(9:30 a.m. EDT) -- Since 2009, cruise passengers in the U.K. have been living under the threat of British Airways cabin crew going on strike, disrupting flights and causing holidaymakers to revise their travel plans or worse, miss their ships.
Good news: It's all over. Yesterday, British Airways and Unite, the union representing the majority of cabin crew, reached an agreement to settle the dispute, which cost the airline 22 days of actual strikes an estimated £150 million, not to mention a considerable loss of faith on the part of its customers.
The 9,000 cabin crew involved still have to vote in a ballot but with the union strongly behind the new deal that's been agreed, this is expected to be a mere formality.
For cruise passengers and other holidaymakers, the threat of strikes was just as bad as the strikes themselves. Because only 28 days' notice of strike action had to be given, it made planning to join a cruise via a British Airways flight a complete lottery. The actual strike days took place in March, April and June last year and further industrial action was expected this coming summer.
So are fly-cruises using BA flights safe now? Hopefully. A statement from British Airways on the BBC website reassured customers that “We have also agreed to changes that will modernise our crew industrial relations and help ensure that this kind of dispute cannot occur again.”
--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor