Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But, unaware of the Government's intentions and its timing, the initial days of the campaign saw some confusing messages.
Could the team have been better prepared?
Campaigns have to be fluid to adapt to changing situations. Having reviewed its position, BALPA's approach became more surefooted. By focusing on the protocol for Sky Marshals, BALPA was able to use the media positively to set the agenda.
Getting the media to cover an issue as emotive as airplanes and terrorism is not difficult. Getting the right message across is more challenging.
By eliciting third-party endorsement BALPA helped change the message from 'the pilots' union believes' to 'the aviation community believes'. This gave additional weight and ensured the Government couldn't ignore the aviation sector.
The revised focus on 'passenger safety' transformed a union concern into a consumer issue. This could have been strengthened further by commissioning opinion research among air passengers, which would have given greater depth to the story.
Ultimately, international air security concerns are being driven by the demands of the US administration. Even national governments fall into line when confronted by the risk of being shut out of the world's largest market. Given these constraints BALPA did well to get a result.
This was a highly successful campaign that achieved its revised objective.
But a closer relationship with the Department (of Transport) might have allowed it to influence thinking at an earlier stage.