Monday, 4 January 2010 12:00 AM
Passengers could suffer up to 3 weeks of chaos and disruption as BA's cabin staffs planned strike begins.
Actions may begin as soon as Monday 21st December, but might have trouble regrouping for at least a week as its huge fleet could be 'stuck somewhere else' after the planned action is finished.
Tens of thousands of passengers could be disrupted and find their new years travel plans going down the pan.
Warnings went out to approximately 1 million passengers preparing them for the worst if travelling between the 22nd December and 2nd January.
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 advised that EU obligations will be met in refunding or re-arranging flights for passengers affected by the action.
Virgin Atlantic advised that they will be using bigger aircrafts on key routes, in an attempt to help stranded passengers.
Passengers who've booked as a package through a tour operator, have been reassured that they'll receive a full refund or alternative travel arrangements.
The passengers who booked different components (flights and accommodation) were warned that they faced long, drawn-out negotiations with travel insurance companies and may not be covered.
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 Virgin Atlantic, bmi and easyjet are all reaping the rewards as bookings soar, 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.