Photo Credit: Heather Poole
Tag Archives: Hotels
This past weekend flights across the northeast United States and eastern Canada were cancelled en masse as a winter storm descended on the region. For the tens of thousands of travelers stranded or delayed, it’s a lousy experience that seems to have no end. But we know it isn’t any better for the pilots and crews scheduled to work the grounded aircraft. To get some perspective on the matter, we turned to Heather Poole, our favorite flight attendant/writer, for some insight on why exactly it’s so lousy for them. — Jason Clampet
You think you’ve got it bad?
Passengers aren’t the only ones suffering when a storm hits town and causes the airports to close. Here’s what happens when flight attendants get grounded.
We don’t get paid
Flight attendants are paid for flying time only. Time on the ground doesn’t count. I’ve been working as a flight attendant with a major carrier for 17 years and from time to time I’ll work an 11 hour day and only get paid for five of those hours. Happens all the time to more junior flight attendants.
All that time between flights goes unpaid. The flight attendant greeting you at the boarding door is not getting paid. Neither is the flight attendant helping you find a spot for your bag. The time clock doesn’t officially start ticking until the airplane backs away from the gate. Needless to say delays and cancellations affect flight attendants just as much, maybe even more so, than passengers.
We can be reassigned to work for days
Once we’re on a trip, we’re at the company’s beck and call until we die or the weather clears up. When airlines are low on staffing, they can reassign us to work different flights as long as we’re legal. The FAA allows us to work a 16-hour duty day, but we have to get at least eight hours behind a hotel door at the end of the day. Between trips we get 11-12 hours off, depending on if it’s a domestic or international route or whether or not we’re on reserve or holding “a line” (schedule).
After flying six days in a row, the FAA requires us to take a 24 hour break. These 24 hours don’t always take place at home. Sometimes they happen at an airport hotel. 25 hours later we could be right back up in the air. Which is tough because there’s just no way to let our families know when we might be home again.
Last week Anne Taintor and I teamed up for a holiday travel giveaway. To be entered into the contest readers were asked to share their favorite travel tips. I’ve decided to post a few of my favorites…
1. Make hotel stays more pleasant: One of my favorite tips for the holiday is tearing out one of those perfume adds that are in all the fashion mags, and place them gently on top of your lamp next to your bed in your hotel room to help take away those miserable stale room smells - Sara Culver-Truby
2. Pack foil: I have so many travel tips it’s hard to pick just one but I guess my favorite one is to always have foil with you. If you do, you can heat up ANYTHING with an iron! Sometimes our hotels don’t have microwaves and if I have foil, I can wrap up any left over and use an iron to heat it up. I think this would have to be my favorite travel tip! - Leesa Grauel
3. Get a good night’s sleep: I’ve downloaded a “sound machine” app. on my phone. It’s great for drowning out noise in hotels. - Karen Long
4. Go left: That was our advice for visiting Disney, and it almost always works. People tend to go to the right, so go to the left for shorter lines - Michele
5. Move quickly through security: If waiting in a long line, talk politics. Somehow it always moves things along a litle faster. Helps to talk blue politics in red states, red politics in blue states. If you’re loud enough, the people at the counter even seem to move more quickly. - Lisa Hardwick-Cillessen
6. Make trips more memorable: choose a new lotion or perfume scent, that way whenever I encounter that scent in the future it will always bring back a wonderful memory of that trip. - Bailey D. Caskey
7. Get rid of baggage: excess weight–clean out your purse! Invest in a nice lightweight nylon handbag. You can carry it inside a much larger carry-on totebag that will also accommodate your book, snacks, camera, change of clothes, etc. When you get to your destination, you have a smaller, light handbag for sightseeing, restaurants, etc.
