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Exclusive: British Airways reveals improved cabin crew pay offer – a win for Mixed Fleet

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British Airways has unveiled its revised pay proposal today for cabin crew.

This is, it has to be said, an improvement on the original package.  The winners are current Mixed Fleet crew who will see a modest increase in their total earnings.  This should be enough to finally put to bed any threat of strike action by cabin crew.

It does, of course, still represent a sharp cut in pay for legacy crew members.  Legacy crew who accept the new package will also have to commit to mixed long-haul and short-haul flying with poorer working conditions.

British Airways new cabin crew pay package

This is how the proposed new package looks:

Cabin crew:

Total target earnings: £28,000


  • Base salary – £17,000 (£16,000 for new entrants)
  • Duty pay based on hours flown – £3,000 to £5,000
  • Incentive pay – £1,000
  • Flex allowance – £850
  • Per diem – £3,500 to £5,500

Remember that the ‘per diem’ includes payment that normal employees would consider expenses such as meal allowances when away.  The incentive payment is target based.

’Flex allowance’ is a sum which cannot be taken as cash but can be used towards certain employee benefits or paid into a pension plan.

Realistically …. if you assume that crew spend 75% of their ‘per diem’ money on living expenses whilst away, and that the bonus is not triggered, you are looking at £17,000 + £4,000 average duty pay + £1,100 ‘profit’ on the per diem, which is £22,100, plus the £850 of non-cash benefits or additional pension contribution.

For comparison, based on the latest numbers I could find, Virgin Atlantic crew start on £17,000, rising to £18,500 after four years.  They receive additional ‘trip pay’ of £96 per return trip, with five to six trips per months, plus an overnight allowance.  This is a different sort of role, of course, as it is exclusively long-haul flying.

British Airways cabin crew new pay deal

Lead cabin crew:

Total target earnings: £31,000


  • Base salary – £20,000
  • Duty pay based on hours flown – £3,000 to £5,000
  • Incentive pay – £1,000
  • Flex allowance – £1,000
  • Per diem – £3,500 to £5,500


Total target earnings: £39,000


  • Base salary – £32,000
  • Incentive pay – £2,000
  • Flex allowance – £1,600
  • Per diem – £3,500 to £5,500

On top of this, all crew will receive pension contributions of up to 11% and staff travel concessions.

British Airways says that this is a ‘market leading package’.  It will still be a tough pill for existing legacy cabin crew to swallow, however – even £39,000 for a Manager represents a 33% pay cut for most legacy Cabin Service Directors.  For standard cabin crew on a legacy contract, the drop would be similar.

In the short term I reckon that British Airways needs at least 50% of legacy crew to remain with the business if it is to run a 60% schedule. Will enough stay?


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Comments (295)

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

  • JHJARF says:

    This is only a £550 uplift in pay on their existing basic for many on MF. It is also worth considering hourly pay is calculated in a new subsistence rate so it will vary depending on destination and time down route.

  • Speedbird676 says:

    The headline says “a big win for Mixed Fleet”.

    What are the comparison figures for existing Mixed Fleet out of interest?

  • Mike P says:

    It seems somewhat disingenuous to include a ‘per diem’ in a salary calculation. If I work away from home (which I do 3-4 months of the year in normal circumstances), my employer picks up all costs from the moment I leave home until the moment I return. This is nothing to do with my remuneration package.

    • John W says:

      + 1. – totally agree , this has nothing to do with your salary , it’s expenses you incur from being away ??

      • Rob says:

        You keep what you don’t spend, is the only upside.

        • Dev says:

          There will be a strong demand for pot noodles in and around Heathrow!

          • Dev says:

            My wife was crew for an Indian airline (Kingfisher) and even they paid an allowance for layovers overseas … it was not part of the salary!

            (Indian T&Cs And work practices are not exactly employee friendly but even they didn’t stoop that low!)

    • Lady London says:

      And if the costs of them being away should go up, their per diem does not increase

      • Lady London says:

        per diems are good only if generous, and if they stay generous relative to reasonable costs of being away in that location.

        In some locations basic costs of meals and drinks could be very high.

