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British Airways Cabin Crew Who Had to Work On Christmas Day Were Given a Measly £30 Bonus

British Airways Cabin Crew Who Had to Work On Christmas Day Were Given a Measly £30 Bonus


British Airways may well have been celebrating its ‘biggest’ Christmas to date, but the spirit of the festive season was apparently lacking in the airline’s accounting department when cabin crew went cap in hand asking for a special Christmas bonus for anyone who had to work on 25th December.

In the end, senior managers at the Heathrow-based relented and offered a special payment of just £30 (US $38) for cabin crew who had to work on Christmas Day.

The BASSA cabin crew union told its members that while it recognised the special payment was ‘small’, getting it approved in the first place wasn’t easy despite the airline reporting significant profits.

“The scene from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol comes to mind with the charity collection valiantly attempting but ultimately failing to secure a donation from Ebenezer Scrooge,” the union said in a pre-Christmas memo.

Earning double time might be a familiar concept in the hospitality industry for anyone working on Christmas Day, but cabin crew at Britain’s flag carrier who had to work on the big day were only earning their normal wages.

In contrast, flight attendants at fellow Oneworld member carrier American Airlines earn a premium of 100% of their normal hourly flying rate on nine designated holidays, which includes Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and what is known in the UK and Canada as Boxing Day on 26th December.

Flight attendants at the Dallas Fort Worth-based carrier can also expect to earn a 100% premium on Thanksgiving, as well as New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

The payment is, of course, appreciated by crew members, but it’s not entirely philanthropic. It’s called Holiday Incentive Pay for a reason – to incentivise flight attendants not to call in sick on key holidays.

British Airways says it has “pulled out all the stops” to celebrate the Holidays this year and expects to serve more than 380,000 Christmas dinners to passengers over the festive season.

View Comments (8)
  • FAs lack professionalism and ethics if they lie and call in sick if they are not sick.

    Airfare is higher during the holidays but medical bills are not.

  • As someone who works in the National Health Service, it might come to a ‘shock’ to you we don’t get any’ bonus’ working any bank holiday including Christmas Day.

    • but most get overtime & consultants have a pay award higher than the rest of the public sector as well as special tax status

  • Firefighters, Police, Hospital workers and many others don’t get Christmas bonus’s. Working holidays is just part of the job. They should be happy with the unexpected bonus they got – if not then donate it to a charity.

  • As the UK brand of a Madrid registered multinational that seems to simply be harvesting cash from inherited slot dominance and that financially abuses both staff and customers (eg awaiting undisputed expenses and UK261 from a no notice cancelation in July, 5.9months later) AND was condemned by the UK parliament as a “national disgrace” for the way they behaved in the pandemic (also fined $1million dollars in the US for refusing valid refund claims)…

    BA is NOT the UK flag carrier, in substance or reality

    #BestAvoided until they radically change their approach

  • BA mgmt. have always had an aura of “cheapness” about them. And its passed down from the Marshall days.
    Most carriers if they use staff on specific gov’t holidays paid twice the daily rate. It would be interesting to see what Virgin’s and Easy Jets position is for holiday pay.

  • You fail to point out 2 things:

    1. The premium pay AA flight attendants get is negotiated in their contract.
    2. BASSA did not negotiate a holiday bonus into their contract. The union was asking the company for something outside of the contract, which the union agreed to, and the members voted to accept.

    Having worked with the AFA in the past (including time at the table in negotiations), when the company asks the union for something outside the contract, it either gets met with a firm “no”, or the union asks for something in return. It results in something called a “side letter”, spelling out if this it a permanent or one-time agreement. I’m curious if BA management asked for anything in return for the additional payment.

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