Inside Travel: How will the BA cabin crew strikes affect me?

Q. When will the strike take place?

From next Tuesday, 18 May, to Wednesday 9 June – though with three single days of respite on 23 and 29 May, and on 4 June. The cabin crew union, Unite, has chosen to spread 20 days' of strike action across four weeks – knowing that the airline will not be able to recover its operations on the three "days off", and that the impact will begin before Tuesday and continue for several days after the strike ends.

Q. Will my flight be grounded?

Probably not. In the last two sets of strikes, lasting seven days in March, around three-quarters of BA passengers travelled where and when they expected. If you are flying from Gatwick or London City, your flight will go ahead as normal (erupting volcanoes permitting). Support for the strike at Gatwick has evaporated, and London City is covered by different agreements.

BA's main base, of course, is Heathrow. The airline says "most flights will operate normally"; the leading candidates for cancellations are the usual UK suspects (Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle), plus Paris and Brussels; these are first to be axed, as terrestrial alternatives are readily available. Long-haul flights with multiple frequencies, such as New York and Hong Kong, could be combined. BA expects more cabin crew will break the strike and show up for work than last time. In addition, the airline has trained more than 1,000 "Volunteer Cabin Crew", described by the union as "scab labour" or "scabin crew".

Q. I have a "code-share" flight – will I take off?

That all depends whose name is on the plane, or more specifically, on the ticket. "Operated by: Iberia" means your luck is in (but not completely, if you are not a fan of the Spanish airline's dismal inflight service). Your flight should take off; the same applies if the ticket says it is operated by Aer Lingus, or Finnair, or Qantas, or ...

The converse also applies, though: you may have booked with Qantas, Iberia, etc, but if it is a BA flight then it could potentially be hit by the strike.

Q. The airline says I could experience "a different style of onboard service". What might that be?

Short-haul, you could find yourself aboard a "wet-leased" flight – on a jet chartered in from airlines such as Ryanair and Jet2. Most planes do not have business class; Club Europe passengers will be eligible for "downgrade compensation". You should still get complimentary food and drink. Long haul, your flight may offer a "simplified" inflight service, which means more basic catering. Pre-ordered special meals will not be available.

Q. How do I find out if my flight is affected?

Check at ba.com – though at present only those affected by the first five days can find out if their flight has been cancelled; plans for subsequent dates will be revealed gradually. If your flight is not operating, and the airline has not "reprotected" you – ie booked you on another flight – then you can choose to rebook at no extra cost within the next year, or get a refund.

Q. But I desperately need to get there...

Then you will join the thousands seeking certainty by switching to easyJet, Virgin Atlantic, Ryanair and dozens of foreign airlines. These airlines cannot believe their good fortune: strike threats have hung over BA's operations for the past six months. Fares are rising sharply; if you can find a seat, expect to pay a small fortune for it.

Q. Will the strike effect me if I'm not with BA?

Yes. The absence of a significant number of flights from the Heathrow schedules will inevitably mean fare rises on those airlines whose services have not been grounded by the dispute.

Grounded Why strike?

Q What is the strike about?

Originally, cabin crew were angered at the airline's reduction of crewing levels on flights from Heathrow to the same standards as Gatwick. The first strike call was against "new working practices". The airline has since raised the temperature by withdrawing staff travel perks from every crew member who went on strike in March. At the root of the problem is that BA's cabin crew cost far more to employ than rivals – partly because of good salaries, partly because of arcane agreements signed by management over the years. While Unite has offered a wide range of concessions, BA's chief executive does not believe they will lead to sufficient long-term savings.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Product Development

    £26000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Product Development departm...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

    £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

    Recruitment Genius: Developer

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Estates Contracts & Leases Manager

    £30000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Estates Team of this group ...

    Day In a Page

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future