        Interestingly, I am fairly sure BA will have had to get approval from HMRc to allow per diems to be paid tax free to employees. So how long has BA been planning this?

        • Paul says:

          It the same per diem structure that BA created with HMRC during the MF strikes, MF voted and rejected it, despite union recommending it and tax free element being removed from old structure.

        • Geroge says:

          BA was proposing to move Mixed Fleet to the per-deim & duty pay model earlier this year – it didn’t end up happening. The per diem amount is based on HMRC guidelines and varies by country.

          • Lady London says:

            Yes, I;m a contractor and a fellow contractor on the same project referred me to HMRC scale of allowances for per diems that can be claimed tax free for each full day in a location away from home/ different country. Some of those rates were surprisingly high.

            The other contractor assured me that so far as HMRC is concerned those allowances can still be taxfree as well as other expenses in the location still being claimed. Is BA planning on reimbursing or paying any other expenses in away locations for crew, or is the per diem all they’re planning to pay to staff that is supposed to cover absolutely everything except, perhaps, hotel room?

    • pauldb says:

      Isn’t the difference that BA (and competitors) and seeing their best value staff being those that join for the lifestyle, not being too concerned if most staff don’t stay more than three years.
      In those circumstances £4k to spend around world is as valuable as £4k to spend at home.
      Of course it doesn’t feed your kids or pay your mortgage, and I get that for long serving crew it’s not acceptable.

    • Paul74 says:


  • A Colins says:

    NO NO NO!!! This is what the company wants, positive press.


    – 1K of that is a bonus we will never receive.
    – £850 is our company pension scheme.

    It’s terrible!!!!

    • Howi Hardnut says:

      What’s in the small print . This not any better than the last one . Terms and conditions need to be doable .

  • BP says:

    It would be good to understand the packages that legacy crew are on currently.

    • Rob says:

      Varies hugely, can be as high as £80k for the top few.

      • Mike P says:

        £80K for even a very experienced CSD sounds like too much to me. It’s a responsible job but not a terribly specialised or skilled one.

        • SammyJ says:

          I agree. I’m an air traffic controller with 20 years experience, on £54k. Not knocking their jobs at all, but it does seem quite excessive. Many commercial airline pilots are earning far less than that.

          • Pauline Jones says:

            Agreed but the (very) few who are earning that are ones who have been in the company around 40+ years and many of whom were fleet directors (ground based managers) who were transferred to flying duties when the job was disbanded. I do agree in essence though what you are saying. However, the ones on this sort of money can be counted on one hand.

          • Lady London says:

            @SammyJ do you get to go home to sleep every night?
            Do you know where you are going to be working most days and is it the same location all year?
            Thought so.

          • roro says:

            So what bit of “you are joining an airline and will probably be asked to fly to various locations all over the world which will necessitate spending time away from home and not getting home every night “
            did the aircrew who signed up for the job not understand

        • Paul says:

          I’m sure you would have a different opinion if one had saved your life, be it a medical emergency on board or getting you safely from a burning aircraft.
          If you worked a shift pattern you would expect to be rewarded for unsociable hours, that’s what a lot of their pay represents.

          • Rhys says:

            The proposed pay scale is roughly in line with what nurses earn in London

          • Jake says:

            Paul, are you for real? £80k is the same salary as a Consultant Anaesthetist who has trained for 15 years and spent well over £50k in the process.

        • Air Marshall says:

          I don’t know any senior crew on 80K or anywhere near it…and I’ve flown for 34 years.

        • Flyer P says:

          Find me one person that earns 80k on legacy crew. Please get your facts right first. CSD are on basic of around 40k. That’s after 30+ years of service. Most are on part time and don’t earn more than 35k in total. Get a grip and learn facts before making comments. I am crew and I can tell you this figures are not true.

          • Tom says:

            But the union said crew are taking a 65% pay cut – based on the initial offers. That would put the average CSD on £91K. Is the union not being truthful?

