What is British Airways Mixed Fleet?

Jul 8, 2018 | Cabin Crew

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(Last updated on: 13/12/2021)

British Airways is a very popular Arline to work for and all new recruits become members of British Airways Mixed Fleet – but what does that mean? In this post I explain what the three main London Heathrow fleets are and why Mixed Fleet was introduced.

The ‘Old’ Fleets

In the past, British Airways separated its Cabin Crew into two fleets: Euro Fleet and Worldwide Fleet. They were, and still are, pretty self-explanatory. If you work for Euro Fleet you operate European flights and if you work for the Worldwide fleet you do long-haul flights. This appeared to work pretty well and I’m not aware of any major issues with this system.

However, staff at British Airways have a very powerful union. Over the years there were a number of negotiations to increase terms and conditions between the top staff at British Airways and the union (United). When these negotiations broke down it often resulted in strike action.

I’m 31 and I only just remember these strikes, which is why I made the assumption that younger people probably aren’t familiar with this part of British Airways’ history!

Anyway, these strikes had devastating effects on the airline. They were losing a lot of customers and a lot of money.

In order to limit the impacts of these strikes, British Airways would agree to an improvement in terms and conditions. Over the years salaries inflated to significantly more than the industry average and on average staff were working considerably fewer hours each month than their colleagues flying for the competitor airlines.

Because the staff were on such rewarding contracts, they became reluctant to leave the airline and staff turnover was low. Whilst low staff turnover is often a good thing for businesses, some Cabin Crew grew fed up or tired of the job but continued to work for British Airways in order to reap the rewards of being on a good contract. This was impacting the image of the airline and the customer service provided. Note – I am not referring to ALL crew: this is a generalisation.

What Is British Airways Mixed Fleet?

The ‘New’ Mixed Fleet

British Airways had to do something to remain competitive (and to stay afloat!) but they couldn’t change the terms and conditions of their existing staff. That would be illegal in many cases and definitely immoral. So the answer was to create a new fleet, which they called Mixed Fleet. These are the ones who wear the hats.

The name says it all – if you work for Mixed Fleet you operate a mixture of European and long-haul flights. Staff members were recruited on terms and conditions far inferior to their Euro Fleet and Worldwide Fleet colleagues. By paying members of the new fleet a fraction of the salary and making them work twice as hard, British Airways were able to save a lot of money and become more competitive in the market.

This unfortunately created some hostility between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ fleets. The intention was, and still is, to let the old fleets gradually die out. As Cabin Crew from the old fleets resign or retire they are replaced by Cabin Crew who join Mixed Fleet. With this brought the reduction in routes for the ‘old’ Cabin Crew, with them all being moved gradually over to the ‘new’ Mixed Fleet.

Mixed Fleet crew tend to be younger in age and often have a lot of energy and enthusiasm. But due to low salaries, the staff turnover is high. Many staff report that their salary is in actual fact lower than that advertised by British Airways on recruitment and therefore they struggle financially. What’s more is that people are being promoted at a very young age and although they may have passed all of the required exams etc, some people are concerned that they can sometimes lack experience and maturity.

So that’s my brief breakdown of what British Airways Mixed Fleet is and why it came about. Do you have any experience with British Airways Mixed Fleet? Please leave your comments below!

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4 Comments
  1. Ndemaze Chrispine Achanyang

    Hello madam really need to help to enroll into the course of cabin crew

    Reply
    • Hayley Stainton

      Hi, click on the link at the top of the page titled cabin crew course and you should be able to enrol. Happy to have you onboard!

      Reply
  2. Simon Marton

    Hi Hayley,
    Nice site.
    I worked as a CSM just a couple of months after BA set MF up, joining January 2011, and lasting about 18 months. It was an er….interesting set up. I partook until I could partake no longer. I had a wife and young children to support- unlike many colleagues for obvious reasons- and it was very hard to keep it going about 100 miles away from base. If I had been on a CSD’s payscale, things would have been VERY different, but this is the fundamental issue. We all signed the contracts, and were beholden to BA. I think I did a great job for the company and so did 99% of my colleagues at the time. I wish more people could have seen through it. It wasn’t hard to! Still, glad I had the job at the time and people can see more if they wish: Journey of a Reluctant Air Steward on Amazon!
    Thanks,
    Simon

    Reply
  3. John Lawson

    I have noticed with the Euro fleet how much older and miserable the cabin crew are. Known as Euro dragons in the business they certainly live up to their reputation. Some

    Reply

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Dr Hayley Stainton

Hi, am Dr Hayley Stainton

I’ve been travelling, studying and teaching travel and tourism since I was 16. Through Tourism Teacher I share my knowledge on the principles and practice of travel and tourism management from both an academic and practical perspective.

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