British Airways Pilots Announce Strike Dates

Filed Under: British Airways, Unions

For weeks now, a British Airways pilots strike has been looming. Well, the dates are now official.

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) has today announced that British Airways pilots will strike on September 9, September 10, and September 27, 2019.

This follows pilots voting overwhelmingly for industrial action back in July. The reason this has been so drawn out is because British Airways took the union to court, and the court voted in favor of the union. Then British Airways tried to appeal the decision, and failed again.

However, it wasn’t a total loss for British Airways, since it seems like their primary goal may have just been to delay the strike, which they at least succeeded with.

What BALPA says

All of the below is according to the union, so rather than starting every sentence with “the union claims,” let me note that upfront.

During negotiations the union put forward a number of packages that they believe would have resolved the dispute without a strike. They say that British Airways didn’t accept any of these packages, and it’s clear that the current offer wouldn’t gain support from a majority of pilots.

With 93% of pilots voting in favor of industrial action, and with no further meaningful talks, the union has no choice but to organize the strike.

It’s claimed that the strike will cost British Airways around £40m per day, meaning that the three day strike will cost the airline around £120m.

The union claims — and I’m highly skeptical of this — that the gap between British Airways’ position and the union’s position is about £5m. British Airways has about 4,000 pilots, so we’re talking about £1,250 per pilot. I can’t imagine that this is actually what this comes down to?

The union’s proposal remains on the table should British Airways wish to reach an agreement prior to the start of the strike.

This is the first time that British Airways’ pilots will ever go on strike. The ballot is valid until January, so more dates could be announced until this is resolved.

What British Airways says

British Airways says that it’s completely unacceptable that BALPA is destroying the travel plans of tens of thousands of travelers.

British Airways says that they will be making changes to their schedule, and will do what they can to get as many people to their destinations as possible. For those they can’t help, British Airways will offer refunds and rebookings. Note that:

  • Flights on BA CityFlyer, SUN-AIR, and Comair, are not impacted by this
  • British Airways is exploring options to supplement their fleet by using aircraft and crew from other airlines (in the past they’ve leased some Qatar Airways planes during strikes)
  • British Airways is working with partner airlines to schedule larger aircraft to take the maximum number of customers

British Airways says that their proposed deal of an 11.5% pay raise over three years is fair and well above the UK’s inflation rate.

Management says that they continue to pursue every avenue to find a solution to avoid industrial action.

Bottom line

It looks like at this point a strike is a very real possibility. I am a bit confused by the union’s position, that “the gap between BA’s position and BALPA’s position is about £5m.” Surely the gap is bigger than that, or at least that doesn’t paint the full picture?

Is anyone scheduled to fly British Airways on any of the strike dates?

  1. Yes – our return on the 27th is very much at risk, and we’ve already reached out to AS. There is nothing they can do until BA actually says they can relative to our award travel tix. That is, if BA is rescheduling folks, they’ll reach out to AS. Not happy, and hoping the first two days’ disruptions will prevent the third one, which will affect us.

    Silver lining, it won’t affect our trip other than getting home

  2. The backdrop to this before anyone forgets is that ten years ago pilots gave up pay and benefits when the airline was in financial trouble on the understanding that they would be restored once better times came. Better times have come and senior managers are taking obscene levels of pay and bonuses while refusing to restore terms to the pilots though they have been asking for five years and they have been offered next to nothing.

    Willie Walsh earns significantly more a day than cabin crew do in a year. Is that fair?

    So support the pilots, this has been coming for five plus years and it has been well known that this day would come. BA have had more than ample opportunity to settle on reasonable terms. The pilots (mate who is a captain) say book with anyone else for the rest of the year because they don’t see this being settled easily or quickly and the stoppages will get longer on each occasion.

  3. Yes; scheduled to fly from Edinburgh to London on the 9th. This will probably be our last trip with BA; customer service has been on a downward slide for the last five years or so.

