British Airways two-day strike: How will you be affected?

  • ITV News Correspondent Sejal Karia reports on the first day of the strike

British Airways flights were crippled again on Tuesday as pilots continued a 48-hour strike in a dispute over pay.

Members of the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) are taking their first ever industrial action against the airline, grounding hundreds of flights.

Monday marked the first day of the strike, which the union said was strongly supported.

The industrial action is costing BA £80 million over the two days, according to Balpa who claim the dispute could have been settled for as little as £1 million.

The airline has spent weeks offering refunds to passengers or the option to re-book to another date of travel or an alternative airline.

The airline operates up to 850 flights a day, most of which have been cancelled, affecting up to 195,000 passengers.

Heathrow Airport will be worst affected as it is the busiest hub for BA.

Passengers whose flight have been cancelled have been urged not to travel to the airport.

So what is happening to the UK's flag carrier airline?

Most of British Airways' 850 flights will be cancelled on Monday and Tuesday. Credit: PA
  • Why are the pilots striking?

Members of the British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa), which represents the majority of BA pilots, says its members want more of a share of BA's profits.

BA has offered a pay rise of 11.5% over three years but Balpa says its members wanted a bigger share of the company’s profits.

The airline said its offer would take the pay of some captains to more than £200,000, however Balpa says £100,000 is a more typical basic wage.

Balpa has argued pilots should be given a greater share of the airline's “massive profits”, in part for their sacrifices and efforts to help BA recover from recent struggles.

BA defended the offer as “fair” and said it had already been endorsed by the Unite and GMB trade unions to the almost 90% of BA staff they represent.

  • What can BA customers who are affected by the strikes do?

BA said it was “extremely sorry” for the cancellations and told customers affected they can expect a full refund.

Passengers should have been informed via email whether their flight has been definitely cancelled.

Options on what to do next can also be found by logging into the BA website and visiting the Manage My Booking page.

Customers with flights on Monday and Tuesday can rebook cancelled trips or claim a refund on the British Airways website, the airline said.

Airlines are bound by EU law to pay passengers if a flight is cancelled less than a fortnight before departure - with the exception of "extraordinary circumstance" - or delayed by more than three hours (up to £530).

Strike action doesn't fall into the category of "extraordinary circumstance", so passengers can apply to airlines for compensation unless they accept a refund.

Travel insurance does not normally cover strike action by airline staff.

  • Will there be further strikes?

Further strike action is also planned for September 27, after BA lost a Court of Appeal bid to stop the pilots walking out.

There is little or no sign of the deadlock being broken, as both sides have insisted they wish to resume negotiations, however both continue to play the blame game.

  • What have BA said?

BA's CEO Alex Cruz told ITV News: "[The strike] is punishing BA customers, it's is punishing our brand, it is punishing 90% of our colleagues who have already signed up to the 11.5% deal."

He added the company was investing £6.5 billion in new planes, staff training and technologies so that the BA can continue providing customers with quality services.

  • BA's CEO Alex Cruz accuses Balpa of punishing customers, pilots and BA's reputation

BA said in a statement on their website: “We understand the frustration and disruption Balpa’s strike action has caused our customers.

"After many months of trying to resolve the pay dispute, we are extremely sorry that it has come to this.

“We remain ready and willing to return to talks with Balpa.

“Unfortunately, with no detail from Balpa on which pilots would strike, we had no way of predicting how many would come to work or which aircraft they are qualified to fly, so we had no option but to cancel nearly 100% of our flights.”

  • What have Balpa said?

Balpa have said the strike will cost BA £40 million a day, claiming the dispute could be settled for £5 million.

Brian Strutton, general secretary of Balpa, has told ITV News: "Pilots gave up pay, they gave up variable pay, they had their pension scheme closed, they've created huge savings for British Airways during the lean times.

"It's time for a bit of that back in return."

  • Balpa's Brian Strutton tells ITV News of the sacrifices pilots have made for BA

In a previous statement, Balpa said: "Our members’ resolve is very strong and they remain very angry with BA, but they also want to leave no stone unturned in trying to find a resolution to their dispute."

Mr Strutton, added: “British Airways needs to wake up and realise its pilots are determined to be heard.

“They’ve previously taken big pay cuts to help the company through hard times.

"Now BA is making billions of pounds of profit, its pilots have made a fair, reasonable and affordable claim for pay and benefits.

“Balpa has consistently offered up chances for the company to negotiate a way forward.

"British Airways must now put the needs of its staff and passengers first and accept that its pilots will not be bullied or fobbed off.

“The company’s leaders, who themselves are paid huge salaries and have generous benefits packages, won’t listen, are refusing to negotiate and are putting profits before the needs of passengers and staff.

“This strike will have cost the company considerably more than the investment needed to settle this dispute.

“It is time to get back to the negotiating table and put together a serious offer that will end this dispute.”