Now that the strike dates have been announced in London, travel agents in Uganda have reacted swiftly and started making bookings on other airlines for their customers over the period March 20–22 and March 27-31.
Thankfully the Easter period will be strike free, allowing for uninterrupted holiday plans, but it is understood that after Easter, added strikes will take place should no agreement be reached between the Unite Union and the British Airways management. No dates for those potentially added strikes are available at this time.
Like prior to Christmas, when many travelers absconded from British Airways and rushed to cover their bases with alternate bookings, this time round again it is expected that BA will lose out in a big way, in favor of such other airlines coming to Uganda as Brussels Airlines, KLM, Kenya Airways, Emirates, or Ethiopian, to name just a few.
Said one travel agent to this correspondent, a sentiment also echoed by others: “Even if this strike is averted, like the last one was, the damage is already done to BA. They have taken those dates off bookings through our CRS. For the second time in six months, I have to tell my clients booked over the expected strike period to rebook. You cannot keep doing that without losing confidence in that airline. And I am not blaming the unions, the BA management is using very bad language in public, and I think they are losing the PR battle. Maybe it is time now for their CEO to go; he only hung on by the skin of his teeth over the Terminal 5 disaster, but enough is enough. Proposing to use freshmen cabin crews with one training course and no other experience is also very bad PR for a senior airline like British Airways; how safe will that cabin be, these passengers, in case of an emergency? For us here, we had enough of BA; we will work on our passengers only connecting via London to use other airlines – that should be easy – and those flying to London to also rather connect in Dubai or Amsterdam or Brussels.”