Bob Atkinson, travel expert from travelsupermarket.com comments on today’s announcement that the Unite cabin crews at British Airways (BA) have given the union a mandate for industrial action:
“Customers will get a sense of déjà vu as they face travel disruption yet again. But today’s result isn’t just a kick in the teeth for loyal BA passengers, it’s a disaster for both British Airways and BA’s staff, as all stand to lose out unless the airline re-engineers itself to compete in the cut-throat airline market. Customers are already deserting the airline - at travelsupermarket.com we have seen a significant 19 per cent reduction in people clicking through to BA flights since this latest ballot started.
“Customers will undoubtedly be questioning why and how their travel plans could be disrupted by possible strike action yet again, and justifiably so. What BA lacked last time was customer communication, so it is even more important that they get it right this time – with each and every customer. Travellers deserve to understand exactly how their bookings and plans will be affected, not left in limbo.
“Customers who booked before the ballot announcement on 18 January and have travel insurance covering strike action should be able to recover losses from making new bookings if their BA flight is cancelled. However, those who booked after 18 January or have no insurance will be left high and dry to make new arrangements if their flight is cancelled. Whilst BA may rebook, re-route or refund them for the original ticket price as a last resort, nothing is guaranteed. Availability for booking alternative destinations or airlines may not be ideal, and it’s almost certain that many customers will be forced to pay more for their revised travel plans should BA fail to deliver on an original booking.
“We urgently call on BA and Unite to resolve this long running issue once and for all, to put an end to the customer misery from this strike action, and to do so behind closed doors to allow the Great British travelling public to carry on with their plans undisrupted. It’s not surprising that many BA customers have opted to travel with alternative carriers where possible, and if this is not resolved we could see many more follow suit.”