Friday, December 18, 2009

The world's favourite airline? Not any more

British Airways staff at work earlier this week

One of my patients has a few weeks left to live. He lives locally, about 20 minutes from where I work, and wants to get home next week to spend his final Christmas at home. He can only do this if his extended family can fly in from abroad to help care for him.

His family live in a country from which the majority of flights to the UK are run by British Airways (BA).  Since the threatened strike by the BA cabin crew which was due to ground all BA flights over the 12 day Christmas period, his family have been unable to get tickets for a flight as all the non-BA flights have been booked up already.

Even though tonight the strike is apparently being called off because it is illegal, it is too late for his family to get flight tickets and visas organised to get over here before Christmas.  In any case, all the confusion has caused ticket prices to rocket to nearly £2000 per person so the family would have to take out a loan to afford them (and they would be willing to do this if only there were tickets available).

As a result of all of this, the patient won't get home next week and will spend his final Christmas with us. He may die before his family arrive, and even if they get here in time he may be too unwell to return home.

I hope Lizanne Malone reads this blog and cries herself to sleep.

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