The chaos this time began on Friday, when the British Airline Pilots Association announced that British Airways pilots would go on strike over wage negotiations for three days: Sept. 9, 10, and 27. The union noted that it would be the first pilots’ strike in the 100-year history of British Airways.
Money is at the center of the dispute: The pilots, who are seeking higher salaries, have previously said that they “deserve a small fraction of the profit via, for instance, a profit share scheme.”
The pilots association argued that the airline had rejected all the packages put forward in the negotiations. “In these circumstances, with a 93% vote in favor of taking industrial action, and with no prospect of any further meaningful talks, we have no choice but to call this action,” it said in a statement on Friday.
The association added that the strike would end up costing British Airways more than what the pilots were asking for. “A day of strike action” will cost the carrier around £40 million, it said in a statement, adding that the three days of work stoppage would cost around £120 million, while the gap between their positions is about £5 million.
The airline condemned the announcement, and tried to stop the strike by taking the case to the British High Court and the Court of Appeal, but it lost the case.
The pilots association “is destroying the travel plans of tens of thousands of our customers with this unjustifiable strike action,” the airline said in a statement on Friday, calling the action “completely unacceptable.”
Then it began emailing customers with travel plans around the planned strike days.
Rhys Thomas, 26, a furniture and interior design consultant in London, said in a Twitter message on Sunday that he received an email late Friday saying that his Sept. 8 flight from Houston to London had been canceled. He spent hours on hold with British Airways.