The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), an organisation which represents the 26,000+ flight attendants at American Airlines has filed grievance proceedings with the carrier over the hotel accommodation the company has been providing. The union has accused American of “repeated contractual violations” over the issue.
As we reported in February, American’s flight attendants have an agreement with the airline which should guarantee them a certain level of quality hotel accommodation when they are staying away from their home base on a layover or during periods of disruption. The airline says it booked over 2.5 million hotel rooms last year at a cost of $350 million- a job they described as “staggering”.
Some have accused American of having “instituted a semi-budget freeze” on hotel accommodation but the carrier vehemently denies that allegation. An internal memo sent to staffers earlier this year said hotel spending was, in fact, going up and claimed a lot of money and effort had been spent on improving overnight accommodation.
American’s Hotel Contract Team told flight attendants that they recognised “a good layover experience significantly impacts the quality of your work life and can indirectly affect our passengers’ experiences as well.”
But APFA says they’ve seen a spike in complaints and the union’s national President Nena Martin has now filed a so-called “presidential grievance” with the company over the situation. APFA is telling American to immediately “cease and desist” from breaching a contractual agreement between the two sides.
The union cites a number of alleged breaches including American using old US Airways hotel accommodation rules which weren’t nearly as generous. They also claim flight attendants aren’t being put in clean or quiet hotels and have had to wait an undue length of time to be assigned a room.
Other issues include flight attendants being assigned rooms with connecting doors, being placed near noisy elevators and even placing flight attendants on the ground floor – a complete “no, no” for most international airlines.
And it sounds like the Hotel Contract Team is struggling to keep on top of their job – the union also says flight attendants are not being told when hotels have changed and some are only finding out when they arrive at their destination.
So far, American hasn’t yet publicly commented.