Flight attendants at ultra-low-cost airline Spirit Airlines may soon be staying in better hotels after managers made a small concession to the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) who are currently locked in negotiations extended contracts with the Miramar-based airline.
As part of the tentative agreement, the low-cost carrier agreed to place its flight attendants in hotels located in areas “of cultural or historical significance” and within “convenient walking distance” of restaurants, shops and tourist attractions during certain stopovers.
The deal marks a turning point for cost-cutting companies like Spirit, known for finding the cheapest accommodation options for pilots and flight attendants. These hotels can often be in unattractive locations such as airport hotels and are far from local amenities and attractions.
In contrast, full-service carriers often pride themselves on placing flight personnel in four- or five-star hotels in popular downtown locations.
Minimum hospitality requirements are also frequently enshrined in collective agreements between airlines and powerful flight crew unions, which stipulate room and hotel amenities and acceptable locations.
For example, some mainstream US carriers flying to England are required to find hotels in central London for their flight attendants and pilots despite the sky-high prices that come with high-end accommodation options in the UK capital.
Meanwhile, many other international airlines avoid the drama of finding a suitable hotel in London by staying close to the airport.
The majority of Spirit’s stopover hotels are unlikely to move, but as part of the tentative agreement, the airline has agreed to find better located hotels for flight attendants on longer layovers of at least least 16 hours and 40 minutes.
This will only apply in cities where Spirit already uses two hotels – so one hotel will be for shorter layovers and the second will be in a more premium location for flight attendants to enjoy a longer layover.
Unfortunately, little progress has been made on some of the important points of the negotiating agenda. The union last month called a proposed wage offer an “insult” and said the wage offer was far lower than what jetBlue flight attendants earn.
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