British Airways Strike Possibility

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Jan 29th, 2010, 01:40 PM
  #1
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British Airways Strike Possibility

I hope some one has some advice on options to consider with the possibility of a British Airways strike.

I am traveling roundtrip from NY to London on British Airways. Leaving mid-March and returning mid-April. Strike vote will be announced on February 22. Strike could begin as early as March 1. Promises have been made by the union to fly during the Easter holiday, whatever that means.

I've called British Airways for their advice. They won't commit to anything at this time. I asked what if I bought a one way ticket to London on another airline. If there were a strike where I would miss my outbound BA flight, could I still use my return ticket. BA stated that by current rules, if I did not show up for my outbound flight, my return flight would be invalid as well.

I reviewed the policys stated by BA in advance of previous strike actions. They were willing to provide refunds. Also, they would rebook passangers, but I'm not clear what that meant.

I was willing to book a round trip ticket on another airline, and then if BA does not go on strike, pay the change fee of $275 to rebook next year. But that does not work well. I would have to schedule my outbound flight within one year of the booking date. That means if I book my flight on February 1, 2010, I would have to fly by Jamuary 31, 2011. Not in March.

Alternatively, I could book a full fare round trip. But the cost is around $2500. Gulp.

I can't think of the right way to protect my vacation. Any ideas?
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Jan 30th, 2010, 03:59 AM
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Grrrrr. We are booked on BA in March-will be watching for the advice you seek as well.
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Feb 3rd, 2010, 01:55 PM
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I am nervous about this as well as our flights are departing 3/21 and returning 4/3. I signed up to follow BA and Unite on Twitter to get the latest updates (if any).

Right now it is a sit and wait game to see what happens and then scramble at the last minute to rebook if needed. I'm hoping the bad press they got over the Christmas holiday with their vote to strike will prevent them from voting this one in.

As of yesterday things are back in the High Court: http://www.unitetheunion.com/campaig...e_arrives.aspx

Here is some info from BA as well: http://www.britishairways.com/travel...t/public/en_gb

Hopefully an amicable solution can be reached soon!
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Feb 4th, 2010, 11:31 AM
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A bit of an update from Bloomberg News:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...d=aao2KSpVoN24
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Feb 4th, 2010, 12:05 PM
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We have been caught in an Air France strike. You just call and they will put you on another airline. You should have plenty of time to have them re-book you. It's easier than trying to do it yourself. They may have a set limit on their strike so you may not have a problem at all.
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Feb 4th, 2010, 12:17 PM
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Unfortunately BA doesn't have the same policy as Air France:

If strike dates are announced

Customers booked to travel during that period will be able to rebook, free of charge and subject to availability, onto other British Airways flights outside of the strike period for up to 12 months from the original date of travel.

Refunds will be available if flights are actually cancelled.


In the event that cancellations are made due to strike action
Customers booked to travel during that period will be able to:

* Rebook onto another British Airways flight within 12 months of the original date of travel
* Rebook onto another British Airways flight to/from the nearest alternative airport (for example, if booked to/from Boston you could rebook to/from Philadelphia or New York)
* Cancel your booking and get a refund.

All rebooking options will be subject to availability.

More detailed information about rebooking options, including specific dates covered by these guidelines will be made available if a strike is announced.

Normal conditions of carriage will apply for any flights that are cancelled outside of the strike period.
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Feb 4th, 2010, 12:22 PM
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That's very interesting. Between that policy and the fact that you can't get a seat assignment until 24 hours before the flight unless you pay more, doesn't make BA too desirable anymore.

Air France couldn't do enough for us. PLUS we received an apology from the president of the company on our e-mail.
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Feb 4th, 2010, 12:25 PM
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I know, right! I'm glad you had a good experience, though. I just hope they can come to a resolution without a strike!
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Feb 22nd, 2010, 09:29 AM
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Cabin Crew voted for the strike, overwhelmingly

http://www.unitetheunion.com/news__e...erwhelmin.aspx

Now we wait to hear the dates and hope they can resolve this in the meantime. I read that the dates could be announced on Thursday.
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Feb 22nd, 2010, 03:17 PM
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They may have voted to strike but will they actually do it?

On BBC World today they advised that BA have warned each member of staff that should they participate in the strike, they will lose there travel perks...for life.
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Feb 27th, 2010, 06:41 AM
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Anyone have recent info? Have looked a bit online but don't see possible start dates.
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Feb 27th, 2010, 12:55 PM
  #12
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From BA's website:

Unite must give a minimum of seven days notice from the day they announce proposed strike dates to the first day of a strike.

Strike action must also commence within 28 days of the ballot closing on 22 February 2010.

