Flight attendants at American Airlines say the Dallas-based carrier is showing them ‘disrespect’ by sending them on trips away from home and then failing to book hotel accommodation. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) is warning that “enough is enough” as it threatens to take action against the airline.
Stories of AA flight attendants being forced to sleep on the floor of airports first started to emerge in late July as issues with an outsourced hotel desk started to come to a head.
Despite promises to bring in quick-fix solutions, regular schedule disruption means flight attendants are still stepping off a plane at the end of a long workday only to find they have nowhere to sleep for the night.
“Illegal assignments when we return at the end of our trip or being stuck out of base with no hotel must stop. Enough is enough!” the union told its members in a memo on Thursday. The union would like to see solutions written into a new contract is being negotiated at the moment.
In an open letter to AA’s chief operating officer David Seymour, flight attendants complain: “Waiting on hold for hours and wondering where we will sleep after flying all day is simply unacceptable. We deserve better.”
“We have long complained about problems with hotels. We have heard the excuses. But the problem has become intolerable,” the letter continues.
American Airlines outsources hotel and limo booking services to a third party who APFA claims have let down flight attendants. The company has, on some occasions, completely failed to book hotel accommodation or tried to get flight attendants to stay in hotels that don’t meet contractually agreed minimum standards.
The situation has been made worse by AA’s summer of schedule disruption because flight attendants are being reassigned at short notice.
But when flight attendants try to sort out these problems themselves, they are being left on hold for hours. The hotel company does provide an app that can book accommodation quickly but by doing so, flight attendants waive their right to stay in a hotel that meets minimum standards of safety and comfort.
Even getting to the hotel has been a challenge with flight attendants regularly being forced to pay for an Uber out of their own pocket.
In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for American Airlines told us: “Taking care of our crew members while they are away from home is a priority for American. We are looking into the concerns raised by APA (Allied Pilots Association) and APFA.”
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