British Airways’ Disgraceful Offer To Senior Flight Attendants

Filed Under: British Airways

Obviously this is an incredibly challenging time in the airline industry, though I can’t help but feel like British Airways is being especially ruthless with their flight attendants, and almost taking advantage of the situation… which unfortunately doesn’t come as much of a surprise, given how bad their labor relations have historically been.

I wrote in the past about British Airways’ plan to simplify their cabin crew structure, and we now have a better sense of what that will look like. For many employees this will translate into a permanent 50%+ pay cut…

British Airways’ three Heathrow flight attendant contracts

At major US airlines, all flight attendants work under a single contract. With few exceptions, any flight attendant can work any flight, and the pay scale is the same for all flight attendants. That’s not the case at British Airways.

At Heathrow Airport alone, British Airways has three flight attendant contracts (and this doesn’t even account for their separate Gatwick contracts):

  • Worldwide Fleet — the higher paid flight attendants operating long haul flights
  • Euro Fleet — the higher paid flight attendants operating short haul flights
  • Mixed Fleet — the lower paid flight attendants operating both short and long haul flights; their salaries have often been referred to as “poverty pay”

I’ve written all about British Airways’ Mixed Fleet in the past:

  • British Airways had major labor issues back in 2010
  • The airline wanted concessions from flight attendants and they refused, and ended up going on strike for several weeks
  • At that point the company formed Mixed Fleet, a new employment contract under which all flight attendants would be hired going forward; these crews are paid significantly less, and generally Mixed Fleet has really high turnover due to poor pay
  • A particular flight is either staffed completely with Mixed Fleet, Euro Fleet, or Worldwide Fleet; the contracts don’t allow the crews to mix

British Airways’ proposal to flight attendants

A friend has forwarded me the proposal that British Airways has presented to flight attendants, which will see the structure simplified significantly. With this, there will no longer be three flight attendant contracts, but rather a single contract:

  • All Heathrow based flight attendants would work long haul and short haul flights, and would work flights to all destinations
  • With a single contract there would no longer be a separate Mixed Fleet crew
  • Crew would all be trained on the A320, 777, and 787, as well being trained on one of the following: A350, A380, and 747
  • There would only be two roles on every flight — manager (in charge of the whole plane) and cabin crew (everyone else); previously the Worldwide Fleet had Cabin Service Director (in charge of the whole plane), Customer Service Leader (in charge of a specific cabin), and cabin crew (everyone else)
  • The airline plans on laying off about 12,000 total employees, and there are a total of 971 manager roles and 9,581 cabin crew roles available

As such the above isn’t unreasonable, and in many ways the structure seems significantly more streamlined, which is probably smart. The big catch is the massive pay cuts that Euro Fleet and Worldwide Fleet employees will be taking:

  • Pay for cabin crew will be around £24K per year, including basic pay, flight pay, and per-diems for layovers; they can still earn commission from inflight sales and cabin crew performance incentives
  • Pay for managers will be around £32K per year, including basic pay, flight pay, and per-diems for layovers; they can still earn commission from inflight sales and cabin crew performance incentives

It’s worth noting that the above amounts are really inflated, especially since they’re including per diems. The reality is that laying over in many cities can be expensive, so much of that money will just go towards covering expenses while on the job.

I feel bad for senior British Airways cabin crew

I understand these are tough times in the industry, and that both job cuts and even temporary pay cuts are needed. The problem is that when times are good employees don’t get to see much of the upside of that, while when times are bad they suffer disproportionately.

It just seems cruel to permanently cut the pay for so many longtime employees in this way. We’re not just talking about minor pay cuts.

Rather many former Worldwide Fleet cabin crew and CSDs will be faced with 50%+ pay cuts if they want to stay at the airline.

To me there’s a fine line between asking someone to make a temporary sacrifice and permanently destroying their livelihood in this way. You know British Airways won’t do anything to improve contracts when industry conditions improve, so this just makes me sad.

Bottom line

While it makes sense for British Airways to streamline their flight attendant contracts, I find the way they’re handling this to be disgusting, frankly. To permanently cut pay for their flight attendants who have been at the airline for 10+ years by 50%+ in some cases is just awful.

This isn’t how you treat people, and I’m not sure what they’re expecting from employee morale long-term with policies like this. I guess what they’re really trying to do is to get the senior flight attendants to quit, and just have a revolving door of flight attendants lured by the lifestyle while being paid very little.

  1. That is crazy low. £24K per year is £2K per month.

    I would check the numbers. Major US airlines pay better than that for even junior flight attendants.

  2. @Lucky, out of curiosity would this benefit the mixed crews. Are the new wages higher than what they make now?

  3. While this undoubtedly sucks for senior crew members, the beauty of the free market is that no one is forcing them to stay and work for BA with massive pay cuts. If they don’t like the pay cuts, which I’m sure they won’t, they can go and find jobs elsewhere. I’m sure BA will lose some really good crew members due to this new pay structure but eventually the market will correct itself.

  4. Thank goodness for unions. When the dust settles, I expect them to defend the interests and wellbeing of their members

  5. £64,000GBP a year to be a flight attendant is a huge amount of money for something which past first year training doesn’t evolve to much. Baring in mind many flight attendants join after there secondary education (18/19 years old) to earn 64K at 28/29 is huge. Whilst it is sad that people will be loosing jobs and income, the new wage offered is in line with what is expected of currency depreciation. 24K for a job without a university degree is about right, the benefit of the job will be the travel.

  6. @Luis I think the problem is that no-one is hiring flight attendants at the moment – I imagine many of the FAs will have to stay at BA as they have no other options. BA know this, which is why they think they’ll be able to get away with this…

  7. @ Charles S — It’s my understanding that pay is roughly in line with current Mixed Fleet pay, with some changes to working conditions, etc.

  8. The FA unions have brought this to a head, in part due to the lack of their desire to negotiate previously. BA is no saint in this either, as they’ve made so many poor decisions over the years (as have most airlines). In the end, this feels like a last-ditch effort to avoid entering administration. With their debt burden, I don’t expect this alone will help. Don’t be surprised to see a lot of other cuts at BA over the next 12-18 months.

  9. @ Luis — I’m not sure taking advantage of a global pandemic to permanently destroy the livelihoods of thousands of people is the prime example of the “beauty of the free market.”

  10. Without a viable domestic market where labor standards and business metrics are evenly matched labor will experience a terrible deflation. This is the core of the EU aviation sectors’ problems.

    I don’t think it’s fair to promote loss-making airlines while simultaneously bemoaning labor’s problems without linking the two together.

  11. This is horrendous. As @Geoff pointed out, this compensation is below poverty-level for anyone within commuting distance of London. How do you do this to the employees who carried your airline on their backs for decades? It’s inhuman. It’s disgusting. I apologize for being hyperbolic, everyone, but this just depresses the hell out of me.

  12. A 50% cut in pay means a drastic change in how one lives. This will mean having to move out of the apartment they currently live in or defaults on their mortgages. These drastic pay cuts are just going to worsen the economic impact of COVID-19 and should not be done unless absolutely necessary.

  13. @ Ben — I don’t think any of them will be residing in metro London. I mean, can you rent ANYTHING for 2k per month (or the 1.5k per month they will have after per diems)? Is BA adding around the clock flights to a slave-labor camp to pick up their flight attendants? This is very sad. I wouldn’t expect good service on BA going forward.

  14. Really perplexing. So there is no seniority level for pay? Just regular and manager? Everyone makes the same on those two levels? I can’t imagine this is going to “fly.” I mean, that kind of salary INCLUDING per diem in places like New York, San Francisco, Tokyo, etc is inhumane. Let alone having to live anywhere near London.

    I rarely defend labor in relation to airlines but, wow.

    I’m betting this is going to create chaos across BA in the coming months. Labor actions will just be the start. I can’t imagine anyone staying on for this. Or anyone new wanting the job. Given the per diem as inclusive to salary you could probably make as much working at Starbucks.

  15. I won’t be flying BA much in the future. I have LTG so can choose other OW airlines that haven’t been wrecked by WW. Also Star Aliiance might be a better choice for me in the future. BA May end destroying itself we a crappy product and poor crew

  16. Disgusting. Let’s hope Virgin Atantic survives. Their flight attendants are more cheerful any way. That is probably a result of the Firm treating them better.

  17. Two things –
    1) Negotiation starting point. I’m sure it will ultimately end up higher than these amounts but an aggressive number is used as a starting point.
    2) If the ones earning more money now are upset and leave, I’m sure that will help save money more than a cheaper FA. I agree it is short-term thinking but I’m sure management is viewing this crisis (and survival) as a more immediate term event.

