British Airways Threatens To Fire All Pilots, Rehire Some For Less Pay

Filed Under: British Airways, Unions

While airlines around the world are having difficult conversations with labor groups, British Airways is in a league of its own when it comes to the ruthless way the company is trying to negotiate with employees. The airline intends to lay off a total of about 12,000 staff, and management’s latest target seems to be pilots.

British Airways threatens to fire all pilots

British Airways currently has about 4,300 pilots, and it’s looking to lay off about a quarter of pilots. Initially the airline wanted to lay off 955 pilots, but that number has now been increased by 125, to 1,080, which the union is opposed to.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has sent a letter to members outlining British Airways’ stance. According to this, British Airways is looking to change the terms of its contract with pilots:

“Crucially it states that if BA and BALPA are unable to reach an agreement, the company would seek to force changes by terminating the employment of all pilots and offering individuals new contracts with associated new terms and conditions. We cannot begin to describe the level of disappointment and annoyance this has caused.”

The letter goes on:

“This calls into question whether BA is even capable of conducting industrial relations properly and whether anything they say can be trusted.”

While I can appreciate the challenge that airlines face, British Airways is in a league of its own when it comes to how ruthlessly management is negotiating. I can’t think of any other major global airline that’s using this opportunity to threaten to fire and rehire all pilots.

British Airways is threatening to fire all pilots

British Airways also takes axe to flight attendant contracts

British Airways’ ruthless negotiations with pilots comes just weeks after British Airways outlined plans to essentially destroy the careers of so many flight attendants.

Previously the airline had a few different flight attendant contracts, and the airline seeks to simplify that. While simplifying contracts makes sense, essentially this means that many senior flight attendants will be getting permanent pay cuts in the range of 30-50%, or in some cases even more.

To me that seems downright unethical, especially for flight attendants who have been at the company for 20+ years. It’s one thing to ask for temporary pay cuts, but to permanently cut pay by more than half for some employees is just plain wrong, in my opinion.

British Airways is destroying flight attendant contracts

Bottom line

British Airways has long struggled with labor relations. The company seems to be using the current pandemic as an opportunity to renegotiate some contracts in an unfair way. It’s almost like British Airways has been waiting for an opportunity like this to ruin the lives of so many employees.

It’s sad to see how British Airways is approaching this situation, especially as virtually every other airline seems to be able to take a more reasonable approach towards negotiating with employees.

Not cool, British Airways, not cool…

  1. Remember when BA Pilots held millions of passengers hostages while asking for salary increases.
    Looks like the wheel has turned and it is time to fire some of them

  2. I don’t think anyone at BA believed there wouldn’t be redundancies, but the way the company has gone about it is pretty shocking. I have no issue with having to reduce the workforce, but there are ways of doing it. Things like early retirements, voluntary redundancy packages and offers of reduced work hours would easily reduce the numbers of staff, and the rest could be then served their notices. Management could then sit down with trade unions and negotiate new terms. The problem here is that BA have just decided to force new T&Cs on staff, and at least the cabin crew unions have decided to boycott the whole process in response.

    I used to have a BA gold card, and always enjoy my flights with them. My travel patterns and location has changed, hence I primarily use Star these days, but with BA’s demoralised workforce and non-existent product I will struggle to find a reason to choose them going forward.

  3. The timing is definitely wrong. BA should try to keep as much of its workers as possible. Yes, it is a company and not a charity! But you can do it humanely as possible as well at the right time(not during a pandemic). I certainly do not support companies who ask for Gov bailouts and at the same time firing workers to cut its loses. The British Gov and the EU Commission(BA is part of IAG S.A. which is a european company) sould have BA’s policy strictly on their agendas before giving gov. aids and do not let so many people be fired inorder to survive for profits!
    I do not want to insult or hurt s.o. about my opinion but I see it that frankly!

  4. Isn’t this just posturing? Presumably they’ll reach agreement on a more reasonable deal, but BA needs to come out with strong threats so the union will agree (and has political cover to agree to) terms that otherwise might be unacceptable.

    By the way, U.S. airlines are not doing this presumably only because of CARES. When that funding runs out, do we really think United isn’t going to play hard ball with unions?

  5. I would also add: Why is BA’s approach worse than just laying off entirely the flight attendants who are paid 50% more than their colleagues for the same work? If you’re not in a union most companies would not pay one group of employees massively more when others are willing to do the exact same job for less. Isn’t BA really just trying to reduce costs in what is a terrible environment for airlines where they can no longer afford to pay some people much more than others (for the same job)?

  6. Funnily enough BA is also the only airline not to extend my status / miles expiry…

  7. Don’t expect Boris and the rest of the old-Etonians to object too vociferously…this kind of sleaziness is right up their alley, and they’d try to do the same with the public sector if they thought they could get away with it.

  8. British Airways is the only major legacy airline in Europe that is run as a successful business and not as a covered state enterprise to the benefit of politicians and an overpaid over-privileged workforce.

    Instead of billions and billions in state-funding like Lufthansa Group and AirFrance-KLM, British Airways is relying on adjusting its business to the current situation.

    Overpaid pilots and cabin crew with insane scheduling and free travel privileges are simply no longer viable in the current situation. It is obscene to expect free world-wide commuting to your job, only working a handful of days a month that you can choose yourself, getting paid 5-6x times the market rate and all of that for a job that does require a few weeks training at best.

  9. Shame on BA It
    was the darling of the United Kingdom It has now joined Ryan Air in how it treats its staff. It has used the pandemic to bring in cost cutting measures it would never have got away with in better times. Our hearts go out to all the wonderful staff whose jobs are being axed.

  10. BA ground hosts at Gatwick are also being treated like mud. They are being moved to BAs handling company GGS who have second to lowest wages at Gatwick. Management refuse to discuss other options to save money and work together to get through the next year or so with the Gatwick family in tact. Many staff have been there well over 20 years and weathered so many storms. In answer to Max’s comment above, BA make money when staff use their flight concessions for empty seats, so not an outdated perk

  11. @ JohnFields +1

    @ Max, I understand you point. But I still stand to my point: why now? at this time of a pandemic where everybody needs income to cope with their lives. Surely, BA can renegoriate it in a later and better time.

