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American Airlines is Struggling to Find Hotels in London For its Flight Attendants And Complaints Are Flooding In

American Airlines is Struggling to Find Hotels in London For its Flight Attendants And Complaints Are Flooding In

American Airlines is struggling to find large enough hotels in London that are both able and willing to accommodate its pilots and flight attendants in the British capital.

According to the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) which represents crew members at AA, the airline currently has flight attendants spread out across six different hotels and a seventh could be added as more rooms are needed over the busy summer period.

Unfortunately, not all of the hotels are allegedly up to the standards required by APFA and both the union and the airline have seen an uptick in complaints from flight attendants about the lodging currently being offered in London.

Problems began after a longtime crew hotel shut down during the pandemic. That didn’t pose an issue to begin with but as international travel demand rebounded at an astonishing rate, American Airlines found itself struggling to find hotels in the city that met the needs of an airline customer.

In an internal memo, the union says the hotel industry “has faced many obstacles and challenges” during the course of the pandemic and many were now no longer able or willing to take on big airline contracts for crew lodging.

Before the pandemic, American Airlines had such a large presence in London that it used two different hotels but now flight attendants and pilots are spread out across six different properties.

American Airlines currently serves London from eight different U.S. cities with as many as 21 flights per day. The union says the situation is made worse by the fact that London is a “challenging and cumbersome international layover market”.

Many international airlines with a big presence in London get around the complexities of London’s hotel market by selecting airport hotels that are better equipped to deal with airline customers.

Each year, American Airlines embarks on the ‘staggering’ job of booking 2.5 million hotel room nights around the world for its flight attendants and pilots. The airline spends around $350 million a year on hotel accommodation but lucrative contacts can only be awarded to hotels that meet certain minimum specifications.

These include rooms that are away from lifts and other sources of noise and that are on at least the second floor with doors that open into a secure hallway.

View Comments (5)
  • The reason for the requirements is Flight Attendants in the past were put in noisy area, like by Elevators and ice machines and they sleep most times during the night as they fly all night flights. Plus people staying in hotels are really noisy in the halls, talk loud, especially around the Elevator. Also parking lots are noisy as so many people push the remote several times in locking the door and honk the horn in the process outside of rooms windows. It can be exhausting for flight crews. So they get rooms to avoid as much of that as much as possible. Flying many time zone difference many times a month and all night is difficult. They need their rest
    !

  • I often wonder with the loop holes in cheap labor in the UK why UA (22 flights a day) has not expanded the LHR base and why AA and possibly AC have never opened a base. Even if those base numbers don’t populate entire flights (mix LHR and JFK base crew etc) it would give the airline flexibility in cost and rostering. It would allow multiple sector options for LHR base where for example LAX LHR is manned only by LAX base crew. And relieve a large portion of the London hotel problem which is not a new one and is one of the most expensive hotel nights to pay for on most airline networks (outside of say Tokyo or Singapore)
    I guess unions don’t allow.

  • They use the [redacted] High Street Ken and that has some challenging rooms in terms of size – the last time I stayed there I heard FA’s complain about it.

  • Take profit and find an area in the metro and build a hotel and call it One World Hotels and contract it to house your own flight attendants and pilots along with other flight attendants and pilots from other One World alliance airlines.

    Problem solved. 😉😉

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