Flight attendants at American Airlines have been told to stop abandoning their crewmates who don’t come down from their layover hotel rooms in time for the designated pickup time.
When flight attendants are staying in a layover hotel, it is their responsibility to ensure they check out at the correct time so they can jump on the crew van that will take them to the airport for their next flight.
The length of time between the flight’s departure time and checkout time can vary enormously based on many different factors including the location of the layover hotel, the anticipated traffic to the airport and local immigration and security procedures.
Because there are so many variables at play, sometimes flight attendants get it wrong and fail to checkout at the correct time. And apparently, American Airlines flight attendants are getting into the habit of leaving behind late crew members.
“Over the past few months, we have seen a rise in crew members being left behind at the hotel when they don’t show up for pickup,” noted the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) who represents AA crew members in a recent memo
“We are all in this together, and no one should ever be left behind at the layover hotel,” the union warned, noting that illness or something even worse could be the reason that a flight attendant hasn’t come down from their room in time.
Flight attendants are now being urged to try and make contact with the missing crew member before simply leaving them behind.
In the first instance, flight attendants should ask the front desk to phone the missing flight attendant’s room to establish the reason why they haven’t checked out. If there’s no answer, then contact should be made with AA’s security team and hotel guards should be called out to carry out a welfare check.
“Taking additional steps when a crewmember isn’t present ensures they make it home safely. If they need assistance, the appropriate departments will be alerted promptly to provide the necessary support,” the union explains.
Some airlines ask hotels to make wake-up calls to flight attendants an hour before the scheduled departure, although that isn’t an official policy at American Airlines. At many carriers, flight attendants are even expected to be in the lobby at least five minutes before departure because being ‘on time’ is considered late.
As for flight attendants who have simply slept in, the crew van will normally leave without them and the missing crew member will be expected to get a taxi to the airport at their own expense.
In most cases, the flight might not depart until they’ve made to the aircraft but that isn’t guaranteed and flight attendants can be left behind.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.