  18. Lucky, while the numbers you provided are indeed their yearly “salaries”, they do get paid in by the hour in addition, according to how much they fly and serve in the air. Your post paints quite an inaccurate picture without this important detail…

  19. I know nothing about U.K. labor law, but I imagine that BA cannot just unilaterally impose this on their unionized workforce. Opening shot of a negotiation, perhaps?

  20. Horrible but I’m often surprised by low salaries in the UK compared to other similar countries. Low salaries are common in the UK. Bottom line they hope people quit.

  21. The number you provided is totally inaccurate. They’re paid by flying hours and the total number turns out to be close to 2x of that. What you said does show up under salary here but look under bonuses and there it says “You’ll receive an hourly payment when you’re flying”. I did a quick Google search and this source says they earn 23k-28k annually so please don’t spread fake news.

  22. Am I completely off-base for thinking an experienced cabin crewmember should earn roughly on-par with a nurse (non-specialized, i.e. not an anesthetist)? I feel like it’s roughly an equivalent amount of specialized skillset and responsibility for human lives. Yet £24,000/year sounds absurdly low if you agree that comparison is reasonable. In the United States, nurses typically make at least $50,000 at a moderate level of experience. I have no idea about flight attendants, but this analogy seems reasonable to me…

  23. @Tom many travel agencies only pay consultants £18-20K a year as a base salary and expect them to live and work in London. Baring in mind a travel consultant usually needs 6-12 months to build a client base, they wouldn’t earn much more than that £20k and not have the privilege of travelling over Europe or the world.

  24. A fairly accurate article but…there’s even more pay scales than mentioned
    Heathrow Worldwide pre 1997 and post 1997
    Heathrow Eurofleet pre 1997 and post 1997
    Anyone who joined after 1997 are on a 30% lower pay scale than those who joined before 1997.

    The 24K / year is before tax and includes per diem, overtime,delays etc. In reality you’re looking more at 20)/year before tax or roughly 1100£ per month take home pay.

  25. This is barely above the London living wage, and probably below it once you exclude per-diems which should not be included as part of the wage as they are expenses necessary to do the job. As people have pointed out, this isn’t enough to live in London, or anywhere else in South East England. It would be impossible to but a house, raise a family or even rent a place other than in a share house.

    I know I would much prefer the people looking after my safety to be happy, healthy and not worrying about how they are going to make rent.

  26. @ Ben — That’s pay based on the current contract, not based on the new proposed contract, which is where the numbers I cite come from.

  27. @ Yuki — For the proposal this includes the hourly pay, according to the document I’m looking at.

  28. @AirlineInsider91 – Crazy that people can spend a career earning that low a wage. A job, yes, but not a career.

  29. Something doesnt feel right with those numbers. Whilst I wouldn’t put it past BA you really could not live within the required distance of Heathrow and live on those wages. There must be some flight pay or something on top of it, ir at least I hope there is otherwise BA is going to be even less pleasant to fly on then it is today.

  30. Lucky – Headforpoints covers some important other details. Some (I don’t know how many) staff on worldwide fleet commute to Heathrow for their irregular rosters. Now they’ll be on random long and short haul rosters this won’t work for those people at all. That’s definitely a lever to get their high paid people to quit

  31. I don’t understand what the fuss is about?

    It’s just like anything guys. People get greedy – they make a lot of money they shouldn’t have.
    The bubble bursts and… then things reset.

    Is this *really* surprising to any of you?
    Or, is it just easy to express ‘keyboard outrage!!!’

    I really don’t get why people are surprised at all by this.
    Do any of you run a business, or employee people?

    This is what we have to do when the government locks its subjects indoors for 3 months and ruins the best economy we’ve had in 20 years.

    I mean, what did you expect??
    There would be ZERO repercussions to the decision to lockdown the world?

  32. @Ben – yes short term this sucks but long term, if BA is severely under paying their staff, they will ko longer have a crew. Either that or they will only be able to hire people no one else wants, which will hurt their business. This is how the free market works.

  33. @Luis, I’m interested to know what your views would be of the “beauty of the free market” if it was your salary that was reduced by 50%.
    I can’t see how anyone can live on such wages. Especially with living expenses in the UK. Whatever job someone is doing, the salary has to be liveable.

  34. As mentioned, those are poverty-level wage scales. Hard not to feel bad for the BA FA’s who are supposed to be happy brand ambassadors and devoted service staf, employed by a company with Scrooge executives and Oliver Twist corporate values.

  35. I understand that taking the pay cut as senior cabin crew can be very painful after years of loyalty to the company and that elder people (50+) might have difficulty finding other jobs due to age, but how many of all cabin crew are actually part of this group??

    On the other hand, to be very honest, 2000 pounds ( ~2400 USD) a month seems like quite a good salary for people working 5 days a week or less (I assume), most of them only having secundary school education and ones that see this as a short term job.

    To put that in perspective a ‘Shift Manager’ in McDonalds UK takes home 16.000 pounds per year on average (, this is a job that requires a similar background in education as a flight attendant and pay is roughly 33% pay less, that’s a big difference!

    Am I the only one that thinks 2000 pounds a month isn’t unreasonable for the majority of cabin crew out there?

  36. I have a simple solution: Have all BA board members and top 100 members of management live for a year in London at £24,000 a year, while getting zero other assistance. That way the brass is showing it can be done and nothing resembling a living wage is required.

  37. British Airways bought by the Warleggan Bank. George Warleggan is pleased with the purchase and sees many opportunities to find significant cost savings.

    (Poldark reference)

  38. Everyone saw this coming. BA has been wanting to get rid of the old contracts for years, and now they have the perfect excuse, leaving the crew with little choice and absolutely no leverage.

  39. The new proposals are actually worse than what Mixed Fleet is currently on, both in working terms and conditions as well as salary. The ‘total reward package’ is almost never attainable as it is made up of incentives which are never hit fully (and no transparency to explain why one hasn’t got the full incentive amount. ) The proposal salaries are going back to what the rates were when Mixed Fleet started 10 years ago. As Mixed Fleet pay rises are performance related, those who have stayed and performed are on a good amount more than what the new proposed salaries are. Yes, Worldwide and Eurofleet are hit hard, but even Mixed Fleet is taking a cut.

  40. The sad reality…
    10,000’s qualified FA’s will be unemployed very soon.
    These unemployed FA’s – if they want to stay in the field – will gladly accept this pay or something close to it.
    If you are an airline, why pay $50 for something you can get for $25?

    I am not arguing ethics/doing the right thing, but it is just reality. And with airlines struggling/pushing against bankruptcy, one could argue, cutting labor costs is the right thing for the corporation.

  41. In an emergency (they do happen), these are the professionals who have the training to react on the spot and be able to evacuate a wide body /heavy aircraft within 90 seconds with smoky conditions and an aircraft fuselage at an angle and throw in some hysterical passengers and the idiot who must take his carry on. I’ve seen it done at the AA Learning Center in Ft Worth. Just amazing. They also can administer CPR if you are having a very bad day. These are not flying waitresses working for no tips.

  42. I am genuinely getting depressed with what is happening to aviation. If there are any good stories amongst this gloom please also share.

    I try to be an optimist, but the European Aviation landscape and trajectory is looking very bleak right now.

  43. @Dennis – To answer you frankly, I’ve been working on a 100% commission based pay structure for the past 15 years and I went from earning a very nice living to making $0 for the past 3 months. So cry me a river.

  44. When you put senior members of the Worldwide crew in flights to the Indian Subcontinent, you could truly see their colours. I can’t say I will miss them much. I don’t know if Mixed Fleet is less polished or not but I will take them any time over an English grandma in BA uniform yelling at me quite forcefully for asking for a double shot of something.

  45. @Tom1 You might have an argument if they were not including their per diem for travel as part of their salary. And that the UK average for McDonalds line managers will also include more remote areas where the cost of living is far less. I would imagine that in London that amount goes up significantly.

  46. @Luke Vadar

    Did some quick searching, so there might be some inaccuracies, but overall image will be clear.
    UK poverty pay definition is roughly 16.000 pounds a year, for a full household (2 or more children).

    A BA cabin crew member will be earning roughly 24.000 pounds a year, and if they live in a household with kids, there is a good chance they have a partner (gone for a lot of time as cabin crew, difficult to look after kids) and that that partner earns money as well.

    So, a BA cabin crew will be earning with one salary roughly 50% more than the defined UK ”household” income, which can include another salary.

    Your statement about poverty pay is quite inaccurate

  47. @ George. Yes, I run a business. And I do it well. And I pay our team well, from bottom up. It’s done in accordance with understanding living wages and rewarding towards a respect in longevity and contributions. This is not a race to see who can pay the least. Every company has an obligation to manage their employees in not just how they can contribute – but in assuring that their quality of life is never compromised. Even if that means partners must sacrifice. And we often do.

  48. @Stuart

    I suppose there is something to that argument, but commission on the other hand isn’t included and at the end of the day the airline industry goes boom and bust, more extremely so than the economies themselves, so when signing up for the job this is something that should be considerd.

    Even with the diems not included, it will be above the McDonalds example, even though the education background is the same and they work less than 5 days a week. For a McDonalds employee to earn that salary they’d have to work at least 5 days a week.

  49. @Luis
    There is no such thing as a free market, especially not these days where we have a form of transnational Corporatism where the powerful privatise the profits but socialise the losses, a perfect example of that is the U.K. rail companies or Western manufacturets who rely on huge state aid via government contracts. Then said countries accuse others of relying on state aid..

    The Free Market correcting itself naturally and a trickle down is as correct an idea as a being able to completely control a command economy, where even in the most oppressive regimes, you find a black economy. In both models human nature stops them from truly working as the theorists claim they can.

  50. @Luke
    Comparing flight attendants to nurses? Surely you are joking. You got me laughing anyhow.

    Nurses have direct responsibility for patient care and well-being. There is a selection pipeline of sorts, in that they have to get a serious education (a Bachelors degree for an RN), and have ongoing mentorship and training requirements. They are also exposed to the daily hazards of contracting infectious diseases from their patients, namely COVID these days. And don’t try to equate the risk of catching COVID between FAs and nurses. When you’re caring for someone who is confirmed ill and spewing infectious materials from all of their holes, it’s no way the same as passing out peanuts to a few strangers.

    FAs are glorified waiters for the most part, and many of them can’t even manage to get that right. FAs don’t have to know much, and their job essentially remains the same for their whole career.

    A better comparison might be between FAs and an usher in the theater. The usher has responsibility for your safety during an emergency, about the same as an FA. How much do ushers make in the UK??

  51. @Tom1 I get your point but, really, how much commission does anyone make on these flights? When was the last time you, or anyone you know, bought anything from inflight duty free?

    And, again, your McDonalds average is National, not London. If BA wants to base themselves out of Leeds and move their entire global operation there, ok. You could justify it.

  52. @Stuart
    I’ll agree that London is expensive, but surely, they aren’t living in the city centre. Outside of the city centre it’s still expensive compared to the middle of nowhere, but it’s definitely doable.

    I’m sure all the Ryanair crews out there aren’t making any millions, but Dublin is a huge base for example and it’s expensive also. Less so than London, but they’re also paid less than BA crew I assume.

    For the crews that stay on, I’d already be happy to have a job during this economic crisis tbh.

  53. @Tom1 — Even if £24K per year exceeds the official definition of poverty wages, the cost of living in London is (obviously) high. As stated above, this total includes per-diem pay meant to cover travel costs while away from home, which means their net take-home pay is peanuts. I think we can both agree (with Lucky) that these new wages are effectively aimed at “flight attendants lured by the lifestyle while being paid very little.”

  54. The problem is very simple: You can’t live anywhere near London on 2k/month. More than half of this is rent (i just checked some offers and wow…just wow) and you have to eat occasionally. I heard that some people even use electricity or the internet.

  55. @Tom1 I have no idea what Ryanair crews make. Or even if the per diem is considered part of their salary. But they certainly don’t have to pay a per diem in places like New York, Tokyo, or San Francisco. BA crews are subjected to some of the costliest places in the world.

    And as far as center? Good luck finding anything within 50 miles of London proper that you could live on that salary without being in a shared apartment with four other people in a sketchy neighborhood requiring a long commute to Heathrow that is expensive in itself.

  56. Yes, I agree the pay is indeed aimed at those who seek this as an adventure and as a short-term income.
    Understandably this isn’t very fair on those who’ve been at BA for a long time. But personally, I find the pay to be just about reasonable considering, the amount of working days and qualification needed involved, even when living in London.

  57. Suspect the people in the comments who are spewing nonsense about the free market and why BA should only pay £24k when someone else with no experience will take the job for £24k are the same ones who would write a furious DYKWIA letter when the in-flight service isn’t up to their standards. Willie Walsh made £3.2 million last year when I feel quite confident there’s hundreds of executives who could do his job for £100,000.

  58. @bill – no one is suggesting that BA should only pay £24K. But if you stay in a job that pays you so little and you do nothing but complain about it year after year, then you’re the sucker. If you think you’re worth more than that, go get it.

    BA can decide to only pay $1/year. Whether they can hire anyone is another question. Same principle applies here.

  59. @bill there probably are many executives who could do Willie Walsh’s job for £100K per year but that brings around the point of devaluation, i.e people have been paid to much for to long.
    As for points of living in London, a salary of £24K would get you a share flat anywhere in London, it is worth noting housing closest to Heathrow is in Slough,Hounslow and Feltham, these areas you could get a 2 bedroom house rented for £800 a month as they aren’t very nice areas but commutable to the airport and wouldn’t be shared. If you look at the salaries of regional airlines co pilot salaries being between £38-48K, where they have to of gone to university,flight school and further training at there own expense, the trolley dolleys have been paid far to much for far to long.

  60. Well, looks like I will be adding BA to list of airlines I will actively avoid, along with Lufthansa, United, and Spirit.

  61. @Rob
    You can add any american airline to that list, unless you prefer looking at 80 year olds.

  62. @Space Doc – My girlfriend is a nurse (RN) specializing in pediatric chronic outpatient care. She does central lines, dressings, IVs, day after day, for special needs children. So yes, I’m well aware of what they do and how they’re qualified.

    Maybe my comparison was a little bit stilted, but seriously? Your post is shockingly demeaning of the training and responsibility of cabin crew. Are you actually a frequent flyer? One wonders what kind of service you must get, if that’s how you think of them and presumably treat them.

  63. Airlineinsider, Except your figures aren’t right. That amount is not salary but includes per diems – much of which need to be spent during travel. Unless you expect them not to eat at all or buy anything at all when they’re travelling. In which case, they’d most likely be out of a job before very long.

  64. Are the flight attendants indentured servants, or are they free to go find employment elsewhere if they don’t like what their employer is offering? You don’t owe your employer anything if you decide to leave (unless you voluntarily signed a contract that states otherwise), so why do so many think their employer owes them something outside of what’s legally required? Demand ain’t coming back anytime soon. Your services aren’t needed anymore. Move on with your life. Union workers are no more special than the tens of millions of people who recently lost their jobs.

  65. Just to stir up a heated debate.

    BREXIT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  66. This is short-termism taken to the extreme. Some people within the airline will reap vast rewards to push through such draconian measures but the mid term effects will be catastrophic.
    Employees and customers will undoubtedly suffer the consequences initially but going forward the company will likely be plagued with strike action as the unions are not going anywhere. They will be empowered by disgruntled staff to redeem their lost pay and benefits. Coupled with finally being joined together after years of management divide and conquer policies. A COMPANY WHO LOOSES THEIR EMPLOYEES ULTIMATELY LOOSES TOO. Believes it or not we’re all in this together, so management should be a little more pragmatic.

  67. This is rather sad to see how low the pay is for FAs who have spend years working at BA. I’m sure it’s a ploy for BA to get rid of the more expensive FAs….Or minimally have the negotiation point starts at an impossibly low level so when they have to raise it, salary point will remain low. Negotiation 101 I suppose. Basically what BA is saying is they only want people to work at BA for maximum 5 years right out of high school and move on to other jobs. Kinda like working at McDonalds… it’s a jumping off point to a higher paying job not a place to stay for a long term career. I’m sure service level at ALL cabinets will plummet and I don’t blame them. I guess it’ll be an airline I’ll avoid in the future.

  68. The contemplated salaries would not cover 1/2 the living costs, even on the fringes of London. The result will be an influx of Euro workers, similar to those seen in hotels/restaurants/fast food/, those prepared to live on a pittance, as ‘working poor’.
    We see this model in Australia with the cabin crews on Jetstar international ( ie backdoor QANTAS) …they are Bangkok ( and elsewhere) based, get the equivalent of about AUD 5 per hour, and spend their Australian layovers eating instant noodles in airport motels.

  69. Is this just the opening offer in an extended round of negotiations? That’s how labor relations work in the US.

  70. Your numbers are not accurate. Where did you get this information ?
    This global shutdown and rebuild by airlines will result in a large pool of aircrew and maintenance and support workers available.
    Read the writing on the wall : Airlines do not want their steward component as career employees. Come work for a few years and move on is the grist of what they want without saying.
    Forget the friendly skies in labor ; it’s not personal, it’s strictly business at this point.
    It is crunch time .

