Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Why does BA have any passengers left?

The people in Britain who still 'strike' are either directly in the public sector or in the privatized sector with a large overhanging union inertia from the 1970s when these concerns used to be 'proper' British government monopolies.

The most obvious of these is British Airways.

It used to have a self-proclaimed (and possibly deserved) reputation as the world's favourite airline. This reputation has long since crashed and burned, especially since BA staff have got into the habit of having annual strikes, bringing the company to its financial knees.

Every time they do this they lose another tranche of customers who will never come back and gain a terrible reputation amongst other potential future customers (many of whom do the sensible thing and swear never to book British Airways).

I got caught up in this once, having to phone before my flight took off to make sure it was still flying, and being served cold food all the way to the grim concrete delights of Washington's Dulles airport.

Never again, I swore.

But what I'm puzzled by with the latest threatened strike action, deliberately designed by the unions to minimize their member's inconvenience over the Christmas holiday, but to maximise it for BA's customers, is why anyone still books flights with BA?

I can understand those who might want to save a few bob, by taking the risk for a reduced fare, but why would anyone else use them? Let's hope this latest strike finishes British Airways off, and BA completely disappears, to have its routes and planes sold off to much better entrepreneurs managing much more grateful employees.

I bet Beardy Branson is loving it.

But then his staff never got used to flying all of their families and friends around the world for free in business class, being paid twice the industry rates, and being over-manned on all flights, when they had the 'civil service like' monopoly hold on the British airline industry.

As competition slowly forced BA to be less 'generous' to its civil servants, sorry, staff, the chippiness has grown to the point where even in the teeth of a recession, where they all might out of a job by January, they want to bring on the day when BA goes bust completely rather than just losing hundreds of millions of pounds each year; bless them.

I do hope they're as happy with their decision to strike when they're signing on the dole next year, as they are now.

Well, we can but hope.

So, Happy Christmas then, from all of your friends in the British Airways cabin crew. They'll all be at home on the Big Day having a nice cooked Turkey, with all the trimmings. Where will you be?

Picture of Jack Maturin sleeping rough at Lagos Airport, Nigeria, during the last British Airways strike

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