          • Janet says:

            I am a CSD with 27 years service and 12 years as a CSD – I am full time. My basic pay is £54,500. My Contractual Flight Pay is £11,504 (This amount is guaranteed except for a £31 deduction for any day I am sick). So my guaranteed pay is £66,000. On top of that I earn about £14,000 in per diem (of which 33% is not subject to tax) and £1000 pa in what is called Daily overseas allowance. So my total is £81,000. My yearly increments are about £1000 + any percentage pay rise and I have 6 years of increments to go with a top basic salary pay of £60,000 (currently).

            A senior full time CSD on the top increment (full-time) would earn a minimum of £85,000 assuming no sickness and an average roster.

            I am out of the UK for 10-12 days a month maximum (usually 3 trips, occasionally a 4th rolling into the next month – I bid for Far East trips with more days off than US/Middle East trips. I achieve on average 15 days off a month. I get 37 days annual leave a year – this may sound generous but I can expect to work bank holidays and Christmas/Easter etc. Another issue is technically I do not get guaranteed days off a month – days off are generated by trips – For example if I were a Mon-Fri 9-5 worker I would only have to take 10 days leave to get 16 days off in a row (ie 2 weeks off encompassing 3 weekends) however if I wanted those same 16 days off in a row I would need to take 16 days Leave to guarantee it.

            All of the above is FACT. Perhaps the CSDs you talk to are economical with the truth etc. CSD take-home pay will differ wildly as our pension contributions will differ. For example I make maximum AVCs so 15% of my basic pay and CFP pay is deducted (tax efficiently). I choose to do that. If I didn’t make any AVCs my take home pay would be much higher.

            The new package for me represents a 53% pay cut and realistically probably 5 or 6 days more flying a month.

        • Lady London says:

          yes and it’s ridiculous when so very very few people on legacy fleet are even earning close to that money. Yet BA is using those few to claim how difficult life is for them and how they must put a headline rate on new contracts that makes them sound like they are still too little for employees to live on anywhere near Heathrow, but reasonable for the industry. Just about OK though given the industry… BUT then just look at the small print about how employees can be stood down and have very limited appeals procedure and total flexibility demanded.. and most of them won’t see enough of the few destinations that might let them get a little ahead on the per diem. It looks a bit too close to the Zero Hours Zero Rights contacts Tesco are offering to their employees as soon as you start looking at the small print BA is using this opportunity to impose.

      • MT says:

        This to me is the issue, in the airline market this day and age the salaries that many of the crew are on simply are not sustainable and not real world.
        This has been known for some time and the unions have been doing all they can to protect these and BA sees this as a chance to finally get rid of these legacy pay rewards that do not reflect the real world.
        I feel there has been wrong doing for many years by both the Union and BA, the Unions protecting their members to such a degree it makes BA see this as its one and only chance to essentially break the stranglehold WW have over them. BA under the current management has done plenty wrong to alienate the unions, but for many years no the unions have held BA to ransom with strikes, now BA is turning the tables as essentially it can afford to. BA really don’t need to hold onto 50% legacy crew, they can run a reduced schedule for the next 6-18 months without issue and just hire from the many thousands of crew being made redundant from other airlines if they need.
        Until now unions have always had the strike factor on their side and in my opinion played it to easily at times, they know this time that BA don’t care and will happily take a few months of negative press to free themselves of the complicated setup of 3 different crew types which was done to appease the unions in the first place.

        It is harsh to say the least on the crew involved and in many businesses there would be a much more working together approach but as we all know the Unions and BA have been at war for years and the Unions with their recent strikes probably did go to far and now BA have the chance to reset things and rein in the costs and complications, which they will do.
        What I am curious about is that other European airlines are receiving huge bailouts and so far BA have not, would taxpayers prefer to bailout BA and see them not do this to the crew or to do this and not take the bailout. I personally think the crew are getting treated harshly but equally many have been on a golden goose for many years and its finally catching up with them and the rest of the crew get caught in the crossfire. I wouldn’t want to see my taxes spent on a bailout when some crew are on what are hugely inflated salaries for the industry. Harsh I know but that is the world we now live.

