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British Airways

Striking British Airways Pilots Lose $20,000 Worth of Benefits

Striking British Airways Pilots Lose $20,000 Worth of Benefits
Jeff Edwards

British Airways management has responded to an ongoing pilots strike by suspending a coveted employee travel perk for at least three years. The company had promised that if the union went through with a planned three-day strike, then the airline would consider revoking any and all benefits not covered by the current collective bargaining agreement.

British Airways officials launched a retaliatory blow against pilots whose walkout caused the cancellation of thousands of flights on September 9th and 10th (with an additional industrial action scheduled for September 27th). Prior to the planned labor action, airline management indicated that suspending pilots’ access to generous flight discounts and other travel perks as punishment for striking was being considered among other retaliatory actions.

Now, the Sun reports that the British flag carrier is following through on the threat to suspend striking pilots’ travel benefits for a period of three years. Pilots had previously enjoyed some enviable air travel discounts as part of their employee benefits package. One of the most lucrative perks was access to a 90% discount on standby flights⁠—including first and business class tickets⁠—for British Airways pilots and their immediate family members. Pilots could also buy deeply discounted tickets ahead of time.

Not only is this a significant reduction in their perks, but it will also affect the significant number of British Airways pilots who live abroad in Ireland, Spain, France, and other countries and use their access to very cheap flights to commute to work.

During past labor disputes, the airline had also threatened to suspend striking crew members’ travel benefits and scheduled bonuses for up to a year as punishment. On these previous occasions, the carrier backed away from the threatened punitive actions, but in this case, it appears management is intent on projecting a defiant position – news that might not bode well for British Airways passengers.

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) released a statement on Monday insisting that members were “virtually 100% solid in supporting the strike.” Union officials promised that the retaliation against rank-and-file members would not weaken the pilots’ resolve or solidarity. Labor leaders further announced the company’s return to the bargaining table is the only path to avoiding additional strikes.

“Surely any reasonable employer would listen to such a clear message, stop threatening and bullying, and start working towards finding a solution,” BALPA General Secretary, Brian Strutton said in response to British Airways’ increasingly intransigent posture. To follow the British Airways pilots’ strike more closely, head to this regularly-updated FlyerTalk thread.


[Image Source: British Airways]

View Comments (14)


  1. hfb606

    September 11, 2019 at 8:11 pm


  2. LHR_ATL

    September 13, 2019 at 4:30 am

    BA business class is one of the worst in the industry so no big loss for the pilots!

  3. andyptrav

    September 13, 2019 at 5:45 am

    This is not the 1970’s, the dumb pilots causing their customers heartache and grief are going to lose long term whatever the short term outcome.
    The USA air traffic control strike comes to mind.

  4. mbgaskins

    September 13, 2019 at 6:47 am

    Hmmmm. It would seem that the union is the one bullying by striking. If they don’t like the terms or their employment let them quit and find another job like the vast majority of employees have to do.

  5. alphaod

    September 13, 2019 at 8:48 am

    If you don’t want to work, why should you be able to enjoy benefits?

  6. arcticflier

    September 13, 2019 at 8:48 am

    It appears BA pilots will have a morale issue for years to come.

  7. mvoight

    September 13, 2019 at 9:08 am

    BA has offered an 11 percent pay increase, which was accepted by everyone but the pilots.
    Who is being unreasonable here?

  8. Jackie_414

    September 13, 2019 at 10:05 am

    Self-created morale issue

  9. crunchie

    September 13, 2019 at 10:57 am

    They’re getting pay increase that is between 2x to 4x of what all of my friends in Fortune 100 companies got in their last annual review and almost all of them exceeded their performance targets. Is there something else hiding behind the pay dissatisfaction?

  10. mvoight

    September 13, 2019 at 11:47 am

    Apparently the pay increase is good enough for everyone else at BA, what are the pilots whining about?

  11. happyintheair

    September 13, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    11.5% over 3 years.
    BA made £2bil profit this year
    Previously pilots have taken pay cuts to support the company.

    Notable that the FT BA board is a lot more supportive than this foru.

  12. Mike2

    September 13, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    Seems to me that the pilots have the upper hand. Worldwide shortage of pilots and if BA is not careful they will have problems recruiting new pilots as their terms and conditions of employment do not look attractive compared to other carriers. Given that it costs a new entry pilot over £100k+ to train and starting salaries are less than £30K, an 11% increase (over 3 years, before inflation) is pitiful, when the airline is making €3B profit. This is the opportunity for the pilots to make their point and BA may find that their brand is further damaged. As a IAG shareholder I want a good return for my investment but not at the expense of damaging the brand. If you can’t recruit good quality pilots you end up with a poor brand and bigger problems, as we have seen happen with other carriers in the last year.

  13. chrismk

    September 14, 2019 at 2:15 am

    The usual ignorant comments here.
    Interesting that the vast majority of FT BAEC members are behind the pilots.
    BA’s attitude to customer service is similar to the way they treat their staff.

  14. meunger11

    September 16, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    Hope the juice was worth the squeeze… :eyeroll:

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