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Flight Attendant Layover Accommodations for COVID-19 FAQ

Date: March 27, 2020

Current as of 3/27/2020

As we continue to navigate the challenges with which we are presented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re faced not only with issues affecting our business, but we are also affected by disruptions in the businesses with whom we interact during the course of our workday. In particular, the business at layover hotels is changing rapidly. 

For our understanding, during the month of April, on a systemwide basis almost 42% of the flying is 1-day or turn flying. That is almost a 10% increase over the same month last year.  There has been a reduction in the number of 2, 3 & 4 day pairings on a systemwide basis as well where the average length of layovers has been reduced by :13 minutes.  The statistics are important because they directly impact our work life.  These statistics tell the story about not only where we layover but if there are layovers scheduled at all.

We understand you have questions about the safety of our layover hotels and the actions these hotel vendors are taking to ensure you have a safe and comfortable stay.  Your MEC Hotel & Transportation Committee has been engaged with the Hotel Desk, Corporate Procurement and ALPA to ensure that we are best leveraging our influence to enforce the terms of our Contract and ensure our overall safety concerns are addressed.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, preventative actions are being implemented by federal, state and local governments resulting in an impact to some of our crew hotels. In an effort to ensure you have a safe hotel with food options, there may be changes to your layover hotel and transportation.  The following is a list of frequently asked questions. 

Q. Why has my regularly scheduled crew hotel changed?

A.United continues to use its regularly scheduled crew hotels. However, because of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, hotel occupancy rates have dropped to 90% or worse. As a result, many hotels have temporarily closed their doors to overnight guests. When one of these hotels close, we use other hotels in our United inventory when available. If none of these hotels are available, we will do all possible to select hotels that maintain our expected level of service. 

Q. Will my crew hotel have its regular amenities?

A.Because of low occupancy, hotels are laying off many of their housekeepers, bellhops, valets, food service and other workers and closing concierge lounges. Further, government mandates or restrictions and enhanced hygiene requirements resulting from COVID-19 are impacting operations of hotel restaurants, bars and fitness facilities. As a result, the availability of regular amenities is likely to be affected, such as temporarily closing fitness facilities. United requires its hotel partners to still offer food options. Check with the hotel front desk for the options available at your hotel.

Q. What food options will be available at my hotel?

A.Limited staffing and government mandates or restrictions resulting from COVID-19 are impacting operations of hotel restaurants, bars and room service. United requires its hotel partners to continue offering food options. United’s preference is for hotels to continue offering standard restaurant and room service options. However, where this is not possible, food options may include limited menus, to-go, and self-service markets with items such as prepared salads and sandwiches. Check with the hotel front desk for the options available at your hotel.

In some locations we fly to, crew hotel meal accommodations or government restrictions are very specific. In these few instances, we have posted details via IFR messages. It is recommended to also read through those messages if you receive or see them posted.

Q. Will room service be available?

A.The availability of room service depends on government regulation, as well as the hotel’s operating plan. Room service may not be available. Some hotels continue to offer room service or have grab-and-go items that they will deliver to your room. Check with the hotel front desk for the options available at your hotel.

Q. Will full menus be available?

A.Due to government regulations, and potential supplier and delivery challenges, some hotels have had to modify their normal offerings. Full menus may not be available. Other limited food options such as to-go, or self-service markets are available. Check with the hotel front desk for the options available at your hotel.

Q. Will I still have tea and coffee facilities in my guest room?

A.Some hotels have removed in-room tea and coffee facilities as a result of removing items that require additional cleaning. If you do not have a machine in your room, check with the hotel front desk to see if one can be provided.

Q. What changes can I expect in my guest room?

A.Many hotels have made the decision to remove items that need to be washed from the guest room.  Items such as glassware and coffee makers may not be provided.  If you want any of these items, check with the hotel front desk to see if they can be delivered to your room.  Many non-essential amenities including magazines, decorative pillows, bed throws, flowers, pens, and paper have been removed to minimize potential areas of exposure and focus cleaning on essentials.

Q. Will my hotel room be cleaned during my stay?

A.Many hotels have made the decision to not enter guest rooms for cleaning during your stay. Please check with the front desk upon arrival to determine that specific hotel’s plan.  If you have a preference about having your room cleaned, please communicate that preference to the front desk on arrival. If your hotel does not plan to clean your room during your stay, but you need additional amenity items (e.g., towels, shampoo, etc.), simply call the front desk with your request. It is recommended that you continue to use your “do not disturb” sign, as applicable.

Q. How are hotels sanitizing public areas and hotel rooms?

A.Most hotels have increased frequency of cleaning high-traffic public spaces. They also are enforcing cleaning protocols including the use of Personal Protective Equipment as required and vigilance with personal hygiene (i.e., regular hand washing and use of hand sanitizer). There is increased attention on surface disinfecting of touch points such as light switches, remote controls, door handles, telephones, etc.  In guest rooms, many hotels have eliminated non-disposable in-room glassware, in-room coffee pots, unwrapped food snack items, and many other non-essential amenities (e.g., magazines, decorative pillows, bed throws, non-fixed desktop items, etc.).

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