Faced with another threat of a flight attendant strike, British Airways is preparing for the worst. The airline asked everyone within the company to voluntarily sign up for a 21 day training program to turn them into temporary flight attendants.
As of right now, only 216 volunteers signed up for the initiative, which falls quite a bit short of the 13,500 flight crew members that will walk out when a strike takes place. Five of the nine retraining courses are designed for pilots – which would turn them into the best paid cabin crew members in the world. The average BA pilot earns a just under $200,000 per year.
Of course, the union behind the flight attendants is not impressed, and they are quick to point out that the 21 day course is much shorter than the normal 3 month training a flight attendant receives, and could be a serious safety issue.
It makes sense for them to say this – as the public perception of the union and this strike is very negative. The same union almost shut down British Airways over the Christmas period last year, but a British court blocked their efforts at the last minute.
A union spokesperson said “Not only does this show contempt for the crew, what message does it send to passengers who have paid to be cared for by a premier airline?”. Personally, I’d rather have a cabin crew with just three weeks of training than be stuck at the airport for a week because a union was unable to reach an agreement on new pay cuts.
The British aviation authority, CAA, has approved the measures and will be monitoring the safety aspects of the training, to ensure that passengers are never at any kind of risk when they fly on a plane with the new temporary crew members.