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Experience with British Air Strikes

Does anyone have experience flying during the previous strike by the British Airways cabin crews? We're taking BA through Hesthrow on the 16th.

Posted by
8608 posts

Not sure which 'previous strike' you refer to
I took BA from SEA-LHR_MXP in 2010. The cabin crew were engaged in strike actions at the time, but not the day we flew.

I kept very close tabs on UK news sources and BA's site to see what was happening. They did a good job of keeping the long haul flights going on schedule. It was the the shorter flights that were most affected, and as my memory is a bit murky, I think they kept most of those going as well.

Their recent computer problem was WAY worse than the strike action

Even though they were is bitter negotiations at the time, the cabin crew were professional and cordial. They did not take out their displeasure with mgmt on the passengers.

Good luck!

Posted by
1772 posts

We were in Italy during one of their strikes and our international flight home was one that got cancelled. My memory is a little hazy, but not totally blank as it did present a challenge and we weren't sure, at the time, that we'd have a positive outcome. They did post at least 48 hours ahead which flight would be affected and they did not cancel all flights. We were able to get ahold of them on the phone (in Rome) and get rescheduled, on a better flight, home on our departure day. I would recommend having a reservation/customer service number with you and also ideas of other flights that would work for you.

Hope this helps - we also allowed extra time at the airport.

Posted by
5121 posts

I posted a similar question on Flyertalk and received the response that they do try to keep long haul flights going but that there are no guarantees. Those responding that did have flight cancellations said that they received between 36-48 hours notice that their flight would be cancelled which gave them some room for rebooking. One (still fairly angry) person said he received no help from BA on rescheduling or rerouting.

Other points that were made included that BA would be responsible for "duty of care", hotels, food, etc. but would not be liable under EU261 for compensation.

I am hoping that my scheduled flight goes as it should. I am starting to think of "options" in case I have to deal with a reroute, rebook with only 36-48 hours notice.

Posted by
5121 posts

I also found the British Airways "official Statement" on their website

“Summary: All British Airways customers will be able to fly to their destinations, despite four further days of threatened industrial action by Mixed Fleet Unite, which represents one of our five cabin crew fleets.”
“More Information: Mixed Fleet Unite has said it will take industrial action between Friday 16 June and Monday 19 June (inclusive). We will publish our contingency plans in the coming days, for customers who have bookings on the days of the threatened industrial action. Please do not call our contact centres as at this stage they will not be able to provide any more details than are contained here.
Thank you for your support and understanding.”

Posted by
12 posts

I'm traveling on the 19th as well on British Airways. This is not good news. 36-48 hours isn't really enough time to reschedule a flight.

Posted by
258 posts

We're flying from Los Angeles to Heathrow on the 16th and Heathrow to Dublin on the 18th. Geez!

Posted by
11236 posts

I would say take a deep breath.

First, the union going on strike does not represent all flight attendants. Only a small percentage.

Next, long haul flights are the airlines big profit centers. They will probably run.

Third, British Airways and Aer Lingus are sister companies (same parent company) so if worse comes to worse they will put you on an Aer Lingus flight to Dublin.

I would say to all--just wait. See what happens. If you buy a new ticket, and the original flight operates, you are out the price of a brand new--and expensive--ticket. If the original flight does not operate, they are obligated to get you to your destination. It is up to them to do this. They do not have to pay for a new ticket that you purchase. They may put you on another airline's flight that operates around the same time.

But be proactive. If you hear your flight is canceled, log in to your flight information and see if BA has rescheduled you. If not, call them to get put on another flight. Don't just wait for them to contact you.

Posted by
712 posts

I got caught up in the BA computer problem at Heathrow. I am still waiting on luggage 8 days into my vacation. I would highly suggest if there is the potential for cancelled flights you make sure you only have hand luggage.

Posted by
5121 posts

Flyer talk forum says that the strike action is no longer on. I have not been able to find independent verification of this yet so for me it is still at the rumor stage. If it turns out to be true, I am quite glad for all of us who will be flying that weekend.

Posted by
5121 posts

The strike for June 16-19 was halted because of a return to the negotiating table. These negotiations have apparently not been successful because British Airways mixed fleet crews have given notice of industrial action for July 1st to July 16th.

Things to know.

1. Not every flight is a mixed fleet flight. BA has 5 different types of cabin crews.

2. When there have been delays or cancellations in the past, BA has notified customers 24-48 hours in advance.
3. Most flights went as scheduled.

Posted by
4675 posts

Previous strikes from this dispute have resulted in fairly minimal disruption, although on a few days the only flight to a particular destination didn't go. Anyone with flights from Gatwick, City or Stansted will be completely unaffected.

This is the BA side of things at present:

Threatened industrial action by Mixed Fleet Unite– July 2017
All British Airways customers will be able to fly to their destinations, despite 16 further days of threatened industrial action by Mixed Fleet Unite, which represents one of our five cabin crew fleets.

