BA will win, say experts
British Airways (BA) will prevail in its fight with cabin crew, say leading business travel experts.
A threatened strike over christmas will have little impact on the business travel sector, but will exacerbate the public's disgust over the union's militant stance.
As Unite and BA prepare for the latest round of talks on Monday, the feeling among the business travel community is remarkably stolid.
Ken McLeod, director corporate at Advantage Travel Centres, commented: "Dare I say it's becoming boring now, because I think Unite is losing support."
According to McLeod, business travellers have become used to the strike action by BA cabin crew, now nearing its first anniversary.
"It's an inconvenience, but it's not going to damage their business," he said. "Business travellers will always find some way to travel. There will always be some way of getting to their destination."
The longer the dispute rumbles on, the less power Unite has, said McLeod. "They [the strikers] can disrupt things quite badly, but essentially BA has now got its act together."
Mark Avery, head of business services at Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), said staff continue to book with BA, despite the risk of strike action.
"Even though it's a pain and travellers are pretty fed up with it all, there's quite a lot of certainty about what will fly and won't fly."
"Once the strikes are announced, people are not avoiding BA," he said."BA have been pretty good at announcing their schedules and keeping them running where they can."
BA's announcement that it will run 100% of long haul flights if there is another strike has added to this feeling of good will among business travellers.
"This adds to the surety for the traveller - the confidence that they can go ahead and book with BA and they will still travel and it's not going to be a major inconvenience."
According to Avery, BA's reputation has remained relatively untarnished. "I think commercially there is a recognition that these working practices do actually need to change and if they're going to survive as an organisation."
The reputation of Unite hasn't fared so well. "I think unfortunately the cabin crew have lost some of the public will."
A strike at christmas will damage this further, said Avery. "It's just not what the public want to see."