Page last updated at 17:42 GMT, Friday, 12 March 2010

'British Airways strike threatens our honeymoon'

Thousands of air passengers have had their travel plans thrown into uncertainty following the decision by the union representing British Airways cabin crew to strike.

The move will see cabin crew walk out later this month over changes to pay and staffing levels imposed by the airline last November.

The Unite union says its members will strike for three days from 20 March and for four days from 27 March. Here are the stories of some of travellers who will be affected.

ROB WALKER AND SAMANTHA COLEMAN, HONEYMOON
Rob Walker with fiancee Samantha
The strike could cost Rob and Samantha an extra 1,500

Accountant Rob Walker, 32, of Helsby, Cheshire, thought he had planned the perfect honeymoon for him and fiancee Samantha Coleman - but the strike threatens to wreck his plans and leave him out of pocket.

"I thought it would be the perfect way to mark our wedding - a honeymoon in Mexico. Samantha and I had saved BA miles from credit card use and Tesco vouchers for several years to enable us to go business class for just the taxes and fees.

"We booked our flights way back in June 2009. The only problem is that we are due to fly out on 29 March - right in the middle of the strike.

"So, instead of travelling in luxury, we're faced with spending a large amount just to get a one-way economy flight, or otherwise losing out on our dream honeymoon and probably most of the money spent on it.

We are angry and upset with both the union and BA

"Of course, we can get a refund on the points and the vouchers. But that would mean having to fly with BA again - and I'm not sure I want to do that. As a fallback I've booked two flexible outbound one-way economy flights with KLM for £1,500.

"I should be able to get a refund if the strike is called off - but if it isn't, we'll be seriously out of pocket. I'll have to find that money from somewhere.

"And, what's more, we'll have lost out on the experience of flying business class. As you can imagine, we are angry and upset with both the union and BA.

Up for a fight

"Initially, I was more angry with the union. The staff seem to be paid very well compared to the competition, and everybody is facing tough times at the moment.

"But I can't help but feel that BA may have been able to accept the deal that the union had put on the table.

"One thing is for sure: we'll definitely think twice about flying BA again and also about what credit card loyalty scheme we want to be in and what we will redeem our Tesco vouchers for.

"Right now, everything is stressful enough for us - we really don't need all these extra worries as well."

PETER AND LORNA BRACKSTONE, 25TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY

Retired temp worker Peter Brackstone, 64, and his wife Lorna, 53, who works for Ofsted, were due to fly to Miami on 27 March, before setting off on a two-week cruise to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.

They now fear they will miss a holiday they have been looking forward to for two years, that would have taken them from the Cayman Islands, through the Panama Canal and along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

"Obviously it's a very special celebration for us, and it's a second marriage and to get 25 years on a second marriage - we're very proud of it.

"We heard it might be a problem, but they said it wouldn't be over Easter and my wife being in education can only take a break over those two weeks - which is why we got married in those two weeks in the first place.

If you stop talking that's the end of it, that's what married life is like. If you don't talk then you end up miles apart
Peter Brackstone

"We went on our first cruise nearly two years ago and that's what we decided to do for our 25th wedding anniversary.

"I don't think we have any alternative, we probably won't go unless someone can get us on another flight, it's not as if the cruise ship will wait for us.

"We've got to just wait and see really because there's no point booking other flights because you might end up with two tickets.

"There's nothing I can do about it to change the union's decision, we've just got to hope they see sense.

"It's give and take on both sides. If you stop talking, that's the end of it, that's what married life is like. If you don't talk, then you end up miles apart."

SARRA KEMP, HEN PARTY

Lawyer Sarra Kemp, 29, of Manchester, is due to fly back from her hen do in New York on 21 March.

"We have been waiting all week to hear about the proposed strike dates and whether it will affect us.

"We are faced with a horrible choice. We can get there, but may not be able to get home.

"There are 13 of us - unlucky for some. Realistically, I can't ask all of them to spend £400 on another flight in case the strike goes ahead.

"If it does, I'll get back the cost of the flight. But my travel insurance won't cover the Broadway tickets and other extras we've bought - which come to about £150 each - and I'm not sure if we'll be able to reclaim the £200 we've each spent on accommodation.

"I don't know who is right and who is wrong in this dispute. I just think it's such a shame that people will no longer fly with what was once a great British company.

"If the worst comes to the worst, we'll take our high heels and our champagne to the airport and celebrate there."


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