Nearly 100% of flights cancelled: British Airways pilot strike continues to second day
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British Airways has entered day two of mass flight cancellations this Tuesday, 10 September after cancelling almost all of its flights on Monday, 9 September following planned strike action by its pilots. If you are flying British Airways this week, here’s what you need to know.
Why are the flights cancelled?
The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has been in discussions with British Airways for several months regarding a pay dispute. BALPA represents around 90% of pilots flying for British Airways. BALPA threatened strikes for 9 September, 10 September and 27 September, and British Airways proactively cancelled most of its flights for the first two days two weeks ago via a botched notification programme.
Even if the strike was called off today, as they often are, British Airways proceeded with the cancellations given it had already notified passengers and it would be a huge logistical exercise to reinstate hundreds of flights at the last minute.
Which flights are affected?
British Airways has announced via a special strike page on its website that nearly all of its flights on 9 September and 10 September are cancelled. BA CityFlyer (flights operated from London City airport), SUN-AIR and Comair are unaffected. Flights operated by partner airlines will operate as normal even if you booked your ticket through British Airways as a codeshare.
If your flight is cancelled you should have already been notified more than 14 days ago, but you can double check in the Manage My Booking (MMB) section of the British Airways website.
If you are flying from a foreign port on Wednesday 11 September where BA has very limited frequencies (like Sydney, Bangkok or Rio, for example), your flight may be affected if the outbound flight is cancelled because of the strikes. Check your MMB to see if your flight is affected.
Heathrow’s Terminal 5 remains open, though the airline is advising passengers to not go to the airport if their flight has been cancelled and the terminal has been described as a ‘ghost town’ given. The terminal is expected to operate few departing flights all day — mostly to Madrid with Oneworld carrier Iberia.
What are my rights?
The airline insists that when it decided to cancel these flights, it had contacted as many passengers as possible to refund or rebook them on to other flights. If you have not been advised of your flight cancellation and it is now showing as cancelled, do not go to the airport — check your email. You should then log on to Manage My Booking for the fastest way to select alternate flights, which may be with BA or another airline, or a refund. You can call BA but expect long hold times as thousands of other passengers also try to speak with someone.
If you choose to receive a refund, and book yourself through another airline at a higher price, you cannot claim the difference from BA.
Am I entitled to compensation?
You may be aware of EU261 rights for delayed or cancelled British Airways flights, which are surprisingly easy to claim online — you can read TPG’s step-by-step guide here. Because British Airways cancelled all of these flights more than 14 days in advance of the date of the flight, EU261 compensation is not payable.
If you are abroad and your flight home was cancelled as part of the strikes with your rerouting resulting in additional costs, such as unexpected additional nights accommodation, BA has confirmed you are entitled to claim reasonable compensation. BA has confirmed that where your trip is abandoned because the flights are cancelled, you cannot claim the cost of non-refundable hotel accommodation unless it was booked through BA Holidays.
Are there any more strikes planned?
This round of planned strikes also includes an additional day of striking on Friday September 27. BA has not yet announced flight cancellations for this date, but may do so more than 14 days in advance to avoid EU261 compensation claims like with this week’s strikes.
Featured image by Grzegorz Bajor/Getty Images