BA Mixed Fleet strike resolved
There has been a long-running series of strikes with 85 days industrial action by members of Unite Cabin crew working for British Airways’ Mixed Fleet. Although the impact was not huge for passengers with BA wet leasing Qatar aircraft amongst others to fill the gaps, the negative PR impact came at a bad time with the IT failure in May.
Yesterday Unite announced that staff have overwhelmingly voted to accept a pay deal. During the strike, there was talk of ‘poverty pay’ for the BA staff, some of whom reported of having to sleep in their car as they were unable to afford accommodation near Heathrow.
The pay deal will give the crew a substantial pay increase of at least £1,404 to £2,908 by March 2018 depending on experience and subject to inflation. Importantly, the deal also restores staff travel concessions and entitlements to participate in the airline’s 2017 bonus scheme cabin crew who took industrial action. BA had previously taken away these concessions as well as a bonus payout to staff that had taken part in the strikes.
I am really pleased to see this dispute resolved both for Mixed Fleet and BA’s customers. Given the negative PR storm that has surrounded BA recently, I could not understand why BA were being so stubborn about restoring benefits such as staff travel which was the last sticking point in negotiations. Staff travel does not really cost the airline anything as it is subject to space and staff still have to pay towards the tickets.
The next potential cloud on the horizon will be the closing of the BA defined benefits pension scheme which affects both cabin crew and pilots amongst others.
BA cuts Quintessentially for First Class passengers & Concorde Room improvements
BA has quietly removed the Quintessentially service for passengers travelling in First. Previously First customers had access to the Quintessentially concierge service based in the Concorde Room. They were able to help with travel arrangements for your trip as well as booking things like the First cabanas. You First, the exclusive team for First class passengers will still be available to book spa appointments and cabanas as well as assist with queries about your BA journey. I have never felt the need to use the Quintessentially service, so I don’t think it is particularly great lose to the First product. I would hope that BA will use the money to improve something else instead.
The Concorde Room refurbishment is nearing completion with new furniture appearing this week. I shall bring you pictures when they are available. Roving Reporter and I are planning to visit in December to bring you a full review of the lounge after its refurbishment.
It will be very interesting to see what happens to BA First over the next few years as the Club World seats get upgraded. Given the rumours that they may be on par with the Qatar Q Suites, this could potentially make them better than the First seats. The global trend is for airlines to be either dramatically reducing the number of first class cabins or not have one at all. BA have already started looking at options for what they will do with First. My guess is that they will continue to have it on a small number of premium routes such as LA and New York but get rid of it elsewhere in favour of a bigger Club World cabin with the new seats.
What do you think BA should do with First once they have finished the Club World improvements? Let me know in the comments below or via social media.