The British Airways summer strike has wreaked yet more misery on holidaymakers after flights were cancelled on days where there is no scheduled pilot walkout.
On Wednesday, airline staff voted to take industrial action on September 9, 10 and 27, throwing thousands of travel plans into chaos.
But late last night, passengers were told that their flights on September 8 and 11 had also been cancelled because of the knock-on disruption.
Tasha Weaver, 42, was left gutted after her September 11 flight to Rome was cancelled.
She told MailOnline: ‘We’ve got hotels booked, a host of tours and excursions probably amounting to £1,000.’
The airline called the pilots’ union ‘reckless’ for their decision to strike in September
The financial services worker from Swindon said that when she received the cancellation email at 23.50 last night, she immediately tried to phone BA but could not get through.
She tried calling again at 6am on Saturday, but again could not reach customer services.
Exasperated, she decided to call the sales team, who informed her that her supposedly scrapped flight was still appearing on their system.
Ms Weaver said: ‘We’ve no idea what’s going on or what we’re going to do. I’m just so disappointed and upset by BA, they were previously so helpful when I had to cancel my last flight, due to health problems and now there’s no communication.’
British Airways pilots will walk out for three days next month in an escalating row over their pay
Just before midnight last night, holidaymakers were sent an email which read: ‘Dear Customer, we are very sorry to tell you that due to industrial action by British Airways’ pilots union, BALPA, your flight to London on 11 September 2019 has been cancelled.
What should you do if your BA flight is affected?
British Airways has published advice on its website for passengers affected by planned strike action across three days in September.
A list of frequently asked questions, including information about refunds and rebooking, was published after it was announced strikes will happen on September 9, 10 and 27.
The airline said it was ‘likely’ anybody booked on those days will not be able to travel.
It said: ‘We will be offering all affected customers full refunds or the option to re-book to another date.’
Passengers should find out via email whether their flight is definitely cancelled. They will also be given advice about refunds and rebooking, the advice on britishairways.com says.
Options on what to do next can also be found by logging into the BA website and visiting the Manage My Booking page.
People affected by the final strike, on September 27, will be contacted ‘within a few weeks’.
BA told customers: ‘We are committed to offering as many customers as possible the option to rebook on partner airlines.
‘If your flight has been cancelled, you can also request a full refund, or opt to rebook your flight on another time in the next 355 days, or use the value of your fare to fly to a different destination.
‘If you are travelling on one of the impacted dates, but your flight has not been cancelled, you can opt to rebook your flight at another time in the next 355 days.’
‘The strike is expected to have a significant impact on our operation and will result in a large number of delays or cancellations.’
Passengers who did not expect to have their journeys axed were up in arms after receiving the email.
Jack Emsley, 22, from west London, told MailOnline: ‘I received an email yesterday evening telling me that my BA flight from Israel to London on September 11 was cancelled, despite previously being told that strike action would only affect the 9 and 10.
‘This means finding alternative accommodation, alternative flights and alternative travel arrangements at both ends.
‘Clearly the knock on effects of this strike action will be felt by many more travellers than BA had anticipated over a much longer period than the core strike action.
‘All of this seemingly because the pilots union aren’t happy with a £33,000 pay rise?’
British Airways has confirmed that the strike action was spilling on to other days.
Pilots’ union Balpa, which has been at loggerheads with BA over company conditions, confirmed a strike by more than 3,000 pilots for next month after talks broke down.
A month after announcing its members had voted for industrial action, the union said there was now ‘no prospect of any further meaningful talks’ and claimed it had ‘no choice but to call this action’.
This will be the first time BA pilots will go on strike – in the company’s centenary year.
Pilots, including captains on an average of £167,000 a year, have rejected an 11.5 per cent pay rise over three years plus an extra bonus worth 1 per cent of this year’s salary.
BA’s chief executive Alex Cruz said its pilots were already on ‘world-class’ packages and that the ‘inflation-busting’ hike would have pushed the average package of its captains above £200,000.
Pilots’ union Balpa, which has been at loggerheads with BA over company conditions, confirmed a strike by more than 3,000 pilots for next month after talks broke down
Mr Cruz pointed out that the same deal has been accepted by members of Unite and GMB, who account for 90 per cent of BA’s workforce and include staff on far more modest incomes, including cabin crew and engineers.
Although the strike will take place after the summer holiday peak, it is still set to ground hundreds of BA flights – with around 2,400 scheduled in and out of UK airports over the three day period.
Balpa represents roughly 90 per cent of BA’s 4,311 pilots, the majority of whom are based at London Heathrow.
BA said 1,061 pilots did not vote for the strike, which means roughly three quarters of its pilots are expected to protest. In a statement, the airline said: ‘It is completely unacceptable that Balpa is destroying the travel plans of tens of thousands of our customers with this unjustifiable strike action.
‘We are extremely sorry that after many months of negotiations, based on a very fair offer, Balpa has decided on this reckless course of action.’
BA said it is ‘doing everything it can’ to mitigate the disruption, and is looking at options including hiring aircraft and crew from rivals, and scheduling larger planes to carry more passengers.
But it said it is ‘likely that many of our customers will not be able to travel’. Mr Cruz apologised for the disruption the strikes will cause, and said passengers would be contacted in 24 to 36 hours.
A spokesperson for BA said: ‘We are doing absolutely everything we can to prevent this unfair action from taking place and ruining our customers’ travel plans.
‘Airlines have a very complex operation and during times of widespread disruption, there can be knock-on effect onto flights on other days.
We are offering all customers booked to travel on affected flights options to rebook to a different date or taking a full refund.’