        • Flyer P says:

          Do you really do your research before posting or are you just another person that thinks that what BA is doing is right. Unions should and would protect their members interest. I’m crew with this shit company that is being run by greedy, immoral psychopaths who are hell bent on making more money for them self and share holders at the expense of staff. The strikes you talk about were taken to protect our T&C. We as crew have given up over £5000 per year in pay. When the flight is delayed we don’t get any extra payment. We don’t get paid extra to work on bank holidays, weekends and Christmas. I have been working as crew for 22 years and I’m earning less now than I did in 1998. When staff go on strike they loose more than their wages. If you think this would be a good idea to get rid of so called legacy crew because we have decent T&C and liveable wage than you are certainly not in the right frame of mind. If your company decided that they can get some to do your job for less and fire you this should be fine by you. Let me know. Once again look at the facts before you write or make stupid comments.

          • Ralph says:

            The MF crew find it very unfair and demoralising that they earn much less than legacy crew for doing the same job. What BA is doing to legacy crew may not be very fair, but unfortunately in this type of industry paying certain people well above the current market rate is unsustainable and not in the interests of the majority of BA employees or the airline.

          • Doug M says:

            When legacy crew maintained their own terms in exchange for allowing BA to create MF how did you think it would end? You describe management as greedy but if you sell out future employees to keep your own terms in place isn’t that greed? Legacy fleet were comfortable earning more for doing the same work as MF for a good number of years, seems to me there’s plenty of greed to go round.

          • Lady London says:

            Not really very fair @Doug M as pretty similar to at a certain point, a company stops a Defined Benefit pension scheme – and new employees get offered considerably less value Money Purchase Scheme. Many, many firms do this. It has been going on for years (and was also done by BA with 2 pension schemes and about to happen with the rest.) Often this happens to other benefits – later generations of staff, particularly in junior positions, get considerably worse packages.

          • Lady London says:

            …But it takes special effort by the employer to demolish the existing contracts – so existing work conditions as well as existing compensation – of so many in this way. This is what’s going on here.

            I don’t actually have a problem with BA doing this but as it’s very unfair on loyal employees with long service who historically were made different promises and have worked through with BA – I would just like to see some softer transition arrangemnets for those who have to go and some reasonable work conditions that are not like Tesco zero hours contracts for those who remain.

            I am actually proud of British Airways, think they will be very successful and are doing the right thing but would like to see it done with a touch more humanity and some residual fairness on working conditions.

          • Paul74 says:

            Well said.

          • Briand says:

            22 years? More fool you if you weren’t prepared to get off your backside and find something more suited to your requirements… ridiculous.

          • Doug M says:

            @LL. I think that’s a different thing. A defined benefits pension scheme is a legal structure and can’t be undone for the existing members.
            But pay and general terms can, and are negotiable. My point is is the bosses want to save money, and as a group you say OK, protect us and pay new people less to save your own skin, then when what goes around comes around happens don’t publicly bleat about how hard done by you are.
            MF exists because WW wanted to cling to the good times. Understandable, but you’d have to have a very self focused nature to expect sympathy when it happens to you.
            From an employers point of view the one way you can guarantee poor staff morale is paying very different rates for the same job. I know of no one that works in this situation that isn’t enormously bitter about it. Say you work a 30 hour week as a largely unskilled cleaner, and get £50K, you should be ecstatic about it, but if you work with another doing the same job and find out they get £55K, I guarantee you’ll have a ridiculously overpaid and very unhappy cleaner. Human nature is to compare, not look at absolutes.

          • Rob says:

            Evening Standard this week had a piece about ‘dog walkers to the stars’ getting £80k.

          • Lady London says:

            @Doug M Yes an employer *can* make all sorts of changes to an existing Defined Benefit scheme. I’ve been in companies where it’s been done. Also apparently the trustees of even defined benefit schemes can change the rules at any time, or change hhow they operate those rules. Remembering that regardless of legal structures most of the time the employer gets away with things wherever tbe law allows. Pensions regulation has improved vastly recently but a lot was donw before.

            BA is a case in point having got rid of db liabilities and very shortly is already set up to lose the rest.

        • Bagoly says:

          I can see BA v Unions being a future Harvard Case Study in how to not work together.
          Easier to use for teaching once the unions have comprehensively lost.

