Sleeping at the airport: American Airlines flight attendant, pilot unions complain about lack of hotel rooms

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An exterior view of an American Airlines B737 Max airplane is seen as a man walks at Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport in Dallas, Texas on December 2, 2020.
Cooper Neill | AFP | Getty Images

Labor unions representing 40,000 American Airlines pilots and flight attendants say the carrier has failed to provide crews with enough transportation and adequate hotels during layovers, a trend that is depriving them of rest in some cases.

In grievances filed with the carrier on Tuesday, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants and Allied Pilots Association said crews are facing hotel booking and transportation delays while on the road.

“We have Flight Attendants sleeping in airports and outside of baggage claim due to the company not providing hotel accommodations in a timely manner,” APFA National President Julie Hedrick
said in a statement. “Crew rest is being impacted, and clean, comfortable, and quiet rooms are not being provided for required rest.”

APFA said it has received complaints from crew members such as finding that no rooms are available when they get to a layover hotel and that they face “excessive” hold times for hotel booking services.

“Taking care of our crewmembers while they’re away from home is a priority for American,” the airline said in a statement. “We’re looking into the concerns raised by APA and APFA.”

The pilots’ union, APA, said it wants pilots reimbursed for lodging expenses including when they have to find hotel rooms themselves.

A lack of hotel rooms and long wait times for customer service are issues that have also faced airline customers this summer as the industry grapples with a shortfall of workers to handle the spike in demand.

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