Many British Airways passengers woke up this morning to bad news. Canceled flights! Yes, British Airways is throwing a monkey wrench into the travel plans of thousands of leisure and business customers next month.
The airline sent out emails informing travelers that September 9, 10 and 27 flights are cancelled. Why? Because the British Airways Airlines Pilots Association (BALPA) is striking over a proposed pay hike.
The airline offered pilots an 11.5 percent increase in pay over a three-year period. British Airways said the offer was “very fair and well above the UK’s current rate of inflation. The pilots said, ‘No deal.” Unions representing cabin crew, ground crew and engineers accepted the deal, but 93% of the BALPA pilots rejected the offer.
“It is completely unacceptable that BALPA is destroying the travel plans of tens of thousands of our customers with this unjustifiable strike action,” the airline said. “We are extremely sorry that after many months of negotiations, based on a very fair offer, BALPA has decided on this reckless course of action. We are now making changes to our schedule.”
Trying to Accommodate Passengers
British Airways said it is doing everything it can to get as many people on flights as they can. Behind the scenes, they are working with partner airlines to schedule larger planes so more passengers can be accommodated. The airline is also investigating options to lease aircraft and crew from other airlines during the strike.
Information Is Power
The airline is trying to contact affected passengers by email. They want people to get the information they need to make a travel decision. For those booked on September 27 flights, British Airways will reach out in the next few weeks.
By law, trade unions have to let the airline know of any industrial action at least 14 days before the event. Currently, the strike is only expected to last three days, and passengers have time to make other plans.
So, What Happens Now?
British Airways is offering full refunds to customers affected by the strike or an option to re-book on a different date.
“Our customer contact centres are likely to be extremely busy in the coming days,” the airline said on its website.
What should you do if you booked a flight on one of the strike days, but your flight has not been canceled? You can opt to rebook your flight at another time in the next 355 days. If you don’t want to wait forever on the phone, try the Manage My Booking option on the BA website.
If you are already at your destination and have a return flight canceled, don’t panic. British Airways will compensate you for your hotel room, up to £200 per night, based on 2 adults sharing.