Are People Actually Jealous Of Legacy British Airways Cabin Crew?


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British Airways has a long history of unrest between management and cabin crew but I can’t remember a time when relations have been worse than they are right now. British Airways management is claiming that it needs to make wholesale changes to the number of people it employs and to the contracts of its longer-standing employees if it’s to survive the current crisis and, understandably, a lot of cabin crew are up in arms.

The dispute between British Airways crews and management has been well documented in the press and on various blogs and, aside from the actual plight of the British Airways crews, the thing that has struck me most in all of this has been the nature of some of the comments directed at British Airways legacy cabin crews made by people seemingly unconnected to the airline – they make no sense.

The Situation

I’ve written about the current conflict between BA management and BA cabin crew in the recent past and I don’t want to go over old ground but, just to set the scene before I move on, here’s the situation:

  • British Airways cabin crews are divided into multiple “fleets” and sub-fleets with the crews in each fleet working under very different pay scales and conditions. Crew members who joined the airline before 1997 are, generally speaking, paid best, while those joining from 2010 onwards are paid worst.
  • British Airways has been suggesting that it will need to make up to 12,000 staff redundant if the business is to survive the current crisis (link)
  • British Airways had been proposing substantial pay cuts for all front line staff with some of the longer serving cabin crew seeing their earnings cut by over 50% (link).
  • Recently, British Airways management has improved the deal on the table for its cabin crews but while this may represent a small improvement for ‘Mixed Fleet’ crews, it still represents a very sharp drop in pay and conditions for legacy crews.

As things stand, the longer-serving crew members (those who joined pre-2010) are on good pay (generally above the standard pay for the sector) and it’s these crews in particular that British Airways is targeting with its cuts.

The Comments

HeadForPoints is one of the most widely read UK-based blogs and is a blog that gets more comments than any other travel-related blog I know…and some of the comments can be eye-opening.

A recent HFP article about the latest management offer to cabin crew has attracted almost 300 comments (at the time of writing) and I have selected a few that relate to what I’d like to discuss (screennames have been removed).

Comment 1

This to me is the issue, in the airline market this day and age the salaries that many of the crew are on simply are not sustainable and not real world.
This has been known for some time and the unions have been doing all they can to protect these and BA sees this as a chance to finally get rid of these legacy pay rewards that do not reflect the real world. (This is a snippet of a much longer comment)

Comment 2

The MF crew find it very unfair and demoralising that they earn much less than legacy crew for doing the same job. What BA is doing to legacy crew may not be very fair, but unfortunately in this type of industry paying certain people well above the current market rate is unsustainable and not in the interests of the majority of BA employees or the airline.

Comment 3

I really don’t see the justification for legacy staff to retain their previous conditions and wage levels, especially when BA wants to shrink employee numbers.

Comment 4

Then be prepared for BA to fail. Then nobody will have a job.

I don’t agree about much with BA…but those who think everyone single member of legacy staff can stay on…under their old conditions…when 1/4 of staff need to be cut…is just delusional.

Comment 5

Can someone tell me what the transferable skills are from flying a few days a month on a plane to the real world of going to work 5 days a week ?

And then show me the ground based job which pays the same or more ?

No, the truth is that whether the tactics are right, the BA staff seem overpaid and I don’t think trolley dollies need £1000+ a week for 1 or 2 shifts a week.

There are more comments in line with these on the post I’ve linked to and on other related posts, but the arguments don’t really differ.

This Is What I Don’t Get

All the arguments being made in the comments I’ve reproduced above can be boiled down to these three ideas:

  1. The legacy cabin crew salaries are unsustainable so they have to be cut permanently.
  2. It’s unfair that legacy crews are earning more than mixed fleet crews for doing similar jobs so, for parity’s sake, it’s right that pay is reduced for the higher earners.
  3. The jobs done by cabin crew aren’t worth what they’re being paid so the pay cuts are justified.

I disagree with all three of these ideas and they appear to be coming from people who either don’t know how British Airways has performed over the past decade or from people who, for reasons of their own, don’t want to see legacy cabin crew continuing to earn what they’re currently earning.

The first thing I should point out is that I’m not saying that cuts don’t have to be made and I’m not saying that redundancies or early retirements are not required (it’s pretty clear that the aviation sector is in a bad way right now). What I am saying is that the arguments being made for making permanent cuts simply don’t make sense.

Profits

The idea that paying the legacy crews the salaries that they’re currently being paid is unsustainable in the long term doesn’t tally with the profits British Airways has been making while paying those salaries.

Between 2011 and 2018 British Airways operating profits have risen year on year (link) and in 2018 and 2019 the airline’s operating profits were approximately £2 billion (link to IAG financials). If an airline can post operating profits of this magnitude under normal trading conditions, the argument that the salaries it is paying are “not sustainable” is clearly nonsense. Yes, under current conditions cuts need to be made to see the airline through the next two years (or until passenger number recover), but the airline’s financials cannot be used to justify long-term, permanent drastic pay cuts.

British Airways should be asking employees to take temporary cuts until the aviation sector recovers and agreeing to raise pay to current levels once profits recover…as they inevitably will.

Parity In Pay

There are a number of things to address here and I need to be careful to address them in the correct order so that my point isn’t lost in a sea of misunderstanding.

  1. Mixed Fleet crews are poorly paid and they clearly deserve better pay and conditions.
  2. Members of Mixed Fleet knew what pay and conditions they were signing up to when they joined the airline, while the pay and conditions now being proposed for the legacy crews are not in line with what they signed up for when they first joined. If mixed fleet crew are unhappy (I’d understand it if they were) it should be with management and not with legacy crew.
  3. I can’t think of any other situation where I’ve seen people suggesting that the best way to ensure employees get better and fairer pay is by cutting the pay of the better earners. What happened to the idea of paying the lowest paid employees a decent wage? Under normal trading conditions, BA can clearly afford it.

The idea that legacy crews should take a pay cut so that their pay packets are more in line with the pay packets of other crew members doing a similar job is ridiculous. All across the world, there’s a notable and unacceptable gender pay gap where men are paid more to do the same job as women in the same position, but when was the last time you heard anyone suggesting that the way to rectify this inequality is for men to take a pay cut?

Rather than making the lives of  some crew members worse, shouldn’t the aim be to make the lives of more crew members better?

Cabin Crew Aren’t Worth What They’re Paid

So what and why do you care?

I have no idea if some of the legacy cabin crew are overpaid or not, but if they are I don’t see how it’s of anyone’s business. If your job isn’t within BA management I don’t see how it’s any of your concern if BA staff are paid more than the staff at other airlines or in different occupations. The pay that cabin crew are on is clearly no obstacle to the airline making massive profits (the financials bear this out) so it’s not as if the airline is on its knees and about to go bankrupt. And cabin crew pay has very little bearing on the cost of airfares, so why should anyone outside of BA care how well some crew members are paid? Is it jealousy? If it’s not jealousy I’d love to know what it is because I can’t figure it out.

Do the same people who are happy to suggest that cabin crew are overpaid also go around wondering if the people working in other corporations whose services they use are overpaid too? Do they wonder if the staff at the hotels they stay at are paid more than they think they should be? Do they wonder if the staff at the stores, shops, and restaurants they frequent are paid more than they should be? More to the point, who are they to decide?

Personally, I genuinely don’t care how well some cabin crew are being paid because it doesn’t affect me one little bit. I’m also not the sort of person who begrudges others if they happen to have found themselves in a job that pays very well compared to other similar jobs elsewhere – good for them!

Bottom Line

The aviation sector is clearly going through some very tough times right now and most airlines are having to take measures to cut costs to give themselves the best chance to emerge from this crisis as strong as possible…and that’s understandable.

If British Airways was suggesting temporary measures to see it through the current crisis and if people were suggesting temporary pay cuts until passenger numbers recover it would be hard to argue against them…but that’s not what’s being said.

The idea that BA cannot sustain pay packets at their current levels under normal market conditions isn’t supported by the financials, so anyone arguing for permanent job losses and permanent pay cuts “to save the airline” is either blind to the facts or working with an ulterior motive.

Moreover, anyone unrelated to British Airways and claiming that crew shouldn’t be paid what they’re being paid should probably take a long hard look at themselves and wonder why they care. If BA pay packets don’t affect you or your loved ones shouldn’t you have something better to be focusing your energies on?

Featured image courtesy of British Airways

45 COMMENTS

  1. Jealousy has always been a part of our job we get to fly the world and get paid a living wage. I don’t live on champagne and caviar. I am not just a trolley dolley I am highly trained to save these people with their bitter attitude. We are firefighter medics police peacenegotiator act. People do not see the mental or physicsal toll it takes on your body. Long shifts out of bed time changes 5-6 flights a month.never home for important things. We signed our contracts just like everyone else signed their work contract and good for you if you earn a good wage but why are you more entitled than me. Why am I not worth a living wage when you are on that plane you only got me your cabin crew to rely to safe you that is what I’m trained to do not just to pour you a cup of tea. Respect other people. Excellent article.

  2. Fantastic article. Those people who refer to crew as ‘trolley dollies’ and think our skills go no further than serving them ‘chicken or beef ‘…. I am sure the customer whos life was saved as a result of a team of cabin crew performing CPR for 45mins while the aircraft diverted into Moscow would have a slightly different view on our skill set. Thank you. Legacy crew.

  3. Someone who actually Understands the facts.THANK YOU for this brilliant article.
    It gets tiresome constantly justifying my wage.
    I signed up to what BA offered me 24yrs ago.
    We make huge personal sacrifices in our work.We are there for the safety of our customers,we are not just trolley dollies.
    It is nobody’s business what we earn.Jealousy is an ugly thing.

  4. Whether you agree or not what they are paid they were taken on and given that pay by the company. So their lifestyle is based on what they earn. Their mortgage is based on what they earn etc…then to get this reduced by a huge amount is awful and not right. It doesnt matter what job you do you base your lifestyle on what you can afford. Also the kids that applied for the ‘lower paid fleet’s would have known what they were getting themselves in for. Just because at a later date they find out ( though personaly I dont know how they would not have known about the difference in pay) the difference in salaries doesn’t make them victims. From what I’ve seen these are kids mainly in early 20 to mid 20’s who would have go up any company ladder to earn more just like so called legacy who have served between 20 to 40 years!! Look at any company that have employed people for that long they will also be earning above market average. I personaly do not know how I would be able to cope after working for 15 years for my company to have a wage cut in half. I would probably loose my house. I think its horrifying, and do not understand how this is legal.

    • Please don’t call us kids – there are crew of all ages on Mixed Fleet who have also decide to make this a career. Some of whole have only been working 1/2 years less than the most junior on the Legacy Fleets. In no way am I saying that anyone in the airline should be taking massive pay cuts but please do not undermine us by calling us KIDS. I’m sure you wouldn’t have liked someone to say ‘you’re only kids’ when you first started your job. Plenty of us have families and mortgages to pay for too so please be a bit more considerate with your comments.

    • Jennifer Romain. Your post and your attitude towards Mixed Fleet crew is the exact reason why you attract negative and in your case, justified disdain. You refer to MF crew as “kids” – you should be ashamed of yourself. I am 61 and have probably worked longer than you at BA in all fleets too over the years and I have seen how you come across to the rest of the airline. Who do you think you are? You are a gift to BA’s reasons to get rid of you I’m afraid.

  5. Fantastic article. Another point for legacy crew is this: They have been flying a very long time, 15-35 years. Over that time they have built salary increments for promotion, time served and cost of living increase. They did not walk in the door and be given the salary they earn now. An In-Charge crew member leads a team of up to 22, and that team changes every time they go to work. I am a very regular long haul flyer, and have seen these teams deal with horrendously difficult situations. Trust me, they don’t just serve food and smile – these guys are skilled in ways you hope you never need to know about! They also work incredibly long ours, regularly overnight, through long time changes. This obviously incurs a fully deserved element of shift pay.
    Also, they have built their whole financial life around their salary – don’t you? Mortgage, car, bills etc wont be cut by 55% will they?
    I will never understand people who advocate a Race to the Bottom. We should be trying to improve working conditions for all, not match them to the lowest level.
    I agree, some changes are needed, but they should be TEMPORARY.

  6. Well explained! ! Thank you!!
    In every conversation this cames up . ” You are well paid for what you do”.. .usually by prople that has no idea!. People semm happier if the working class Earns little.. we should fight for poor wages to go up.. not theother way round. allways baffles me!

  7. I am glad to see that some people here understand that when you have been with a company for a lot of years your salary will be higher than somebody joining the company at junior level. They have earned that right in that they are using their experience, often gained over 25+ years service (sometimes in life threatening situations) and numerous years of training which cannot be acquired in a couple of years. I work in recruitment and it is completely expected by any employer that candidates who are further along in their career and who are excellent at their job will be earning more. Why should airline staff be any different?

  8. Thankyou a fair article, the race to the bottom is on for all industries, when the tax revenue dries up for the treasury and we all require universal credit to live, how is this country and our children ever going to have a mortgage,pension and spending power to repay the huge government debt and get the economy going again. We all know temporary cut backs and some inevitable redundancy will have to happen, but this is a grab on long held terms and conditions and a decent wage for all. We signed our contracts in good faith.
    We all can only assume the eye watering sums of money that will be paid to a few if this fire and rehire is successful. I also hope my MF colleagues are paid a fairer wage and enjoy stable rosters going forward

  9. Thank you! Finally someone who gets it. Happy to make temporary changes but the whole focus of management has been to slash pay, terms and conditions and for some reason rewrite our sickness procedures!

  10. Thank you for a very well thought out article, you have clearly done your research.

    Funny how we are seen as overpaid prima-donnas when all we want is to help our company through a temporary crisis with temporary measures – how many of these critics would accept a permanent reduction of over 50% of their wages and terms & conditions. The airline is sitting on almost 9 billion in cash reserves and is the richest airline in the world.
    Of course we want to help our employers through this crisis but this is pure corporate greed from a company that richly rewards shareholders to the detriment of those who generated that profit in the first place.

  11. Very interesting article. I work for BA at head office and what I see about the legacy staff, is all jealousy of the new employees. Sorry to say that.
    When you join you read your contract and sign it, you know what you are signing, don’t criticise other staff which has been in the company longer than you.

    • Please don’t confuse resentment towards legacy crew to resentment towards BA management and their structures that discriminate against MF. E.g not being able to claim back the cost of your passport for MF or being forced to work 3 day dangerous minimum rest JNB (overnight flight landing into JNB – less than 12 hours in joburg to try and sleep during the day then another night flight back to London) that WW wouldn’t be allowed to operate. A fit for purpose scheduling agreement that MF aren’t allowed. Until fairly recently that MF women weren’t allowed to wear trousers. The list is endless. This isn’t resentment to legacy, it’s resentment towards obvious discrimination over particularly terms and conditions.

      • Yes I do agree. You all are a great bunch of people. You all work hard, but it is not the legacy fault. You all have to work together to deal with the situation. You all deserve better! I can’t say much.
        Work together and I am sure at end you all be valued. Fight for that as one.

  12. This whole situation at BA is down to one mans vendetta against legacy cabin crew who through a hard fight back in 2010 got the better of him.

  13. Excellent article and spot on! It’s awful that many people will loose their jobs in any sector but BA have wanted these changes for over ten years and are using this pandemic to achieve them. People are willing to accept temporary changes and wait for a recovery but how many people, in any sector, would take a 60% pay cut with vastly reduced terms and conditions when their employer has been making huge profits? I was crew for 39 years and was able to pay a mortgage, support my family etc and would like the same for others. As previously said, it shouldn’t be a race to the bottom!

  14. This to me speaks volumes and adds weight to your article. As one of the crew who are the subject of this discussion and who have been flying with the company for 53 years. In all those years when ever I have been to a dinner party, with whatever social mix of people present, in all sorts of jobs. As soon as people find out you fly as crew, then that is all those present want to talk about. They don’t want to know about how someone’s accounts are adding up, how many houses someone has sold this week or what operation you carried out in hospital this week. They only want to talk about flying and what has happened on your flights, where have you been this month, where do you recommend to go in the world, and that old favourite, “can you get me a cheap ticket/upgrade.
    It never fails, every time, every dinner party, folks seem desperate to hear your stories, why? I think it is because they are envious that we get paid to, in their eyes, have a good time in exotic locations all over the world, meeting a vast cross-section of humanity, from movie stars, presidents, royalty and the man in the street. While, they go to the office.
    But how many people when they go to work every day, experience life threatening emergencies, childbirth, fires, drunks, attempted suicides, and terrorist threats as part of their jobs. All while looking after customers with a smile, while we do the other stuff, called “service”.
    How many times do the public go to work and end up being attacked by rioters, or stuck in war zones for weeks on end, how many times have they been fired at by missiles, in the estate agents.
    We lead, admittedly, an extraordinary life style, never quite knowing which time zone to try and adjust to, or should I be having breakfast or dinner at 3 am in Singapore. These aspects are the things you accept when you join an airline, the other stuff just happens, but, and this is the point, ——- we all cope with it somehow, because of the people we are, and the skills we have. The very same skills the airline saw in us, and the reason they employed us in the first place.
    Crew are worth every penny of their pay, whatever contract they are on, those on Legacy fleet joined on the terms and conditions acceptable to them in what ever year they joined, so did every other fleet in the company. After all these years, I know what I am worth.

    • Extremely well said Jon, from a 43 year legacy colleague….I gladly take my ‘hat’ off to you. I also know what I am worth, to myself and British Airways.

  15. Why should the public care?

    The public really didn’t care when some Tube workers were in-line for a huge pay cut, many of the same arguments about how valuable their job is to your health can be made, highly trained etc. Why should the public attitude be different for a different workforce?

    The Unions need to negotiate, forget about the public.

  16. For anyone who thinks Cabin Crew are over payed (Legacy fleet ) I wish you could do the job for a week or even a month and then see what you think,then imagine doing the same job for 25 -30 years missing Christmas and your kids birthdays year on year ,constantly jet lagged ,not to mention some of the challenges cabin crew face on board .The mixed fleet crew at LHR and one fleet at LGW are well under payed and substantially don’t last in the job for too long ,which is exactly what the company what.aThis is the company’s whole ethos,short term large profits with very little thought for the long term future

  17. Finally, an article that is spot on! I’m so called ‘legacy crew’ although not on the higher contract. My basic pay when I joined 22 years ago was £6k per annum. Thankfully it’s more than that now after promotion and yearly increments. We work very hard, and it’s an extremely tiring job, and doesn’t get any easier with age I signed my contract in good faith, and am happy to make temporary cuts to help my employer, for a temporary situation. I’m not prepared to have 60% of my salary and our hard earned terms and conditions eroded on a permanent basis. We are loyal and passionate about the brand, our customers and the airline. It’s a shame those feelings are not reciprocated. 22 years of loyalty to be treated in the most malicious way. Our management have been after our salaries for years. I’m not prepared to give in without a fight. Why should I? My home is at stake. It’s a small
    2 bed semi but it’s mine. I’ve earned it. I’ve always given my all in my job, I’ve done CPR twice, dealt with a fire onboard and had a decompression. All dealt with by myself and my cool headed, experienced colleagues. Thankfully these incidents are few and far between. As a passenger, I would prefer at least some crew on board who have experience. It’s not all about getting a gin and tonic. All I want is a living wage, and to have a bit left over each month to help boost our economy. Like I said, we are willing to help this temporary situation with temporary measures. Doesn’t seem like an unfair compromise to me.

  18. Finally someone writing an article on legacy crew worth reading. It’s a job like no other and you really need to know the facts before leaving negative feedback, so thank you

  19. I balanced and well thought out piece about this whole debacle….finally!
    My partner is one of the legacy crew and is staring down the barrel of a 60% pay decrease and removal of many reasonable terms of employment. The pay drop is so bad that it would not be sustainable to get a s job due to the related travelling costs etc. She would actually be better off doing a job for £25k locally, but why should be forced to step away from her now 31 years of service and a career she loves?
    I hope Willie Walsh gets seriously shot down on this and that all cabin crew at BA come away with good terms and pay, regardless of their fleet and time in the company.

  20. Imagine you’re at a busy swimming pool. The highly trained lifeguard sits high up, poolside, watching intently and ready to do whatever is necessary. From blowing the whistle and stopping foul play to jumping in and saving lives performing cpr.
    Now imagine that something happens every single session, a panic attack, a faint, severe diahorrhea and vomiting, infectious diseases to be dealt with.
    Now imagine that the pool owners decide, whilst that lifeguard is there, he/she might as well put a pinny on and serve all the ‘customers’ tea and coffee, gin and tonic, chicken and beef dinners…they can still be vigilant and deal with the emergencies, it’s just that now they’ll have to apologise for the break in ‘service’ whilst they do.
    Now imagine some of those customers don’t get that second gin and tonic quick enough and call that lifeguard ‘just a waiter at the pool’ earning too much for a waiter. After all they didn’t drown today, so the waiter didn’t earn his keep.
    That’s how I feel when someone call’s me ‘just a trolley dolly’.

  21. My BA crew wife had a basic salary of £3,000 Per annum in 1988. That was ok she was 21 years old and living with her parents with a short drive to Gatwick. Her Dad had bought her a second hand car and she was paying him back and paying them a token rent too. She flew for six years , both long and short haul for the first year before deciding the long haul life was for her.
    After the first Gulf War when there was a down turn in travel she was offered a transfer to Mainline Heathrow.
    She also got promotion to Purser after 8 years and her pay was increased as the job had more responsibility. This wasn’t a time served promotion but a real proper interview board interview with technical elements and a real achievement. Increments came with this promotion but so did the workload and expectation.
    Since then there have been , terrorist attacks, another Gulf War, financial downturns. Volcanoes, closure of final salary pension schemes, pay freezes. changes to conditions, less crew on board. Through all of which she and her colleagues have loyally soldiered on under the mantra, work a little harder for the same money.
    The Unions have collectively bargained and her pay increases are hard fought for and won. If you could bottle the effort that my wife gives to her role often in her own time, you would make a fortune.
    Recently on a flight to New York a managing director of a very famous restaurant in London wrote to BA unbeknownst to my wife and said the service and care he had received from her was unparalleled, in fact so good he was compelled to write.
    A few months prior this time in the economy cabin a concierge of a top London Hotel had written in about my wife and said , how he understood five star service and all it entailed and he could not believe the calibre of service in an economy cabin.
    The entrepreneur Baroness Michelle Mone gave my Wife a Golden ticket for the service she received a year or so ago. The list goes on.
    These are just mini snapshots of the person who has given her working life to her career and now is expected to either take statutory redundancy or an unliveable permanent 65% pay cut. All on the pretext of survival.
    BA’s loss will be great. At least this article goes a long way to explaining the reality and it’s author really ‘gets it’
    I so wish everyone did and these great crew members should be celebrated not reviled.

  22. Thank you so much for this balanced & supportive article; one of the best I’ve seen to date.
    Many people are under the impression that we are overpaid prime donnas, but if they stopped and thought about what our job entails they might think differently. For the uninitiated we possess many skills that actually are indeed transferable to other industries. The supposedly over inflated pay we receive is absolutely earned by us. I have invested 32 years of my life to BA, a company that I loved & felt very proud to be a part of. During that time I’ve been involved in many differing situations & incidents onboard. This has ranged from preventing passengers from becoming intoxicated inflight, to breaking up potential “explosive” situations, often manifesting from “seat recline rage”. Being involved in life threatening situations such as decompression & the need to be escorted into Heathrow by fighter jets. I’ve been vomited upon, sworn at & verbally abused. The Gulf Wars, 9/11 & SARS are but a few of the extreme events I’ve had to endure during my career. The most upsetting of them all was when I, along with my colleagues, performed CPR on a lovely lady, upon landing into Heathrow, after a long night flight from Bangkok. Sadly we failed to save her & that left a lasting & deeply upsetting impression on me.
    On the plus side I’ve saved a young man’s life when he was choking badly on a boiled sweet and administered first aid to countless passengers in varying degrees of distress & discomfort. I’ve received many plaudits from passengers who’s journeys have been made memorable, by me, by something as simple as providing an optional meal from business class, because their special meal wasn’t on board, to arranging surprises for two work colleagues who were both leaving their jobs & were on their final flights with us. I’m not alone in any of these situations by any means. Many of my colleagues, across all cabin crew fleets, have done similar things. This actually comes naturally to us & we end up doing all of this without thinking. We are the sort of people who get a buzz out of helping people & making special moments.
    What people don’t see is the nights out of bed & the sleepless nights experienced as a result of jet lag. The physical constraints our bodies suffer as a result of lifting bags in & out of overhead lockers, manoeuvring heavy trolleys & many more associated with a very unhealthy lifestyle. The countless relationships that have faltered or ended as a consequence of our transient lifestyles. The Christmases, birthdays, weddings & funerals of our loved ones that we’ve missed out on. (It’s heartbreaking when you have to explain to your 5 year old that you won’t see them Christmas Day, because you’re on standby)
    Most of our “overpaid” salaries are to take into account the fact that we are shift workers & can work numerous bank holidays that we don’t get paid overtime for. Most other occupations are paid double or triple time for working on those days. But it’s also because we are qualified as food handlers, waiters, bar staff, nurses, cleaners, counsellors, fire fighters & diplomats to name but a few.
    Contrary to what some people are alluding to we are well aware that these times are unprecedented & that our airline needs to take action. We are realistic & understand changes are unavoidable. However, this draconian action by those at the top isn’t necessary & any changes made could be temporary. If the company enlisted our help we would work with the management to find a way through & make our beloved BA a successful company once again. How many of those that are sitting in judgement & berating us would be prepared to accept more than a 60% pay cut & have their T&Cs replaced with a vastly inferior contract. Not many I think, so maybe they should call a halt to their glib attitude.

  23. Fantastic article …..
    It looks like BA them selves are purposely causing the friction between the Cabin Crews to enable them to degrade and pay less for what is a very challenging job ( ‘divide and conquer’ The lesser paid crew should be aiming to get there pay to a liveable level, like their legacy colleagues than allowing them selves to be sold short

  24. You do get paid a lot more than the living wage with all your allowances, and a lot higher than any other British based cabin crew. You are not having to carry out the same amount of cabin services that other cabin crew have to do who work for other airlines. On some of the long haul flights you have bunk beds, unlike other cabin crew who may only get 20 minutes on a long haul flight, sitting on a bar box, that is a physical toll on your body!! British Airways has had to adapt to compete with the low cost carriers, other airlines have gone under with cabin crew losing their jobs and yet the legacy BA cabin crew want to continue to live in this pampered bubble.

    • You conveniently seem to be forgetting that BA has been doing fine competing with the low-cost carriers as its stunning profits prove. I’ve provided evidence showing how much money BA has been making while paying these salaries so how about you offer up some proof of why the status quo cannot return once the current crisis is over?

  25. Jealousy and bitterness.Someone at the beginning of their career, less than 5 years or so should not be earning the same as someone who has worked 20 plus years. All jobs are the same . Police Officer start at 26k however if you complete 10 years you are on 40k ,plus inflation . Doing the same job but higher salary , I don’t see how this is hard to understand?

  26. Does anyone know what the ratio is between the better paid eurofleet/ worldwide fleet in comparison with mixed fleet?

    • I believe its approximately 50:50…but I have a feeling there are a lot of much better informed people than me reading this post right now so I suggest waiting for one of them to confirm (or to correct me).

  27. Excellent article. I’m BA legacy crew and have worked for this company for 22years. In that time I have been through a very serious incident( breach of the flight deck),performed CPR on a passenger who sadly died, restrained disruptive passengers high on drugs and alcohol and i’m not worth a reasonable living wage. We are not just there for chicken or beef. These people that comment negatively have not got a clue what they are talking about!! It makes me livid as they never mention those at the top of the corporate ladder and the phenomenal pay and bonuses awarded to them. I fear we are retreating to the Victorian era in terms of oppression of the working classes. Do these people not think about the future of their children, nephews and nieces? Very, very sad

  28. Great article.
    Managers are using this pandemic to restructure. They will soon be back to record profits but their workers will be 19 year olds living with their parents and staying for 2 years, without pensions or healthcare or any other benefits.
    People who have worked a certain amount of years should be able to put some money in savings, afford a car, pay rent or perhaps even a mortgage.
    Managers don’t want this because it hurts their bottom line (and their own high salary, stock options etc).
    So in this time of pandemic, managers are fostering the jealousy that some feel when they hear of the trolly dolly who has just come back from Singapore etc.
    But that trolly dolly has just been away from their family for X amount of days, missed a birthday, funeral, party, Christmas yet again. That trolly dolly has only spent 10 nights in their own bed.
    You can’t compare to other normal jobs because a non crew person gets to sleep in their own bed every night, see their family every day. If a business man has to go away for business meetings every month for a few days, you can bet they are well compensated for the constant time they have to spend away from home. Why begrudge the same for the crew that gets him there?
    And it is people who haven’t had much life experience that don’t appreciate the wisdom and knowledge that comes with longevity on a job. If an emergency occurs, the ones who have that longevity are usually the most capable- they can immediately deal with the problem while maintaining calm and don’t have that “deer in the headlights look”, so the customers can keep calm as a result.
    Those crew at BA have a contract. Negotiated and signed by both parties.
    Any change to that contract should be a temporary, negotiated change.
    Your facts in this article prove that cabin crew salaries are not enormous, just normal for what they do. And are very affordable in normal times.
    People shouldn’t begrudge a cabin crew member the ability to afford a house or a holiday if they stay in a job for a long time.
    If this is allowed to happen at BA, very soon it will translate to other industries. And no worker will have longevity, benefits, pensions, mortgages etc. Workers will have to work 2 jobs, maybe more, to earn enough to pay rent or put food on the table. And pay very little tax because their salaries will be so low. And when they get old, sick they will have to rely on the state. Meanwhile the company managers who stay with the company only a short time will be looking at their huge bank account from their yacht, bought with their big salary and huge stock options.
    Do not let managers sow the seeds of jealousy so that workers from different walks of life are pitted against each other. I’m sure no crewmember who works for BA ever got rich on the salary. If you know of one who is wealthy, I can guarantee they got their money elsewhere (lottery, other job, home business, wealthy partner etc).

