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Pending British Airways Strike & Today’s Passport Changes

As if it wasn’t bad enough that subway delays made me late for work this morning, en route, I got BlackBerry’d that British Airways’ cabin crew have backed a strike plan to ground service over the dates when I’m scheduled to go to London and Copenhagen next week. I know the world doesn’t revolve around me, but come on, but it’s my birthday!

As you can imagine, I’ve been busy dealing with this, so I haven’t had time to dig into the specifics of why the union is striking (something about sick leave and pay), and I haven’t had a minute to formulate an opinion. What I can tell you is that I have an eight o’clock reservation at Wilton’s next Tuesday night, and I’ll be damned if I have to miss it.

Unfortunately, the policy formerly known as Rule 240 does not cover force majeure, which acts of God and some acts of man, specifically strikes, are considered. However, British Airways announced a new policy, allowing anyone affected by this pending strike—it has not been officially announced—to make penalty-free changes to their departure/return dates. One problem: I refuse to move my birthday.

Despite being an avid traveler, I don’t take kindly to change. I’m supposed to be giving you the advice: be flexible, roll with the punches, an easy-come, easy-go attitude is a traveler’s best friend. That’s all true, but I threw out last week’s crossed-out “London/Copenhagen to do” list with a smirk of satisfaction, leaving only the packing left to be done. Now I’ve got to deal with the London and Copenhagen hotels, all of the restaurant reservations, and the emails and phone calls to friends who were joining us for dinner. It just creates more work for me, and I simply don’t have the time.

To complicate matters, I’m flying from London to Copenhagen in between two of the three scheduled strikes, meaning it’s possible that British Airways may not waive the change fee for this particular flight. I’m hoping BA will demonstrate the same flexibility that’s being asked of me.

One option is to hedge my bets and wait to see if this strike becomes a reality. If it does happen, it’s possible that I will have missed the opportunity to shift my flights around by only a few days (they’ll probably be full). Even if I am able to rebook, it can take over a week to resume normal schedules after a strike, and I don’t feel like sleeping in an airport on my birthday. However, there is a decent chance this will all be averted during BA’s negotiations on Thursday. With any luck, by this time next week, we’ll be downing oysters at Wilton’s, as my husband makes fun of me for stressing over nothing.

(We’ve been telling you about the upcoming changes in passport regulations for a while, and today’s the big day! You will now need a valid U.S. passport to fly from the States to anywhere in the world, except Puerto Rico and the U.S.V.I.)


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Me thinks you worry too much! I’d be very surprised if this game of cat-and-mouse has any bearing on your celebration. And if it does…well, there should be plenty of cots at Heathrow left over from the FOG last month…have fun! :-)

Jen C

You’re absolutely right–hopefully I freaked out for nothing. Now it looks like they may move the strike to start a day after I leave (if it even happens!).

Darren Cronian

It looks like you worried for nothing! As anticipated the strike was called off, but it still cost BA millions.

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