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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.

  • JY says:

    Legacy is used for memorising, frame it, hang it! Done!

  • Anthony Dunn says:

    Out of curiosity, has not the entire management cadre (from the board of directors down) been issued with “take it or leave” revised T&Cs? These would also be predicated on the need to deliver the same substantial cost reductions being applied to cabin & flight deck crew.

    If this has not happened, why? Or is this another example of classic old-school British management: “don’t do as we do, just do as we say…!”

  • Ravaldo says:

    Above the UK average salary to serve food and drink sounds generous, especially when you take into account that BA’s business and first class crew are more equivalent to a Pret level of service than even a Zuma/Hawksmoor.

    • babyg says:

      really, food and drinks?? is that all you think they do?look. Look i agree that it sounds like some of the legacy crew are on an awesome salary (good on them) … so raise the others up, dont drag legacy down (or worse fire them)… pretty much everybody in india earns less than everybody in the UK…. should we pay everybody in the UK the same pay as our peers in india?

      • PeterP says:

        Just not a sustainable approach. BA simply cannot compete if it does not address its costs.

        • Paul says:

          Have you seen BA’s Balance sheet, they can more than afford the wage bill. IT’s all about #WeeWillieWalsh settling old scores before he walks away with his Millions, where else can that happen when you’ve received a massive vote of no confidence

          • Ralph says:

            If you start paying salaries with funds/assets on your balance sheet, you will soon be in trouble.

      • Ravaldo says:

        I think if the level of service was consistently good and comparable with the likes of Qatar, Singapore, Emirates etc. then higher salaries could be justified, but in my experience it’s not (hence the Pret/Hawksmoor analogy). As for whether we should pay people in the UK the same as their counterparts in India, I’m sure you know that our minimum wage wouldn’t allow that, not to mention the cost of living being a little different in the UK; so no, I don’t think people in the UK should be paid the same as people in India, and didn’t even imply that they should…

    • Stephen Grant says:

      Interesting theory from someone in the know how many birthday or Christmases have you missed being stuck in places you don’t really want to be in serving rude arrogant people who believe it’s ok to be rude jet lag shall I go on
      What you don’t see is they can save your life in most medical situations cook clean up sick after someone feels unwell , have to train and be alert whilst your sleeping be security on the aircraft and quell trouble if it brews up for 18k a year I don’t think so !!! My best friend traces to the USA every month and gets £1000 allowances every time he goes to offset the jet lag and time away from family Cabin crew can only serve up what’s provided by the company who in this case will always put profit before you the customer or staff but that’s business

      • Briandt says:

        Once again, he must really love job or why hasn’t he left for better opportunities…..ridiculous.

        • Paul says:

          They do love their jobs and that is why they are fighting so hard to keep them. I’m sure you wouldn’t accept a 50+% reduction in pay, your T&C’s torn up and say thank you very much, where’s the next mess your’d like me to clear up

    • Ravaldo says:

      Not entirely sure why suggesting level of service should be linked to pay makes me sad and frustrated, but ok. For context, NHS nurses are paid less than cabin crew.

      • CV3V says:

        Nope, in the main, NHS nurses earn more than BA mixed fleet crew.

        The point being made was that cabin crew go through a lot more training and are a lot more skilled than someone who works in a Pret. All crew have to go through a minimum amount of emergency first aid training.

      • Matthew says:

        Generally, you can increase an NHS worker’s base salary by 50% if they work full time and a full rota (share of evenings, nights and weekends)

        You should take the NHS pay scales with a pinch of salt, they bear little resemblance to actual pay.

        • Dr Ed says:

          Factually incorrect. Those, including nurses, on Agenda for change contracts get a 30% supplement for hours worked at night and on a Saturday rising to 60% for Sundays and bank holidays. You would have to work a month of Sundays to get what you suggest. Senior nurses are often required to work during weekday daytime hours thus getting no unsocial hours supplement.

        • Bazza says:

          Not even close to being correct. Honestly, you should apologise for that comment.

