British Airways pilot strike: Qantas passengers set to be caught up in turmoil

Australians travelling on Qantas codeshare flights across Europe are likely to be impacted by industrial action by British Airways pilots, Qantas has warned.

British Airways pilots have begun a 48-hour strike grounding most of the airlines fleet and disrupting thousands of travellers.

The airline's pilots have been locked in pay negotiations with the company since November last year.

"We're extremely sorry for the problems caused by the strike action called by the pilots’ union," British Airways said in a statement.

The pilots are taking industrial action from September 9 to September 10 and the airline is warning those on cancelled flights over the next few days to not go to the airport.

"If you have a flight booked with us on or around those dates, it is likely that you will not be able to travel as planned," British Airways said.

Qantas codeshares on a number of flights with British Airways from London to Europe and Qantas confirmed those flights will be impacted.

"We codeshare on a small number of British Airways flights from London Heathrow to Europe and passengers are able to move their dates of travel, free of charge to avoid the strike action," a Qantas spokesperson said.

In regards to its own flights to Britan, they are not expected to be any interruptions.


"There’s no expected impact to Qantas’ two daily services from Melbourne and Sydney to London," a Qantas spokesman said.

British Airways only operates one flight itself to Australia, from London to Sydney via Singapore and Monday's flight arrived just after 5am, flight boards showed.

However, the Insurance Council of Australia is urging any Australian travelling on British Airways to contact the airline or their travel agent.

A spokeswoman for the organisation, Lisa Kable, said travel insurance issues were not likely to apply as insurance only steps in when a "loss is incurred" and British Airways is offering full refunds or alternative travel arrangements.

"In this current British Airways industrial action case, British Airways is offering alternate arrangements for travellers affected including a refund," she said.

Speaking more broadly, Ms Kable said the issue of insurance covering industrial action depends on when the policy was purchased.

"If you bought your policy after an industrial strike becomes a known event, it's unlikely that the insurer will cover costs," she said.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said under Australian law if a flight is cancelled or significantly delayed, passengers may be entitled to a refund.

"All consumers have the right to a remedy, such as a refund, if services are not supplied within a reasonable time," an ACCC spokesperson said.

"Obligations under Australia's consumer laws are not excluded, modified or exempted when a business is facing industrial action."

Following the strikes on Monday and Tuesday, British Airways pilots have another day of industrial action planned for September 27.