Nearly all British Airways flights have been cancelled as pilots have gone on strike, leaving thousands of passengers stranded around their network.

Unfortunately for travellers, this strike is planned for the 9th, 10th and 27th of September, causing great grief to many caught up in the mess.

Why the strike?

So what exactly sparked this? Pay disputes between pilots and British Airways has lead to industrial action, which has resulted in the airline taking the pilot union to court.

Losing the court case, British Airways elected to appeal the decision; which was subsequently rejected. Consequently, this mess has been drawn out for quite some time and has now developed into one of the largest strikes we have ever seen in Europe in recent times.

British Airways Pilot Strike

Pilots are unhappy with BA’s offer of an 11.5% salary increase over three years; they want a greater share of the airline’s burgeoning profits. BA posted operating profit of nearly £2 billion ($2.5 billion) for 2018an 11.6% increase over the previous year.

BALPA general secretary, Brian Strutton, told the BBC on Monday that the profit sharing arrangement the union had proposed would entail staff receiving up to 7% of base pay in good times and zero when times were tough. It would not involve an increase in base pay. BALPA said that the dispute could be settled for an additional £5 million, but gave no detail on how it had arrived at that figure.

The cost of the strike would be around £40 million ($49 million) per day, according to BALPA. The three strike days already scheduled would cost in the region of £120 million ($148 million).

Without knowing which pilots would strike and how many would be involved, British Airways was uncertain as to what aircraft could be operated.

Making lives easier, but also very, very difficult, British Airways had no choice but to cancel almost 100 percent of their flights.

“We understand the frustration and disruption BALPA’s strike action has caused you. After many months of trying to resolve the pay dispute, we are extremely sorry that it has come to this.”

Passengers due to fly on September 9th and 10th are highly unlikely to be able to travel as planned. Customers affected by the strikes have been and are in the process of being contacted by British Airways’ customer teams. Full refunds and re-bookings are being offered to those interested.

Additionally, passengers may request to be placed on a different flight time if available or transferred to a different airline.

If your flight ends up being cancelled British Airways advises you NOT to travel to the airport, instead ask that you change your flight times/details online.

Those travelling with the aid of a travel agent are urged to contact them immediately to develop new plans.

British Airways Grounded by Pilot Strike

Passengers travelling on the 27th of September will be notified by British Airways in the coming weeks as to whether their flights have been cancelled or not.

Looking closely at the strike action, up to 4000 pilots are said to be involved. With no one to fly aircraft, it’s understood that over 1,700 flights were cancelled today (9th of September) and could possibly cost British Airways £40m a day.

For updates on the strikes, you can follow British Airways announcements on their website and social media.