British Airways Hiring Temporary Madrid-Based Crews This Summer

British Airways Hiring Temporary Madrid-Based Crews This Summer

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Want to become a flight attendant for a few months this summer? Well, British Airways might have an opportunity for you.

British Airways hiring summer flight attendants

Airlines have been dealing with serious staff shortages during the pandemic, in many cases reflecting the labor market at large. At the start of the pandemic the number of staff at many airlines decreased significantly, and with demand having rebounded, airlines have struggled to bring back staff and hire fast enough.

Airlines have suffered cancelations as a result of these staffing shortages. Ahead of the busy summer travel season, British Airways has a creative but controversial solution — the airline is in the process of hiring temporary flight attendants to be based in Madrid:

  • Those who are selected would fly for British Airways between June and October 2022
  • Crews would be based in Madrid, and would work full time
  • Crews would exclusively operate mainline short haul flights on British Airways’ narrow body Airbus fleet
  • While crews would be based in Madrid, they’d be cycled throughout British Airways’ regional network; so presumably trips would start with a Madrid to London sector, and could include flights to many different points in Europe
  • Crews would be employed through a third party temporary agency

Currently applications are open through April 24, and then those who are chosen would move on to the next step by April 29. Presumably time is of the essence here, since some basic safety and service training needs to be done.

British Airways is hiring short term flight attendants

This sends a mixed message about the role of cabin crew

I can appreciate the general challenges that airlines are having with hiring enough staff at the moment, and I suppose the priority is to make sure the summer schedule can be operated reliably. At the same time:

  • British Airways’ CEO has talked about how the airline is taking a premium focus, and there’s absolutely nothing premium about being served by a bunch of employees who probably received a safety training course for a couple of weeks, and know little about the company or service (not that there’s much service within Europe)
  • We’re often told that flight attendants are there primarily for our safety, and it’s not exactly reassuring to think that in an emergency you could have a cabin crew made up exclusively of people who have just started flying and have little real life experience
  • In general this can’t be good for labor relations between British Airways and “permanent” flight attendants, as they’re essentially being told that their roles can be replaced by temporary workers
  • While the labor market in general is tough, British Airways’ flight attendant pay leaves a lot to be desired, and this reflects that issue
British Airways is going to have some inexperienced crews

Bottom line

British Airways is hiring temporary cabin crew for this summer, to be based in Madrid. These crews will operate short haul flights within Europe on Airbus aircraft, and will only be at the airline for several months. I’m curious to see how this experiment goes.

What do you make of British Airways’ plan to hire temporary Madrid-based flight attendants?

Conversations (19)
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  1. Fact checker Guest

    This base (if it is classed as feasible) are crew who used be employed by fellow IAG airlines based in Madrid - presumably Iberia, Iberia Express and possibly Vueling. They are not first time flyers with little or no life experience as you incorrectly state. The reason this is being looked at is to cover the current shortfall at Heathrow and in no way debases the role of permanent crew.

  2. Mike Ashford Guest

    It's very unlikely someone in the UK will accept it as there plenty of airlines offering permanent cabin crew positions and paying better than like Wizz air.

  3. Manureva51 Guest

    AF students are hired just for service purpose and don't have any security responsibilities, no door to open is case of emergency. They are usually part of a crew where most flight attendants are safety trained.

  4. Raj Guest

    My flight was canceled and ba is not reimbursing my local flight cancelation

  5. upstater Guest

    This is called crapification. It is a symptom of late stage neoliberal capitalism. If you look to most anywhere in Asia, service quality never lost importance after 9/11 or the financial crisis.

  6. Skyflier Guest

    You missed one crucial detail about the applicants - they must ALREADY have a valid EASA attestation. This isn't for people with zero experience. Realistically, the only people with a valid attestation are recently redundant/retired/resigned crew from another airline in Europe. Pretty much no one would happen to have a valid attestation, but not already have worked as cabin crew.

