British Airways customers due to fly from Heathrow Airport over the Easter holiday period have pleaded with the airline for clarity on whether their holidays will be affected by a security guard strike.
More than 1,400 security staff in the Unite union employed at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 will walk out for 10 days from 31 March in a dispute over pay.
Walk out dates include the Good Friday bank holiday, Easter Sunday and part of the school holidays for many families in the UK.
Terminal 5 is used exclusively by British Airways and the security guards are responsible for checking all cargo that enters the airport.
i understands that British Airways is contacting customers on cancelled services to apologise.
A mother planning to take her family to Disneyland Paris said their Easter holiday flights had been cancelled.
She tweeted: “So annoying, they did the same last summer as well. Luckily have managed to get another flight but means getting the kids up at 4am.”
Another customer said: “Cancelled flight with no alternative arrangements possible. Family left with no options for Easter holiday.”
But numerous passengers have expressed concern about if their Easter getaways will be ruined and appealed to the airline for further details on the affected flights.
One customer who said she is due to fly to Ibiza on Monday asked the airline: “How soon will I know if my flight has been cancelled or rearranged?”
Affected passengers will be offered the option of a full refund or to rebook to an operating flight with BA or another airline.
Only short haul British Airways flights are being cancelled as a result of the 10-day walkout. No long haul services are affected.
In a statement, the airline said: “Following Heathrow’s requirement for us to reduce the number of passengers travelling during the period of its employees’ proposed strike action, we’ve regrettably had to make a small number of adjustments to our schedule.
“We’ve apologised to customers whose travel plans have been affected and have offered them a range of options, including rebooking onto a new flight with us or another airline, or requesting a full refund.
“Our teams are continuing to work closely with Heathrow to ensure that our customers’ journeys run smoothly.”
Customers have been advised to check BA.com for the latest information on their flight before travelling to Heathrow. They have also been invited to check in their hand luggage allowance free of charge to reduce their time in security queues.
British Airways holds more than 50 per cent of take-off and landing slots at Heathrow, with the rest split across several carriers.
Virgin Atlantic has the second highest proportion of takeoff and landing slots.
A spokesperson for Virgin Atlantic said: “Our priority is to ensure that our Heathrow customers can complete their travel plans as smoothly as possible, if the proposed Unite industrial action goes ahead.
“We continue to work with Heathrow to understand the potential impact on customers at our home in terminal three and put appropriate measures in place. Between 31 March and 2 April we expect the airport to be particularly busy, with longer wait times at security if the strike goes ahead.
“To support existing customers with departing flights, we’ve introduced a flexible policy which allows free of charge rebooking, if customers prefer to avoid the busiest published strike days.”