PHOTO: Is British Airways ready to turn housecleaning duties over to flight attendants and pilots? (photo via Flickr/Hunter Brame)
In what appears to be another cost-cutting effort by suddenly strapped British Airways, the airline is asking some crew members—including the pilot—to do some “light cleaning” on some of its short-haul flights.
Those flights are turned around quickly, and having crew members complete the task (for 10 pounds per person) would save British Airways a small fortune instead of paying its contracted cleaning crew.
According to The Sun newspaper in London, the chance to try out this odd new format will start at Gatwick Airport. Why odd? Well, according to The Sun, the sewage tank—or where your No. 1 and No. 2 go to rest while in the air—will not be completely emptied between flights unless it is more than one-third full.
If on the next flight, however, the waste tanks happen to fill completely, the lavatory is closed and passengers are, well, out of luck.
This appears to be yet another cost-cutting measure taken on by British Airways in addition to its most recent announcement that it also will reduce legroom on short-haul flights.
READ MORE: BA Reducing Legroom
What is unknown is how this decision affects British Airways’ contract with its cleaning crew. Is it written into the contract that BA can relieve – pardon the pun – its normal cleaning workers and use crew members at will? Will the cleaning crew be reimbursed for lost work? Will the cabin, including the bathrooms, be as clean as a professional cleaning crew would be?
Moreover, will passengers notice the difference? And if they don’t, could this become a precedent-setting industry agenda?
British Airways told The Sun in a statement: “In the rare event that cleaners are delayed, our Gatwick cabin crew can carry out light cleaning of the cabin to ensure flights depart on time. This flexibility has been in place for many years and helps us keep our flights punctual."