  12. This is interesting, if BA fires all its pilots, can they rehire some without the unions anymore?

    Will all the grounded jets and smaller fleets, I’m sure pilots are oversupplied right now. BA does have the upper hand now.

  13. @Darren
    There are 2 problems BA is currently facing:
    1.) Most Crews (pilots and flight attendants) currently have legacy contracts with unreal pay and non-monetary benefits.
    It is in no way justified that a cabin crew who only needs 6 weeks training to get the job earns more than people with a 6-years university master degree who do a regular job where you have to think.

    Additional benefits include that these cabin crews can live wherever they want and commute on British Airways aircraft to work for free. So they could essentially choose to live at a cheap sunny place in Spain, get free confirmed flights to LHR every time they go to work and collect London-wages. And work time is only 5 days of choice a month, the rest is free!

    Pilots at BA are simply overpaid because their union has utilized its monopoly in the past to extort this kind of money. Everything above 10000 GBP/month for captains and above 5000 GBP/month for first officers is simply pure luck and nothing they should expect to deserve during a crisis like this.

    2.) With the collapsed demand in air travel, there are simply too many workers. Lay-offs are absolutely necessary to adjust the workforce to the available work.

    As long as British Airways is acting in accordance with the applicable laws, there is no reason to get mad. British people have explicitly voted for Brexit and against further alignment to European social & work standards.

  14. @ Max, thanks for the infos.

    1. These cabinand cockpit crews with” legacy contractrs” are not surely the majority of the workforce, otherwise the whole company has been bankrupt earlier!
    2. I still believe there is and will be suitable agreements between the company and
    the labour unions regarding payment and long standing “priviledges” of the workers.
    But more important, I know I am repeating myself, not NOW in which most of us or all of us, are not only struggling to put food on our table but deeply worried about our health/lives.
    Yes, there will be time for new settlements, contracts etc. But it is certainly not a huge effort for BA to be humane and show solidarity to its workers and customers in such desperate times. If BA wants to win customers loyalty and symphaty, it should show it cares for its people, for all people and not only for profits.

  15. I sometimes have the feeling that the lefties (incl. Ben) think money just appears out of nowhere.

    Keeping in mind employees and their costs of life, rents and the fact that they have to support their families is nice and all. But secondary. The primary purpose of a company is not to make its employees happy, but to generate profits to its owners. If it fails to do so, it rightfully ceases to exist. Frankly, the situation is quite clear – if the company has no resources to sustain current wages and there is no bank (or government for the sake) to lend additional money it all comes down to simple math – either British Airways will generate enough cashflow to survive or not. Ideology is irrelevant.

  16. @max, where is that staff get “free confirmed tickets” to commute form anywhere? Fake news!
    About high pay, the company made a lot of money in recent years, lots of profits, so the high pay rate wasn’t a problem.
    I do understand that for the near future demand will be lower, so redundancies can be a solution, but fire and re-hire is something not even Ryanair does.
    Probably in IAG’s agenda there is something else that probably hasn’t been released to the media yet.

  17. @ Max..I have written an answer to your recent comment, but the moderator has not approved yet. There were no insults or negative words on my side to you or to anybody but just answering to your opinion..wonder what happen???

  18. Oops , sorry my bad, it has been approved!! And it is out.
    Dear Moderator, could you please remove my comment at 12.25 PM and this one as well. SORRY again, next time I will wear my goggles!

  19. @Adrian
    Worldwide Fleet and Euro Fleet flight attendants get these free tickets to commute to London when they have to report for duty. It’s most definitely not fake news.

    In good times BA could keep up with the demands as they are the dominating carrier in London and can therefore charge higher prices in good times. But these high wages are in no way justified by the work that pilots and cabin crews are doing, they are just a product of this situation.
    And therefore they have no right to expect that they continue to receive this much money even in disastrous times like right now.

    Ryanair does not need to use hire and re-hire as they don’t even employ most of their pilots. The pilots are just self-employed and get the lowest possible pay when flying for Ryanair. And in times like these they don’t get anything, as there is basically no flying.

  20. @Darren
    Workers should have used the good times to save up for the bad ones. It’s a big mistake to take a good economy for granted and view it as normal.

  21. BA are playing a very dangerous game threatening 100% lay offs (anything else would require rounds of negociation under UK law and would take months so 100% of the workforce is the only way to move quickly).

    So they lay off all their cabin crew and their pilots offering worse terms and conditions on re-employment. All those people will be sitting with redundancy pay which in some cases will last them for months if not longer.

    There might not be the volume of people reapplying to work with BA that they expect and then they really will be in the sh*t.

  22. I am sorry to say ..public don’t have much sympathy for long haul cabin crew and pilots team who gets Lots of money , most of them live abroad including Dubai half of the year and pilots own private jets . ..some of these crew getting 70000 a year and pilots more than 100 thousands they fly in only for long haul service once a week . They are earning far too much than any average person and cannot complain that they don’t have money to put food on their table because of they missing out couple of thousands in a year . May be they should opt for common man food instead of lobster and champagne and sell there villa with pool in Spain. BA is in survival mood and they need support . BA pilots and crew expecting company to pour money because they made bit extra profit last year . They need to be practical and realise BA is not charity. I only feel sorry for their ground staff who gets peanuts for their job and probably will suffer because of these greedy pilots and long haul crew . One of the BA ground staff told me they don’t really feel bad for pilots and crew as they earn too much and they are encouraging ground crew to support them in strike …at the end ground staff wont get nothing and flight crew will retain all their benefits. Ground staff gonna be losers. From my experience BA pilots are one of the selfish ones out there. Remember the strike where they ruined holidays of many while most of the pilots went abroad on other airlines with their families for holidays. So no sympathy . Fire the pilots and long haul cabin crew if they cnt accept renewed condition based on covid situation .There are lots of them waiting outside waiting for the ba job …

  23. I dont feel one ounce of sympathy , i have had my summer plans turned upside down by BA labor disputes on more than one occasion . What you are complaining about BA doing, the Union does to the airline and worse to millions of passengers every time they want better benefits pay etc.

