Day in the life BA short haul crew

Old Jan 24, 23, 10:00 am
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Day in the life BA short haul crew

Got back from Prague a week or so ago and was chatting to the crew...they said it was their fourth flight of the day.

Got me wondering...how many sectors do SH crew do on average in a day (I realise it depends on sector length)? Do they stay on the same aircraft for the entire day or do they move from one to the other and do the same flight and cabin crew stay together?

Also, slightly off my own topic, but do SH inbound flights (heading back to LHR) get catered at the destination or does everything get loaded for the out and back at LHR?
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Old Jan 24, 23, 10:11 am
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It can be 2,3 or 4 sectors per day. Just depends on your roster. Sectors can be short but we could operate LCA-LHR- BHD.

We do have trips where we stay on the same aircraft but we mostly get off and pick up another aircraft.

Flight crew do change but again there are trips where we may stay together for at least part of the trip.

Catering on SH is loaded at Heathrow for both the outbound and return.

Hope this helps.
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Old Jan 24, 23, 10:12 am
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Originally Posted by BWBriscoe View Post
Also, slightly off my own topic, but do SH inbound flights (heading back to LHR) get catered at the destination or does everything get loaded for the out and back at LHR?
All LHR and LGW shorthaul is return catered from LHR or LGW respectively. Previously some longhaul were return catered as well, IKA springs to mind, but I don't think any are at the moment. Most of LCY is return catered but some non LCY sectors are locally catered from EDI or whatever, with somewhat mixed results.
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Old Jan 24, 23, 10:21 am
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But doesnt it vary quite a lot as the crew on my Porto flight last November had a 2 layover there before just taking one flight back to Heathrow.
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Old Jan 24, 23, 10:21 am
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are there rosters where the same crew would do a few SH spread over more than one day? like a 2 or 3 day SH tour as it were?
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Old Jan 24, 23, 10:31 am
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I often wondered why at some outstations on SH you would get a new crew boarding a flight just arrived from London, for example a 14:00 departure from Vienna or Zurich? I always assumed that the only crew staying the night would be those from the night stopper, and that they would then take the same ac back to Heathrow the next morning, but it seems that that is not the case (maybe to do with minimum rest periods?). Therefore presumably at some stations there will be two sets of BA crew staying the night? It seems that the rostering is a rather more complex thing that one might at first glance expect.....am interested to hear the inside track.
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Old Jan 24, 23, 10:36 am
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Recent(ish) roster ignoring standby and days off. Edited slightly, but youll get an idea:

Oct 29 LHR-JFK

Oct 30 JFK-LHR

Oct 31 Landing day & off

Nov 4 LHR-VCE

Nov 5 VCE-LHR & LHR-BER

Nov 6 BER-LHR & LHR-BUD

Nov 7 BUD-LHR, LHR-GLA & GLA-LHR

Nov 11 LHR-LAX

Nov 13 LAX-LHR

Nov 14 Landing day and off

Nov 18 Next trip etc.
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Old Jan 24, 23, 10:59 am
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Originally Posted by VSLover View Post
are there rosters where the same crew would do a few SH spread over more than one day? like a 2 or 3 day SH tour as it were?
In all my years of flying, I've never seen the same crew member twice....apart from my trip to AUS in November in J. Flew out and there was an amazing German crew member looking after my section (5K backwards). 10 days later, flew back to LHR and was stunning to be standing at the gate in AUS to see the same crew member flying back. She didn't look after my section, but she came over quite a few times, spent time chatting, asked if I needed anything and for breakfast, served me, despite it not being her section! Incredible performance and totally 'unnecessary' on her part but also much appreciated.

