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Following President Biden’s decision to lift the pandemic travel restriction, British Airways reported a tremendous jump in new bookings, although onboard personnel numbers had not been restored to pre-pandemic levels.
British Airways crew said they’re “struggling” to adapt.
British Airways Cabin Crew Struggles
British Airways slashed onboard staff numbers to meet the minimum legally needed levels at the outset of the pandemic, owing to falling demand for air travel.
However, despite the fact that many planes are already at maximum passenger capacity, crew numbers have not been boosted to keep up.
The BASSA cabin crew union claims to receive over 100 emails a day from overworked cabin staff who are at their wit’s end due to insufficient staffing ratios.
The situation is exacerbated by the fact that British Airways, like many other airlines, restored its onboard service to pre-pandemic levels.
British Airways may be reducing crew numbers to save money, but the airline is also experiencing a labor shortage and scrambling to find new crew members and recall those who were furloughed or took lengthy periods of unpaid leave during the pandemic.
They are now recruiting up to 3,000 cabin crew members, however training classes will not begin until early next year, and the first recruits will not graduate from training school until at least March 2022.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) claimed that providing a premium service with fewer crew members was becoming impossible.
The union wrote in an internal memo,
“Our Flight Attendants take pride in delivering a premium product to our customers. Management appears only to be concerned with lowering labor costs with no regard to the impact of staffing reductions on our Flight Attendants,”
“Based on the reports we have already received, the workload has become unreasonable and unrealistic for one person to effectively complete service to the level that our customers expect,”
We recognize that airlines are still recovering from pandemic losses, but it is also unjust to give cabin crew excessive responsibilities and still expect them to perform professionally and efficiently.
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