  24. Disgusting, but not surprising. BA just downgraded my status from GGL to Gold in direct retaliation for me winning a chargeback against them for a refundable first class ticket. The long knives are out. Completely done with this eternally mediocre airline and its second class service.

  25. Smart play by BA. The pilots union has threatened BA’s very ability to operate for the better part of last summer. Well now is BA’s opportunity to make darn well sure that doesn’t happen again anytime soon. If BA can restructure its labor force to remove or significantly diminish BALPA’s power over it, the airline will be far better positioned to compete with the myriad other European airlines which already enjoy lower labor costs.

    I say to BA, just do it. Don’t try to use this as a bargaining chip. The union will just turn around and attempt to extort you again as soon as they are able.

  26. Finally, time to realize that airlines, like any other company, is for the stakeholders and, not employees.

    Customers have far too long, either via tickets or, taxes, paid the bill for ridiculous overpaid staff.

    Time for the airline industry to stop being a protected reserve.

  27. @Erik A company should be there to balance the needs of its employees, shareholders, customers and more recently the climate. But since most executive bonuses are tied to share price, indeed most companies just aim to please the shareholders. There are a handful of employee owned companies. Southwest being the closest in the airline world (around 15% of shares go to employees) but no airline is immune to needing to make cuts.

    Maybe BA pilots could look to Lufthansa pilots with the idea of offering up-front to cut their pay dramatically to try to keep all on board. I think there is no justification of keeping pilot’s pay in excess of 100k GBP while the demand for travel is so low and even in normal times such high salaries are questionable.

  28. @Max

    Sure, people should always have kept aside something in times like this. But if you did not do it and your job is your only security, then you are in peril with BA’s firing everybody and be or not be reinstated again.
    I personally find it inhumane, to do such huge decisions right now. As some here have commented, it feels like a revenge for earlier clashes between the company and the unions. I do agree on one point, over exaggerated priviledges and high incomes must reflect the workload in your job.

  29. Wow, the right-wing trolls are out in force. Lucky, it seems your blog has really become a major magnet for them. You’re going to need a lot of moderation staff time unless you’re willing to serve as a mouthpiece for the far-right.

    To the point: BA certainly treats their customers with contempt, too – astronomical “fuel surcharges” on awards, having to pay extra just to select a seat in business class, and more. Given how they piss on their customers, it should come as no surprise that they would look for every opportunity to shit on their employees. Looks like they won’t miss their chance to maximize this one. BA is a miserable company that I’ll do my best to avoid patronizing.

  30. Labour negotiations are ugly, and BA isn’t alone. The unions are just as willing to get their hands dirty (and using customers too), so let them have at each others throats.

    All is fair in love and labour disputes, it seems.

  31. The figures quoted above are simply nonsense. BA pilots are all on differing pay points and structures. Pilots are paid what they are paid because of the responsibility over life that they have weighing on their shoulders day after day. Their professional status and training, commitment to the career etc is often overlooked.
    Ryanair and easyJet captains are paid more than BA captains at both LHR and LGW. This employer is simply a bully and has gone to war with the entire company.
    Mixed fleet cabin crew sleep in their cars because they can not afford hotels, I agree that cabin crew rostering is in need of efficient overhauls but as with all these things their are ways and means. Holding a gun to your head is disgusting. Don’t believe everything you hear. This is tearing apart people’s livelihoods whilst BA claim tax payers money!
    All of this coming from a shareholder!

  32. I think I’m going to avoid flying BA when I fly to London once or twice a month. This is honestly unacceptable.

  33. BA and IAG boasted about the huge cash reserves they have, and have made vast profits of late.

    They are doing this out of want, rather than need. Several commentators don’t seem to realise employees are stakeholders in a company

  34. @Max, I don’t normally reply to threads like this because people usually aren’t interested in the reality of things, but the tickets are not (and have never been) free. Staff have access to discounted standby tickets, but they’re just that – standby. If the flight is full, you don’t get on. As a result, during busy times of year, many commuters have to buy confirmed tickets just like you and everyone else. BA makes a profit on staff travel considering that we still had to pay to sit in a seat that would otherwise go empty (National Express from LHR to somewhere like MAN would have been cheaper than a BA standby ticket, so they’re not that cheap).

    If you ever fly BA and go to somewhere like MAN, EDI, GLA, etc it’s likely that you will see commuting crew in the gate with Silver and Gold luggage tags of their own. Standby tickets are not eligible to collect Avios, so those are people who have actually paid their way to that status, usually just from buying tickets to go to and from work.

    Apologies to let facts get in the way of a good story, but I commuted for 10 years and that was the way it went. As for the way the rest of this board views labour relations, I have no comment.

  35. @Bobo Bolinsky
    “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

    If a company cannot afford paying wages desired by individuals or unions, money won’t appear out of nowhere. It has to come from somewhere. And if the business is unsustainable – which every unprofitable business is in the long-term – the company will cease to exists.
    Don’t get me wrong – it would be lovely living in a world where customers are given excellent service for paying 200 pounds for a transatlantic return, pilots get 50k a month, crew members 10k a month. But guess what – it won’t happen. Like most of the time – simple math is the main enemy of left wing economic plans.

    Pilots are free to refuse the offer BA has made and quit. Provided they find another company that puts their desired price tag on their skills. If BA is wrong though, they won’t have enough pilots to continue their service and will have to come up with a better offer. It’s called supply and demand and free market.

  36. I’m just annoyed that BA cancelled my July award ticket and giving me a voucher instead. If I can book an award ticket online with the voucher, then I’m fine with a voucher. But unfortunately I can’t book online with a voucher so I’ll have to call in to redeem it. What’s the point of that? I might as well call now to get points back into my account as well as the ridiculous cash surcharge they tact onto my award ticket.