  4. I would like to see a pay scheme as follows for all employees from janitors to CEO.
    Base pay = minimum wage or some other backstop minimum value tied to inflation every year. But this would be the same Base pay for ALL employees.
    Non base pay = % of profit calculated on a monthly basis? Profit = revenue – (CAPEX+OPEX). For this calculation the base pay is included in OPEX.
    I think this would get every SINGLE employee to benefit/feel the pressure when the business is exceeding or underperforming expectations.
    Does anyone see a more transparent and “fair” method for public companies?

  5. Yes, we are on the BA0225 LHR – New Orleans, purchased their luxury 2 for 1 fares for business class flight going out on 27 sept, and now they are striking, looks like I will be onto BA in the morning for a reschedule if they can or a full refund…. wish me luck…

  6. I wish I had a calendar of labor contract end dates for all major airlines which include not just pilots and FAs but Maintenance workers so I would know which airlines to book away from while “negotiations” are ongoing. I’m not against labor getting their pay raises, etc, I’m just tired of being collateral damage in their disputes.

  7. @DM

    You sound just like the typical Doug “the bean counter” Parker sounds. Trying to screw you in a nice confusing wording BS but fail to realize what is going on in the real world.

    So if the airline is not making profit, everyone from janitors to mechanics to pilots earn the same minimum wage? And why the airline is losing money, maybe management suck?? Then why would janitors or pilots have to suffer if the CEO is very shortsighted? You are going to have a strike everyday.

    Are you the secret child of Bernie Sanders and AOC??? You sure sound like one.

  8. We were scheduled to fly back FRA-LHR-IAH on Sep 9, and both flights got cancelled. Called BA and waited for 1 hr. We got re-scheduled to AA flights FRA-DFW-IAH with BA codes. I guess that’s an example of the benefit of having alliance/joint venture…

  9. Yes, we’re flying home from Zurich to LHR on BA on September 9 and then connecting to a flight returning to LA on Sept 9 on American.

    What’s even more upsetting is that BA hasn’t reached out to us yet to offer alternatives for our Sept. 9 flight. I will call them now and/or book another airline to fly from Zurich to London on Sept. 9 as a backup.

    Any suggestions?

  10. Yep PIT LHR MRS outbound on September 27…6 of us in business..have been on hold for 57 minutes … Bummer.

  11. Fortunately not affected, but my sympathy to those who are.

    Working in an industry which got salary packages of in between 0 and 0.5 percent (p.a., average 0.18, including management) over the last twenty years there’s extremely little sympathy for the pilots represented by BALPA, though … I think they lost touch with reality.

  12. Question – can they rebook us on a different airline?

    My travel dates are fixed, so I would preferably like them to transfer me from BA first class to Emirates First Class, which is the only other direct airline there

  13. Yep got notice 15 minutes ago that our flight on the 8th has been cancelled. These plans were made a year ago, so without a rebooking option, this will screw up a big deal family vacation.

  14. Re-booking is a nightmare 2 hours and 15 minutes on hold to get through to BA holidays and managed to rebook but now just getting loads of ‘we have refunded you’ but I actually didn’t ask for refund I selected an alternative Iberia flight of which I have not received booking confirmation for.

  15. my return affected flight on sept 9 lhr-sea was cencelled. I called canadian BA customer service, and instead of clicking change reservations I did select purchase a new trip. It got me connected to INDIA call center and ladies rebooked me on AA from LHR to LAX instead which was ok for me as i need to go to pdx anyways. Luckily I was flhying in business class and there were some spots on that late flight from lhr to lax.
    What a mess

  16. I am flying on Sep11, from LHR and my flight has just been cancelled, so not even a strike day.
    Two years in a row now that BA have cancelled the AUH flight.

  17. My wife and I are booked on BA flights from Seattle to Rome on 10/15 for a med cruise, so dates are fixed. I did buy travel insurance, but would prefer to take the trip we’ve been planning for a year. Of course our return date has a layover in London right after possible brexit date.

    Booked business class with points and companion ticket (and big fees). Worried we may get screwed.

    Nervously watching at this point.

  18. @Eskimo

    Management has the most to lose in this pay scheme if they’re not profitable. Do you know of any CEO that would make uninformed knee jerk decisions if they knew that bad decision could result in them making the same as the Janitors? I would argue that this would also put management motivations in line with shareholders. More profit = more money for everyone. Poor decisions, performance, maintenance, out of control costs, etc = base pay. If you need to motivate the higher levels to get them to agree to this pay scheme then you can increase their Non base pay % so that they’d make more here than other airlines when they drive a profitable business. This could be said for all levels. You can argue that this is done now with bonuses now. But I would say the metrics they use are BS and not enough of pay is tied to the right ones. It would be as much pride as financial. Doug Parker wouldn’t last long in this scheme.

    This is purely an academic exercise in a radical new approach to get all parties employees, management, mechanics, pilots, etc on the same team (I’m also broad stroking the approach so use a little imagination to visualize it). Doesn’t necessarily need to be BA or even the airline industry. If this worked then there would be no unions anymore = no more strikes. Work under this pay scheme or work somewhere else. Good execution = industry leading pay.

    I am very much pro-business and not affiliated with the political party you think I am. I’m looking at it from all stakeholders (shareholders/employees including management/ customers). Good business decisions means everyone wins. I know this will never happen but you can’t disrupt markets if you maintain the status quo.

  19. Had 2 First class award tickets SFO to LHR on 9/11. Just canceled. Anyone know how they’ll handle award rebooking ? Can’t get through to BA yet.

  20. @DM

    Clearly you don’t understand business or management even at a high level, not even from academic point of view or pro-business point of view.

    Do you know of any CEO that would make uninformed knee jerk decisions if they knew that bad decision could result in them making the same as the Janitors?
    -Not results of bad decisions per se, but many CEOs out there are already making $1 salary, definitely less than janitors. Does names like Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, or even LOL Donald Trump!!!! rings a bell?

    If you need to motivate the higher levels to get them to agree to this pay scheme then you can increase their Non base pay %
    -They already have it, it’s called stock options.

    This is purely an academic exercise in a radical new approach
    -Like above, this had been done already.Not academic, this is nothing new. It still doesn’t work in your utopia.

    If this worked then there would be no unions anymore = no more strikes.
    -This is what unions keep asking for. It doesn’t mean no more unions, it means unions become management. Union leader becomes CEO, that wont end well. Again, still doesn’t work in your utopia.

    I am very much pro-business and not affiliated with the political party you think I am.
    -I not saying you are affiliated, your logic is just like being raised by both Bernie Sanders and AOC. Yes it sounds good if it “ever” works.

    I’m looking at it from all stakeholders (shareholders/employees including management/ customers). Good business decisions means everyone wins.
    -Believe me, all CEOs already know that. Not every company can afford to do that, nor can any management make decisions that make everyone wins. (See your utopia sounds just like what Uncle Bernie and AOC is selling, a ‘successful’ Socialist state)

    Any equality is a myth. Don’t just work harder, work smarter.

  21. WOW. Have a BA flight booked from NCE to LGW at 10:55PM on 9/26. Should I try to rebook?? It’s so close to the 27th…

  22. They cancelled my LHR-LAX flight of sept 8. Tried calling: “call volume is very high right now and we are unable to take your call.” Disconnected.

  23. I have been trying to reach BA for several hours. Got high volume so we cannot take our call and hang up most times, but chose another option and at least was put on hold…. still holding 1 hour later…..Between the never ending hassles of London/Heathrow, BA’s never ending issues with labor, their seriously outdated business class seats and terrible rude service… we will avoid BA at all costs going forward.

  24. As soon as Lucky published this, I went online: our return BUD-LHR-BNA J class for 09/09/19 was there, so I was hopeful. Had to drive somewhere, 5 min later got the text from BA that those flights got cancelled. Immediately called BA. After 1 hour and 40 min hold the agent found us a BUD-PHL-BNA J for both of us, albeit a day earlier. Halfway into the wait I got to a place where I could check availability on BA, nothing was available for either the 8, 9 or 10, only the 7th.
    BA’s website says they will rebook you, however it is NOT an automatic rebooking! They won’t do sh.t unless you call.

  25. Have a flight from Venice to Miami via London on Sept 12. It’s cancelled and I haven’t been able to get through to anyone to help me reschedule. Very frustrated

  26. I received an email that my Sept 8 BIL-LGW-JFK is canceled. I cannot seem to get through by phone, as o didn’t see the email until after 11 pm. I will try first thing in the morning.

    I see one-way fares on TAP available. Wondering if I can get my refund and book on TAP, though the arrival will be a day later.

  27. I’m a travel advisor, and have a couple booked thru LHR on 11 September. Flying from Barcelona to Cape Town, thru LHR. They were just notified that their flights have been cancelled. What a mess! Booked thru a luxury consolidator. They are working on new flights, but it doesn’t seem hopeful.

  28. Had used companion voucher for first class to Beijing. Flight is cancelled and no options to rebook on app. Can’t even get through to a number where I can queue just keep getting cut off due to high volumes.

  29. I have a redemption flight ticketed by CX from HKG to LHR via CDG. The BA sector from CDG to LHR is most likely cancelled… called CX and there is nothing they can do even if it’s cancelled since it’s a redemption ticket and their inventory on everything else is ridiculously limited. What is the best hassle-free way to get from CDG to London? I’m traveling for a wedding so will be carrying lots of stuff alone ….

  30. I’m supposed to fly from LHR to DXB on September 11 and I got an email informing me that my flight has been cancelled. It’s not even on one of the strike days..
    Any idea?

  31. Our flight from LHR to EDI on the 11th has also been cancelled, we were given the opportunity to rebook however there seems to be no availability on any BA flight LHR -EDI on the 11TH, which is rather unfortunate as we have flown from Australia to pick up my fathers ashes in London to take him home to Scotland, he was a BA ( BEA ) engineer for 25 years and I thought it would be a fitting way to take him home.
    The best laid plans….

  32. Got email this morning that my LHR-ZRH flight on Sept 8 has been cancelled. I am flying from KUL to ZRH and this was my connecting flight. Have tried to cancel my entire booking, so that I can book with a different airline, on Manage my booking but get error messages asking to call BA’s local office (which by the way only operates Mon to Fri). Called 24 hr numbers in UK and US, but get disconnected or put on hold until line disconnects. Great service from BA!

  33. We’re booked to fly from LHR to JFK on the 12th Sept not even a strike date and we received a email to inform us our flight’s had been cancelled too. Why is this??

  34. This is when it looks very inconvenient (it is), that the star alliance British Midland fleet were allowed to be taken over by BA 7 years ago. It has given BA Oneworld a complete monopoly on domestic connections to Heathrow.

    I hope that Virgin’s takeover of Flybe can genuinely challenge again the BA domestic connection monopoly to Heathrow.

  35. BA have admitted it sent some ‘flight cancelled’ emails in error so people should check their bookings via the BA app or website.

    If the flight is highlighted in RED and struckthrough then it has been cancelled. Anything other than those two together means the flight is still operating.

    BA have issued guidance on rebookings to travel agents on what they can auto rebook (including to AA, IB and JL). Rebooking on e.g. EK may be possible but needs BA permission.

    @Gary is could be as I have just written above so not actually cancelled or more likely that many BA planes will be out of position

    @dealgrabber – nonsense. It’s been a good few years since there has been a BA strike and that was cabin crew and they are certainly not ‘spoilt’.

  36. Have a redemption flight on the 28th September, booked with companion voucher. Flying on my 30th birthday to Sydney which we’ve planned for a year and I’m so worried our flight is now in jeopardy. I feel so sorry for those people who have had holidays cancelled. Even if ours is lucky and operates all our excitement in the build up is over shadowed by checking our emails incase anything has changed.

    Does anyone know if we’re more likely to get bumped to make way for full price paying customers from the strike day before?


  37. I got through using US number after about 30 calls, spent hour on hold and finally spoke to someone – so keep trying!
    Interesting rules govern re-booking. We had business seats (party of 6) and there were no flights (PIT-MRS) for days. There were economy seats but BA will not refund the difference. They will only book you on IAG affiliates (Iberia, aer lingus, AA etc).
    We ended up splitting into 2 groups of 3 which they allowed.

