BA 16-day strike – what you need to know!

The 16-day strike by British Airways’ mixed cabin crew is confirmed to go ahead from Saturday, July 1, to Sunday, July 16.

Why is the crew striking?

Unite, the union for the mixed cabin crew; says the clash with BA is over pay gaps between recently hired ‘mixed fleet’ crew and regular cabin crew. Furthermore, Howard Beckett, Union Unite assistant general secretary; says BA is also “punishing staff” who took part in previous strikes.

Will flights be affected?

Cabin crew as well as staff on over 60 flights from London’s Heathrow airport are set to walk out from Saturday.

An analysis in UK newspaper The Independent; shows that 12 flights have been cancelled on the Heathrow-Doha route in the first six days of the strike, as well as three out of the first five daily round-trips in July to Abuja, Nigeria, and this weekend’s departure and return to Muscat. No changes or cancellations have been announced yet on flights to South Africa.

BA has said its priority is to fly all customers to their destinations. The airline is currently looking at a range of options and is also speaking with a number of airlines. Contingency plans will be announced in the coming days for customers who have bookings on the days of threatened industrial action.

Can clients cancel their flights ahead of time?

If clients want to cancel flights ahead of the strike schedule being announced, they risk losing money; according to a report in the Independent. The airline says that the vast majority of flights to as well as from London Heathrow will operate as normal. If clients decide to rebook on another airline, British Airways will in all likelihood not cover the cost.

Can clients claim compensation?

This depends on whether the strike can be counted as an ‘extraordinary circumstance’; in which case the airline can refuse compensation. Although strikes usually count as “extraordinary circumstances”, a CAA spokesperson was quoted on as saying: “If airline staff strike, and due notice has been given enabling the airline to make alternative arrangements, it is unlikely this strike would constitute an extraordinary circumstance.

If passengers are disrupted as a result of the strike; BA must provide a duty of care: meals, refreshments and if necessary accommodation as well, as appropriate for the delay.

How can travel agents assist?

ASATA travel agents can assist their clients by providing information and also keeping clients up to date. Sure Travel CEO Vanya Lessing said on the Sure Travel blog: “There have been several airline strikes in 2017 so far. It is during turbulent times like these that travel agents truly prove their worth, as they have up-to-date information on the situation and the expertise to assist clients with alternative travel arrangements where necessary.”

BA 16-day strike – what you need to know!