Wednesday, December 16, 2009

BA Trying to Avert a Holiday Disaster

A British High Court is expected to rule tomorrow on whether British Airways's cabin crew can proceed with a 12-day strike starting this Tuesday.  See Philip Pank, British Airways Seeks Ban on Staff Christmas Walkout, London Times, Dec. 16, 2009 (available here).  From the story:

Lawyers for BA argue that a strike ballot, which was passed with the overwhelming support of cabin crew members, contained “serious and substantial irregularities” because about 800 people voted even though they were due to take voluntary redundancy before the possible start of any strike. Almost a million passengers will have their flights cancelled if the strike goes ahead on Tuesday.

“BA has therefore brought this action to protect its passengers against these wilful, disproportionate and clearly unlawful actions,” Bruce Carr,QC, told the High Court in London.

If the strike proceeds, nearly a million passengers could be stranded during the holiday travel rush.  It appears that BA's alliance partners are preparing for the worst.  In a statement out today, Australia's Qantas tried to reassure consumers that it is "doing everything [it] can to minimize disruption," see Bill Lindsay, Qantas: Assessing Impact of Planned British Airways Strike, Dow Jones Newswire, Dec. 15, 2009 (available here), while American Airlines "is already allowing [flight] changes without penalty or fee, even though BA has not canceled any flights as of [yet]," see Harriet Baskas, Travelers Scramble to Save Holiday Travel Plans, MSNBC, Dec. 16, 2009 (available here).

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