    These temporary crew would operate alongside existing LHR crew, and would never be in...

    You missed one crucial detail about the applicants - they must ALREADY have a valid EASA attestation. This isn't for people with zero experience. Realistically, the only people with a valid attestation are recently redundant/retired/resigned crew from another airline in Europe. Pretty much no one would happen to have a valid attestation, but not already have worked as cabin crew.

    These temporary crew would operate alongside existing LHR crew, and would never be in charge of an aircraft. The crew complement would NEVER be "made up exclusively of people who have just started flying and have little real life experience".

  7. Alex Guest

    No matter how much BA management claim they’re listening or going to change, it’s always the same middle finger to both customers and their own staff

  8. Kurt Schmelzer Guest

    Wow, this sounds like the perfect opportunity for a lot of people like me who have time for it and crave a little adventure for a few months time doing something different and somewhat exciting and exotic.

  9. Alexander Guest

    Air NZ has short training courses and it’s not an issue for their “premium brand”. No flying experience, quick 3 weeks training and you could have one cabin crew sole charge of a Q300, 2 cabin crew in charge of an ATR or jets full of brand new crew except for a manager. I don’t see the issue there.

  10. Manuheit Guest

    AF has been recruiting students for the summer peak since years. Though they are mainly rostered for long-haul flights and the crew is never only comprising these new recruits.

    1. Alex Guest

      The same was true for Lufthansa - they‘d hire students for a 6-month term during the summer, and these temp FAs would be assigned exclusively to Economy Class service on long-haul flights.

  11. Steven Guest

    Hardly surprising since BA made thousands of crew redundant during covid rather then trying to keep them on. British Airways has always been about profits then safety of satisfaction of the customer.

  12. Creditcrunch Diamond

    The general aviation staffing pool around the globe is struggling, I think BA are using Madrid as the base for these particular staff is because the UK Government has a backlog of airside security clearances, easyJet are waiting on 140 as reported last week. Assuming Spain is on top of the checks.

    1. Johnny5 Guest

      I don't think security clearances are the issue. Probably more to do with the pay rates and terms and conditions. Cheap labour is a priority for B.A.

  13. Jamieo Guest

    If it works for FAs, why not pilots? Couple weeks’ training and you’re good to go.

    1. Sean M. Diamond

      You may be surprised how many EASA carriers do exactly this. With common licensing standards across Europe and easy access to A320/B737 type ratings, there are agencies who specialize in providing ad-hoc crewing solutions to smaller carriers for seasonal requirements, or sometimes even a single day. A lot of the pilots involved are also highly skilled and experienced, but choose this lifestyle for various personal reasons, so it isn't that quality is being particularly compromised...

      You may be surprised how many EASA carriers do exactly this. With common licensing standards across Europe and easy access to A320/B737 type ratings, there are agencies who specialize in providing ad-hoc crewing solutions to smaller carriers for seasonal requirements, or sometimes even a single day. A lot of the pilots involved are also highly skilled and experienced, but choose this lifestyle for various personal reasons, so it isn't that quality is being particularly compromised either.

    2. Jordan Gold

      Ok c'mon, its not even remotely the same. The pilots still have to be fully qualified to fly a certain type. ALL pilots have to be highly skilled.

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Alexander Guest

Air NZ has short training courses and it’s not an issue for their “premium brand”. No flying experience, quick 3 weeks training and you could have one cabin crew sole charge of a Q300, 2 cabin crew in charge of an ATR or jets full of brand new crew except for a manager. I don’t see the issue there.

1
Alex Guest

The same was true for Lufthansa - they‘d hire students for a 6-month term during the summer, and these temp FAs would be assigned exclusively to Economy Class service on long-haul flights.

1
Manuheit Guest

AF has been recruiting students for the summer peak since years. Though they are mainly rostered for long-haul flights and the crew is never only comprising these new recruits.

1
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