Simon Calder: Public backlash against cabin crew has been fierce

Share
Related Topics

One million people will eagerly await the wise words of the Honourable Mrs Justice Cox when she rules later today on the legality of the strike ballot by British Airways cabin crew. Until that case is concluded – or a settlement is negotiated between BA and the union, Unite – the airline will not disclose its plans for the strike.

There are three possible outcomes: no flights from Heathrow or Gatwick, some flights, or all flights. But until the result is known, those million prospective passengers are enduring a degree of uncertainty akin to waiting on an aircraft without a take-off slot. They cannot leave and find another flight without potentially forfeiting their fare. And, with only five days remaining before the first departures due from Heathrow to Istanbul and Gatwick to Amsterdam on 22 December, they have no idea where they will spend Christmas or New Year.

From The Independent's website to radio phone-ins to online forums, the fury from these passengers is plain. "I just want to thank British Airways cabin crew for ruining my holiday, and thousands and thousands of other holidays," Toni from Harrow told listeners to the London news station LBC 97.3. She was in tears as she said her long-planned trip for a family reunion in New York on Christmas Eve appeared to be wrecked. "I booked my flight six months ago and thought 'I'll fly the flag'. I tell you: the worst thing I ever did was book with British Airways."

On the same show, a BMI cabin crew member named Marie called to ask about the likely status of a New Year trip to New York on BA; her airline has just announced hundreds of redundancies in a bid to staunch its losses. "We're at our wits' end. At the moment we're trying to hang on to our jobs. I love my job and I want to hold on to it."

The frequent-flyer online forum FlyerTalk had recorded nearly 50,000 views on the BA Christmas strike thread by 6pm last night. Many contributors expressed exasperation at what they regard as the airline's slackness in publishing a schedule or transferring passengers to other airlines. One contributor wrote: "If worst comes to worst, we can start a big FlyerTalk video chat on Christmas Day when we are stuck in places other than our final destination."

Responses on The Independent's website have been heated. "For crying out loud: what were you thinking when you cast your vote to go on strike? That we, the flying public, would back you up?", asked Rudi Jansen. "Insensitive, self-centred and manipulated by your union is how I describe your behaviour."

"Wakey 67" wrote: "I for one hope BA goes to the wall, it deserves to. Ryanair/EasyJet/Virgin are giving the customer exactly what they want. BA is stuck in the past and as such deserves to be a thing of the past."

But the newspaper's coverage itself attracted strong criticism, with one contributor saying a story of mine "demonstrates a degree of bias and petulance that exceeds even the usual abysmal standards of travel journalists".

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron faces the press as he arrives in Brussels for the EU leaders summit on Thursday reuters  

On the Tusk of a dilemma: Cameron's latest EU renegotiation foe

Andrew Grice
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959  

Stephen Ward’s trial was disgraceful. There can be no justification for it

Geoffrey Robertson QC
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas