Now British Airways passengers face SEVEN DAYS of flight cancellations when pilots strike next month
- Hundreds of thousands of British Airways passengers will be hit by a week of travel misery
- BA sent out text messages and emails late on Friday and early yesterday telling passengers to re-book or cancel
- Their action is likely to affect at least 1,500 flights going to various destinations
Hundreds of thousands of British Airways passengers will be hit by a week of travel misery when militant pilots strike next month – even though walkouts are planned for just three days.
BA's pilots caused outrage on Friday when they announced strikes on September 9, 10 and 27 in a dispute over pay. Their action is likely to affect at least 1,500 flights.
But aviation experts warn of an extra four days of cancellations and delays because aircraft and flight crew will be in the wrong place. Some flights have already been axed on September 8 and 11, with more likely on the 26th and 28th.
BA sent out text messages and emails late on Friday and early yesterday telling passengers to re-book or cancel. But customers blasted the airline after its website crashed and its customer service centre was inundated with calls.
One passenger wrote on social media: 'How are your customer service numbers not in service? You drop cancellation bombs and then run away leaving customers helpless.'
BA sent out text messages and emails late on Friday and early yesterday telling passengers to re-book or cancel (file picture)
Customers blasted the airline after its website crashed and its customer service centre was inundated with calls (file picture)
Another said: 'The website has crashed and the app doesn't work. The telephone number provided says they can't take the call right now and hangs up.'
Abby Deem, 32, from Cambridge, said her honeymoon plans had been 'ruined' after her BA business class flight to Mauritius on September 9 with fiancé Jonathan was cancelled. The couple had to fork out an extra £500 to book economy flights with Emirates instead.
Anna Redding was among those struggling to get through on the phone to BA.
She was due to fly first class to Nairobi with her partner for their honeymoon on September 11 and return on the 27th. They received an email from BA saying their outward flight had been cancelled and the return flight would be delayed.
Ms Redding said: 'Do we try to get another flight with someone else but lose the first class or do we wait just in case but risk not getting any other flights?'
About three-quarters of BA's 4,311 pilots are expected to strike after they rejected a pay rise worth an extra £35,000 a year for the average captain.
The walkouts – in British Airways' centenary year – will be the first time that the airline's pilots have gone on strike, with the vast majority of planes expected to be grounded.
Pilots reject deal union boss 'shook on'
Militant British Airways pilots torpedoed a bumper pay deal despite their own union boss having backed the offer, it was claimed last night.
Brian Strutton, General Secretary of the British Airline Pilots' Association, 'shook' on a deal that would have seen pilot pay increase by 11.5 per cent over three years, according to a senior BA source. Average pay for a BA captain would have risen from £167,000 to £202,000.
After telling BA negotiators he was 'happy' with the offer, Mr Strutton recommended that BA's pilots accept it, but the hardline leadership of the British Airways Company Council – Balpa's BA arm – ignored his advice and rejected the deal. 'On August 12, Brian Strutton shook on a deal and said 'I am happy with all of this',' the source said. 'And then the BACC people have said 'no chance' and he was completely overridden.
'The young hotshots have completely undermined the General Secretary who did a deal and he has now reneged on the whole thing.'
Balpa last night denied the claims, saying: 'The negotiating team, which included Brian Strutton and BACC reps, made it very clear that they did not think that BA's final offer would be acceptable.'