Monday, 4 January 2010 12:00 AM
Passengers could suffer up to 3 weeks of chaos and disruption as BA's cabin crews planned strike begins.
Monday 21st December'09 may see actions getting under way, but may have trouble regrouping for at least a week after the planned strike is over, as its huge aircraft fleet could be 'stuck somewhere else'.
Tens of thousands of passengers could be disrupted and find their new years travel plans going down the pan.
Around 1 million passengers who are due to travel between 22nd December and 2nd January have been warned to expect the worse.
Industry affairs manager at the Air Transport Users Council, said: "It may be that while long-haul flights, with less frequency, are easier to control, planes used for short-haul flights could be left in the wrong place. There may be more disruption."
A BA spokesman admitted that disruption may occur and said: "Passengers scheduled to fly up to 48 hours either side of the planned action can re-book for a date in the next 12 months, the covers people who are worried their flight will be affected or if their plane is stuck somewhere else."
BA said they will meet the EU obligations in re-arranging or refunding flights for passengers affected by the action.
Virgin Atlantic have said that they will be using larger aircrafts on key routes, in an attempt to help grounded passengers.
Passengers who have booked as a package with a tour operator, have been reassured that they will receive a full refund or alternative travel arrangements.
The passengers who booked different components (accommodation and flights) were warned that they may not be covered and faced drawn-out negotiations with travel insurance companies.
This stressful situation comes at a devastating time for holidaymakers travelling over the Christmas and New Year period, leading to many customers seeking alternative flights.
Meanwhile, opposing airlines such as bmi, Virgin Atlantic and easyjet are all reaping the rewards as bookings are soaring, pushing ticket prices up.
Customers who are planning holidays in Gran Canaria or Tenerife may be less fortunate with the possibility of flights getting stuck, whereas booking long-haul flights may lead to fewer delays and a higher possibility of travel.