Once Again Unite The Union Gets The Facts Wrong Regarding The British Airways Strike

Following yesterday’s break down of Unite The Union’s stream of blatant factual errors, I had hoped to see a follow up press release from Unite The Union rooted in fact, with verifiable details.

Unfortunately yesterday evening Unite The Union released its press release for Day Two of the British Airways labour strike, it and it is was once again riddled with blatantly incorrect information.  The incorrect information is not even subtle errors, or minor detail mistakes … the incorrect information is entirely fabricated and does Unite The Union no good in trying to advance its position.

Unions have an important role in labour relations, however when a union tries to further its cause through fabricated facts rather than actual verifiable truths, it risks alienating its self from its members.

So for the second day in a row … here is a break down of Unite The Unions press release … Facts vs Fiction Part II:

– Unite The Union release: 140 planes now parked up at Heathrow

– BA Strike Fact: Independent plane spotters, while unable to determine an exact number of parked aircraft at London Heathrow, report that the number of parked planes yesterday appeared to be between 45 and 60 aircraft.  While numbers may not be exact, plane spotters can certainly distinguish between 45 & 60 planes and 140 planes.

– Unite The Union release: Only nine crew turned up for work today out of 1,100.

– BA Strike Fact: Without even having to verify the number of British Airways cabin crew who reported for duty, Unite The Union is releasing conflicting information. In a public statement Unite is stating only 9 BA cabin crew members reported for work, however in a Text Message sent to all BA cabin crew members of Unite, the union stated this “only 26 crew reported for duty today.”   Was it 9 members or 26 members?

– Unite The Union release: Early reports suggest a strike-breaking volunteer crew has broken an exit.  They are said to have “blown a slide” i.e. broken the function needed when the doors go from automatic to manual on landing.

– BA Strike Fact: There is no evidence of any British Airways aircraft having broken an emergency exit door. Unite has refused to reply to enquiries citing this incident or the flight it occurred on. If indeed this occurred, I’d like Unite The Union to please state what flight this occurred on.

– Unite The Union release: Only nine Heathrow flights have gone with passengers.

– BA Strike Fact: Unite the Union claims only nine flight departed with passengers, but goes on to only list seven flights … including Amsterdam, Dubai,  Entebee, Frankfurt, Miami, Paris, and Prague. Again, without having to do much investigation, in the process of researching the passenger experience during the BA Strike I have heard from 11 people who flew with British Airways yesterday … none of which flew on the seven flights above. I heard from passengers who flew with BA to Madrid, New York (x3 on 2 separate flights), Boston,  Newark, Munich, Milan, San Francisco, Zurich and Glasgow. Given that Unite states that BA 207,  a 747-400 operating between London Heathrow and Miami, flew with passengers, a minimum crew for that flight alone exceeds 9 crew…, which leads to again questioning Unite’s statement, that only 9 crew turned up for work. Further more, volunteer crews are not operating on 747 aircraft, further evidence that Unite is unable to keep its facts straight … even within its own press release.

– Unite The Union release: Most BA long haul flights are “ghost flights”.  By midday, 49 flights out from LHR were empty. No passengers.

– BA Strike Fact: Yesterday prior to 2:30pm, the time stated on Unite The Union’s press release, British Airways had operated 32 long-haul flights from London Heathrow, making it impossible for 49 of these flights to have operated empty.  The listing and departure information for the 32 flights operated by British Airways comes from the BAA, the operator of London Heathrow Airport, all information was then verified by FlightStats.com

– Unite The Union release: All long haul flights suffering delays as BA wait for crew – any crew – to turn up.

– BA Strike Fact: Lets look at the British Airways long haul flights that flew yesterday up until 2:30pm, shall we?

BA 117 – JFK, 8:20am, departed on-time

BA 73 – AUH, 9:30am, departed 24 minutes late

BA 207 – MIA, 9:40am, departed on-time

BA 65 – NBO, 10:05am, departed 34 minutes late

BA 279 – LAX, 10:15am, departed on-time

BA 125 – BAH, 10:20am, departed on-time

BA 185 – EWR, 10:25am, departed 5 minutes late

BA 26 – IAH, 10:25am, departed on-time

BA 193 – DFW, 10:45am, departed 9 minutes late

BA 63 – EBB, 10:45am, departed 25 minutes late

BA 285 – SFO, 11:00am, departed on-time

BA 175 – JFK, 11:00am, departed 80 minutes late

BA 213 – BOS, 11:00am, departed 32 minutes late

BA 217 – IAD, 11:05am, departed 65 minutes late

BA 67 – PHL, 11:20, departed 33 minutes late

BA 5, IAD – 11:22, departed 11 minutes late

BA 71 – BOS, 11:25am, departed 29 minutes late

BA 295, ORD 11:35am, departed 40 minutes late

BA 283 – LAX, 12:00pm, departed on-time

BA 93 – YYZ, 12:00pm, departed on-time

BA 249 – GIG, 12;15pm, departed 10 minutes late

BA 219 – DEN, 12:35pm, departed 3 minutes late

BA 107 – DXB, 12:35pm, departed 17 minutes late

BA 209 – MIA, 1:30pm, departed 31 minutes late

BA 177 – JFK, 1:35pm, departed on-time

BA 119 – BLR, 1:50pm, departed 33 minutes late

BA 229 – BWI, 1:50pm, departed on-time

BA 227 – ATL, 2:05pm, departed 29 minutes late

BA 197 – IAH, 2:15pm, departed on-time

BA 169 – PVG, 2:15pm, departed 30 minutes late

BA 49 – SEA 2:20pm, departed 31 minutes late

BA 287 – SFO, 2:30pm, departed 42 minutes late

… this means that 34.375% if BA’s long haul flights operated on-time, 50% of flights departed within 15 minutes of their scheduled departure … technically making them on-time departures. Overall, at London Heathrow the average on-time departure percentage for flights departing from Midnight to 2:30pm is 60.25% of flights departing on-time (within 15 minutes of scheduled departure time).

Given the circumstances and looking at the daily averages for certain flights, such as BA 119, flying LHR to BLR, you’ll notice the flight departed 33 minutes late, but has an onetime rating of 0.8 out of 5, so this late departure is not abnormal.

All departure information comes directly from the BAA, operator of Heathrow Airport and verified by FlightStats.com, two parties completely independent of British Airways and Unite The Union.

For those out on strike, I hope the strike is resolved quickly and amicably so you may return to your jobs. I know choosing to go on strike is a hard decision, both professionally and financially.

For those who choose to cross the picket line, I know crossing the strike line is difficult. No one wants to be threatened by the Union they have joined to help protect them.

For those running the strike operations at Unite The Union … please do your members a service and when you send off your press release today base the content on verifiable facts. Fact checking your flight information is fairly easy and proving your content wrong is not something I take joy in doing.

Happy Flying!



  1. Yet the media continues to repeat Unite’s drivel without any reference to the public data that shows the union to be either dishonest or psychotic.

  2. I think that Unite is truly speaking out of a hole in their head. Where are the “facts” to prove their assertions? I also agree that Willie Walsh has been very accessible to everyone through the ba.com website. Maybe they’re upset that Willie Walsh hasn’t come out to the pickets and directly talked to them, but I don’t really think that would achieve much.

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