BA Is Shite

BA Is Shite


The latest news and views on British Airways, the world's "favourite" airline.

Friday, 28 May 2010

BA Strike Update - Talks Resume

Talks between Unite and BA management resume today.

However, despite that, both the union and BA are gearing up for the next round of strikes which start this Sunday.

As ever the customer is left in the lurch.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

BA Strike Update - Negtiations Adjuorned

Yesterday's six hours of talks between Unite and BA have been adjourned until Friday.

Meanwhile BA are preparing for next week's round of strikes, and Unite have suggested that negotiations might proceed better if Willie Walsh were not involved (fat chance!).

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

BA Strike Update - Next Week's Flights Cancelled

The ongoing strike action by BA cabin crew shows no signs of ending anytime soon. The Times reports that BA will be informing passengers, with flights booked next week, that they will be cancelled.

Whilst BA management has the financial resources to weather the strike, and Unite claims that its members have the stomach for a protracted dispute, the long term effects on the company (ie irreparable damage to the brand) and consequential loss of jobs for the cabin crew are not going to be so easy to weather.

The protagonists in this Greek tragedy would do well to remember that.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

BA Strike Update - Day Two

As customers of British Airways endure day two of the strike, the BBC report that BA claims that it managed to fly a total of 60,000 passengers on Monday (about 70% of the total number usually expected at this time of year).

BA did not reveal what percentage of Heathrow passengers were able to fly, however, and how many flights had been cancelled.

No resolution is expected anytime soon, as neither side has publicly revealed that there are to be any scheduled talks.

It reflects badly on both the management and union that they are both timewarped in the intransigent and confrontational mindsets of union/management relations of the 1970's.

Monday, 24 May 2010

BA Strike Update - Strike Resumes

British Airways cabin crew have begun their five day strike, which is expected to mainly affect Heathrow (60% of long-haul flights and 50% of short-haul flights will, in theory, operate during the strike).

The atmosphere at the talks over the weekend between Untie and British Airways management was somewhat soured when it was discovered that Derek Simpson, Unite's joint general secretary, was Tweeting the progress of the discussions live.

On Saturday, for reasons best known to themselves, Trotskyite demonstrators from the Socialist Workers Party stormed the talks and broke them up.

It is clear that this dispute will end badly for the management, the cabin crew and most especially the long suffering customers of BA.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

BA Strike Update - Strike Ban Ruling Overturned

From the BBC:

"Fresh BA strikes look set to go ahead after a High Court judge overturned a ban on industrial action.

BA was granted an injunction on Monday after a judge ruled that the Unite union had not reported results of its strike ballot correctly to members.

But Unite appealed against the decision and a judge ruled in its favour.

The first strike had been scheduled to begin on Tuesday, ending on 22 May, with the three further strikes planned to begin on 24 May, 30 May and 5 June

The chaos and irrevocable damage to the BA brand is set to resume.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

BA Strike Update - Appeal Ruling Delayed

The appeal judges, who are ruling on the banned BA strike, will not deliver their verdict on the legality of the planned walkouts before 9.30am tomorrow.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

BA Strike Update - Unite Fights Back

British Airways (BA) won yesterday's High Court battle with Unite, re Unite's breaching of union legalisation by informing members of the result of the strike ballot via Twitter in insufficient detail.

As sure as eggs are eggs, the union described the result as an "absolute disgrace" and beat their chests about "democracy being undermined" etc.

Maybe, as this is the second time that they have made legal blunders wrt they strike ballots, they might take a little more care in future and not be so dismissive of the law?

Maybe their members may also begin to question the "professionalism" of the union allegedly looking after their interests?

That being said, Unite will this morning appeal the decision. I thought that they were contemptuous of our legal system, funny that they seek now to use it in their favour.

Meanwhile, as ever, it is the long suffering customers of BA who end up suffering. Monday's court decision came too late for BA to reinstate their normal schedule; only 90% of long-haul flights and 50% of short-haul are operating normally from Heathrow.

My advice to both the management and the union is simple, and consistent, your customers have lost patience with you. There is absolutely no point in booking a flight with BA if there is a chance that it will be cancelled because of an ongoing dispute.

Resolve this nonsense now, or BA will cease to exist; and their will be no jobs, or indeed union contributions, for the members of Unite to live off.

Monday, 17 May 2010

BA Strike Update - Guerrilla Campaign

British Airways (BA) is making a last ditch attempt to avert strike action by cabin crew this week, by going to the High Court to claim that a message sent to Unite members on Twitter outlining the result of the ballot was unlawful; because it failed to meet a legal requirement to provide everyone who took part with a full breakdown of results. Specifically how many votes were cast, how many voted for industrial action, how many voted against and the number of spoiled papers.

Meanwhile Duncan Holley, a branch secretary of the British Airline Stewards and Stewardesses Association (Bassa), which is part of Unite, has told the media that if no agreement is reached, the union could switch to a "guerrilla campaign" designed to sow confusion among customers for up to a year.

Are these people farking mad?

Do they not understand that this ongoing dispute will destroy the brand once and for all, and put them all out of work?

To add to BA's problems, the volcano is acting up again!

Friday, 14 May 2010

Thursday, 13 May 2010

BA Strike Update - Callous Disregard For Customers

The Times reports that about 150,000 passengers will have their flights cancelled next week, during the first of British Airways (BA's) planned series of strikes that will ground flights between May 18 and 23.

There will then be a single day's pause before the second round of strikes on May 24 to 28, and further walkouts on May 30 to June 3 and June 5 to 9.

Willie Walsh emailed executive club members yesterday, referring to Unite's actions as "callous":

"..As you are undoubtedly aware, Unite, the trade union that represents British Airways' cabin crew has announced further strike action.

I wanted to update you on the situation and thank you for your continued loyalty and support.

We were saddened but not surprised that Unite has announced plans for strikes that span 23 days including the May bank holiday and half term. I can assure you that this action will not ground British Airways.

Unite officials continue to show a callous disregard for our customers. A small minority act as if they want to destroy BA and the jobs of thousands of their colleagues. And just when the UK economy needs help to get back on its feet, Unite will deal it another blow.

The offer on the table is very fair. It includes a guaranteed pay rise for the next two years, meets the union's concerns on crewing levels, access to routes and maintains a standard of living that reflects the value and service our cabin crew deliver to our customers.

During the last two periods of industrial action, thousands of staff from across the airline, including volunteers, kept British Airways flying and we flew more than half a million customers to their destinations.

We are confident that many cabin crew will again ignore Unite's pointless strike call and support the efforts of the rest of the airline.

On the strike dates we will operate all London Gatwick and London City services. At Heathrow we plan to operate a substantial part of our longhaul schedule. There will also be a number of daily flights to every destination across our shorthaul network.

We are talking to other airlines about leasing in extra aircraft to support our shorthaul schedule and we will buy thousands of seats from other airlines to help our customers rebook if their original flight is cancelled.

I fully appreciate that information is critical during such a period so we will regularly update with details of our revised schedule and options available.

Your support, patience and understanding during the recent months have been invaluable and I would like to thank you in advance for your continued loyalty in support of our business

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

BA Strike Update - No Winners

The Independent concludes that however the ongoing BA dispute is resolved (if at all) there could be no winners at all.

I would venture to say that there WILL be no winners.

Whether or not the company and union can afford, financially, to dig their respective heels in for a protracted dispute is immaterial. The damage being done to the brand of the company, and by definition the reputations of those who work for it, is incalculable.

Rival airlines have already launched advertising campaigns attacking British Airways (BA), urging travellers not to book with the carrier while the threat of strikes loom.

EasyJet's advert asks "Why risk BA?", and offers free speedy boarding for BA Gold Card customers on strike days.


"We still have half a million seats available for travel over the planned BA strike days, but seats sell out quickly so book now."

Lufthansa owned carrier bmi has launched a campaign showing a departures board, with customers for a list of fictional BA flights such as "BA147A" advised to "Go home".


"As the fresh strike looms, the choice is clear: risk staying put or fly with bmi."

BMI will also offer BA Gold and Silver Executive Club members access to bmi lounges.

My advice to the unions and management of BA is simple:

Get real!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

BA Strike Update - Utter Madness

Members of Unite (the union of British Airway's cabin crew) have announced plans to walk out on four separate five day strikes.

The first strike will begin on 18 May, ending on 22 May. Further strikes are planned on 24 May, 30 May and 5 June.

No matter how intransigent the union may regard BA management, quite how bankrupting BA furthers their members' long term interests is beyond any form of logical reason or understanding.

Be under no illusions, if this nonsense carries on the airline will cease to exist by the end of the year.

What will the members of Unite do then?

Friday, 7 May 2010

Brand Suicide - More BA Strikes

The BBC report the following:

"British Airways cabin crew have "overwhelmingly rejected an offer" aimed at ending a long-running row over pay and conditions, Unite has said.

The union said, with turnout of 71%, thousands had voted and there had been an 81% majority against the proposals offered by the airline

Given the damage done to the brand value from the previous strikes, and the damage to revenues from the volcano, I can only conclude that the management and union have taken collective leave of their senses.

BA will cease to exist by the end of the year, if these two groups keep this up.

BA To Beijing - Back In Blighty

I have now returned from my trip to Beijing (flying BA both ways).

Here, in summary, are my views about the experience of flying BA (London/Beijing return):

1 The cabin crew on both legs of the journey were friendly, polite, efficient and did their jobs well.

2 Despite Terminal 5 being billed as BA's dedicated terminal, the hapless passengers of the outward bound flight were forced to use a coach to get to the aircraft.

3 The coach journey necessitated passengers being called to the gate 1 hour before departure.

4 The coach journey took so long (in excess of 10 minutes) that it felt as though we were being driven to Beijing.

5 The in flight caterers had not packed enough shepherd's pies on board for the number of passengers in my cabin. There were 9 passengers but only 6 pies.

6 The in flight caterers had forgotten to load any potato dishes on board to accompany the main courses.

7 The return flight departure time from Beijing of 7:20 is absurd, necessitating my checking out from the hotel at around 4:45. Last year the departure time was around midday. Why on earth have BA picked such a ridiculous new departure time?

8 The in flight entertainment on the return flight was identical to the entertainment on the outward bound flight. Normally the selection is varied.

9 One of the lights above my seat was not working on the return journey. Small details like this show that due care an attention to the needs of the passengers are not being made.

10 The in flight survey on both outward and return legs of the journey was at great pains to ask for my opinion re the in flight entertainment. However, it asked no questions about service, food, or any other aspect of the flight. Do BA not want to know what their customers really think of them?

In conclusion, whilst the cabin crew do their best to provide a high standard of service, it is clear to me that the company has lost interest in the customer.