The meltdown at British Airways that stranded thousands of passengers last weekend led to such anger that some British Airways staff purportedly had to change out of uniform to clandestinely sneak away unharmed.
British Airways Meltdown Prompts Extreme Passenger Anger, Forces Staff To Remove Uniforms In Order To Escape
We speculated whether the IT meltdown, which began last Friday and marked the second in less than a week, could be traced to Russia (it came hours after the UK banned Russian airlines from its airspace), but it appears the culprit was just BA’s incompetent IT team, which has failed on many occasions since such operations were off-shored to India in 2016.
Nadine Houghton, a union officer representing British Airways ground staff, lay the blame directly on BA’s decision to outsource jobs:
“It didn’t have to be this way – but underinvestment in the business, plus the decision in 2016 to make hundreds of dedicated and loyal IT staff redundant and outsource the work to India are taking their toll.
“Moral[e] is at an all-time low after BA’s shameful attack on workers during the pandemic.
“Our experienced, dedicated and hardworking members fear this is now just the tip of the iceberg for the airline, with a summer of chaos now a very real prospect.”
The scaremongering is a bargaining tactic, but British Airways endured broad public condemnation during the pandemic for its attempt to slash wages and make workers redundant.
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After “significant technical challenges” affected ‘multiple British Airways systems,” thousands of passengers found themselves stranded last weekend. Passengers were (understandably) irate, but Houghton explains BA ground staff were spat at, suffered homophobic slurs, and were forced to watch as disabled passengers and babies slept in airport benches. Others felt compelled to shed their uniforms in order to escape the angry mob of passengers without harm.
British Airways has only managed a sheepish apology:
“We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience our customers have experienced and thank them for their patience and understanding during this incredibly frustrating period. We’re doing everything we can to get them to their destinations as soon as possible.”
The entire episode is a shameful reflection on British Airways, but also on the passengers who subjected ground staff to such vile treatment. While passengers were justified in being upset, even infrequent travelers should understand that deep technological issues are not to be blamed on frontline staff.
(image: British Airways // H/T: Paddle Your Own Kanoo)