even worse?

    • SP says:

      Thank you for your comment but please remember when sitting in that hotel room we have to feed ourselves. Most places we can not take food in. In America apart from McDonald’s you can not have breakfast for less than $20. Then lunch and dinner. Just feeding yourself 3 healthy meals a day is a massive chunk of that salary.

  • PeterP says:

    Agree Nick_C. Whilst I sympathise with anyone who is being asked to take a pay cut and having terms changed in such a way, I can also see that the current situation is just unsustainable. BA has transformed from the world’s favourite airline to a something of a commodity carrier operating head to head with the low cost players, with sadly little service differentiation anymore. It cannot do that if its current cost base is sustained. So what other option is there but to reduce its costs in order to survive? (Not a rhetorical question – to those berating the approach, what are the alternative options)?

    And yes, it does seem that some legacy staff are arguably overpaid for the role they perform. It is a real pity that the apparent former pay negotiations victories have been the architect of this outcome.

    • Nik says:

      Totally agree. It is a shame for legacy crew but it is a business and it will look for the best opportunities for itself. From a business perspective I don’t blame BA for their opportunism. Of course the fact that it has a human side is really sad but as you said, if not now, when?

  • Andy S says:

    The various comments about part time hours and wages shows a great deal of ignorance on the part of the writers.

    How many people who have experienced long haul travel and the associated let lag would would be happy doing a long haul flight every other day continuously. Which is in effect what you are wanting if you don’t want people having adequate rest between trips

    The reason there is the rest period between flights is to allow the crew to be fresh and alert the next time they fly. Predominantly for passengers safety. The first “day off” is the one when crew get home and go straight to bed, the next couple are trying to feel normal before you start again. Firefighters, and many other jobs (highlighted as vital at the present time) do 2 days 2 nights and four days off perhaps you’d like to leave sarcastic comments about them next

    • BrianDT says:

      So, you fly to L.A. from Heathrow, overnight and return home next day. 1st day home in bed, followed by two days recuperating? Do me a favour. I do L.A. and other US destinations for short 1/2 day visits. And I certainly don’t spend the next three days trying to get myself back together. Australia may be different, but I guess the crew have 2/3 days over there before coming home. If it were that bad none of you would do it.

      • BrianDT says:

        ps And you wouldn’t bedoing long haul flights ‘every other day’..total exaggeration.

      • Rebecca says:

        As a passenger right? Just sitting down, watching a movie, being fed and watered, waited on. Maybe get some sleep.
        You can’t be equating that to working the flight? Do you know how many miles a crew member walks every day up and down the cabin? It is exhausting.

        • BrianDT says:

          I would wager on long haul, you spend more time sitting or chatting than walking up and down.

          • Bob The Builder says:

            Brian ,

            I would wager that you ignorance is as big as your house ?

            Go back to reading your Daily Mail Brian.

            You obviously have always wanted to do the job but couldn’t pass the application form stage, well shortly you’ll have your opportunity to apply for this new fantastic role on £24k with free car parking!

            Let us no how it goes!

          • Nick_C says:

            I agree with Brian. Flying back from Osaka was nearly 13 hours. Daytime flights. Meal service started soon after take off. Second meal service started 90 minutes before landing! For about 9 hours, the cabin crew were in the galley or the crew rest area. No proactive service (Business Class, WorldWide fleet).

            BA service seems to be prioritised around the needs of the crew, not the passengers.

      • mr_jetlag says:

        Oh Please. You’re probably down three speedbirds and trying to chat up the crew. Meanwhile, they’re 2/3 of the way through economy meal service and someones little darling just threw up in 31k.

        I’ve done back to back TATL/TCON for work as well and it’s no picnic, but I imagine its 100x worse serving entitled passengers like you (and me) for 7 hrs straight.

        • BrianDT says:

          Hi Bob, yes I live in a very nice large house with beautiful views, bought by working, very hard ,(no inheritance) as soon as I left school with four O levels. Decided the only way to aspire to my dreams was to start my own business, all legal and above board, and it has paid off. Obviously, not many decide to go that route.
          ps I only read Sky news on line.

  • Rebecca says:

    You’re all missing the point that a contract is a contract.
    Both parties agree to it. You make arrangements according to the contract you won and signed.
    In this case one party has reneged.
    Not on.
    Compensation needed.

    • BrianDT says:

      So your contract doesn’t say you could give 6 months notice, or whatever, and BA likewise ?

      • Rebecca says:

        You can’t just tear up a contract and re-hire on lesser terms.

        • Craig W says:

          So is the alternative is to sack everyone? And hire again through mixed fleet? Genuine question.

        • Rob says:

          You can make everyone redundant and offer to rehire them on new terms.

        • Nick_C says:

          Sadly you can. And many of us have been through it.

        • Derek Scott says:

          Unfortunately you can effectively rip up a contract and replace it. Employers can use the collective consultation process to negotiate harmonisation of multiple “Legacy” contract T’s & C’s into one common standard contract.

          My Company started that process in January and just completed it.

          The process is effectively a Dismiss & Re-sign. The other term used unofficially is Self-Dismiss if you don’t accept the new contract, but it also has to go through individual consultation step(s), for those who don’t sign after the Collective stage.

          I’ve been through this in two different companies (two completely different industry sectors). Stressful and worrying it can be depending on what changes such a process is aiming to achieve, BA are doing what other companies are and have done.