You may be aware that BA is intending to redeploy a number of second-hand A320 from LHR to LGW. As is typical, the company will likely spin this as a good news story for Gatwick. It really isn’t.
It’s the company’s intention to densify these aircraft by squeezing in an additional 2 rows of seats, taking the total on board to 180. This will be achieved by fitting a new economy seat with no recline and installing the ‘Space-Flex v2’ galley.
Our colleagues at Heathrow report that this configuration creates a notoriously challenging working environment with reduced stowage space and manual handling issues.
In addition, the company has informed the trade union that the reduction in stowage space will result in the removal of ‘Inflight Retail’. As we know, commission earned from ‘Inflight Retail’ sales significantly subsidise cabin crew earnings during shorthaul duty days.
We have raised concerns on behalf of our members and requested that the company provide a breakdown of commission earnings on shorthaul as well as how much additional revenue they forecast these modifications to deliver. In addition, the trade union has also asked how the company propose to mitigate the loss of earnings our members can expect as a result of these imposed changes.
Finally, the galley reconfiguration will also result in reduced loading of fresh food items on certain routes. Again, we have raised concerns with the company that this will expose our members to unacceptable abuse from frustrated and potentially angry customers on a regular basis.
To date the company have failed to respond to our concerns.
We will of course continue to press the company for a response on this issue.