I should also point out she told she wasn't usually on the LHR>AUS>LHR so to see her on my return flight many days later was surreal.
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Old Jan 24, 23, 11:06 am
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I was just looking at one aircraft tomorrow (G-NEOV) it's doing:
LHR-WAW
WAW-LHR
LHR-LCA

I assume the same crew wouldn't do all of those trips (that's a long day!!). So would one crew do the Warsaw there and back and then may hop on another aircraft to do an internal?
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Old Jan 24, 23, 11:21 am
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Originally Posted by South London Bon Viveur View Post
I often wondered why at some outstations on SH you would get a new crew boarding a flight just arrived from London, for example a 14:00 departure from Vienna or Zurich? I always assumed that the only crew staying the night would be those from the night stopper, and that they would then take the same ac back to Heathrow the next morning, but it seems that that is not the case (maybe to do with minimum rest periods?). Therefore presumably at some stations there will be two sets of BA crew staying the night? It seems that the rostering is a rather more complex thing that one might at first glance expect.....am interested to hear the inside track.
Yes it's to do with minimum rest and the sort of schedule you want to run. So LHR-NCL there is usually a late service departing around 20:30, arriving into Newcastle around 22:00 hrs. Next day there is a service departing NCL-LHR at 06:50 and that's clearly too early for the crew that arrived last night, perhaps late due to the rotational delays that built up during the day. So if you want a location to offer an early service to LHR and also you want to offer an evening service from London to that location, it's not unusual to have 2 crews overnight. One gets (for me) the rough end of the stick with the early departure, the other swaps an early afternoon service (and thus gets a few hours spare in the morning). You can tell in the schedule if the turnaround time is about 10 minutes longer than usual turnaround times - that indicates a crew swap.
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Old Jan 24, 23, 11:26 am
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i know flybe used to have a long day, i saw them do EXE - LCY, then to EDI then another SH then back to LCY for the return to EXE. As there was only 1 flight a day between EXE and LCY it had to be a long day but not horrendous as long as all on time
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Old Jan 24, 23, 11:29 am
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I was chatting with the inflight lead while waiting to disembark today. She said that her flights today were LHR to NCL and return, and LHR to MAN and back. That was it for the day.
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Old Jan 24, 23, 11:39 am
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Originally Posted by BWBriscoe View Post
I was just looking at one aircraft tomorrow (G-NEOV) it's doing:
LHR-WAW
WAW-LHR
LHR-LCA

I assume the same crew wouldn't do all of those trips (that's a long day!!). So would one crew do the Warsaw there and back and then may hop on another aircraft to do an internal?
No one will be working all of that in one day.

For some of the crew their day will end on arrival into LHR, for others it could mean another short flight. There are so many components to this and its not one size fits all. Im not overly familiar with WAW, but the original outbound crew could equally be ending their day there. Thus, 3 different crews could be operating that a/cs rotation tomorrow.

With so many moving parts, its somewhat impressive that any flight runs to time.
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Old Jan 24, 23, 12:33 pm
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This article goes into some detail as to the flight crew duty hour limitations and rest period requirements. It is geared towards pilots but many of the same rules apply to cabin crew.

It provides the following table which shows the maximum number of hours that a duty can be, depending on its start time and the number of sectors involved:


Bear in mind this is the limit on the total duty period, which begins before the first flight pushes back (when the crew start their pre-flight briefing) and ends after the last flight comes to a stop (when they complete their post-flight paperwork). So you have to deduct around another 1.5 hours to find the maximum realistic duration between the departure of the first flight and the arrival of the last flight. For a typical 4-sector duty the practical maximum is thus 10.5 hours, and as little as 8.5 hours if the duty duty begins between 17:00-04:59 (hence it's unsurprising that the earliest flights don't tend to depart before 06:00 or so - it has a punitive effect on maximum duty length).

There are ways of extending this maximum duty period - such as having a third pilot - but that is only really worthwhile for long-haul flights and I'm not aware of any airline that does this for short haul flights.

The minimum rest period during a turnround is 12 hours, or the duration of the previous duty if that was more than 12 hours long.

So as corporate-wage-slave has alluded to, if an aircraft is stationed somewhere overnight for less than 13.5-ish hours, it cannot be flown back by the same crew that took it there. That does lead to a degree of inefficiency in the flight duties, but evidently it's worth the additional custom that having a late departure or early arrival brings.
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Old Jan 24, 23, 12:53 pm
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Random question prompted by the catering discussion earlier on:

Since short-haul catering is done at LHR/LGW not at the out-station, do flight attendants ration meals for each segment. For example, if 20 chicken meals are loaded at LHR, would the crew only serve up to 10 on the outbound and hold 10 for the inbound? Or if more than 10 passengers want chicken on the outbound, can they all have it?
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