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Inside The Illegal Flight Attendant ‘Crash Pad’ With 20 Bunk Beds That Was Shut Down by Boston Building Inspectors

Inside The Illegal Flight Attendant ‘Crash Pad’ With 20 Bunk Beds That Was Shut Down by Boston Building Inspectors

a collage of a room with bunk beds

The concept might seem alien to many but for commuting flight attendants, a ‘rent by the night’ bunk bed in a communal bedroom is how they manage to live between flights out of their base or ‘domicile’ without going broke paying for hotels or their own apartment.

The quality of these so-called ‘crash pads’ – so named because flights attendants use them to crash in for only short periods of time – can vary massively.  Sometimes flight attendants are willing to give up comfort or even safety for cheaper rent.

Last week, the City of Boston’s Inspectional Services Department raided an illegal flight attendant crash pad in East Boston.  The pad was actually a garage but it had been converted to house as many as 20 flights attendants in bunk beds spread across two bedrooms.

The converted garage also had a kitchen and two bedrooms but it was missing a fire escape and smoke detectors.  The conversion had been done without authorisation and the space was found to be storing hazardous materials, city inspectors claim.

Some flight attendants, however, were willing to pay the $300 per month fee to rent a bed in this crash pad.  It’s certainly a lot cheaper than other options like a local hotel.

At least one flight attendant who stayed at the pad did, however, object and made a complaint to the Fire Department about a broken smoke detector.  A City of Boston Investigative & Enforcement Team visited the building and quickly condemned it.

“It’s completely illegal,” city inspector John Meaney told GBH news.  “I’ve never seen anything like it before,” he continued.

“Worst case scenario, if you had everyone up there at one time, and there was a fire — it’d be a death trap.”  

Local residents claim they had seen flight attendants using the space since 2014.  “This unit was constructed illegally, stored hazardous material, missing smoke detectors and no 2nd means of egress,” the Inspectional Services Department wrote on their Twitter account.

Obviously, not all flight attendants are this bad but this does shine a light on the conditions some aircrew find themselves living in.  Sometimes, it’s because they can’t afford to live close to their domicile, while others have noted that busy work schedules make crash pads the only viable option.

View Comments (11)
  • Thank god the government is here to protect us. All those years I was in crash pads in nyc I had no idea they were a death trap. Now they have to shut down the hundreds of others ones. For our protection.

  • So a flight attendant with a big mouth ruined it for about 20 other commuters who now have to scramble. I’ll just bet they’re a really pleasure to work with or be guarded by onboard.

    • This little tattler is probably the same FA who insisted that my mask be up to my eyeballs on a recent flight. Another example of stupid. “I have no brains, but I’m in charge, and I’ll force you to do it my way”. Did this FA not know that most houses disconnect their smoke detectors the first time they can’t get them to stop beeping? If the place is a garage, one assumes that’s it on ground level. Has everyone forgotten summer camp and dorm rooms and slumber parties? Now all the other FAs who have been spending a few hours here will have to find other, far more expensive, places to sleep. Good goin’, dopey.

        • This. I have no problem with the basic concept of a crash pad–I don’t care if the place is built with a bunch of bunk beds. Building codes are written in blood, though. Respect them!

  • Looks like a real party place to me, I can only imagine 20 people using that space. Oh, and it is a terrible death trap without proper egress and detectors in place.

    • The point is, most of the 20 people aren’t there at once. Many of them are on duty elsewhere. Even people who are in town overnight may be spending time with family or friends.

  • Why aren’t we hearing what airline they work for ? Flight attendants aren’t working poverty wages… so this story needs more detail to make it all mesh.

  • I’m wondering the same thing as Jay did, what airline is this? Crew members earn good money compared to many other professions.

    • Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Crash Pads normally host flight attendants from any airline and openings are shared on private FA message boards or by word of mouth. New hire flight attendants and regional FA’s are two examples of people who might use a crash pad but this is very simplistic and even a very senior FA might use a crash pad.

  • Honestly, this is such old news – it’s been going on since forever and there are places exactly like this in every city where there’s an airline base. No one likes them, but they’re necessary when you don’t make much money, are on reserve and don’t live in base. If you feel very strongly about it, become a landlord and rent out some affordable studios for flight attendants.

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