British Airways' cabin crew union, Unite, has commenced the first of three five-day strikes. This first five-day strike will last through Friday, with another beginning Sunday May 30, and then Saturday June 5.
British Airways says it expects to accommodate roughly 70 percent of all passengers during the strike periods. That said, the airline's operations at Heathrow will be the most severely affected. The New York Times reports that "as of early Monday, about 40 percent of the airline’s scheduled departures and 30 percent of its arrivals at London Heathrow ... had been canceled." Flights from London Gatwick and City will not be affected.
Travelers ticketed on British Airways can see the airline's revised schedules for all three strike periods here.
Last-ditch negotiations this weekend failed to produce an agreement, and don't bode well for a reconciliation or, more importantly, a resolution any time soon. Neither side seems to trust each other, and neither seems willing to make the final compromise, according to the Associated Press.
This all comes after British Airways announced on Friday that it lost just over $600 million in fiscal 2009, which ended March 31. The airline is expecting to break even for 2010, but starting the year with costly strikes and huge losses from the Icelandic volcano is surely not what the carrier had in mind. The first round of strikes in March cost the airline $62 million over seven days. This longer round of strikes could easily pass that mark.
Readers, are you flying with British Airways during these strike periods? Does all this unrest make you less likely to book with British Airways in the future, or at least before the dispute is settled?