As I told you yesterday, the flight attendants and other cabin crew employees of British Airways have voted to strike from Dec. 22 thru Jan. 2.
This doesn’t necessarily mean there will definitely be a walkout (things can and do change), but you have to assume that will be the case – unless you want all your travel plans dissolving into chaos.
If you’ve made your reservations through a travel agent: contact them first and they’ll help you figure out how to proceed.
If you bought your tickets or package on your own: go to the BA website, and the first thing you should do is update your contact information (the site will guide you through it). Note that they are working on getting you where you want to go, and they also provide information on changing or canceling airfares (and no, you won’t have to worry about any “change fee”).
UPDATE: They have voted to strike between Dec. 22 and Jan. 2; meantime British Airways is currently updating its website with contingency plans. See the website for details.
EARLIER: We should learn fairly soon if flight attendants and others who work as British Airways cabin crew will walk off the job during the busy Christmas period.
These employees are angry over cost-cutting measures that include a two year pay freeze, and reductions in the number of cabin crew members assigned to long flights.
British Airways, on the other hand, has been hit hard by the economic downturn and has lost literally hundreds of millions of dollars; it has already cut some jobs, and plans on eliminating 3,000 more this winter.
If you’re traveling with the airline over Christmas, keep your eye on the news - and look for updates here.
I was thinking about the weirdest place I’ve seen an airline ad – while perusing an LA Times story on AirTran’s plan to put ads on the backs of seats – actually, on the undersides of the tray tables.
“Hah!” I can hear you say, “I’ll pull the tray table down and make it disappear.” That won’t always work – US Airways has been known to slap ads on top of the trays. You want to escape the ads, so you grab a book from the overhead bin, and – if this is Spirit, beware the bin ads.
And don’t bother calling a flight attendant to complain – Spirit crews once had to wear aprons adorned with alcohol ads.
Hang on – you haven’t yet read about those bald heads and the magical pizza ads yet, so keep reading… What’s the Weirdest Place You’ve Seen an Airline Ad?
That’s the good news -flight attendants at American Airlines say they will not disrupt service during the holidays.
As you may have heard, the flight attendants’ union is unhappy with stalled contract talks with American, and they might - might – seek permission to strike next year.
In the meantime, they say they will hold “mock strikes” around this country on Wed., Nov. 18 – less than two weeks from now – a symbolic protest, according to an AP report, to “show that some flights wouldn’t operate during a real strike.”
Talks between the two sides are scheduled to continue into the new year.
Did you know? Apple has just announced it now has more than 100,000 apps for iPhone users – amazing.
So clearly there’s something for everyone. Even fliers. Even fearful fliers.
There is. The “Flying without Fear” app has been dubbed a panic button by one article (and by the way, this app is based on Virgin Atlantic’s “Flying without Fear” course, which is supposed to be pretty good).
The only problem is, you might not get to use it when you need it most – when your plane takes off – because of the “turn off all electronic devices” rule.
Yes, I know all about the iPhone’s “airplane mode” but not all flight attendants do. And don’t disobey them – or you might really learn something about the fear of flying!
However, assuming you’ll fly with an iPhone-friendly crew, this might be something you’ll want to try; it’s available at the Apple Store for $4.99. If anyone’s tried it, let us know if it helped you.
Robin Schmidt is a flight attendant for Delta Airlines.
She is also, according to at least one soldier serving in Afghanistan, “an angel watching out for all the troops everywhere.” So what does she do?
She sends them care packages – mostly toiletries and snacks – but she also sends notes and jokes in the form of a journal. And YOU may have contributed: on her flights, Schmidt passes around a journal to her passengers and asks them to jot down words of encouragement for the military serving in Iraq or Afghanistan – then sends it off to them. And they love her for it.
“This is not about war or politics. It’s about the personal sacrifice these soldiers are making and if I can do something to brighten their day, then I will.” -Robin Schmidt, Cincinnati Enquirer
Army National Guard Sgt. Tim Gallagher is a recipient; he calls his journal “one of the most moving and thoughtful gifts” he’s ever received.
What were they thinking?
Air India has grounded two pilots and two cabin crew members after what’s being called everything from a “scuffle” to an “out-and-out fist fight” onboard a flight from United Arab Emirates to Delhi this weekend.
According to reports, a female flight attendant claimed at least one of the pilots sexually harassed her. The pilots countered by saying that complaint was made simply to divert attention from the “misbehavior” of a male purser.
Whatever happened, punches were thrown and it spilled out of galley, frightening the passengers. The BBC says both a pilot and flight attendant suffered bruises.
Air India has been struggling of late – recent news stories have cited planes loaded with more passengers than there was capacity for, and, there have been alleged sightings of rats onboard.
We’ve talked about bad behavior on airlines before – if you want a refresher, read my “Nine No-No’s of Flying” – but sometimes it’s worth noting that there can be serious consequences.
Take the 45 year old lawyer, who indulged in “rowdy behavior” aboard a Southwest flight from Indianapolis to Ft. Lauderdale a couple of years ago.
Justice may not have been overly swift, but it was harsh, some would say: for using profane language, groping a flight attendant and more, the man was sentenced to four months in prison. He has already served his time, and now, according to the Sun Sentinel, he has been disbarred for five years.