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Flight Attendants Sleeping On Airport Floors is “Becoming The New Norm” as Airlines Suffer Operational Meltdowns

Flight Attendants Sleeping On Airport Floors is “Becoming The New Norm” as Airlines Suffer Operational Meltdowns

It is becoming “the new norm” for flight attendants to sleep on airport hallway floors, claims a top union boss who fears that airlines aren’t doing enough to look after frontline employees during operational meltdowns caused by bad weather, air traffic control problems and internal IT issues.

Gary Peterson, vice president of the air divison at the Transport Workers Union (TWU) says the thought of flight attendants having to sleep in the airport during what the industry refers to as ‘irregular operations’ or ‘irrops’ for short was unheard of until recently.

“Sleeping in the hallway at the airport – that never used to happen in the industry, and now it’s becoming the new norm,” Peterson told The Gaurdian newspaper.

In recent months, there has been a slew of cases in which flight attendants say they have been abandoned by their very airlines during irrops and left to fend for themselves.

Airlines failed to provide basic necessities like hotel rooms and transport so flight attendants found themselves sleeping in the airport. Recent cases involved flight attendants at American Airlines, as well as low-cost airline Spirit where fed-up crew have started to wage a new campaign to drive improvements.

“We had flight attendants who were getting kicked out of airports in the middle of the night,” said Don Reno Intreglia, a flight attendant at Spirit and the airlines’ vice president at the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA).

“It’s been horrible on the morale for the flight attendants, because you’re sleeping on an airport floor, you’ve got pretty much nowhere to go

The Miramar-based airline has been hit hard by a spate of bad weather and air traffic control issues in the Florida area but the union claims they way Spirit handled the irrops only exasperated the problems.

Intreglia told Insider that some of Spirit’s flight attendants were left stranded for around 30 hours during a recent operational meltdown. During that time, no one from Spirit allegedly made contact with the crew to make sure they were okay and the airline made no lodging provisions for them.

Instead, the crew found themselves sleeping on an airport floor until Spirit finally found a plane to get them back to their home base. “It’s been horrible on the morale for the flight attendants, because you’re sleeping on an airport floor, you’ve got pretty much nowhere to go,” Intreglia said.

The union suggests this isn’t an isolated case and that another operational meltdown this summer could spell an even worse incident.

No wonder, then, that Spirit’s flight attendants have started picketing the airline at airports across the United States. The Association of Flight Attendants says Spirit has broken promises and is continuing to break the flight attendant union contract.

A spokesperson for Spirit didn’t comment on specific allegations involving flight attendants sleeping on airport floors but in a statement, the airline said it “was committed to finding ways to better support our Team Members and address the issues of most importance to them.”

“We’ve been through so much together throughout the pandemic, and we are committed to making the necessary investments to build a stronger and more resilient airline for both our Team Members and Guests,” the statement continued.

View Comments (6)
  • It would be easier for the airlines and for me as a traveler if all crew members didn’t have to be replaced.

  • I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve crashed in the floor at an airport because the airlines ALL SUCK. Nobody gave a crap, and I was the one PAYING FOR THE TICKET. Sorry not sorry.

  • Why didn’t the crew members call and book hotel rooms for themselves and then expense it back to the company? If the flight attendants were unable to find available hotel rooms then unfortunately crew scheduling would have ran into the same problem. The article makes it sound like this is a new thing happening and I can say firsthand 25+ years ago I had times where I slept on planes or on the floor in crew lounges due to irrops and no hotel availability. It’s by no means the norm but it does occur and it’s just one of those unfortunate things that happen from time to time.

  • So its horrible the flight attendants slept in the airport…..lots of paying passengers slept on floor at the airport which is like normal nowadays..come FA you abused a paying passengers accused us and we can’t even defend ourselves TREATING US REPORT TO AUTHORITIES AND TAKE OFF THE PLANE IN HANDCUFFS..

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