8. Out with the old, in with the new: For longer trips, I always bring some end-of-life undergarments, sneakers, PJs, etc. I toss them and then have room for those items I purchased. My other must haves are a Swiss Army Knife and a Spork (combo spoon & fork). They are essentials for when you want to make a meal from a food market. - Cynthia Felts
9. Pack Jewelry: I learned to use straws to put your necklaces in, so they don’t tangle all up. - Maureen Androshick
10. Stay Healthy: Never leave home without a small antibacterial spray. Hit up the remote, the light switches, door knobs and taps. Hotels are festering places and if you do any amount of regular travel, this is the only way not to pick up every single greebly bug floating around. - Jean
11. Plan Ahead: Mapquest the liquor store in the neighborhood where you are staying to avoid those costly hotel bar drink choices. – Sandy
Photo courtesy of Jen Pollack Bianco
In the spirit of Halloween, I’d like to share a couple layover hotel ghost stories from flight attendants I know…
At a hotel in San Francisco the water kept turning itself on during the night. After the 3rd or 4th time, instead of getting up and turning it off, I had a little talk with the ghost. I was thinking I must have lost my mind. Water went off automatically. Never came on again! - Vicki Howell
At our current Paris hotel, I had an apparition appear at the foot of my bed. At first I didn’t think it was anything until I felt somebody sit on my bed. I turned on the light near the bed and of course there was nothing there. – John Gonzales
On a layover in Miami, I felt someone/something pull the covers off of my shoulder and breathe cold air onto the back of my neck. I jumped out of bed, ran for the door, turned on the light… and no one was there. On the next trip another flight attendant couldn’t get into that same room with her key. Security couldn’t get in either. They had to change her room. Gives me the chills even talking about it. – Penni Reynolds Piskor
At a Sheraton in New Jersey in 1989, I kept thinking there was someone in my room. Woke up several times convinced. Searched the room. Nothing was there. Found out later the hotel was reputedly haunted, and one of the elevators was known to run all night, stopping at each floor even though nobody called it - Julie Meyer
I always clip my curtains closed so the light will not shine through and wake me up. In the middle of the night it was like someone used their hands to push both curtains back forcefully. I was lying there freaking out! Another time I woke up to find the decorative bed quilt folded neatly in the corner of the room. I don’t fold at home nor am I good at it, so I know I didn’t do it in my sleep. The third time we did a seance. We asked for a sign and all the elevators opened simultaneously. We jumped up and ran! – Lynne Smith
I’m not afraid to admit I have a fairly large collection of Do Not Disturb signs. They’re hanging on every door in my house. I’ve also acquired quite a few hotel key cards over the years. Those are all lining the inside of my tote bag. It’s not like I meant to take them! More like I forgot to drop them off while making a mad dash for the hotel van departing to the airport early in the morning. So what is a girl to do with a stack of hotel key cards? Create a “decoupage” tray! I fell in love with the idea the moment I spotted the above photo in the September issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray. Danny Seo, the genius behind the idea, suggests picking up an unfinished wooden tray from Micheals. Use random key cards as ”tile” and glue them to the bottom of the tray. Visit DailyDanny or pick up a copy of Upcycling: creating beautiful things with the stuff you already have to learn how.
Photo courtesy of DailyDanny.com
Written by guest blogger Hotel Slippers
Longing for a quick California getaway and having heard about the beautiful scenery with outdoor fire pits located throughout the property, I knew Terranea would be a good choice. On the property, the first thing I noticed besides the Mediterranean style of the main building, and the fact that I was actually not on a work layover, was the low-key, subdued look of the hotel entrance. A Spanish style fountain in front of the hotel circular drive complimented the tasteful exterior of the simple, yet dramatic architecture.
The hotel foyer is decorated with a large round table adorned with a colorful floral centerpiece. Glancing over my shoulder, I noticed a larger room filled with comfortable sofas, chairs and a magnificent stone fireplace, lit with orange flames flickering in the hearth. Since the day was cool and a little damp, the room looked relaxing and inviting. I loved the warmth of the fire, brightly colored rugs and classic decor.
Check in, thankfully, was quick, and I was surprised with an upgrade to an ocean view room, along with directions regarding the layout of the property, pools, and restaurants. Following the sea green, cream-colored carpet down the hallway to my room, I slipped my key into the slot with the anticipation of finally getting a look at my accommodations for the evening. Not at all disappointed, I walked across the room toward a small balcony, stepped out and took a look around. It was delightful not only to see the ocean, but to hear sounds of waves crashing against the rocky coastline. If you are visiting on a warmer evening, you might want to open the balcony sliding door in order to savour the sounds of the ocean before drifting off to sleep.