Good News, Bad News for British Airways as Antitrust Immunity Approved and Flight Attendants Reject Offer

The management team at British Airways must be doing their best impression of a manic depressive this week as they swing from great news to crappy news. The great news? The airline received final approval for antitrust immunity with American. The crappy news? The flight attendants have once again rejected BA’s offer. Unbelievable.

The flight attendant deal British Airways Happy and Sadis actually the one that has me shaking my head the most. These guys are absolutely insane. After BA put out an improved final offer, it was thought that the deal might have had a chance. It didn’t even get close.

There are about 11,000 union members and not even half voted. In fact, only 5,105 voted, two-thirds of which voted no. You would think that a vote on a contract that has resulted in a lot of strikes and tons of losses for the airline would get a bit more turnout than a mere 50% That’s just downright pathetic. It’s even more surprising since there’s a good chance that these flight attendants will end up out of a job once this is all said and done. I’m not sure what the flight attendants think they’re going to get out of this, but they might want to consider the likelihood that the only thing they’ll get is a pink slip.

But let’s not focus on all the idiocy. Instead, let’s talk about the good news. British Airways and American found themselves leaders of a shiny new joint venture with antitrust immunity yesterday. After getting European Union approval earlier this week, the Department of Transportation gave its final blessing. It’s now a done deal. American and British Airways will be able to compete on equal footing with the Lufthansa/United-led Atlantic Plus Plus venture as well as the Delta/Air France/KLM deal. If those two groups are able to operate with antitrust immunity, so should the combined BA and AA-led venture.

So now we have a much strengthened oneworld alliance. This will ultimately mean that BA Executive Club members will be able to earn miles on American flights between the US and the UK. American AAdvantage members will be able to earn miles on British Airways flights between the UK and the US as well . . . assuming BA’s flight attendants don’t ground the airline again.

Damn, I just have to keep coming back to the negative, don’t I? The flight attendants aren’t likely to strike again until after the busy summer season, but that problem will be back.

If only BA could take medication to temper the problem.

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