20100524 british airways flight attendants strike 100365769 18
British Airways cabin crew form a picket line at Glasgow Airport. Flight attendants have started a five-day work strike in response to BA's threats to cut their travel perks. - 

British Airways flight attendants began a strike today in response to the carrier's move to freeze pay and change conditions for staff.

BA is cutting costs and trying to improve its productivity to counter a loss of $1.5 billion, and is minimizing the strike by putting ground staff to work temporarily as flight attendants, albeit with a more limited scope of services provided.

Aviation consultant Laurie Price is praising their tough stance. "You can't have an airline that's losing this amount of money and facing the levels of competition without doing something. I'm afraid the laws of finance and economics apply to the air travel industry."

BA says they would restore the travel perks if there's a deal with the strikers, but only partially -- a move the workers' union condemns as some attendants live very far from London -- and even as far as France -- and need the travel perk to get to work.