    Given the ridiculous way they have been treating their staff and customers, I will do my best to avoid this airline!

  37. Max: ‘Worldwide Fleet and Euro Fleet flight attendants get these free tickets to commute to London when they have to report for duty. It’s most definitely not fake news.’

    I’m sorry, you have zero idea what you are talking about. I am BA legacy crew and commute by air from Manchester. I get ZERO free tickets a year. Each time I fly to London and back using staff travel (standby) is £91.96.

    Max: ‘And work time is only 5 days of choice a month, the rest is free!’ Work five days a month? I have no idea what airline you are talking about because it most definitely is NOT BA.

    Max: ‘getting paid 5-6x times the market rate and all of that for a job that does require a few weeks training at best.’ Again….gimme something of whatever you are smoking! So, let’s say for arguments sake the ‘market rate’ is £28k. So you are suggesting legacy crew are earning 5 – 6 times that? So £140,000!!! YEAH right. Maybe take off the ‘1’ at the front!

    Seriously, so so wrong. YES we are paid over the ‘market’ rate. Probably in the region of 30-40%. Just as if you compared a senior FA at UA with a commuter new hire or a FA at IB verus Vueling or AF versus EZY.

    Sure. You want us to leave? I will happily go tomorrow – with a decent Voluntary Redundancy package JUST like Lucky has been reporting on for weeks regarding many airlines offering FAIR deals for their legacy crew to leave. UA, KLM for example.

    In the UK public and political opinion is firmly against BA – no because they don’t understand the need for BA to shed some staff but purely because the way BA is going about it. Have you ever heard of ‘corporate ethics’?

  38. Unions looted BA for so many times.
    Now it’s BA’s turn.
    When union politicians can’t save your ass, would you still vote/donate to them?
    Political unions should be like looted stores turning into ashes!

  39. I cancelled a flight I had with British Airways and sent a letter to senior management explaining why I won’t fly BA again (as a result of how they’re treating their employees). I hope others follow and do the same.

  40. @Duck Ling
    1.) Thank your government, they are getting 90% of these 91 GBP in taxes. BA is making massive losses with these subsidized seats.

    2.) Ask your Worldwide Fleet colleagues who do 3-4 turns every month. Essentially it’s just 5 days of work.

    3.) The market rate is certainly not 28k GBP, it’s more around 10k-12k GBP per year. And there are more than enough senior flight attendants at BA who make approx. 5x times that.

    4.) Get down from your high-horse. British Airways is just another airline like Ryanair, Easyjet, WizzAir (shorthaul) or Norwegian (longhaul). The gloomy old days of non-profit state-controlled airlines are long over.

    5.) The UK is a free market economy. The Brexit Vote has confirmed that the UK citizens do reject EU-style state intervention and prefer the advantages of personal and economical freedom over the advantages of strong workers rights and a big social safety net.
    UK is neither Spain, nor Germany nor France where there is stricter regulation that benefits workers in some isolated situations but strictly limits businesses (and therefore also disadvantages workers) in other times.

  41. so many wrong posts on this thread it would take me too long to respond to them all


    FACT – BA has taken £300m loan from the UK Governments credit facilty (just as Iberia and Vueling has from the Spanish Govermnent)

    FACT – is is taking money from the salary support scheme as well

    So they are simply not using their own resources as suggested

    FACT – both pilot and cabin crew hours are restricted by law. So there is no way BA could make them work more hours because then BA would be taken to court and they would lose. Want those laws changed then blame politicians for not changing them.

    FACT yes the pilots did threaten to go on strike but they gave BA far more than the legal minimum notice. That BA management then totally messed up the implentation of the flight cancellation process is down to BA management. They were the ones that refused to reinstate flights when the pilots withdrew the strike action (which they did because they falsly believed BA were negotiating honestly)

    FACT BA does not remove status because you used charge back. Your status was reduced because you failed to earn the TPs to retain it.

    Yes the airline indstry is having a bad time and yes there will need to be redundancies but BA is doing this in a totally immoral and underhand way. They were supposed to be negotiating with all the unions in good faith but it is clear they are not.

  42. @ creditians

    Really, propagating violence, looting and setting in fire! Inspite of your hatred to political unions, speaking like that only instigate violent behaviors which I certainly do not support. Yes, we are verbally fencing here in OMAAT but we should not condone violent behaviors and wordings!

    @ Max

    On one point, I firmly disagree with you. In such extraordinary time like now due to the pandemic, I definitely support
    governements helping the companies AND making sure the workers are also supported and their source of income is secured. Later, in a more secured and quite time, it will be the right moment to negotiate. What BA doing right now is like a blind outrage and culling everything on its path!

  43. @Darren
    UK has voted for Brexit, now they have to fell what it means. On the plus-side, once this crisis is over and economic growth is coming back, UK will profit more.

    But it’s not possible to have both at once.

  44. Unfortunately for BA, “in a more secured and quiet time”, unions/crew will be back in a position of threatening with And carrying out strike action! Right now, no one is flying so no one can push BA! That is the simple answer as to why BA is acting now!

  45. @Max

    I am bit confused. Why is Brexit suddenly the topic?
    Yes, after the crisis everybody hopes that economic growth will come back. But why does it has to be the one or the other, you can reach success with handling both sides simultaneously. Who says it is not possible?

  46. @Philipp

    Who says that passengers might punish BA for its inhumane actions during the time of social and health crisis like now? And will turn its back on it and fly with other airlines who shows more social understanding and humanity to its workers in desperate times.

    I for sure will avoid such airlines as possible and support those with humane and social conscience.

  47. Fact is that travel is going to suck for some time, and people governments and airlines and tourism related industries need to tighten their belts.

  48. Max why is it unreasonable for pilots to have good salary packages, whilst over the years senior management at BA, and most other Airlines have lined their pockets with millions!
    And commuting travel by BA staff is not free, it’s their choice to commute, and like at most Airlines they pay staff travel rates!
    As for looting of companies, look at the payouts managers walk away with!