    • geroge says:

      The headline union message was the initial offer represented somewhere around a 65% pay cut for ‘legacy’ crew so that would mean cabin crew were on £67K or so (initial offer was £24K) and CSDs were on £91K or so (initial offer was £32K)

      • TeessideTraveller says:

        Easy to get to 65% if you compare current pay (including all theoretical bonuses/allowances) with the base pay in the initial offer.

        Interesting that the unions have never given a breakdown of their calculations.

      • Lady London says:

        I’m afraid “up to” usually means the great maority of employees will never be in a position to qualify that the maximum “up to” figure given. So current average of legacy crew is likely to be much lower.

        I really haven’t a clue but taking out the rumoured £80K ‘unicorn’ outlier we keep hearing about, I will take a guess that the average crew member in the 2 upper grades mentioned will be paid around £10k-£20K less than the average in the grade, previously

    • Paul says:

      Most would be on About £38000

  • KK78 says:

    What a number the neoliberals have done on the UK when everyone is content to see people have their wages cut and their terms and conditions diminished! If a large company like BA gets away with something like this then rest assured it is coming to a workplace near you sooner than you think. This mentality of ‘beggar thy neighbour’ will decimate aggregate demand and put meaningful economic recovery further out of reach.

    Organised labour is a good thing. It is to thank for many of the things which make life worth living – the NHS being one! We would do well to remove the ‘free’ market blinkers from our eyes and take a long hard look at the world. Consider the future you want for yourself and your loved ones.

    I for one certainly don’t see lower wages, poorer workplace protections and a reduced quality of life.

    • BlueThroughCrimp says:


    • Howie Hardnut says:

      That seems to be the ambition of the working classes.

      • Flyer P says:

        I suppose you were born into an aristocrat family with a golden spoon in your mouth. It’s greed and thoughts of people like you that make this world a nasty place.

    • TeessideTraveller says:

      None of us want that either. The trouble is that price is often the major factor when booking flights.

    • Lady London says:

      Then don’t live in the UK, try not to live in Europe for too much longer than about 40 years more. If you must stay in the UK get out of being a “worker” asap and become a shareholder or an owner of assets. Then you’ll actually be OK.

    • Paul74 says:


    • neoliberal says:

      Yay, let’s give everyone a 10% pay increase. Hold that – let’s double all wages.

      • Lady London says:

        Nah let’s just hand out loads of free money. Start up that printing press since there’s no gold left in the Bank of England and it’s all about what the market thinks of us!

  • GMS says:

    Why do you think “British Airways needs at least 50% of legacy to remain with the business if it is to run a 60% schedule”? I really don’t think the leadership team there could care less if every single person from the legacy structures were to leave. They would simply start recruiting some of the crew being made redundant by Virgin and others.

    • memesweeper says:

      New recruits from other airlines would still need retraining.

      • Lady London says:

        Actually if I was longstanding crew I would view the training department as one of the places there might be longevity of employment. At the lowest level there will still be a revolving door of staff – caused by natural factors – as soon as the economy is back working reasonably well again.

    • Rob says:

      Can’t be done in time, especially given that BA requires crew to be trained on long haul AND short haul and that there is no other major airline in the UK operating both.

      Crew training / authorisation is tightly regulated and there are bottle necks all the way due to the number of facilities, trainers etc available.

      • GMS says:

        But do you really think that BA is going to be going straight back to 60% of its schedule? No way! That’s going to be a phased return.

        It’s unlikely that all legacy crew would reject it anyway. To fill any gaps BA will have time to train new recruits and would need to be prepared to be flexible with whatever crew remain from Mixed Fleet and the legacy teams.

  • Peter Marshall says:

    They showing the money BUT what are the terms and conditions?? I’m sure there is a small print. I am curious to know if it is zero hour contract and the terms and conditions. Mix fleet don’t be fooled.

    • Geroge says:

      No zero hours contracts. Terms and Conditions are broadly in line with what mixed fleet have today with a few improvements – knowing next month’s roster earlier, being able to pick a couple of days off that are guaranteed off a year etc.

      • Howie Hardnut says:

        So if MF have been dealt a bad set of cards should they not strive to better it .

        • Geroge says:

          Absolutely – if unhappy with the conditions work to improve them. Was just stating that the company isn’t looking to make major changes to the conditions MF already have.

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