  71. As a customer, this will make me avoid BA. Not necessarily out of allegiance to the FA’s (there’s that too), but because I think this will make all the well-paid FA’s (read: the good ones) quit. Now you’ll be left with the inexperienced ones who are desperate for a job. That is, not only will service quality decline, my life will be more in danger if an emergency occurs.

  72. @Luke,

    I don’t know about the UK, but in the US, you have to go to at least 2 years, and in most cases 4 years of college to become a Registered Nurse. Being a flight attendant requires a high school diploma. Also, as much as people say flight attendants are there for our safety, the reality is most flight attendants will never be in a situation where they are responsible for passenger lives. It is common for Registered Nurses to be in situations daily where a patient’s life is at stake.

    In general, flight attendants make more money than jobs requiring similar levels of education and responsibility, because the airline industry is one of the last bastions of unions.

  73. @George unfortunately, you are correct. It’s why I opposed these total lockdown since day one. This is exactly what I knew would happen. It’s all very sad. More evidence each day that this was a huge mistake. The cure not only killed the patient but it burned down the hospital on its way out. This is devastating to watch a free fall in less than three months of an entire industry.

  74. I was a management consult for one of the top three firms for five years. I qualified for gold or ex. Plat every year In my busiest year I flew across the Atlantic club 19 times round trip.

    While 24k is a ridiculous low wage. I can say without a doubt ba club class flight attendants (aka world staff) are the worst. Never do they act like the best paid staff in the industry. Instead they act bitter and aggressive. Never mind you paid 11k for a flight, asking for anything post dinner service and it’s like you asked if you could take a dump on their front lawn. Of course all the Asian airlines are better but delta united and even American are better – the only nice ba flight attendants are the economy mixed fleet ones, who have to deal with truest difficult passengers and are always happy to help with a smile.

    So In short world fleet got exactly what they deserve. The only way this could be better is if world fleet got paid even less and mixed fleet got a pay bump from years of service

  75. Lucky,

    I’m a former BA manager (Band 2 level).

    The offer is actually a slight reduction of pay for BA Mixed Fleet crews too. The alleged £24k pay is lower than the gross pay of some of my wife’s colleagues (she is MF Crew).

    It’s also worth noticing that BA is culling its other staff too. All staff, according to the proposal, are to receive new contracts with new pay, new T&Cs and also new rules for grievance and sick leave. BA is also refusing to offer early retirement or volunteer redundancy, insisting that they can ‘only’ allow statutory (IAG did at least half a billion share buy-backs last year, and Aer Lingus is offering early retirement).

    Looking at the HQ, my old department is being cut 85% (most roles are likely to be outsourced) and so are department such as Centralised Load Control and Flight Management Unit, despite all these teams having had an internal reorganisation in 2018-19, with the loss of approx. 30% of their jobs. Engineering is in their crosshairs too, and more outsourcing – after the enormous changes that have happened in 2019 – is expected in LHR.

    BA is out to get all staff. Whilst change, in the post-Covid world, is unavoidable and a downsizing inevitable, BA is hell-bent to cut as much as possible the costs of its people, whatever the impact on its operation, the brand reputation, the service and even safety. Its management is milking the airline dry, be damned the long-term implications. They’ll be long gone to do damage someplace else.

  76. In the states, union flight attendants tend to be very overpaid given the poor service ratings they receive from passengers. However 24,000£ and 32,000£ is definitely on the low end and I do feel bad for these flight attendants in the U.K. This should be 40% higher to reflect the level of work.

  77. Who here expects flights to be 55 to 75% cheaper? No me neither.
    Let’s assume each seat in a club world cabin on a four class 777 is sold at £5,000 round trip. That’s 36 seats. Next time you step inside that cabin, just know that cabin alone on that flight has just paid the potential full annual income for all FAs on board.
    That’s how pathetic this is.
    The only thing that will make me want to ever step on another BA flight is support of their employees. That’s it.

  78. I fly over 100 flights a year on BA… an average of 2-3 are mixed fleet routes. Have had a bad experience every time. If this is the future, I’ll travel elsewhere. I don’t pay 10’s of thousands of pounds to be waited on by people treating the job as a lifestyle and the passengers as an intrusion on that.

    As others have said it’s a free market and they can pay and treat their crew as they like. I suggest the UK and EU regulators take a long look at IAG and particularly the UK-USA market and the hub dominance at Heathrow and make the airlines the subject of free market economics.

  79. I’m a bit surprised by all the vitriol: maybe you are all buying too much into the airlines’ marketing BS that they’re lovely families who care above all about giving you a luxurious experience and whose people are their most important asset?

    In its home territory BA is constrained by some of the world’s most restrictive labour laws (no, it’s not the power of the unions: it’s government legislation). Whereas the US3 have all been through bankruptcy processes in which their staff have lost pension rights (that they’d already paid for), and had to accept new low-cost salaries, BA has not been through that. BA has therefore maintained the old F/A conditions of service for all F/As who were previously on it. For years. Most British employers would have bought out those contracts a long time ago and put all staff onto unified and lowest-cost contracts (or would even have outsourced employees to zero-hours agencies). BA did not.

    But, now, when it’s finally given in to a market which demands above-all the lowest-price ticket (just read the comments here on OMAAT, and try to reconcile those cheapest-at-all-costs demands with many of the sentiments expressed on this post), it’s vilified. It’s a bit like when it finally, long after most other legacy carriers, adopted 10-abreast Economy seating in wide bodies, the comments weren’t about celebrating BA for keeping 9-abreast for so much longer than anyone else. No, it was all about how evil BA was.

    It’s difficult to know what airlines should prioritise — the luxury we say we want, or the lowest-price-at-all-costs (preferably free) that we seem to prize above all. You can’t have a 5* experience for a 2* price. Which do you want?

  80. I used to live in the U.K., and I was shocked at how many jobs pay a pittance. The U.K. is not a particularly cheap place to live. Many have mentioned the cost of housing, but there are other things that are amongst the most expensive in all of Europe, namely transport and childcare. It’s not unusual to pay in excess of £1000 a month per child in kindergartens, and season tickets on public transport are eye watering. If you have two children all your pay goes to pay for their kindergartens, and that’s before getting food and clothing.

    I do feel bad for BA employees, but rest assured they’re not alone working for poverty pay. The U.K. has a huge problem which somehow needs to be addressed or the risk of social upheaval becomes very real.

  81. UK minimum wage is over £8/hour. Healthcare is FREE.
    They are not living in poverty.
    BA is expected to compete with Ryanair, easyJet and WizzAir on short haul flights but pay their flight attendants double?
    Coming out of this covid mess I doubt there will be many airlines happily paying £65k for a highly trained waitress.

  82. There is a lot more at stake than the headline news of the significant pay cuts which seems to have gotten lost in the general noise:

    1 – company pension contributions to the new defined contribution scheme significantly reduced from an upper limit of 15% down to 11% on a significantly lower level of contribution pay (50% for some)

    2 – the bonuses promised when the original defined benefit pension scheme was closed, in that if there were specified levels of deficit reductions in the scheme members would get a % based on their current pay and but also a requirement to being employed at the time of valuation. It’s not surprising that the push to remove 12000 is unabated prior to entering 2021. For those staying again, that bonus will be in significantly reduced a salary (50% for some).

  83. £24,000 (nearer £20,000 when you adjust for the hotel meal allowances which are included in that) – for a 19/20 year old, living at home with their parents, who will stay in the job for 2-3 years maximum – is obviously acceptable.

    The question is whether you want to staff your entire airline like this.

    Comparisons with Ryanair etc are not entirely fair because these are short-haul only, one-class LCCs. Should a 19-year old with no real experience (of any sort, life or flying) be serving First Class passengers on £8,000 tickets?

  84. Ben, aren’t those figures you’re quoting STARTING pay only – only new entrants will be getting that and pay will otherwise increase with each year’s service?

    And as always, The nice Paul brings some balanced opinion to a lot of the uninformed rubbish spouted by others!

  85. Always late to the comment party, but for all the Americans out there, including Lucky, please stop assuming that everyone makes US salaries. European salaries are substantially less than US pay for equivalent positions. Nurses on the NHS make around £24k. The median salary in the UK — half make more, half make less — is ~£30k. No doubt this new contract represents a substantial pay cut, but understand the labor market. Are you arguing it would be better for BA to simply fire these FAs? Maybe the airline should just go bankrupt and shut down. Totally sucks for those affected, but it seems like airlines have a fistful of bad choices. In the points game, a better-than-average deal isn’t going to last. In the labor market, better-than-average pay isn’t going to last.