  49. @Max I know WW cabin crew who commute from Berlin and they pay over 400 quid a month on staff travel ID 90 tickets.This is based on 10pc of a full fare and then there’s tax.Works out at around 98GBP and you’re not guaranteed a seat.So which part don’t you understand when it was put to you that staff travel is not free?.It’s a pity we have people on here who simply don’t know their facts.

  50. Lay’em all off. Then the pilots are free to discuss the electronic Chem Generator in their avionics, how, when, how long to turn them on and off. How much is the European Union, and now the B.Gov., paying to disperse chemicals into the atmosphere to block the sun or be used for HAARP generated frequencies to change weather patterns?

  51. @Max This has nothing to do with Brexit which im sure is your reflex accusation.If you cared to look at the financial figures for IAG for 2019 im sure you would feel rather embarrassed at such laughable claims!

  52. @ Brian
    @ Duck Ling

    Thanks and cudos to you both for having the nerves and the time to respond to guys like MAX and telling the audience the truth about beeing flight cabin crew !!

    And to
    @ MAX

    PLEASE stop telling lies and fake news about crew life and ‘free air travel from a cheap and sunny place in Spain to work in LHR”.
    Absolutely nonsense !!


    If you have nothing constructive to say, just keep….
    (sounds familiar? Ask Trump…)

  53. It’s always interesting the read the comments pertaining to Flight and cabin crew salaries and conditions from people who aren’t either of these, I think I will take their comments as being more closer to the truth than not.

  54. If you want an angry and demoralized staff then this is the perfect way to go about it BA, once you stop caring about your employees then your employees will stop caring about your customers, without employees these airplanes will be nothing more than expensive metal tubes sitting idle at an airport even without a pandemic. I understand redundancies will be required but try to get some of the more senior staff to retire early or give buyout packages to get them to leave which will reduce some involuntary redundancies. Pilots takes years to train and spend tons of money to do it (if they aren’t former military) so they fully deserve the salaries they earn making sure you are to your destination safely.

    And the cabin crew while not as extensively trained, they are vital to your safety and throughout history have saved lives with heroic actions that sometimes came at a cost of their own life so they too do deserve to make a comfortable living as well. Flying many sectors a day can be hard on the body and so is long haul flying, some US pilots purposely don’t bid for widebody aircraft because they don’t want their bodies constantly messed up by jet-lag choosing instead to be a 737 or A320 pilot for their entire careers.

    The benefits they earn are earned through their work, it is a corporate perk they have so they can enjoy the fruits of their labor when they have leave just like in many other industries. If you have corporate perks at your job then you are in no position to criticize about their perks at all, it costs the company nothing for an employee to fly in a seat that would otherwise be empty along with other benefits they earn, on the contrary they may be charged service fees to cover costs like catering that some other carriers charge their standby employees.

    It doesn’t matter whether it’s a pilot trying to land in tricky crosswind, a flight attendant reviving a passenger who had a heart attack and probably would have passed without their intervention, or a mechanic catching and repairing a dangerous fault with an aircraft before you sit in it so that you and the crew will arrive safely. They all make up an airline and are skilled labor that deserve to be treated with dignity and a comfortable wage, if you don’t treat them well then some of the better employees who know their worth will go and work for someone who will.

  55. It’s interesting how people can easily judge whether or not someone else makes too much money. How many of them would say they make too much money?

    Also, pilots and cabin crew are paid by the flight hour, but that does not represent all of the time that they work. Both must do pre-flight briefings, pre-flight checks, etc. There are post-flight checks as well. That’s why the flight hour pay is “higher” because those before and after flight activities are baked into the rate. So, someone being paid for eight flight hours could easily be working a ten hour day.

    Finally, I for one don’t want a pilot who has fatigue. There are too many aircraft accidents you can point to where a cause was pilot fatigue.

  56. @Max

    Whats you angle? These people aren’t earning outrageous figures for doing little. The ridiculous and hyperbolic examples you provide don’t even stack up. You throw industry cliches around with little thought and simply illustrate how little you know have about the airline.

    Do you really want to see everyone working for conditions like those at Ryan Air? If so, why? British Airways this time, maybe it’ll be your employer next time.

  57. What is Being Laid Off vs. Getting Fired?

    The key difference between being laid off vs. getting fired is that a layoff is the fault of an employer while a firing occurs because of the employee’s fault. Most workers get laid off because the company is trying to cut costs, reduce the staff, or due to mergers and acquisitions.

    For example, let’s say Company A is taken over by new management. If the new owner wants to reorganize the company’s structure, he may resort to laying off workers in order to eliminate redundant tasks.

    Getting fired is a little different from being laid off. An employee gets fired because of poor performance, failure to meet the company owner’s expectations, or office theft.

    Here you are again, Ben. Get with the program! You claim to care so much about all the airline workers facing hardships during the coronavirus pandemic. So stop insulting them with your willful ignorance and exploiting their misfortunes- apparently just to get people to click on otherwise banal articles.

    Shame on you for continuing to do this and ignoring readers who have called you out on this. If you actually cared about those employees you write about you would fix the inappropriate headlines and related articles immediately. For example, recently you falsely refer to South African and Qatar crew getting “fired” on your blog when they were actually laid-off. In the BA instance discussed here even the word “terminate” would suffice. How arrogant and dishonest of you to purposefully and disrespectfully mislead people continually like this.

    I’m starting to understand why your blog generates so much animosity in the comments section when I used to be puzzled by that. In recent months I have had more time to read OMAAT and your ignorance, weirdness and inappropriateness shines through and sets the tone. There’s something repulsive about it. For that reason I just glance the headlines now and again at this point to see what I might be interested in reading up on elsewhere.

    But perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised by a guy who has been wearing the same crusty JAL pajamas in his Youtube videos for the last three months while talking about first class travel experiences. Ew. Are you really that obsessive-compulsive? Gross.

    Have you not noticed that no one in the media or airline blog business uses the term “fired” the way you do? Maybe that is one reason why so many people call you out all the time for such obvious insincerity. Your blog is about your obsessive interests only- nothing else. Readers, especially airline employees, should consider not supporting your blog any longer because of this obvious fact.

  58. Dang they sound worse than united airlines, and that’s saying a lot! Don’t see any BA flights in my foreseeable future based on they’re ridiculous award redemption fees and how terribly they treat their employees.

  59. This proposed action by BA is nothing short of barbaric. How will these employees be able to provide for their families?. OMG……

  60. British (the Airways, and the somewhat united kingdom) faces two existential threats. One of them, Covid-19, will go away when a vaccine is found. It might be Oxford that does that. The other, Brexit, is not going to go away at least in this decade. The fools have decided to quarantine their economy, for the foreseeable future. If they want to fly planes to and from an isolated island, there’s always Tonga.

  61. Pay in the airline industry has become pretty unfair for the younger generations working and the unions are to blame for this total erosion of sustainable income. The unions have always defended the fat pay cheques of their members at the expense of creating fair chances for potential new members. What BA has done to the young generation of flight attendants by literally paying them next to nothing is a true disgrace and not one passenger has turned their back on BA for treating staff so poorly.

    For the foreseeable future, airlines might only need half the cockpit crews they needed in the past. As an airline I face the challenge whether I can pay two or three times the salary for senior cockpit crew compared to what I have to offer in the market.

    Pilots of Lufthansa have allowed a glimpse behind the scenes by offering a up to 45% pay cut if Lufthansa keeps all pilots.

    US airlines pay their captains with 12 years experience on average more than 360,000 USD in salary:

    I think these salaries are outsized even when times are good but there is certainly no room for maintaining these salary levels when times are bad. Most interestingly, no government bailout asks for a cap on salary for employees and I think demanding that thousands of pilots need to be paid so much money by the government to save the airline from bankruptcy is pretty ironic.

  62. @Max

    Minimum wage is around £17k and that’s what you’d get for jobs with virtually no training- so I would expect cabin crew to be on more than that. £10k would only be legal for around a 23 hour week (and that’s not flying time, that’s any time they are required to be at work).

    Taxes on a MAN-LHR-MAN flight are £26. Where do you get 90% of £91?

    Brexit isn’t relevant yet, all EU laws still apply until at least Dec 31st this year.

    @Norris Lee

    If you’re going to have a rant at Lucky, let me correct you too. He is writing about a British company, where we don’t fire people (because we don’t like to glorify gun use) or lay them off. We make them redundant (when their job no longer exists) or dismiss them (for misconduct or poor performance).

    In this instance it seems BA is trying to find a 3rd reasons for ending someone’s employment, when they have neither given reason to be dismissed but in most cases their job also hasn’t gone – in order to cut their pay. I’d say that justifies an anti-BA headline to get people’s attention.

    Last time I checked, blogs are for the writer to say what they want and readers to choose to read or not – so if you don’t like his headlines you could just stop reading, or perhaps start your own blog instead?

  63. We have not flown BA for 12 years ,simply because for us :
    – food had deteriorated
    – cabin crew not so friendly and rather offhand
    -strikes disrupt our travel
    -Business class was overpriced and not good value on short trips
    – for long-haul , lots of superior Asian airlines like Eva LHR to BKK , CX to HGK , which we prefer.
    For Europe ,we find more friendly young crew on Easyjet and Ryan Air . Yes I know no business class but who cares for short trips of up to 4 hours .

  64. @Max. Whilst I appreciate and respect that everyone has an opinion it just isn’t OK to make claims online that are simply untrue. I went through claim by WRONG claim that you made previously and you came back with AGAIN incorrect counters. So, here we go again.

    1) You said commuting BA staff travel for free. I replied we don’t and in fact one return trip for me using staff travel from MAN is just shy of £100.
    “Thank your government, they are getting 90% of these 91 GBP in taxes. BA is making massive losses with these subsidized seats.”
    WRONG. The fare element is £32. The rest is taxes. The total fare is actually likely higher than Joe Public can buy on

    SO – explain this to me. Please. Using my staff travel I only get on the flight if there is an empty seat. Given that there is no food for free on the flight, check in is self service – HOW is BA making a loss on that seat if I travel?????

    2.) Ask your Worldwide Fleet colleagues who do 3-4 turns every month. Essentially it’s just 5 days of work.
    Well, lucky for me I don’t have to ‘ask a worldwide fleet colleague’ because I am one myself.
    So, you only consider the ‘work’ element when i’m doing a flight? When I am away over a weekend in Saudi Arabia or missing birthdays, weddings etc slipping in Pakistan that doesn’t count as ‘work’? On Worldwide as we only operate longhaul flights the patterns we work are in line with most other airlines because these are governed by EASA rules. If Ryanair started flying LHR-JFK they’d have to have just the same amount of time off in JFK as we do at BA.

    In terms of my days OFF AT HOME (ie MY time) I probably average around ten days per month.

    3.) The market rate is certainly not 28k GBP, it’s more around 10k-12k GBP per year. And there are more than enough senior flight attendants at BA who make approx. 5x times that.
    OMG. This one. Seriously. OK. An exercise for you. Google is your friend. Google ‘ how much does a flight attendant earn in the UK’? Actually, to save you the effort i’ll copy and paste the result here:
    ‘Air cabin crew with experience can expect to earn a base rate of £15,000 to £18,000 a year. Base pay at senior cabin crew level, which can be reached after a few years, is around £20,000. You can add an hourly flight rate, inflight commission on sales and performance bonuses to your base rate.’ – So, take a base, add the typical hourly flight pay per annum and you’ll reach around the £25-28k mark.

    You AGAIN reassert your claim that BA legacy crew are paid ‘5 x’ your RIDICULOUSLY wrong and low claim of £10-£12K. EVEN if you are only comparing basic with basic and on this (incorrect) claim you are suggesting BA crew are on a basic salary of £50k plus??? If only you were right Max.

    4.) Get down from your high-horse. British Airways is just another airline like Ryanair, Easyjet, WizzAir (shorthaul) or Norwegian (longhaul). The gloomy old days of non-profit state-controlled airlines are long over.

    I have never rode a horse. And BA had stopped being a non profit state controlled airline way before I joined. Like, decades dude.

    5.) The UK is a free market economy. The Brexit Vote has confirmed that the UK citizens do reject EU-style state intervention and prefer the advantages of personal and economical freedom over the advantages of strong workers rights and a big social safety net.
    UK is neither Spain, nor Germany nor France where there is stricter regulation that benefits workers in some isolated situations but strictly limits businesses (and therefore also disadvantages workers) in other times.

    And here’s the great IRONY. BA is effectively controlled by an Irish CEO and a Spanish holding group (IAG). It is exactly the reverse of what you are saying.

    Max, on the subjects of what you feel is right or wrong sure, go for it.

    But, please stop making ridiculously incorrect claims regarding pay, free travel and the likes you very obviously have NO idea about.


  65. It is about time that British Airways pilots salaries and contracts were brought into the real world. Many of them choose to “commute” from ridiculous distances, often to avoid tax. In Dublin a contingent can be seen waiting for the clock to tick past midnight before they clear customs. Others live in Spain and Portugal, with some evading tax there. Others choose to “commute” in from as far afield as USA (East and West coast), Canada, Thailand, South Africa, Brazil and even Australia. And of course they say they are “rested” when they commence a duty from LHR, even if they ended up on a jumpseat on the flight from their foreign home to LHR.

  66. Nothing good will come from an adversarial position. The rape and piledge of thousands of your Employees will only serve to show the ugly underbelly of BA.

  67. I don’t know of ANY of my colleagues at BA (legacy or other) that do not acknowledge that BA needs to cull staff numbers.

    There are ways they can do this that will not have to make one single employee have to leave the company involuntarily.

    – Offering a decent Voluntary Redundancy package. Of all the airlines that have been offering these kind of deals BA is probably the best placed financially to do so.

    – Offering periods of unpaid leave or sabbaticals

    – A temporary across the board % pay cut with agreed periods for review and linked to financial improvements of the company.

    – A temporary period of Part-time work for all employees.

  68. @Duck Ling
    1.) Well ok not 905 but 66% then. The point is still valid, most of the money goes to the government not BA.

    2.) Flight attendants with seniority can choose a roster that is very beneficial to them. Only short longhauls with 1 night layover instead of 2 nights for the longer flights greatly reduces the time they spent doing other things.

    3.) It’s not about base pay and calculation tricks, it’s about the total at the end of the month. And I bet my monthly five-figure wage that there are more than enough BA flight attendants who have made more than 50k total a year.
    And the 10k figure is for newly hired flight attendants. Experience is not very valuable in the flight attendant job, therefore even senior flight attendants have to be compared to new hires in terms of costs.

    4.) Every pence that BA is paying their crews more than WizzAir/EasyJet/Ryanair/Norwegian are doing is plain and simple luck and nothing that is deserved by the value of the work rendered.

    5.) BA is a British company with headquarters in the UK (Waterside), British employees and bound to the British jurisdiction.
    IAG is just the holding company, the applicable laws for workers rights are the ones of the UK.
    By the way, this is called globalization.

  69. Urgh Max. How much you are uniformed on BA working practises is incredible for someone that makes so many claims.

    1.) Well ok not 905 but 66% then. The point is still valid, most of the money goes to the government not BA.

    Yes. Exactly the same as Joe Public, no?

    2.) Flight attendants with seniority can choose a roster that is very beneficial to them. Only short longhauls with 1 night layover instead of 2 nights for the longer flights greatly reduces the time they spent doing other things.

    This just sums up your complete and utter lack of knowledge on what you claim.
    For the purposes of bidding or rostering, seniority DOES NOT EXIST at British Airways. The ONLY two factors that we use for seniority is: 1) where we work on the aircraft. 2) staff travel priority. Someone who has been in the company five minutes or fifty years has equal access to trips.

    3.) It’s not about base pay and calculation tricks, it’s about the total at the end of the month. And I bet my monthly five-figure wage that there are more than enough BA flight attendants who have made more than 50k total a year.
    And the 10k figure is for newly hired flight attendants. Experience is not very valuable in the flight attendant job, therefore even senior flight attendants have to be compared to new hires in terms of costs.

    OK. So do an equation for me. How much do you think the ‘take home’ of say an Easyjet flight attendant is? I can tell you because my daughter is one. Then multiply that by five, as you claim. You stand by your claim that that is how much senior legacy crew at BA earn? You are twisting and manipulating figures to the extreme and in short WRONG. And again, you just obviously completely lack the knowledge of how much BA legacy crew OR low cost airline crew earn. After 20 years of service at BA I don’t take home near twice the amount of my daughter at EZY – let alone the WILD five times claim you make.

    4.) Every pence that BA is paying their crews more than WizzAir/EasyJet/Ryanair/Norwegian are doing is plain and simple luck and nothing that is deserved by the value of the work rendered.

    You speak a lot about ‘the market’. Does bank/hotel/supermarket/restaurant A pay what bank/hotel/supermarket/restaurant B pays? Of course not.

    5.) BA is a British company with headquarters in the UK (Waterside), British employees and bound to the British jurisdiction.
    IAG is just the holding company, the applicable laws for workers rights are the ones of the UK.
    By the way, this is called globalization.

    Oh, thankyou for the lesson. So…it’s Alex Crux BA’s CEO you see in the media answering questions on the BA situation? Or is it Willie Walsh, IAG’s CEO? Who is making the decisions? UK or Spain? This answers your question perfectly.

    I look forward to your next ill informed claims to rebuke.

    Perhaps you can provide some fact linked to your claims next time.

  70. A lot of what I read is fake news BA pay overall a little more but new contracts are not good poor pay and poor conditions this has been implemented over time with agreement with staff the staff have given worked unpaid and helped when needed I should know I worked at Heathrow over 30 years . In my opinion for a privalaged flag carrier with privalaged slots the most lucrative in the world what BA is doing is terrible. They should have Imediatly worked with staff together through the crisis they are the Airline, reducing hours and pay for the highest paid until the pandemic was over this was easily achievable the staff feel passionate about BA. Willie walsh and Alex Cruz are just taking an opertunist move for corporate gain. If they want to act in this disgraceful manner to the working man and woman many contacts on lower money just to change terms and conditions like minimal sick pay and less annual leave and they do not think British Airway bringing 65% of IAG profits without including cargo travelling on British Airways Aircraft with the profits bypassing BA totally and Alex Cruz giving himself a rise to 1.3 million and walsh over 33 million in 15 years then maybe they don’t need the privilege slots or deserve the union flag. Union supposed to be united this does not look united but corporate greed filtered out of the United Kingdom the UK Government needs to step in Imediatly.

  71. @Androo:
    You have some valid points and I am aware of the differences in British terminology. As an American though, Lucky willfully continues to use the American term of “firing” people in his posts where it is not appropriate, regardless of the area of the world he is referring to. He is sensationalizing and exploiting the hardships of airline workers at an already difficult time. He knows better, but compulsively insists on continuing to do this- seemingly as clickbait. It is even more galling as he is often writing about how “sad” and “heartbroken” he is for airline employees who are suffering during Covid-19. Many readers have questioned his sincerity and it is easy to see why.
    I used to be a daily reader of OMAAT and watch the “Happy Hour” videos, but now I just check the headlines every so often as I have indeed chosen to generally not read OMAAT posts as you have suggested I do. In fact, this has helped make me aware of some of the much better airline blogs out there that I now enjoy- without all the nonsense.
    However, *the last time I checked*, the comments section of a blog was the place for readers to make comments about what the blog author chose to write about in the related post. Thank you though for your reply.

  72. @Max
    I am a passenger from japan. I always fly with BA a lot from Tokyo. I have read all your messages, according what you said, even, those are reasons so British airway must to lay off employees, but didn’t those decisions were made by BA at the first place anyway? So now BA regret to promised those benefits to Their employees….now Using the current situation to force their employees to take responsibilities of everything, reading news knowing there are many other airlines going to lay off employees as well, it’s a big decision even they start to lay off people from small number…but over 1000 people? for me it seems like it’s just a threat to force people to accept the paid cut, using the current pandemic situation when everybody so scared and insecure about the future and life as threat to attack their own employees like this….this is no any morality at all, it’s a big shock for me as myself being many years of passenger Of british airway, I feel ashamed Of it and if I continue flying with this airline which mean I am supporting their behaviour, I am not going to fly with British airway anymore.

  73. Max you are talking utter crap. BA staff are not paid above the market rate, pilots are paid according to an average that is benchmarked with other legacy airlines across Europe but they are vastly underpaid in comparison to the likes of KLM or Lufthansa.

    Yes it’s true some senior cabin crew are paid up to 60K but they are but a handful, the mix fleet contract pays a basic of 14K which is nothing more than a subsistence salary, many of the crews struggle to make ends meet, commuting vast distances in cars and sometimes having to sleep in them. To make any comparison with a graduate wage is completely disingenuous.

    Employees do not get a free travel allowance enabling them to commute by air, they pay for the privilege of commuting in the form of a standby ticket that only allows travel upon there being a vacant seat available.

    I think there are some posts on this forum that reflect the nations disdain towards the success obtained by a segment of society that has been hard fought for and won by hard work and diligence. We are a nation of losers that seek to wallow in a pool of group think mediocrity and Max’s post typifies that!

  74. @ Max – I simply can’t stand by and read any more of your ill informed nonsense without chiming in. As you are obviously not a BA employee, British, or, I would hazard an educated guess, not even resident in the UK, please tell us where on earth have you got all your ideas from?

    I do have issues with just about everything you’ve written, but there are two of your claims in particular that can objectively be disproven by facts:

    – Firstly, you have some weird notion that the market rate for new crew is £10-12k p.a. This is actually lower than the UK minimum wage for an 18 year old in any type of full-time employment. I challenge you to identify the airline that you believe is therefore illegally paying below the national minimum wage and creating this so-called market rate.

    – Secondly, having made a quite ridiculous statement about BA crew getting free confirmed tickets whenever positioning to report at base, you continue to claim that the Government takes the lion’s share of a £91 staff standby ticket MAN-LHR-MAN, and that’s after you barely and ungraciously acknowledged your earlier mistake when you claimed it was 90%. In actual fact, the HMG share is the APD of £26 (2 x £13 as it involves two domestic departures). After the actual £32 fare element, the remainder of the extras are made up of various fees and airport security charges that go elsewhere. That makes HMG’s share about 40% of the total. Not 90%, not 66%, so your point is NOT still valid.

    I just don’t get why you bizarrely seem to think that you know better than what actual BA employees who do the job are telling you, and why you continue to dig yourself deeper and deeper into a hole, making a total arse of yourself in the process.

    The irony that I have fed your obvious troll appetite by spending valuable minutes writing this response is not lost on me. Your posts should simply be ignored.

  75. I hope people in Waterside are reading this thread. It just shows how bad their timing is over the redundancy agenda and how people perceives BA now as a cold hearted profiteer. BA does not appeal to me right now, even if they have a huge premium sale. It will be definitely BA’s fault when pax turn their backs and fly with other airlines.

  76. How much could BA save if the Board of Directors fired all of its senior management who chose not to sign on for compensation packages at 50% of the previous value?

  77. The most expensive low cost carrier is what they have become. It’s about profit and shares and not the people who work for them or their customers. They have always had a sound reputation but this whole debarkle leaves one asking what will be left, what is salvaged? An old airline with pilots cutting corners, inexperienced crew??

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *