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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)

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

  • Martin Gee says:

    Talk about kicking someone when they’re down! It can only be described as immoral, tearing up ones contract knowing that if they leave it is probably going to be difficult to find a similar role and certainly not on the terms you currently receive.
    I truly feel for those cabin crew who are affected by this policy. Yes times in the airline industry are going to be difficult but one can only assume that Walshe is using this pandemic to implement changes that he has always dreamed of doing. Shameful and opportunistic.

  • robbo says:

    I feel sorry for the buggers on one hand, but on the other hand I think they made their own bed now sleep in it. Clearly BA management do not value these people, they would otherwise treat them better than this. But having said that, they are the frontline to the airline and its customers. And the track record of the flight crew of the past 5-10 years has been one of laziness and arrogance and terribly bad service. It’s probably the foundation as to why BA management don’t value them. Perhaps this will be good for BA by doing an almighty clean-out of the dead wood ( which is most of them ) and bring in new fresh enthusiastic flight attendants who actually care about the passengers and the airline and their jobs. Happy days are here again.

    • Rebecca says:

      The clue here is ‘the last 5-10 years’. It was exactly 10 years ago that the new low paid fleet was set up. Pay is too low to pay rent or buy a home near the airport, or do grown up things like have a family. So this fleet is for young people that still live at home and are subsidised by parents.
      That’s fine, but anyone worth their salt will outgrow this ‘gap year’ fleet quickly and move on.
      Hence no loyalty, experience, or career progression. 1 year to see the world, and then the reality of constant jet lag, long nights and turbulence takes it’s toll.
      You can’t really expect too much pride in the job under these conditions and circumstances.

      • Check your facts says:

        I would have to somewhat disagree, I work on Mixed fleet, live in a rented flat in London and have money to save. This new pay proposal is a massive cut for even the lowest of earners. I have worked on MF for 4 years and earned at least 7K more than these new figures will allow last year.

  • Boon says:

    A job is just a contract between a company and an individual. It allows both to cancel. Both parties are fully aware of the “cancellation” clauses and terms. Just like we consumers are when we buy a ticket.

    If you’re way overpaid, then you’re just waiting to be made redundant. Why would companies keep on staff when they can get replacements for cheaper?

    If you’re underpaid, you’re always free to move to another job and get paid more.

    I don’t feel bad for the BA cabin crew getting made redundant. They squeezed as much as they could over the years, through union contract negotiations and strike threats.

    If they feel their compensation is average or even below average…. Well, there are still many airlines worldwide when covid finishes. Even if you limit to the ones flying from heathrow or another London Airport. Take your pick.

  • Novice says:

    A sound business approach but won’t be popular as I’ve already said.

    If a person is too moral then you shouldn’t get into business. After studying Economics and it was paid for via bank of Mum n Dad, I realised I just didn’t like the idea so I changed career which my parents did get annoyed about due to paying for my studies.

    It’s hard for the crew affected but one has to be realistic as to why this needs to be done by the business. A lot of businesses will need to restructure and make cuts in order to survive and thrive.

    If legacy crew was paid good then I hope they have been investing/saving some money in the good times but I still don’t understand the concept of staying working for the same place, being loyal and doing the same job as MF when you know their conditions are dire and not trying to fight for MF just on the principle that a person can’t become a legacy if it’s not fair conditions. I know I would never work in a job and keep quiet if I knew somebody else was doing the same job but was a newbie. I would try to fight for fair conditions on the principle that the young person is doing the same job and requires incentives to become a legacy in the first place.

    A legacy was once a newbie. I ask where were the legacy crews’ morals when they knew newbies are getting paid so low for the same job and such bad conditions?

    Also do we know if female crew was getting paid less than male crew? I bet this is the case. What about equality? So if one was to involve morals into the equation, I despair to think/know everyone has been looking after their own bacon. So, that’s what BA management is doing too.

    It’s all morally ambiguous.

    • Nik says:

      Absolutely, this is a point everyone leaves out in favour of BA opportunism bashing which is naturally an offshoot of being a profitable business and not a charity. Legacy fleets unions were perfectly content with a new much lower paid fleet being in place and for them to be completely segregated for them whilst they continued to earn higher than quite a lot of UK jobs.

    • J says:

      The only way euro fleet/worldwide fleet could have helped mixed fleet would be in uniting on industrial action, but this would be completely illegal under the UK’s anti trade union laws.

      • Nik says:

        Ok sure. Let’s now bash the country’s policies as a whole now for our arguments sake. This still doesn’t explain some (and not I say some) legacy crews attitudes towards Mixed Fleet crews that are frankly childish. For example (and believe me I have heard quite a few first hand accounts), silly things like turning heads away and not answering, or being snooty to Mixed Fleet crew during changeover of crews on turnarounds on jet bridges…On a more “serious” level, a combined strike along with Mixed Fleet isn’t alone the way to show solidarity. So trying to claim a moral high ground when it has been questionable quite a few times in the past certainly makes the waters murkier.

        • J says:

          This is anecdotal and does not justify sacrificing thousands of experienced crew.

          • Nik says:

            Nor solely from a business point of view does it justify BA needing to keep on going with legacy contracts any more.

  • Dave Winchester says:

    BA are being arseholes, but that’s business.

    There are lots of people who will want to do the job on those terms, not least as the service industry is going to be decimated for the foreseeable. It’s a job with some excellent perks that you don’t need a degree to do so they’ll be no shortage of recruits – it’s not a career for the vast majority doing it

    • Nik says:

      Exactly. They get circa 50K applications in every advertised Mixed Fleet recruitment round and only circa 2K get through. So any shortage will have absolutely no problems to be filled. Any aspiring UK based cabin crew applicant would also want to flock to BA, not least for the sheer size and vast destinations it offers (or offered rather pre-COVID)

  • C says:

    This is crap but similar thing happened to me 5 years ago. Been at a company over 12 years, never off sick always worked hard but company wanted to sell to venture capitalists and needed to get rid of higher earners. Offered me a new role which was same job with lots of additionl responsibilities and for 10k less plus no more travel paid for.

    I took the redundancy pay and they ended up employing someone in their early 20s to replace me for half the money, and they did exactly the same job I did before, there was no ‘new role’. No employment solicitor was interested, ACAS pretty much said they can do it.

    • Lady London says:

      Did the new person that replaced uou do exactly the same job as you had done, or did they do the new job with more responsibilities that you’d been “offered” and with less pay? And was there and difference in the “value”/quality delivered by the new person?

      • C says:

        Exactly the same job, I trained him and he was given no training for the additional duties of the new role. I checked with colleagues after I left and they told me he was doing exactly the same role and was struggling to keep on top of that let alone anything else!

        • Lady London says:

          so it was just a way to get you out then. Constructive can pay more than redundancy/potential extra remedies, with hindsight I might have looked into that.

          • CC says:

            Yeh I had a feeling there was more I could’ve done but I did make an effort to explore options. I called a few solicitors, ACAS, and on a couple of forums asked the question, but all seemed to indicate that it was fair. Should have asked on here!

  • mr_jetlag says:

    Air travel is a service industry and like most service industries will be very different after the crisis.

    I sympathize with long serving Worldwide crew, but the status quo was clearly not sustainable even before COVID19. Whether BA have gone “too far” remains to be seen, and any industrial action will obviously be ineffective during the lockdown. Not many options other than to walk away.

  • Nick G says:

    I think the BA legacy crew on here are missing the point. I have no desire to live in France or wherever else, I’m not jealous because I wouldn’t want to do that job. I did say I don’t agree with everything BA is doing, changing the contracts like this is one of them. Many years I got made redundant one day and vowed never to work in the private sector again for that reason. Is robs article wrong then that a 50% ish reduction means you didn’t earn £48k ish?

    The points people make about jet lag and days off etc etc is just poor. Try working shifts. See what that does to your body, body clock, length of your life etc. And if you think you’ve been treated badly try having your pension that you signed up for changed half way through your career so you know have to work an extra 7 years to earn what you would have done. Oh and that’s not to mention being spat at with Covid 19, assaulted, run over, shot at, stabbed etc in your work place.

    So while I don’t agree it’s right I know how it feels do you not think it’s right. We’ve all been shat on from a great height at one time in life but your no different to other people. It’s awful and I do feel for those that will now be at a total disadvantage in life through no choice.

    • Rob says:

      For those who joined, say, 10-12 years ago the drop is more like £32k to £24k I believe. Contracts had already started to tighten up by then.

      • Nick G says:

        Cheers rob. What are the figures for say those that have worked 20 or 25 years? I assume it’s those that were on the circa £48k?

        • Rob says:

          Gets complex. There are still some around who came in from British Caledonian in 1988 for example and have legacy contracts from there.

    • Rebecca says:

      We do work shifts

    • Rebecca says:

      As for covid19, (we’re not often spat at, but puked on is a regular occurrence in turbulence), there are few worse places for contagion than a tin can packed with coughing people (who don’t wear masks onboard) for 10-12 hours at a time. Social distancing is impossible onboard.

    • Andy S says:

      Ah the truth…..a bitter policeman who isn’t getting as good a pension as he thought he would.

      Your comment “you should try working shifts” Thats exactly what these people are doing, they are working shifts with all that jet lag adds on top

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