Quest Means Business   « Back to Blog Main
May 13, 2010
Posted: 1716 GMT

Thousands of travelers are to be impacted because of a strike by British Airways cabin crew that the union says will last for 23 days between May 18 and June 9.

Are you affected by a BA strike?

Are you affected by a BA strike?

But it's not only passengers that are bracing themselves for travel chaos - so is the airline.

BA has made arrangements to stave off the worst effects of this strike, hiring additional aircraft that have its own cabin crew and has even bought seats on 50 other airlines to keep passengers from making alternate plans.

The first set of strike dates will be between May 18 – 22, followed by May 24 – 28, May 30 – June 3 and finally June 5 – 9.

For the first five days, BA claims it will be able to operate 60 per cent of long-haul flights and more than 50 per cent short-haul on flights operating to and from Heathrow

London's Gatwick Airport and London City Airport will not be affected by the strike

Passengers booked on flights that have been canceled by the strike will be offered seats on flights with BA or other airlines, or will be offered a full refund, the airline said.

Have you changed your travel plans?

Are you being affected by the strike? Have you already had to make changes? Are BA being co-operative with making alternative arrangements?

Please leave your comments below or tweet me at @AyeshaCNN.

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Filed under: Business •Hot Topic •Quest Means Business

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Jeffrey Jacobson   May 13th, 2010 5:39 pm ET

My wife and I have frequent flyer tickets on June 9 to a pre-paid, 2-week safari leaving the next day from Nairori.
BA's solution to possibly find seats or maybe refund the price, etc., is not acceptable.

BA, the frequent-flyer partner of American Airlines, with whom I have booked, owes me the courtesy of performance. So does Am.Airlines, who at this point says I am too early to be concerned.

That's nuts!!

At this late date, I am having difficulty finding alternative tickets I am willing to purchase, as the prices are outrageous, and Am Airlines threatens to penalize me for premature cancellation. Figure that out.
How can I depend on them when they might not be flying!!

ousooner   May 13th, 2010 6:34 pm ET

Flight got canceled this morning (mom traveling with two children). Spent hours on the phone trying to get in touch with BA, no luck, either busy or a "Good Bye" hangup. Online, no availability to re-book anything. Gave up, canceled and re-booked with different airline – more $$$, more stops, longer flights, and less than stellar airplanes – but what to do? BA was NO help!

LS   May 13th, 2010 6:36 pm ET

My family are supposed to come visit me in Montreal from London on Friday 28th May. Its the school holidays so we cannot change or reschedule. I have not seen them for over a year and miss them terribly. Its the first time in 10 years they are coming to Canada to visit me and I have made so many plans, booked shows etc... If they do not come I'll be devestated. Instead of being excited to see my family I'm worrying myself to sleep everynight in fear their flight is cancelled. I'll NEVER book BA ever again for what they are doing to my family and thousands others. I'd be slightly more sympathetic if they had a valid reason to strike buts it greed and selfishness. All we can do now is sit, wait and pray they will get here....

patrick   May 13th, 2010 7:48 pm ET

second time in less than 3 weeks, we have had major problems getting in and out of europe,

should have stayed home, e

MT   May 13th, 2010 7:50 pm ET

I bought tickets in February 2010 to take a group of college students to Paris to study art, architecture and design. Now, a week before we are to leave I am being told to cancel the entire trip for a refund. Most of my students are from Oklahoma, where I teach, but others are flying in from St. Louis to take the trip with me. We booked through Expedia and they have done nothing to help reschedule the flights. Currently I have been waiting on hold with Expedia for 2 hours to try to get this resolved. From what I understand BA is not even answering phone calls.

Nancy Ryan   May 13th, 2010 7:52 pm ET

We are scheduled on a flight from Newark to Heathrow and then on to Istanbul the first day of the strike. Supposedly these flights are still "a go" but I'm not at all sure that will happen so have made alternate arrangements on another airline. Unfortunately our return tickets are on the last day of the strike and there is no guarantee that even if we get to Europe, we can get back in a reasonable time. I'm hoping to get reimbursed but would guess not....will probably have to be content with a credit. It's such a BAD time for BA to do this since there is already so much disruption related to the volcano and although I "see" both sides, perhaps a less frequently traveled time of the year would have been a better choice.

Brian   May 13th, 2010 8:23 pm ET

Yes, we're scheduled to fly from Boston -> Heathrow -> Paris on May 18th and we're waiting with anticipation to hear what's going to happen to our vacation plans.

Perhaps the worst part is that even if the first leg of our trip is not canceled, the return flights may be and we will not find that out until the 30th of May!

We are also concerned that our long haul will be alright but we'll end up with issues once we reach Heathrow.

Richard Howlett   May 13th, 2010 8:32 pm ET

My wife and I are booked to fly Fri 21st May BA856 LHR to Prague and return Wed 26th May BA86 Prague to LHR. Are these flights among these expected to fly, please?

MT111   May 13th, 2010 9:02 pm ET

I bought tickets in February 2010 to take a group of college students to Paris to study art, architecture and design. Now, a week before we are to leave I am being told to cancel the entire trip for a refund. Most of my students are from Oklahoma, where I teach, but others are flying in from St. Louis to take the trip with me. I have called 4 times to try to get our flights rescheduled and the call I am currently on has lasted for 3 hours and 16 minutes.

Hugh McGarry   May 13th, 2010 9:13 pm ET

Our European holiday in May/June relies totally on 'hubbing' with BA out of London while visiting UK, Scotland, France, Austria and Hungary. I will never make that mistake again. BA Management is a dinosaur in terms of its industrial relations and their cabin crew think the world owes them a living. Never again. I'll hub out of somewhere else.
Hugh McGarry
Queensland, Australia

David Goodgame   May 13th, 2010 11:20 pm ET

We live in Alaska! For my wife and I this was supposed to be our first big vacation in 5 years. We were flying to Denver on Sunday May 23rd then to the UK to attend the Chelsea Flower show, then go to Portugal, all on BA. If we cannot get to London our vacation is grounded.

When we attempted to find out the status of our flight viathe BA Executive Club telephone number all we got was a hostile answering machine message, and although the BA website claims we can check the status of our flight, only an error message comes up.

Tim Brooks   May 13th, 2010 11:43 pm ET

I am more than angry. I have $2800 in tickets from the US to Hungary with BA. All I want to do is see my son who lives there. The tickets are not refundable. I will never book a flight with BA again.

Shirl   May 14th, 2010 1:05 am ET

I am very frustrated in that I booked my tickets through Travelocity and now they are telling me my flight is cancelled and to go on another airline I will have to pay extra! That is not fair, and now I am looking at this it is says that passengers will be offered seats with other airlines, does that mean at the same price? What is my recourse?

Traveler   May 14th, 2010 4:00 am ET

They have cancelled one of my flights and couldn't find any alternatives. I had other flights with different airlines tied up to this trip and had to cancel them as well. Even though BA claimed to issue the full refund, I'm still loosing money (time, nerves, energy) on cancellation of my other flights.

kevin   May 14th, 2010 9:37 am ET


I have spent several thousand dollars to purchase a round-trip, Business Class Ticket with British Airways. I am with the military and this is the first family weeding I have been able to attend in about twenty years.

I was notified by both BA and Travelocity my return flight may not happen due to the strike. BA told me I can change my ticket for no additional cost.

I am trying to change my return flight from June 6th, to the 10, 11 or 12th. I hold a business class ticket and want to just move the dates from June 6th to any of the above.

I have to go through Travelocity, as they are the agent I used to buy the ticket.

Travelocity tells me they cannot reschedule Business Class without first talking to British Airways. Travelocity told me BA is not answer the phone calls.

British Airways phone message says BA is extremely busy, and then disconnects the caller.

There is no one there that will answer the phone, or a phone number I can give to Travelocity so we can take care of my Business Class ticket. Indecently, Travelocity tells me they do not have this problem if I book a cheaper ticket (economy) in the future.

ves   May 14th, 2010 1:32 pm ET

I don't understand all this hysteria. They have up-to-date info on their web-site. Why do you need to call them? If they have announced on the web-site, that your flights will be alright, then why do you want your money back? I am not sure about my return flights either, but we'll just wait and see. Let it be an adventure.

David   May 14th, 2010 1:43 pm ET

I am personally very pleased with BA response to the incident. BA have offered a freephone number for people affected by the strikes which is good as I spent 40 minutes in the queue this morning but the lady I eventually spoke with was very accomodating and rebooked my flights departing from London City instead of London Heathrow at no additional cost to me.

Finally I'd just like to say that I'm glad that BA is still delivering an excellent level of service in the face of rediculous union activity. If the crews are not happy with their terms, tough get a new job with better terms (Oh yes that's right you can't you're already have the best perks and pay in the industry in Britain) get real and stop impacting the rest of us.

MJP   May 14th, 2010 3:17 pm ET

I booked a flight from San Francisco to Paris. When my outbound flight was cancelled, I was given option to receive a full refund or book a flight outside of the strike period, free of charge.

Because my dates were non negotiable, I got the refund and paid a few hundred dollars extra to book travel on a domestic carrier.

Thankfully, I booked my flight directly with the carrier, unlike members of my family who used an online ticket consolidator. While I got my refund with just a few clicks on the BA website, family members spent several hours on the phone arranging for their refund.

Amy   May 14th, 2010 4:04 pm ET

I was just reading through all of these and after speaking with the terms of carriage are with BA and you should be able to deal with them directly and not have to go through the consolidator. Also the EU laws are much stricter than the US laws and they cover you if you are flying on an EU carrier into and EU airport. It is all very confusing. Check it out though. Also, has a hotline that you can call for assistance and answers to questions. They get right back to you once you leave a message. We are OK on our flights out of Boston next week to Heathrow and onto Paris but won't know about our return flights until we are there. I will NEVER fly BA again either!

KB   May 14th, 2010 4:49 pm ET

Extremely disappointed and frustrated with BA policy. When the strike was announced I called and talked to 2 different people. Both told me after looking at my flight that I was entitled to a full refund. Went ahead and booked on another airline and then called back to process the refund. I was then told that both other people had given me incorrect information and I could only get a refund on the fees and taxes.

Am flying the first leg of my trip on May 24th and the return on May 30th. Sounds like they won't even announce the status of my return flight until the 26th. Why would I hop on a plane when I don't know if I'll have a return flight?

In the future I will do my business with an airline that shows a commitment to the customer. Never again flying BA.

Stella   May 14th, 2010 6:56 pm ET

BA is not offering enough to passengers. They can't confirm we will travel till a week before our departure date (I'm another mum with kids leaving for school vacation), and then will not confirm that the return flight is operating until after we have left (obviously vital for us to return on time to get back for school). They should be offering us the right to cancel our flights at this stage, as we can't now plan accommodation and onward transport as we don't know whether we will travel. They are holding us in limbo and offering only to change tickets for a future date and thereby hold on to our money for longer. Passengers are being treated very shabbily – all sympathy to the Union – if they treat passengers like this, staff probably have many reasons to strike!

irritated beyond words   May 14th, 2010 8:18 pm ET

2nd time for the strike to impact our travel plans. We originally booked a flight from Phoenix to London this past March and the March strike cancelled our plans. Rebooked thinking the problems would have been resolved by now. Our new flight is to depart May 24, returning May 31. Cannot get confirmation about our return flight until we have been in London for 2 days. Doubt if we will ever fly BA again.

Aldert Frik   May 16th, 2010 5:47 pm ET

We bought tickets in december 2009 for flight from Dusseldorf by London to Las Vegas on June 6.. But with the strike plans we have to wait until June 1 to know if our planes are going. I tried to call BA but i had to wait too long. Also the booking agent is not reachable by phone now.

I hope BA knows this week how it is going when the strikes go on and can tell us what to do. The information at the moment is very bad unfortunalety.

AnnikaLibby   May 16th, 2010 8:47 pm ET

I booked a two flight itinerary through Contintental involved a segment with BA from London to Vienna. BA canceled their flight, which means I can't get to London to catch the CO flight...and they won't rebook me because technically my "travel agent" is Continental, but CO's toll free numbers tell me that they are so busy they aren't answering phone calls. Meanwhile, I'm stuck in Europe with no available options in sight and BA is telling me that even though they canceled the flight, they can't do anything to help me without Continental's permission? For the first time in my life I'm turning down a nonstop in favor of one that stops in order to avoid BA at all costs in the future. I don't need this kind of stress on vacation...or business...or at all really.

JohnM   June 14th, 2010 6:57 pm ET

On a previous trip I booked a flight from London to Paris. But when I got to the airport I found out that the entire country was on strike and they didn't have any flights that day. I already booked hotels/plans so had to pay full price to go via the chunnel.

Lesson learned: buy travel insurance if you need to be somewhere. Travel insurance through Amex pays for all alternate travel arrangements and refunds the hotel/fees/etc if something happens.

Airlines state in their contract that the most they will do for you is refund your money. This is a reasonable term so you should be better prepared for the worst case if you can't "self insure"

Janet Stewart   August 25th, 2010 7:14 pm ET

My comment on BULLYING. It seems no one wants to emphasize on workplace bullying until someone takes their own life much less going postal on their supervisor and co-workers
I am a victim of the latter case. I dealt with post traumatic stress disorder, hospitalized, not caring at one point if I lived or not. Workplace bullying is going on in Indiana, Pennsylvania. I was forced to resign after just about ten years in a healthcare facility. The perpetrator still has her job.

Peter ELsner   October 17th, 2010 1:39 pm ET

I booked a 3 week flight to Germany in August of 2009 on BA. The flight was to leave June 5, 2010. When I was notified of the strike, I contacted my travel agency ( who was absolutely no help. They told me I had to call British Airways, and British Airways said I had to call my travel agency. Neither wanted to take any responsibility nor even talk to me. I was very concerned that a family vacation that had been planned for months and could not be rescheduled (work time off for both my wife and I were already planned), was going to be canceled at the last minute.

At the end of May, I received an email from stating that one of my flights had been canceled, so I immediately booked a new flight on another airline (it was actually about $20 cheaper than I originally paid), after that was confirmed, I contacted and asked about a refund since the flight was now canceled. My flight had been re-activated and was still scheduled to leave... They told me I was screwed (their own words), and that I should have waited until 24 hours before my departure date (too risky in my opinion) to cancel and re-book with another airline.

I contacted my credit card company and was able to get most of the charges reversed... But said they can't refund me the rest because BA won't let them and that I need to contact BA again for a refund. Have tried numerous times and BA just won't return my calls or emails.

I will never use BA or again.

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