  86. Please write a similar article about Air India. This airline is doing the same and pay meagre to it’s contract crew in comparison to the crew who are permanent.

  87. It’s sad but not unexpected. I wouldn’t be surprised if at least some of the high paying crew choose to walk rather than be handed this insulting new pay scheme.


    Median earnings in U.K approximately 30k according to Office National Stats. I’m probably missing something as I’m not interested enough to read further.

    When I left the U.K. Five years ago I recall average was around 28k, and that was distorted by London.

    So still rubbish, but bear in mind healthcare costs are zero in the U.K. And we have a much more significant welfare offering than you experience in the US.

  89. Cabin crew are basically waiters and waitresses with a smattering of first aid thrown in. As long as they can tie their shoes, speak English to a decent standard, perhaps speak another language they can join from school. This is an entry level job with little meaningful chances of advancement except to be a manager on a plane. A career as cabin crew cannot be compared to other industries. How much do you think cabin staff on cruise ships get paid for example? Just like restaurant pay in the UK, they are paid what the going rate is for servers. They might not get tips but they are paid for flying hours and given per diem.

    All of the cabin crew I know do not live in London. If they do, they flatshare. You can rent in London for about £650 a month. It might not be Buckingham Palace but…..

    Heathrow and Gatwick are not in London. City airport has easy transport links to the suburbs.

    No one forces them to do this.

    After my last flight on BA which was diverted to Basle due to an emergency and we got a reflief flight we did notice the difference in cabin crew from where they are based. The flight was to/from Gatwick and the crew were badly dressed, took ages to serve (two crew for 120 passengers in economy!!) and in the emergency (smoke in the rear) panicked and needed an off-duty crew member to help them!! The relief plane/crew came from Heathrow. What a difference. Dressed smartly (in full uniform), were pleasant, efficient and served us quickly.

    Despite what either BA base pays there is no excuse for shoddy service. I chose not to fly BA anymore. Easyjet is the best from the UK and I know they pay similar salaries as BA out of Gatwick.

  90. The time for reckoning has come.

    No one here has revealed the history of this saga.
    First let me agree with those who have said that BA management are certainly no squeaky clean and have often confronted issues with staff. However:

    In 1970, (give or take a year or two) British Airways was formed (or more accurately re-formed) from it’s division into BOAC and BEA (Bought On American Currency, and Back Every Afternoon, for those who don’t know) forming an intercontinental airline, BOAC and a European, BEA with then, scant, domestic routes. BEA furthest destinations, I believe were Tel Aviv, Athens and Tripoli. BOAC only flew beyond Europe worldwide (and indeed at the time a “round the world” flight)

    These two entities prevailed with very little synergy, as “Overseas Division” and “European Division”, which entities BA management have, over the years tried unsuccessfully to join.

    The nearest it came is by forming Mixed Fleet, which by design appeared to pave the way. But legacy crews remained.

    It is true that some of the “worldwide” crews reside a distance away from LHR, or even abroad. But in reality that is their choice, and indeed financial benefit.

    In 1969, my basic pay with BOAC was GBP1,200 a year (around GBP18,000 a year now) plus per diem. We also received generous meal allowances, tax free and in cash, depending on the layover destination. This cash made a huge difference to one’s lifestyle, but was zero if you took leave or were sick.

    Of course we all need to know the exact nature of the small print, and I would certainly agree that the proposals are a starting block. (or a warning shot?)

    High legacy pay has kept FA’s who have no interest in the job, in employment for far too long, and it’s time now for the gravy train to end.

    As a footnote, particularly to @Space Doc, FA’s do have a tough job, working at altitudes of around 8,000ft most of the time, time changes and irregular meal times, not to say the aspects of the job such as CPR, childbirth (you can’t call 911/999) and responsibility for evacuation.

    BA should be allowed to proceed with the merger of the crews, and as has been said here already, there are always two choices in life…………….

    @Lucky: Any stats on Virgin Atlantic FA’s pay? Might be the most telling comparision

  91. The figures given here are accurate and straight from company comms. They do include per diem allowances and flight pay and are the max earned so long as your not sick and before tax. They do not even cover the govt living wage for London. That aside ba’s current stand is to make all 42,000 employees redundant on miserable govt redundancy rates and then re-employ those chosen on the new inferior contracts. While sitting on what they selves admit in a £9bl cash reserve. Totally immoral stance and in part should be illegal.

  92. BA has taken advantage of its staff and customers for years. The introduction of the A320neo with razor thin seating for passengers to cram as many in as possible, with fold down crew seats on the back of toilet doors gives an insight as to their respect for passengers and crew alike. And lets not be under any illusion that this approach to cost saving is anything other than a cover for not asking for government money in the hopes the lack of precedent will force Virgin to fail. Cutting swathes of pilots and crew means they can recruit from a crowded fishpond of ex Virgin staff, as well as ex-BA staff, all desperate to get back in the skies and therefore willing to accept worse pay and conditions.

    One of the worst examples of capitalism. I avoid flying BA as much as possible other than reward avios flights from Amex cards. It will only be when an exodus of passengers occurs that BA may start to rethink its approach. Sadly convenience and the illusion BA is a premium carrier means they will continue to build cash reserves once this crisis lifts.

  93. my thought is for customer service. if you have crew who are unhappy or feel unfulfilled then it becomes just a job. look at united and delta, both have unhealthaly poor service on flights, so much so that i have gone out of my way often to avoid thier metal.

    if BA go the same way, and at the same time reduce the loyalty programe then the playing field is level and we may as well choose based on convinience.

    I notice right now ba has not extended the gold card expirey for instance, it gives me a year and during that year i may as well switch to another. i have plenty of choice, lufthansa, air france miles program. and so on.

  94. I am Mixed Fleet cabin crew, 5 years into BA and I was flying in Australia a few years before coming to the UK.

    Information that Lucky has here is pretty accurate.
    Amy James (acting head of IFCE) *finally* shared some of the proposals on May 15th.
    Once the presentation got past her waffling and hand wringing and down to the real matter there was very little that was new to MF. There are a few new things which they have declined to elaborate on around other duties.
    There was a denial about zero hour contracts which had been in the news.

    @Ben says: May 18, 2020 at 5:03 pm – the quoted sums of £32k SCCM (manager) and £24k cabin crew are correct and include basic, hourly rate calculated from report to clear and (if) any bonus is paid. In comparison to some places and especially my own experiences the tax rate and the contributions to the national health/unemployment etc are not excessive at all.

    @Ray May 18, 2020 at 4:34 pm – who said thank heavens for the unions –
    Neither BASSA for worldwide or eurofleet or MF Unite for MF bothered to attend any of the four (each) proposed dates in May to discuss the proposals. So, no .. thank the union for nothing so far. Considering the ballot that took place a year or so ago regarding pay, don’t count on proactive support from them either now or in the future. It is worth knowing that when Mixed fleet first started there was no union at all – they thought the fleet wouldn’t last and the small number of crew made the unionization fees uninteresting until there were suddenly several thousand on the fleet. (Other reasons too, but still.)
    MFU is particularly useless and only really won support for action back in 2017 when the focus was simple and single: salary. They have never made a particular effort to address a long list of conditions which run from petty to aggressively punitive.
    The overwhelming majority of MF crew are young 20-somethings, mostly English. Many have no intention of doing more than a year or two and even more move to (very expensive) London without having done any checking-up on how much it’s going to cost to make and sustain the move. With so many people each wanting something different and sometimes quite unreasonable and unfeesible in the airline business MFU is unlikely to rally a solid and well presented counter to the proposals. There is even a ridiculous call from some members for strike action to protest! Union membership is bought by most of us as a kind of insurance policy against the mean and ugly reporting culture that exists at BA. You stand a bit of a better chance with that kind of support in a meeting – sometimes.

    In terms of salary, I would say that MF – billed as “industry competitive” is really middle of the road and about standard to the business for the last 10 or so years. I can afford to stay at MF and enjoy my job and my life because I don’t have most of my colleagues day to day burdens to deal with.