  29. Fantastic Rebuttal of pathetic uneducated jealousy from people that do not know the job or industry. I was BA ‘legacy crew ‘ until 10 years ago. Before I left we had strikes about pay and contracts and the same comments were expressed to me verbally by the public in general. It is jealousy. These people have been flying 15
    Plus years. Joined and gained increments and promotions, based their lifestyle on their earnings. Why should they take such a drastic pay cut? I am pleased you addressed the facts in this case. Well Done o

  30. So I think the main point in this article is not understanding why there is so much negativity towards BA Legacy Crew…
    I think it’s quite a deep reason and not just jealousy, the more I think about it. Sure, there are some who will be jealous, not just for the salaries but also for the globe trotting opportunities.
    But I do think it goes deeper and needs to be looked at in the current situation. Many, many people are currently furloughed and many of those are working in industries that will see multiple collapses of companies, meaning that once the government stops paying the wages, the jobs will no longer exist. They face a very real and very unsettling prospect of having no job at all. And they fear it. There is palpable fear and concern over many things presently, from Covid-19 and everything related to it. And there is real resentment and frustration buried just below that fear and concern – frustration at not being able to work, not being able to see relatives and loved ones, not being able to go out or on holiday and not being in control of any part of it.
    And these people see others going to beaches or parks, having street parties or travelling up to Durham to see their parents/self isolate whilst thinking about the safety of their very young (and supposedly autistic) child. And the resentment builds and builds.
    And they lash out. At anyone. At everyone. At anything. It’s almost human nature, illogical as human nature can be.

    So then we have an industry that is very publicly going down the toilet. BA, without the government stepping in to pay furloughed wages, would have folded some time ago (as would many others). There wouldn’t be any difference between legacy, short haul, back office or management – unemployment for all would be the great leveller. The industry itself has said they don’t expect things to get back to 2019 levels of service until – what? – 2023? Between now and then, once the furloughing subsidy has gone, the drain on whatever reserves BA has left would be massive under existing conditions, if they even survived that long.
    Their proposal: cut wages, predominantly of the higher paid staff, in order to maintain jobs for as many people as they can. Yes, undoubtedly, they are taking the opportunity to address their perceived issue of disproportionate salary and expense overheads from Legacy crew. But that is also where, presumably, the biggest discrepancy is.
    There is an improved offer, I understand, and I am in no way suggesting it’s an adequate response for many staff – but why aren’t the Unions attending the negotiations to put forward a better proposal? Why aren’t they at the table suggesting it’s acceptable for 3 years, say, or until x.x% profits are back, and then salaries/perks/allowances are reverted?

    In any event, I think people are ‘lashing out’ because they are scared and hurting and what they see is a number of people who have had a damned good innings jumping up and down about how unfair it is and how important their role is and not willing to face up to the current situation. Note I say “what they see”, not what I see!

  31. What an interesting and extremely well written article and although seldom do I find myself responding with comment, in this case I feel somewhat compelled so to do. Over the many years I have been a citizen of planet earth, I have traveled the world extensively and on may different airlines many of which are no longer in existence (e.g.: Pan Am, TWA, BCal, Canadian Pacific, Wardair). As one whose first “job” was with Air Canada as a filing clerk in the late ’60s and who was too young to be considered as an FA, I eventually went on to another career in medicine and in particular, psychiatry. The latter brings with it an innate characteristic perhaps particular to me and this is watching and observing people and what better place to do just this than at 35,000 feet above sea level whiling away the hours when not enjoying a few minutes if not an hour or so of what I refer to as “altitude rest”. And of course the folks who get the majority of my attention while “people watching” are the inflight crew who over my many years of flying have provided me with some of the most professional work ethic I could ever have imagined. I’ve witnessed first hand the death of a passenger, the birth of a baby, the near death of at least two guests on overseas flights, engine shutdowns, emergency landings and a myriad of other incidents to long to mention. As a medical professional I’ve been called upon to assist and interact with cabin crew as well as those on the flight deck on several occasions and never once have I experienced anything but “first class” dedication. This article is a case in point as to why there should no longer be a “Great” in “Britain” when one learns of this type of treatment by BA management toward their long standing employees let alone those more recently hired. It goes without saying those at the top are in very unlikely to be taking “pay cuts” and/or facing “redundancy” as they continue to collect their handsome bonuses on whatever basis this might be (e.g.: quarterly, semi-annually or yearly) and without doubt we would hear them squealing like “stuck pigs” should either bonuses or redundancy hit them squarely between the eyes. As with most industries and not only airlines, there will have to be a global belt tightening post COVID-19 but BA’s proposal is not the way to do it. As a strong believer in the old saying, “you get what you paid for”, BA management should take this seriously into consideration as well as “caveat emptor – buyer beware”. As for those who continue to make disparaging remarks about employees and staff in any business or industry, I say, “Get over yourselves!” In closing I offer my best wishes to ALL BA Cabin Crew and all of those who work in the airline industry as we continue to move forward in the months and years ahead.

    • The management of a single airline should never be the milestone by which you measure the validity of the name of the country!
      Having said that, just how united are the United States at the moment?

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