  38. We are scheduled to leave Seattle for London on American Airlines operated by British Airlines on Sept 3 and have heard nothing. We are scheduled to leave London for Ireland on Sept 8 on British and that flight was cancelled. We booked this once in a lifetime trip about a year ago. Ugh.

  39. Hello ,
    Our journey has not yet started.
    We’ve a reservation with outbound flights 4th of Sept and inbound flights 11th of Sept .
    Our inbound flights are impacted by the strike but not the outbound flights.
    We would like to cancel our whole reservation.
    We’ve tried to contact many times BA without success to understand if we will be fully refunded (inbound and outbound flights).
    Do you know if it will be the case?
    Thanks in advance for your help … we have already cancelled our accommodations (hotels, cars …etc) and it was painful !

  40. Are my flights from Israel to Heathrow and Heathrow to Dallas (DFW) on the 18th of September in any ‘danger’?

  41. Are my flights from Israel to Heathrow and Heathrow to Dallas (DFW) on the 18th of September in any ‘danger’?

  42. well, I have a trip on September 18th Israel – Heathrow – DFW (Texas). What will be the verdict?

  43. Hi, We are flying out to San Francisco on the 2nd Sep with BA.
    We are returning on an American airline flight on the 11th Sep, will the American Airline flight be cancelled, as it’s all booked via BA?

  44. #eskimo
    Every John Lewis Partnership (note: Partnership) empoyee has a share in the business. This seems to work for them, why not an airline. It’s not a political statement of back door communism, that you seem to have had a knee jerk reaction to, but a tried and tested way of involving the employees in the business. It works for a retail operation, which we all know has had more ups and downs than any airline, then why shouldn’t it work for an airline.

    I can answer my own question, thank you. Willy Walsh won’t be happy even with his fat wallet until he’s brought BA down on its knees to a low cost carrier, with Pilots and FA’s with their minuscule salaries, to match.

  45. @ Eskimo

    You’ve proved my points for me.

    Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk are all Billionaires because they cofounded their respective companies. Therefore they had a MAJORITY equity stake before they ever went public. Doug Parker is a Millionaire paid primarily in stock options. If you’re as business savvy as you like to put on then you know that the daily market value of a stock does not actually reflect the intrinsic value of a company.

    I understand stock options are a common tool for management compensation today. But I also stated that the metrics they use are BS and promote management making short term quarterly decisions rather than quality long term decisions so they hit certain KPIs or stock price so they get paid.

    If the unions are qualified to be CEO then let them. If they can do the job better then again it’s a win. BUT they can’t or they would already be.

    My logic is not being raised by both Bernie Sanders and AOC. They are dictating high minimum wage and a distribution of the current pay. I am saying have a minimum wage but tie further financial gain directly to the success of the company. I am not saying pay everyone $100k+. Theoretically in my model everyone would average the exact same annual salary they can now over a period of time (5+ years) assuming no changes are made. If changes were made to improve the business then everyone would make more. This invests every employee in the success of the company in the long term and not just their daily grind.

    Are you a CEO? Then why should I believe you? Regardless, I do think they know this but their motivations aren’t actually aligned with this target. They make decisions that are best for the company and themselves personally as defined by their compensation package (KPIs/share price). Other employees (as a generalization) have NO vested financial interest in long term company improvement (other than obviously wanting a job).

    Equality is a myth. But conscious teamwork and improvement by the collective is called Civilization. Don’t just work harder by trying to compete against other departments in the same company for a bigger slice of the same pie. Work smarter as a company to gain market share and all departments get a larger slice of a larger pie. It’s a zero sum game (company vs company) not pilots vs management.

  46. Hi, My BA flight to Gib on the 11th Sep is highlighted red in ‘manage my booking’ although not ‘Struckthrough’ could anyone advise me what this means please? I’ve not had any notification from BA that the flight is cancelled but a little nervous now !

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