    All I want to know now – and the company refuse to answer – is what criteria will be used to fire the 889 SCCMs and 3811 cabin crew that leave the target numbers of 971 SCCMs and 8591 cabin crew who remain. For those reading from the USA, the UK does not work (generally) to a last-in first-out policy. Attendance – late/no show etc? Grievances? Sickness? … No word at all.
    I guess it’s possible that that many people on worldwide and eurofleet (around 6800 people in all I believe) might not be willing to take a salary cut and radically upend their more comfortable scheduling practises. MF has always taken the EASA guidline of “you may not exceed 900 hours a year” to mean “thou shallt go right up to the 900 hours a year limit” There will be no MF people leaving the airline so long as furlough costs are being met by the government, but within a short time anyway of running a no-recruitment policy after things resume more than the required number of people to fire would have left anyway. Just not the people BA want to see go – and have actively wanted rid of since 2010.

    Just before “all of this c**p started, it was announced that we had a new head of fleet (Rachael Taylor, who had been at LEVEL) (who has in just a few weeks shown a tremendous amount of support and good will – virtually unheard of at MF – and the whole cabin crew unit was being absorbed by Brand lead by ex Iberia Carolina Martinoli.

    If I survive the culling in the next weeks and those people do in fact lead the new Heathrow Fleet with new eyes and experience from outside BA then I think there is a chance that BA could become a really rather nice place to work.

  95. For those that feel education is of utmost importance, my wife is degree educated and has worked for BA for 23 years. She started on a low salary but this has increased over the years that she has given loyal, professional service to her customers and the company. We now have a family and require childcare, which understandably is expensive as we can be away for extended periods of time (I am in the military) we live in the South West of England. She earns around £35000 on a full time contract, while it is her choice to continue working and working in the aviation industry for that matter, on these cuts we cannot afford the childcare alone. She is therefore being pushed out, it is not a case of ‘you know what to do if you don’t like it’ the majority of her colleagues now have families and responsibilities because they have worked for BA for so long. This contract is for 18 year olds that live at home and want a few years of flying, to have BA on their CV, it is no longer a career choice as it was for her. BA has made massive profits for the last 10 years, changing her disciplinary and absence policies along with her pay, holiday etc is not a fight for survival it is greed, lining the pockets of the share holders and senior management.

  96. I don’t want flight attendants dependent on commissions from drink sales, etc. That will only decrease the quality of customer service they provide. 24K is not much more than fast food workers are getting paid, and flight attendants are required to be away from home much of the time, and they have to handle many stressful situations. They should be compensated at a much higher rate.

  97. I’m a intermittent user of BA business class from NY to London. Streamlining the ranks of cabin crew may seam like a good idea to office folks who do not use the product. My message to BA is that having someone in your cabin who is familiar with the needs and services expected from a long haul flight are completely different from a short commuter flight where requirements of cabin crew are different, as they are for different classes of service. It takes years to truly get customer service and for BA to lump everyone in one pool will only result in poorer service. Why bother with different classes if you are not getting the differential standards and happy capable team members who can at least afford to eat at the end of the day.

    I like VA more anyway so it’s a easy choice for me.

  98. @GMAN

    Regardless of whether you think FA’s are glorified waiters or not doesn’t matter. I could run you down the list of all the reasons that we aren’t, but I doubt it would change you’re mind. What you should understand is that compensation isn’t only tied to education, training, or job function. It is also tied to trust. Flight attendants are a self managed group who are trusted to go up in a 300 million dollar airplane and be the only life line of the company. Whether it’s serving a meal, getting you the right immigration form, putting out a fire (twice last year) or shaving an obese mans’ chest and prepping him for CPR, (YES, I’ve done that too.) that group of FA’s onboard is trusted by the company to do what needs to be done, safely and un-managed. Like many professions you only see the one side, the service side, and this is by design. We’ve been trained so extensively in all the things you don’t see, and can do it in our sleep. Therein lies the value.

    And in reference to you asking about cabin stewards role on cruise ships, do you understand that onboard a ship they have room, stewards, waitstaff, bar staff, nurses, a doctor, firefighter, emergency deck officers, cooks, butlers, and yes even a police trained officer. Guess what you get up at 30,000 feet for 14 hours to Hong Kong: US.

  99. I guess the flight attendants should have read Rich Dad Poor Dad

    This is a deflationary depression in a global economy.

    UK always wanted to control the world.

    There will be no shortage of applicants, and they will probably have a better attitude than the old Wall.

  100. @LongReachKid

    Your views with regards to the unions are laughable.The union reps that represent Cabin Crew are furloughed and so cannot engage in meaniningful talks.Also people like Amy James are low level management who cannot actually make any decisions.You may also notice that the work “consultation”is used a lot as opposed to “negotiation”.BA just want you to tick the box of online video discussions as a way of saying they have consulted its staff and you have fallen for it.
    BA has decided to use the taxpayers money to put union reps on furlough and thus negating any negotiating between it’s members.If BA thinks they can get away with this disgraceful behaviour then they are in for a shock.

  101. Luke, nurses are medical professionals who take years to qualify and work in high-stress environments for long hours.
    Hostesses can qualify in a couple of months after leaving school and mostly work far less hours than full-time, in light labour. There may be some high-stress moments but not comparable to a nurse.
    Generally I find the best nurses and hostesses are friendly, caring, people. Both can make good girlfriends. But nurses work a lot harder at a higher skill level, and deserve better pay. Smart hostesses can just put on a hot outfit and date first class passengers (real ones, not ones who use points) and be well looked after.

  102. While, one would always sympathize with anyone having to be faced with a 50% pay cut, the fact is that these salaries belonged to a time when competition was limited and air fares were high.
    The fact is that these salaries became unavailable over a decade ago when the mixed flew crew were introduced.
    BA worldwide and Euro fleet crew simply prolonged the honeymoon thanks to their unions and the airline itself enjoying record profits. However, no one can say that they didn’t see this coming.
    Truth be told, it is a free market. Inspite of the scandalously low pay, job vacancies for BA’s cabin crew vacancies attract record applications. Clearly, many people are willing to forsake pay for the opportunity to travel and see the world.
    And before starting to stand up for BA’a legacy crews, why dont we spare a thought for the millions of others furloughed workers who would gladly take up the contracts the BA legacy crew have denounced as “poverty pay.”
    Given that they are exceedingly well traveled, one would have to say that their myopic view of poverty stems from entitlement!

  103. @LongReachKid
    “If I survive the culling in the next weeks and those people do in fact lead the new Heathrow Fleet with new eyes and experience from outside BA then I think there is a chance that BA could become a really rather nice place to work.”

    Fingers crossed for you — good luck.

  104. Listen to @NIck
    How odd that so many here are undermining the job. Even if You don’t understand the job, what are You doing to Your society? It is madness if you are in favor of lower pay for those who do this responsible job with so many adverse factors. Your Island will sink if you treat each others like this! CoViD-19 is not a reason to cut pay. Workers are not responsible for bad business or bad times, the company bears the risk. Many will lose their jobs but better times will come again.

  105. Personally, I think nurses should be paid double what they are. And i’d be happy to pay higher taxes to assist with that. But the reality is they are paid terribly poorly. And anyone entering the nursing field is well aware of that and accepts that.

    I don’t see the point of X job earns this and Y job earns that. What the big issue here is that when you apply for a job and are made an offer you either accept or decline the salary, terms and conditions.

    When people get a job offer they will typically adjust their finances and life around that expected income. Take out larger mortgages for example. What I find unpalatable is for a company that is in a sound financial position then turning around and basically saying we are not going to cut your pay by 50% because we’ve found the perfect storm to ‘restructure’.

    BA will probably find some kind of legal loophole to get this through but as far as i’m concerned it’s unethical and immoral. Not that I doubt Willie Walsh has any of those two qualities anyway.

    I’d imagine most BA legacy crew would be willing to negotiate on their pay, T&C’s. Although using their CURRENT contract as the starting point, instead of being like a dirty dog in swooping in when there is a pandemic. Disgraceful

  106. I moved from US to UK last year.
    Average pay between US and UK is vast, now obviously UK has universal healthcare which cuts down a chunk of healthcare cost. Cost of living is generally low as well in UK, even in London if you choose the more “undesireable” parts. 24k is what a university graduate would earn out of school in a good job like Accountancy and mid tier law firms. Obviously these salaries go up with training.
    I feel what BA is doing now is to force highly paid senior crew to while moving forward create a high-turnover crew who have less experience but much less paid. Could work until the dust settles post-Covid and travel demand, especially business travel, picks up. I’m sure a bunch of consultants have done lots of research to come up with this labor recommendation, which is obviously not sensitive but the best option for BA given the capitalist market and business frameworks.

  107. Its a brave new world.. what should Cabin Crew and the Unions do…go on strike? I love aviation but its been madness the last few years, overtourism underpriced all you can eat costa del sunshine holidays in the sun…flights …the rules have changed. I would love to see the EU ( I live in Amsterdam) attach eco conditions to state support of the avia industries.because the planet couldnt go on the mass consumption orgy much longer..

