British Airways' cabin crew, Unite, announced it will go on strike for seven days later this month. This follows a strike vote in February and a series of unsuccessful talks with the airline, and comes ahead of a busy Easter holiday travel period (though Unite will keep its promise not to strike during the actual holiday). The strike is set to run for three days starting March 20 and four more days starting March 27.
There is a glimmer of hope, however, according to the Associated Press (AP). A new offer from British Airways will be put to a vote next Thursday. If the union's members accept the offer, the strike will be called off. However, union officials said the offer was unsatisfactory and they will not recommend a vote of approval.
The strike will put a significant dent in British Airways' service, and will cost the airline an estimated £25 million per day (about $38 million). The carrier said it will operate a "substantial" portion of its scheduled flights from Heathrow, with a full schedule from London City Airport and partial operations at Gatwick.
This new strike motion follows a near-strike in December, which was overruled by a U.K. court that determined Unite's strike vote to be invalid. But workers are still unhappy with British Airways' plan to freeze salaries in 2010, switch 3,000 workers from full- to part-time status, and reduce crew staffing levels on long-haul flights from Heathrow.
British Airways has posted an information page for customers, including updates on schedule changes and resources for rebooking flights. Passengers concerned about their reservations should contact British Airways sooner rather than later, and you can read up on your rights in an airline strike here.