The two airlines have a code-sharing agreement through the OneWorld Alliance. AA customers who book BA flights through American are able to get AA frequent flier miles while still flying on British Airways flights.
British Airways canceled more than 1,000 flights after its cabin crew launched a three-day strike Saturday, wreaking havoc on the plans of tens of thousands of passengers just before the busy spring holiday season.
Hoping to keep as many passengers happy as possible, BA scrambled to rebook some on other services, chartered planes from rival airlines and drafted in volunteer crew. But it still had to scrap more than half of its 1,950 scheduled flights over the period.
AA spokesman Tim Wagner said Saturday that the BA strike will affect about 370 AA/BA code share flights throughout the planned three-day tenure of the strike.
“We started calling customers even before the strike started,” he said.
Fort Worth-based American is allowing customers to reuse the tickets they had on the now-canceled flights through June 10. Customers who cannot use their tickets by June 10, can get a full refund, Wagner said.
“We’re doing our best to help BA where we can,” he added.
It's a somewhat better deal than regular British Airways passengers are being offered. Passengers with canceled flights from Saturday through the end of the second planned strike on March 30 will be allowed to rebook on another BA flight within 355 days at no extra charge, but no refunds were being offered, the airline said.
BA has warned that the disruption would likely last several days beyond the three-day strike, because of a knock-on effect on flights that would carry through to the end of a second strike planned for March 27-30.
Analysts have estimated BA has already lost more than 25 million pounds (more than $37 million) because of canceled tickets and contingency costs.
The two planned strikes combined could cost the airline more than the 63 million pounds ($95 million) that the airline is trying to save through the disputed changes to workers' pay and conditions.
BA's pilots are not part of the strike, after their union resolved a separate dispute over pay with the airline.
U.S., German and Spanish unions have given some support for Unite's action, but stopped short of pledges for coordinated activity that would disrupt BA's ability to refuel and service the planes it is operating during the walkout.
The U.S. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which represents 40,000 aviation industry workers, urged travelers to find alternatives and said it was keeping its options "open." The U.S. Association of Professional Flight Attendants also expressed support for BA.
"Many of us have taken decisions not to pull extra flights or routes to help BA pick up the slack," said a pilot for a Chicago-based airline, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear it could cause him repercussions with his job. "We don't want to be seen as supporting scab labor."
BA said it would handle as many as 49,000 passengers on both Saturday and Sunday. That compares with the average 75,000 for a normal weekend day in March.
The strike also risks harm to Britain's Labour government before a tough general election expected before June.