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British Airways Mulls Pulling Travel Benefits of Striking Pilots

Pilots walking off their job at British Airways in September 2019 could be at risk of losing travel benefits with the IAG carrier. Citing sources inside the flag carrier suggest the airline is considering dropping discounted tickets and annual business class travel benefits as punishment for the strike.

British Airways pilots planning to strike in September 2019 may have their families grounded once their walk off is over. The Times reports British Airways is considering stripping flight benefits from the pilots who plan on stepping away from their flight duties.

Citing internal sources at British Airways, the carrier could remove two key benefits from their overall plan: discounted business class tickets and free business class flights for qualifying employees. Under the current policy, pilots are allowed to purchase standby tickets for themselves and as many as three immediate family members for only 10 percent of the published full-fare price plus airport taxes. And after five years of service, pilots can get one business class round trip anywhere the carrier flies for themselves and their family by paying airport taxes only.

The carrier could remove those benefits for pilots who walk off. According to the airline, the strikes could cost as much as $49 million per day. While anonymous sources inside the company say British Airways is ready to make the cut, the union representing the pilots told Personnel Today they haven’t received notification of the changes.

Outside of their previously published statements about the strike, British Airways has not commented on the claims of cutting travel benefits. In their latest statement published on August 29, 2019, the British Air Line Pilots Association (BALPA) union says that there are “no talks planned” with the carrier, but would be willing to meet to discuss a better offer.

The move does have precedence within the airline. According to the Daily Mail, the airline made a similar threat to cabin crewmembers who were also threatening to strike. In that situation, the airline also warned both flight benefits and annual bonuses could be suspended for one year.

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Mike2 September 12, 2019

Normally an employer suspends the travel benefits while the staff are on strike. When they return it is reinstated. If they suspend it for five years they are going to have a major problem keeping or attracting pilots. With nearly 30% of pilots world wide reaching retirement age in the next 5 years the airlines are really scrambling to attract the calibre of new pilots they need. It costs the newly qualified pilot upwards of $150K to train and qualify, then they are paid $50 -70K a year as a first officer. British Airways may well pay the industry norm (touting $200K+ for a long haul captain, less than 5% of the workforce) but this norm has been eroded over many years and potential pilots invariably are looking to other industries and employment, because they have other better paid options. I used to work for a major airline and no I am not a pilot but do work in recruitment and selection.

kc1174 September 4, 2019

Good luck having any pilots if they try that one.

steveopenskies September 4, 2019

I believe they get First Class tickets after five years, not business class.