12-day walkout spells chaos for nearly 1m passengers

width=350British Airways' 12,500 cabin crew today voted overwhelmingly in favour of a 12-day strike over Christmas and the New Year.

If full-scale industrial action goes ahead and all flights are grounded between 22 December and 2 January, 910,000 people will be affected.

When flights are cancelled the airline normally offers a refund or travel on an alternative date. However, any additional compensation is not guaranteed.

Travel insurance should cover a ruined holiday but passengers who bought tickets after 2 November, when BA's union officially declared it was going to the ballot, may not be covered.

The strike could yet be averted. Unite representatives said they hope to reach a compromise with BA management.

But feelings are running high in this dispute over pay and the imposition of new contracts. According to the Press Association, there was an 80 per cent turnout, with 90 per cent of those present voting for industrial action.