  108. Is it not time we now had a british CEO ..
    We have left Europe now and have European managers set to destroy
    The British Brand and British working ethics . Locality .
    These European leaders are now Pro-European and will scupper the British Airways Brand to benefit there European brands and filter the business that way.

    Defiantly a conflict of interests here …. British Airways British CEO.

  109. @Lobster

    Furloughed union reps are allowed to deal with these things. They weren’t at the start of
    the furloughing – about April 4th – but changed to accommodate “consultations” or “negotiations” as you mention.
    (Scroll down a bit in the employee section it has a paragraph for union ref.)

    I’d love to agree with you that BA could be in for a shock and would love to write back in some weeks and say you’re right but I doubt it. In its way it is an integral part of the bigger British system that has many higher-up nooks and crannies that support this kind of behavior.
    Stay healthy x

  110. I think what I have found so interesting about the comments under this article is the dichotomy between the US and UK view of cabin crew – I am British but my partner work for one of the US big three in a management role so I have exposure to both sides.

    In the UK they’re cabin crew, in the US they’re Flight Attendants. In the UK, yes they have a safety role, but the most important component of their role is to bring me a second G&T. Aboard a US carrier, I wouldn’t dream of pressing the call bell – other than if my seatmate had passed away whereas on a British carrier I generally get told by the SCCM after they’ve introduced themselves to me “don’t hesitate to press the call bell if you need a top-up”.

    BA is behaving very badly – and they don’t deserve any slack to be cut but God forbid we get to a situation in the UK where the unions have a tenth of the power of the unions over in the USA. The culture of seniority and protectionism found in the US legacy carriers is just dreadful and I would hate for that to be yet another thing that crosses the pond to the UK.

  111. LUIS- I can only cringe when I hear arguments like yours. We do not live in an agrarian society where your success or failure relies on your own efforts or decisions. In an industrialized society there is a lot more inter dependence, hence, there is a certain amount of social responsibility on everyone’s part. This is not socialism. It is basic human decency.

    For those who believe like you, you may want to look at history. Whenever there is huge equality gaps, revolutions follow. They typically are revolutions that, unfortunately, favor a small segment of the population. Revolutions also take away personal freedoms. Look at Russia in the early 20th century as an example

  112. @Max

    Really? Someone arguing for a completely nationalistic approach to what must be among the most international of businesses? Presumably you think Tim Clark should get the hell away from Emirates?!

    BA isn’t really a British company anyway, more pan-European with heavy international part-ownership (I’ve forgotten what % Qatar now owns of IAG). It’s about as British as Branson’s Virgin Atlantic — ie, not very British at all.

  113. Needless to say, on a personal level of course it’s not fun to have significant pay cuts however…….

    Airline staff has been tremendously overpaid, at the cost of the passengers and tax payers.

    It’s no “human right” to be CC.

    CC should be paid same as other low entry jobs, and, it’s not going to be a “lifetime job”, more a job hat young people do for a few years.

  114. I echo @The nice Paul’s comments with the level of vitriol being raised at the moment. The UK is heading for a major recession and millions are facing unemployment and jobless claims rising quickly. The chancellor has also advised there will not be a quick bounce back. Quite frankly people should be pleased they have a job and the longer they run this out the worse it will be for everyone.

    Whilst the approach BA is taking is not the best in all aspects they need to look at the long term longevity of the airline. The loss of legacy crew is sad but is it worse than Qatar’s approach of losing ones of 15+ years service regardless of how good they are at their jobs? Qatar will still be regarded as no 1 in terms of product and service when things start to get back to normal as all industrial relations will be simply glossed over.

  115. And since they’ve left the EU, they won’t be able to import cheap labor from Poland to cover this one.

  116. @Rebecca How can you even compare these two airlines and the way they treat their crew? Are you saying that the crew should accept this because it is better than what they offer at Qatar? Dont you have any unity in your country to stand up for the good of everyone? You are trashing everybodys labor agreements by letting one profession down. Stick together and defend what you have.

  117. @ James W
    The UK still has access to vast amounts of cheap labour — it’ll just come from different countries.

    Apparently there are already no fewer than 50,000 Brazilians living in London, and they’re from a country with no obvious historic or cultural links to England. In the next couple of years I’d expect to see huge increases from the Indian sub-continent, for example.

    The UK is addicted to cheap labour. The entire economy is based on it. Our Gino coefficient has been going down the toilet for years. Though, in fairness, and contrary to stereotype, there’s still much more social mobility here than the US manages.

  118. No idea why autocorrect decided Gini should be Gino, but that comment makes even less sense now.

  119. 1. 24k is still a relatively decent pay, a lot of white collars earn about 20k based less than 1 hour away from London.

    2. Many people would be happy to have a job right now, let alone a 24k one, at least they have a choice.

    3. The reality for many PLC is to look after investors first and foremost. They would not hesitate to cut jobs to look good in front of them even if there’s no operational needs. Companies expect loyalty from employees, but not the other way round.

  120. At 24,000 per year flight attendants are under the new proposed 26,500 earnings needed to get a visa for the UK after Brexit. BA better hope all of their flight attendants are UK nationals……

  121. Do people really think we just serve peanuts. Seriously most of us do have degrees and gave 35 years of our life to feed and educate our children and pay the mortgage. Now we would have to sell up and struggle to live on these wages and terms. We deal with emergencies, CPR, deaths and pregnancies on board. Work many nights out of bed and are away from family birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, Xmas etc.
    When a company has 10billion in the bank and top bosses earn millions, why should we lose 55%of our wage. Would any of you want your contract ripped up and told start again on less than half your salary. Please read between the lines BA just want to have cheap labour and come out as the strongest, competitive airline after all this. Enough said!!!

  122. @Lucky
    Might want to remove and disable comments on here given the news on Paddle your own kanoo site about an FA going missing and another being in hospital. There’s far too many comments on this saying some pretty nasty stuff.

  123. full time professors in some London universities makes less than 64K a year, so I am surprised that cabin crews made more than professors in their late stage. Let’s make our priorities right before criticizing BA. Overall, most people in UK are underpaid compared to the US standard. That is why many Brits work in Middle East…

  124. @KC
    who commented:
    “Might want to remove and disable comments on here given the news on Paddle your own kanoo site about an FA going missing and another being in hospital.“

    Absolutely not. I’m sorry for my colleagues but…
    Nothing could reflect life at British Airways more than censorship and silencing. The moment it seemed things were going to get contentious around 17 March the head of colleague engagement and communications muzzled crew from any comment or platforms of support by disabling the internal yammer forums which covered a large number of very helpful topics.
    This is not Russia or China.

  125. Some of you are probably jealous because you make less than them in a miserable job office.

  126. Well said, @Nick. You’re right. Completely

    That’s the job, and BA from their ground based (ALL) staff don’t have an inkling of what the job is really about.

    But that doesn’t necessarily translate into inflated salaries (legacy crews) or restrictive practices (union insistence of no merging)

    And for Alex Cruz to just think of tearing up contracts is despicable in the extreme. It was widely held he wants a low cost carrier to carry out long haul flights. Stupid man that’s impossible.

    What is possible is discipline on the one side and respect on the other. EK crew (amongst many others) operate 1hr (e.g. DXB-BAH-DXB) turnarounds, and 14hr flights, with no degradation of service. (I’ve been on both) So it can be done, if managed correctly. (oops! perhaps that’s the whole point)

  127. @UpperDeckJohnny
    I’m a bit confused. You’re saying BA has for years been paying way more for their cabin crew than industry norms: yet, according to you, *all* their staff are clueless/ give poor service?

    So why would any company continue to pay high wages for poor service?

    If BA is “despicable” for having “over”-paid their cabin crew for years, why aren’t you attacking the US3 (for example), who used the Ch.11 process not only to screw-over their staff by enforcing lower salaries, but who managed to ditch past pension liabilities that those same staff had already earned? That strikes me as *truly* “despicable”…

    I fly BA a lot, mostly business class. I’ve had some truly exceptionally good cabin crew, as well as occasional ones who are distracted/ having a bad day.

    Then again, my expectations when flying any airline are not participating high because I refuse to buy marketing BS about how glamorous and luxurious this low-margin, high-volume commodity service is supposed to be. It means I’m rarely disappointed, and am occasionally delighted.

  128. I’ve worked in a nursing setting and currently as a flight attendant. Sorry but I do agree nurses deserve to be paid higher than flight attendants, it isn’t the same thing they do. And it is correct in what people are saying that nursing does require years of higher level study while flight attendant doesn’t. People can and do go straight from high school or a job at a fast food counter to being employed as a flight attendant and once accepted there is intensive training in the form of ground school over a couple months which is paid work, and is not up to the same standard as a nursing degree, which it is important to note also incurs a significant debt to the student to study.

  129. Bad morale often comes from lower paid crew doing exactly the same work and with the same performance expectations put on them as the higher paid crew they are working with, who are getting more than double the pay to do exactly the same thing.

  130. @ Ben (Lucky) – The frequent use of hyperbole in your articles detracts from their readability. Here are a couple of examples from this one:
    – “Obviously this is an incredibly challenging time in the airline industry, ….”: I don’t suppose that any of the readers of this article cannot believe that the airlines are finding things difficult.
    – “The airline plans on laying off about 12,000 total employees, ….”: It is difficult to imagine the airline laying off parts of employees.
    You could get your messages across better, and without trying the patience of your readers so much, by writing more succinctly.

  131. @The nice Paul
    Stay confused! GBP24k (reportedly) “represents a reduction of 55%” You make the calculation.

    This subject matter is about BA, not US3. I entirely agree with you, and you seem to have, in that, answered your own question:
    “So why would any company continue to pay high wages for poor service?” Ask US3

    And I certainly travel with the same expectations as you do. If a reply to a request is “of course you can” rather than “certainly” I’m made up!

    To be fair I experienced an atrocious biz flight to SIN on BA, in 2009 and have avoided them since. Preferring to be wowed by other, mainly Asian carriers. Perhaps post the latest uniform, and some tightening of procedures, things may well have improved now.

  132. @Maddy
    If you take away the pay from BA cabin crew, do you think that the nurses will get it?

  133. THIS IS TRAGIC. I HAVE BEEN A FLIGHT ATTENDANT 41 YEARS @ THE WORLDS LARGEST AIRLINE IN THE USA. WHEN I WORK SAY 90 FLIGHT HOURS A MONTH (WHICH IS THE BASIC STANDARD. i.e. i fly the head flight attendant position–known as purser and i fly a round trip to london–this is what i am paid::::in us dollars::::$68.25 per hour in the air, $7.50 as purser, $3.00 transatlantic pay, expense pay is $2.60 an hour from arriving @ airport and until i am back home. i am away from home around 46 hours. . it takes around 8 hours to get there and 9 hours for the return =17 hours flight time, & same for purser pay & T/A pay & total time away from home is 46 hours of expense pay. so, the trip pays $1,458.35……and i fly 5 trips a month =$7,291.75. if i fly this pattern every month for 12 months, i make around $87,501 a year plus my company contributes monthly to my retirement account, and 5 other monies like comissions on duty free……on time departure and arrival incentive, profit sharing once a year (this year mine was $8K, vacation 35 days a year @ 4 1/2 flight hour pay, etc. we have earned every penny…please don’t let BA win over your union. once you give something up in the airline industry, you never get it back. f/a’s are first responders and face corna-19 every time you enter the airport. you deserve much more money than you are paid at BA. FIGHT FOR IT AT THE NEGOITATION TABLE!!! GOD BLESS YOU ALL TC

  134. Maddy and others,
    Nurses teachers deserve a better salary, but that doesn’t mean Fa should get a pay cut for those professions to get paid better. Teachers and nurses are underpaid period.

  135. After reading this article, and if correct and true, I will NEVER give British Airways including my company any further business! This is ridiculous!

  136. @thomas Charles martin
    That is an obscene amount of money. Gravy train. No wonder there’s nothing left to provide decent food.

    @The nice Paul
    Take note.

  137. @UpperDeckJohnny
    I do wish you’d treat me as utterly ignorant: I have no idea what I’m supposed to be noting. Help — can you spell it out for me? Seriously.

  138. Many of the more senior crew are or were nurses, have second and third languages, and have university degrees. We were chosen for these and other qualities, each one being picked out of a pool of 200 applicants.
    We are trained in aviation medicine (there is at least one incident on most longhaul flights) and dealing with drunk and sometimes aggressive passengers (again this is more common than you might think). There is no medic or police officer on board for passengers and it’s not possible to get help, sometimes for many hours until we can land.
    Most of this you will never see or know about if we are doing our job well, unless someone happens to collapse on you or pick a fight with you. The fact you are not aware of it, does not mean it doesn’t happen.
    If it happens to you, you will be glad of an experienced crew member.

  139. @The nice Paul

    You said “So why would any company continue to pay high wages for poor service?”
    I replied “Ask US3”

    @thomas Charles martin replied with details of FA pay
    I asked you to note this, in answer to your first question.

    In case you’re still missing the point.
    If at least one of the US3 can pay these amounts of money for work done (or not), then why can BA not do the same?

    I really hope this clarifies things for you as I don’t usually use this forum as a chat line.

  140. I see now. That falls under the heading “two wrongs don’t make a right”, doesn’t it? Just because one mismanaged airline does something, it doesn’t mean it justifies it elsewhere.

    Lucky seems to be trying to generate synthetic rage with this post: if he were serious about assessing BA‘a actions he’d compare BA T&Cs with Virgin, easyJet and Ryanair.

    The mystification of some US commenters about whether or not £26k is a “good” or “bad” salary in the U.K. suggests the comparisons he’s done are not helping. It might also enable an assessment of the very strong value judgment he makes in the headline (“disgraceful”?).

    FWIW I have had some lovely CC on BA, and some less good — and those from all the fleets. I’m struggling to correlate high pay with high service standards, either on BA or with other airlines.

  141. @The nice Paul

    Totally agree
    I think we’re actually on the same page.

    Exactly the point
    See my post
    “@Lucky: Any stats on Virgin Atlantic FA’s pay? Might be the most telling comparison”
    Well, headlines are supposed to catch the eye? Forgive him? 🙂
    I’d go further. I’d say inversely proportionate!

    To All
    Perhaps I should change my handle soon. Seems Upper Deck may soon be ruefully, woefully and tearfully, an anachronism.

  142. Some uneducated arguments put forward here. The lack of empathy is surprising. Before talking T&Cs or contracts of employment which are going to be torn up consider how you feel when you have been away and suffered from time change and sleep loss when arriving at a destination. BA crew will now be expected to fly LHR to NRT with minimum turn around and back to the UK for a double CDG or EDI the next day, then off to Australia on a five day trip! No home life and finding accommodation during LHR turnaround. Crews currently living abroad and commuting will not be able to travel (the staff travel concession is likely to be withdrawn) unless full fare, those who live near LHR May be OK but those on short haul will have to find nannies etc for kids when they embark on long haul trips. The main issue is safety; all crew sign in for duty saying they are fit and well rested. Any safety related incident/accident that is the first question asked plus details of previous weeks flying duties. Next safety issue is who is the senior c/crew member on the day. Chain of command is Capt, FO, Senior crew member…that could be someone with 6 months total experience! Any medical, fire, death or birth plus any emergency evacuation being handled by a 20 year old with limited flight experience. Flight deck incapacitation; who goes onto the flight deck to read the check list for pilot in command? Foreign language speakers and ex University attendees all currently help pax have a safe flight. A lack of knowledge via lack of experience and youth are not a combination that I look forward to when I next fly…..and it will not be with BA !

  143. @ Bombay Welshman…

    Hmmmmm…. Your scaremongering and detailed knowledge of the role makes you sound more like a disgruntled crew member than a commercial passenger…..

  144. I as most normal working people will fly with whoever’s cheapest. I actually prefer flying Virgin who has cheaper flights, newer planes, with the best customer service. They also don’t look down their noses at those in economy!

  145. @Matthew Boyle
    You’re oversimplifying the requirements to be a flight attendant in the United States. If you look at airline requirements they say at least a high school diploma but that doesn’t mean that’s who get chosen. Applicants must compete for the small number of flight attendant positions and airlines prefer degrees. They don’t say it but they also look for applicants who have careers such as registered nurses and police officers, combined with degrees. I’ve flown with soldiers, lawyers, professors and doctors who are flight attendants. The high school diploma requirement is the minimum but not the standard. Then there’s training and probation. It’s harder than college. I know. I’ve done both. As far as everyone else who insulted flight attendants in their comments, there is a lot of ignorance going around on here. @Luke has been the most correct of any of the commenters.

  146. I’ve been in BA for 35 years and have a Hotel Management degree. When I joined in 1985 the chance of a job was 1,000:1 these days they take youngsters with very little qualifications or experience. Still the training isn’t easy to get through and you have annual exams every year. We aren’t there just for the service, we are there to evacuate people in emergencies and save people if they need CPR. Please respect our profession, if I keep my job I might be the man with the smile serving you

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