    • Paul says:

      You’re a very narrow minded, fustrate person if you think all they do is serve food and drink as in a cafe. Have you ever thought of all the bank holidays they miss, birthdays, Christmas’s funnerals to mention just a few. Serving the tea and coffee is the easy part, saving lives and putting up with arrogant customers like you is where they earn their money

      • Ravaldo says:

        I’d have thought they’re aware of the nature of shift work before they applied for the job. In any event, missing important events due to work isn’t something that’s unique to cabin crew. It’s not being arrogant to expect decent service when you pay thousands of pounds to fly Business or First, it’s a reasonable expectation and is the reason the likes of Qatar and Singapore have the best airlines. You’re right, though, serving premium passengers is literally where they make their money given the profit margins on those tickets.

        • Paul says:

          Yes you are correct they are very aware of the shift pattern when they signed their CONTRACT, now BA want to tear that contract up alter their working hours and make it nearly impossible to survive on the package being offered. Most companies would give you compassionate leave when a memeber of your close family passes BA will only give it for immediate family and then you have to beg for it. One day of for the funneral

  • letsflyaway says:

    It’s so sad to see that everyone is so focused on how ‘shit’ it is for an overpaid legacy fleet to take a pay cut of up to 50% to bring them in line with the mixed fleet staff. How fair is it for a mixed fleet staff as it stands today that some people earn more for no reason?

    Honestly, I blame a combination of years of over-bargaining by the unions where they have basically overinflated the pay for their legacy staff. Some people who are flying business aren’t even earning anywhere near what the legacy staff are earning! The unions have had such an upper hand over the many years – its really a taste of their own medicine.

    BA should really stand by their word and package up all the bits of their crap pay into one meaningful base staring salary of £28k instead.

    • J says:

      The “legacy” crews have 10+ years service, many much more than that. Most are supporting families, the “breadwinner”, etc. MF has such a high staff turnover that in normal times they are literally constantly recruiting (which must in itself cost BA a fortune) and hiring a huge proportion of young people living with their parents. In the long term it would be simply impossible to independently support a family on that wage (without relying on benefits). MF are underpaid but most do it for a short period of time and they obviously knew what the package was when they signed up. With Euro/Worldwide fleets, BA want to keep (some) employed, take all of their experience and skills whilst offering significantly worse pay/conditions to what they signed up for.

      • Yorkieflyer says:

        But they do the same job

        • J says:

          Legally irrelevant.

        • Paul says:

          Yes they do but with far more experience and like every job you get rewarded for your loyallty and experience. BA are happy with huge turnover of staff as they will never have to reward them. I’m not sure you’d need amy hands to count how many MF have been there since the beginning and the ones that have don’t think this is a great deal. They go back to being equal to a new recruit. The attitude on board will be terrible

          • John says:

            “and like every job you get rewarded for your loyallty and experience”

            Hardly (sadly). Lot of people earning less today (in real terms) than they would have done a couple of decades ago. Times/work patterns change, and not always for the better.

    • Paul says:

      I’m sure for every year you have worked you would expect a pay rise that would reflect the rate of inflation so multiply that by 20/30 plus years and you’ll see where some of that comes from. If you’ve worked for a company for any length of time you would expect some form of seniority this is being removed, so some one with say 10 years experience, so that includes MF, can be told what to do be someone with say 1 years “experience” that’s not going to make for a happy cabin. MF should aspire to these terms and conditions and stand together and fight for them. IF they look at the headlines they probably think that all their Xmases have come at once, but read the small print, to earn that they will ALL need to be rostered the best routes EVERY trip, That CANNOT happen. They can and most probably will be stood down for 2 months a year WITHOUT pay, all of a sudden it doesn’t look so great. Know your worth and fight for what’s right.
      ps I’m nothing to do with the airline just making an observation as an employer and a passenger

      • mvcvz says:

        You’ve clearly not worked in the NHS over the last decade or so then sunshine?

    • Paul says:

      You’ll be lucky if you can find one crew member that will finish up earing that, it’s almost impossible when you look at the small print.

      • Mikeact says:

        Are we allowed to see the ‘small print ? Perhaps we will all have a better understanding.

        • Paul says:

          BA have chosen nt to leak that to the press but it’s on the internet if you want to look. But basically unless every trip is longhaul with the best allowences and you’re lucky enough to not be stood down when it’s low season, what ever that means, you’ve got no chance of earning the basic let alone all the add ons. It’s a pay cut for everyone including the lower paid MF. And then there’s the risk of being posted to another base at no notice

  • Alan says:

    Sounds like the per diem would also be subject to NI and income tax, which wouldn’t be the case for expenses being reimbursed, so worth even less…

      • Andy says:

        Not sure why the per diem has been included in earnings as it’s essentially payment to cover expenses incurred in the course of someone doing their job

        • Derek Scott says:

          Per Diem is applicable to all UK companies and their staff where employees would have out of pocket expenses by working away from home, overseas. It is paid upfront usually, is preset by HMRC as to what the daily allowances are depending on the country being visited and the duration, and any unused element is not returned (in my experience). For example a few years ago I had to spend 2 weeks in the Philippines and was given £25 a day up front for meals, drinks, and was an HMRC calculated figure based on national cost of living calculations. This was supplemented by expenses claims back in UK for anything claimable the PD didn’t cover

  • Purserdeluxe says:

    Big win for MF? Get a grip mate. The entire workforce are having their terms and conditions slashed. If the pay deal was such a BIG WIN for mixed fleet their Union would be happy to talk. It’s tactical. Mixed Fleet do not want this. If you had more of an idea around the future working agreements this includes, youd realise every fleet, department, manager, colleague is being screwed by the board.

    • Briandt says:

      And another one off comment, from someone never to be heard from again, with nothing to back up his/her comments. Ridiculous.

  • John says:

    Lower pay aside, I don’t understand the rationale for mixed fleet as in sharing long and short haul. I would have thought it easier to schedule a rota where each duty is roughly the same length and it would keep the people whose existing living arrangements are based around this happy. If a crew member wants to do both they can swap every 3 months or something?

    • Rob says:

      All about flexibility. You need double stand-by crew for example.

      • Froggitt says:

        So have a small standby crew able and willing to do long and short haul.

    • Callum says:

      I don’t understand the logic there? Having everyone being able to do everything surely makes scheduling far easier? I don’t see how restricting what each staff member can do could possibly help schedulers?

      I know in my previous scheduling role (on a MUCH smaller scale granted!) I found it far harder scheduling the technicians who could only work on certain types of equipment than those who could work on anything.

      • Paul says:

        A lot of the crew that are currently WW don’t live close enough to the airport, which I know isn’t BA’s fault, but like everyone else you live to your means. Lots of multi national companies would offer relocation packages if they changed your T&C’s to suit themselves. Making the journey say once a week is viable but if you have to make it 3 times in a week or stay in a hotel within easy reach it is not. likewise there are those that only fly shorthaul who would find the stress of being away for anything upto 9 nights equal unacceptable because of childcare etc. When you take these things into consideration the reduction to pay then becomes even more significant.

        • Yorkieflyer says:

          I think you’ll find that a few companies used to pay relocation costs in limited way but not to the extent you suggest would be necessary. As to whether any would nowadays?

        • Mikeact says:

          @Paul….so what’s new ?

  • Richard says:

    Pre pandemic, BA was profitable and getting more so. But you only had to talk to the flight crew on board to see that there are big staff leadership issues underneath and/or issues with their safety role (eg. reluctance to challenge pax who keep their phones on, which is something that has bothered me on a number of BA flights the past couple of years.) Further cutting staff pay seems a very short sighted approach, one which jeopardises its long term future.

    • Opus says:

      Short sighted if you want said staff to remain. Which they don’t

    • Charlieface says:

      I wish someone could explain to me in scientific terms why pax SHOULD turn their phones off?

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