British Airways Cabin crew working on the ‘Mixed Fleet’ contract are preparing for their biggest strike to date as a dispute over pay and conditions heats up. Members of the Unite union will walk out on Sunday 5th February for a period of 6 days, excluding Wednesday 8th February.
National Officer for Unite, Oliver Richardson, claims that British Airways is paying its new flight attendants “poverty pay”. In an open letter to BA, the union claims that the airline can afford more money to pay its crew: “Your reluctance to offer a reasonable pay deal to our members, yet spend what we believe is now reaching millions of pounds in trying to quash strike action, suggests money is available and this is a question of ideology. We urge you to recognise that there is a chance here for British Airways to take a different route.”
This is the third strike by flights attendants who joined the airline since 2010 when new working conditions were imposed. The first, 48-hour strike took place on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, with the second strike lasting three days from 19th January.
But in a strongly worded statement to ‘Paddle Your Own Kanoo’, British Airways has refused to offer any compromise. The spokeswoman maintained that in the first year of flying new crew could expect to receive “more than £21,000 based on pay, allowances, incentive and bonus.”
British Airways states that two independent audits of the salary it pays to mixed fleet cabin crew in the past 12 months back their stance. They claim that this shows every one of their mixed fleet flight attendants earned more than £21,000 and that pay ranged from £21,151.35 up to £27,356.30.
In what could be best described as a thinly veiled threat for striking workers, British Airways stated:
“We regularly recruit for Mixed Fleet cabin crew and we have lots of interest. In 2016 we received 31,000 applications for 2,000 cabin crew roles. We have more than 1,000 successful candidates who are due to participate in one of our training courses between now and March 2017.”
British Airways has maintained that the pay and conditions for Mixed Fleet crew are competitive and similar to what other airlines in the UK pay their staff. With that in mind, how does the BA salary stack up against some of the biggest airlines in Britain?
How Much is the Virgin Atlantic Cabin Crew Salary?
Virgin Atlantic advertise a basic salary of £13,659 before tax, plus “trip pay and commission”. Those extras include:
- ‘Trip pay’ that works out to about £60 per trip (£30 each way),
- An overnight allowance that can range from £80 – £150 (or more in some cases). The amount paid depends on the destination and length of stay,
- Commission from onboard Duty Free sales that ranges from 10 – 15%.
An estimated total salary for Virgin Atlantic cabin crew is £21,000 – £23,000.
How Much is the EasyJet Cabin Crew Salary?
EasyJet doesn’t advertise a salary for their flight attendants and refused to comment on their remuneration package. However, information from serving and former crew would suggest that EasyJet pays its new flight attendants a base salary in the region of £11,000. EasyJet cabin crew can also expect to receive the following benefits:
- Approximately £60 trip pay – a fixed payment for each day worked regardless of hours flown or delays,
- 2.5% commission on all sales – this includes Duty Free and all food and drink sold onboard.
EasyJet cabin crew will typically earn more during the busy summer season where the average monthly can reach £1,600. In the winter months when there aren’t as many flights or passengers the average monthly wage can drop to £1,300.
The average overall salary is approximately £25,000.
How Much is the Ryanair Cabin Crew Salary?
When a flight attendant starts working for Ryanair they aren’t directly employed by the airline. Cabin crew are contracted by one of two employment agencies that supply Ryanair. Both agencies, Crewlink and Dalmac will expect you to pay for your training – this costs about £1,650.
- Flight attendants earn a basic salary of £10,800 – £13,200,
- Hourly pay of between £13 – £17. This is only paid for the time that the plane is flying. Crew briefings, turn-arounds and delays on the ground aren’t covered,
- Significant earning opportunities from Duty Free sales and everything else sold onboard, including food, drink and scratchcards.
After completing a contract with Crewlink or Dalmac a Ryanair flight attendant might go on to be directly employed by the airline. A high-performing crew member, employed directly by Ryanair can earn up to £28,000 per year.
How Much is the British Airways Cabin Crew Salary?
All new flight attendants at British Airways are signed up on the so-called ‘Mixed Fleet’ contract. Unlike legacy crew, new flight attendants work on both European flights and long-haul trips.
- The basic salary is £12,192,
- Flying pay is £3 per hour – this is only paid from ‘gate to gate’. Crew briefings, delays at the gate and transportation to and from the airport do not earn flying pay,
- British Airways flight attendants can also expect to earn undisclosed incentive pay such as bonuses and commission on Duty Free sales.
British Airways claim that Mixed Fleet cabin crew are proven to earn between £21,150 – £27,350. However, the Unite union that represents some BA flight attendants claim that the average overall pay is only £16,000.