So, the strike must start before the 22nd of March? Does anyone know how long it will last? Do they usually have a prescribed time or is until demands are met?
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Feb 28th, 2010, 09:50 AM
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Unite met on Thursday with over 1,000 cabin crew and they decided not to set dates and continue to negotiate.

Some interesting articles:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2...ay-strike-date

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...ide-union.html

I am constantly searching google news for updates and following BA & Unite on Twitter with automatic text updates as our flights are scheduled to depart 3/21.
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Mar 5th, 2010, 02:21 PM
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The last news about this is on BBC. Both parties agreed to end their negotions, successful or not, on Tuesday March 9th, which means that if the industrial action by cabin staff is called, it can start March 16th. I am wondering if BA can cancel my entire ticket if return is not available(I am flying to Spain on 12th and return on 21th)

Here is a link:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8552049.stm
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Mar 5th, 2010, 03:42 PM
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Thanks for the update
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Mar 5th, 2010, 05:05 PM
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Kommers -- thanks for the link. We are also anxiously watching the situation. Do you (or anybody else) have any idea how long a strike would last? Is it a specific period of time to send a message or is on going until demands are met?
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Mar 5th, 2010, 09:26 PM
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BKP - no one really knows. They are saying it would be scheduled for 10 days but there is lots of speculation it would break up before then. There is interesting commentary on the flyertalk.com and pprune.com boards and there are folks there that are BA cabin crew participating. I've been spending a lot of time there to keep up on the latest news.

What the link Kommers provided doesn't mention is that Unite proposed a plan that would involve a 3.4% pay cut and pay freeze for 2 years in lieu of the cabin crew reductions on flights which seems to be the main sticking point in this negotiation.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...r-pay-cut.html
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Mar 6th, 2010, 04:00 AM
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As far as length of the strike is concenred: what I'll say is of course nothing but a speculation, but here is one thing: everyone knows that BA Christmas strike decision was struck down by High Court of UK because of incorrect ballot procedure, but little attention was paid to the fact that this was not the only reason. If you read High Court decision it also mentions that 12-day strike should not be allowed because it will have devastating effect on British Airways. I doubt that this remark went unnoticed by the Unite barristers; I am sure they realize that the very same reason may be used once again to reverse their decision if the strike is announced now. Also, during the interviews, cabin crew members who voted for the strike, said that they didn't know that the Unite leaders wanted to go for 12 days and the length of the strike appalled the union members themselves. Therefore, it is my belief that if the strike is called again, they will be proposing somewhat shorter time for it.
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Mar 6th, 2010, 09:35 AM
  #19
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I spent the morning pouring over flyertalk.com. Kommers, I think many people agree with your speculation. IF there is a strike hopefully it won't be too long. It was all an interesting, if long, read. I can't tell that it was particularly productive because it is mostly speculation, but it did calm my nerves a bit. We fly long haul at the end of the month. Fingers crossed that it will be all sorted by then!
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Mar 6th, 2010, 10:12 AM
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BKP: you are in better position than I am. Union said that it will not strike during the Easter, so beginning of April is ruled out and they have to complete their strike in March. It is also known from previous history of the Unite and BA conflict that once Unite decides to go on strike, it will not delay the strike and will give immediate 7-day notice as required by law. Since they have to complete their negotiations regardless of results by the end of next Tuesday, I would expect Unite to give 7-day warning within 48 hours of negotiantion's end which means that strike will begin on March 16 or 17 and will be relatively short (My guess is no longer than 7 days). So, this means the end of March is unlikely on their platter for industrial action. In my case, I am flying from Lisbon to US on March 21 so my flights will be affected if the strike begins.
Also, if you read Mr Walsh statement on BA page, he said that BA will be able to completely cover all its flight schedule with alternative crews to and from Gattwick and London City airports; the only airport that may be affected will be Heathrow (that is, if you flying to/from London). In my case it is Heathrow so I may see something here.
Keep in mind also, that Unite doesn't really want to strike. All they want to do is to look good in the eyes of their members showing how they defend their members agains "capitalist ugly shark British Airways". In the past, they tried twice and twice Mr. Walsh won the court cases barring the strike. Not sure if they want to try again; my feeling is that they try to generate as much publicity as they possibly could, and then let it slide this way or another. Even if they do, I don't expect too many of the crew staff to walk out: they are not idiots; they know that if strike ends without success and proposed BA job cuts go into effect, they will surely make the top of the list of these whose jobs will be eliminated. To top it off, they will lose all BA perks for life for participation in this strike. So, if we consider all the things realistically, Mr. Walsh has much higher chance of breaking Unite's spine than Unite has breaking his.
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