Mixed Fleet Unite has said it will take industrial action between Saturday 1 July and Sunday 16 July (inclusive).

We will publish our contingency plans in the coming days, for customers who have bookings on the days of threatened industrial action.

Please do not call our contact centres as at this stage they will not be able to provide any more details than are contained here.
Thank you for your support and understanding.

Posted by
3989 posts

Ditto some of the other comments. Often, the long haul flights are minimally affected.

Posted by
54 posts

I flew in 2010 during a threatened strike and they could not have been nicer or more efficient. We had no problems at all. (Well, that is, until the volcano in Iceland erupted, but that's another story!)

Posted by
26 posts

Ditto regarding carry on luggage only.

We were lucky to fly out of Bergen Norway on British Airways with only a slight 40 minute delay although scheduled for 12:20 pm and due to land at 1:30 pm on May 27, 2017 the day of the computer problems. Lucky in that we made it to our destination and were not scrambling in Bergen to find somewhere to stay.
It was only when we landed at Heathrow that we faced issues.

But we were lucky. We had carry on luggage only. We only waited on the plane at Heathrow about 3.5 hours to deplane. Our captain and crew were wonderful. My electronic devices were all powered up so I was happy.

My husband and I were bone weary once we got done with the humongous lines for Passport Control and got on the extremely, extremely over crowded Heathrow Express to get to Paddington to Number 63, our hotel for the evening.

Again we felt lucky and grateful as we were at our destination and not waiting to board a British Airways flight for a paid for planned holiday as so many were. We didn't have connecting flights we missed, and we had our carry on luggage with us. But the time it took with the standing and waiting from getting to the airport Bergen time at 11 am, to arrival at our hotel at about 7:30 pm meant we were exhausted. Everyone we were in line with for non EU and non British citizens Passport Control and that line was 18 lines long, and continuously filled with passengers was pleasant although tired.

So we got a good night's sleep, again counting our blessings and the next day checked back into our same Airbnb and took it easy. So grateful we were not having to sleep on the floor at Heathrow, that we got to our destination--as I would think no further flights were flying into Heathrow after our flight took off from Bergen. So grateful we had carry on luggage and that we made it back to London when we planned to do so.

Posted by
712 posts

To sbjdncmls,

Yes, you were lucky the BA IT debacle at Heathrow did not impact your plans like so many of us. My bad luck started in Chicago when my AA flight was delayed then cancelled due to mechanical problems. We were suppose to connect through PHL to Dublin. Instead, we were re-booked on an AA flight from Chicago into LHR with a BA connection to Dublin. We arrived at Heathrow around 9:00 am on May 28th into a complete mess. But we had hope, our British Airways Dublin flight was still on the board for 2:00 pm. It was then delayed three times before it finally was cancelled about 5:00 p.m. In the meantime, we were told by BA to go look for our luggage. Apparently one guy in a purple jacket was taking six people at a time into the luggage area. (on the hour). It seemed a strange system to me - but we placed our name on the clip board and waited for our turn. We had to be re-screened and then required to fill out another landing card while we tried to walk rapidly behind the man in the purple suit. We finally arrived in the luggage area and the purple suited guy disappeared. Luggage was scattered everywhere. I checked with the BA counter and they informed me my luggage was with American. So we left T5 and headed to T3 to check with American. I was only allowed to enter the terminal because I said I was an AA customer. All BA customers had been told to leave the airport. Apparently, (I had no idea about this) but if you have lost luggage at Heathrow then you are directed to an inconspicuous phone on the wall in the rental car hallway. You call your airline and wait for a representative to appear. Well, no one was answering the phone that day even though another long line was forming to use the phone. I will mention that American Airlines counter staff re-booking flights were exceptionally nice that day, but after waiting in line for another 2 hours, we were unable to get a good connection to Dublin for a few day so we abandoned our Ireland plans and ended up staying in England. I figured my luggage was bound to show up within a few days and we were staying with family so had a fixed address for the next 10 days. We were tired and exhausted by this time. Fortunately my family in Cambridge drove down to rescue us from Heathrow about 9pm that night. We had spent over 12 hours sitting and waiting in lines at Heathrow. (longer than my flight across the pond!). I finally got my luggage the day after I arrived back home in the US. My friend still has not received her luggage and it is almost 30 days. I will spare you the details (34 phone calls) but the luggage was spotted at Dublin and Heathrow a few times, but somehow LHR could not connect us to our luggage during our vacation. So the moral of the story is, take hand luggage and always buy travel insurance (thankfully, I did).


Posted by
4675 posts

BA have wet leased 9 planes from Qatar and these will be deployed as substitutes from 1 July having obtained permission from the Department for Transport.

Posted by
5121 posts

Just flew home this weekend during the "strike" period. It had no impact on either my domestic flight in the UK or my transatlantic flight to the US. Everything went smoothly.