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.

News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
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?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Old Royal Naval College: ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
    Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

    Front National family feud?

    Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
    Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

    Pot of gold

    Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
    10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

    From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

    While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
    Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone