Question: Do you reckon my BA flight to Johannesburg next Wednesday evening will be affected by the 48-hour BA strikes planned to start from next Tuesday? I’m hoping it will be called off like last time.
Answer: Yours is one of the relatively few British Airways flights that could be affected by the cabin crew strike called for 10 and 11 January, as part of a dispute involving staff working for the airline’s mixed fleet operation. They are unhappy about what their union, Unite, calls “poverty pay”.
A strike was called for Christmas Day and Boxing Day, then called off a few days before it was due to start when BA made an improved pay offer. But in a ballot conducted just before the New Year, cabin crew rejected that offer.
I think it unlikely that the strike will be called off, and instead British Airways is making contingency plans that will be published on Friday.
There will be no effect on BA services to or from Gatwick, London City or Stansted airports; mixed fleet work exclusively at Heathrow, on about one-third of the airline’s routes. Key destinations potentially at risk include Moscow, Warsaw, Las Vegas, Miami, Singapore and your destination, Cape Town. However, BA is likely to protect all its long-haul services: they make the most money, and affect more passengers per flight.
So I predict your flight will go ahead normally – but you may find cabin crew on your flight are moonlighting from the finance department. A number of back-office staff are trained as cabin crew to cover in a range of circumstances, including industrial action, and so they could be drafted in.