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Safety and Security While on Layover – Let’s Look at the Full Picture

Date: November 19, 2021

Safety and Security While on Layover – Let’s Look at the Full Picture

The MEC Hotel and Transportation Committee acts on every report we receive from you through our reporting tool: https://unitedafa.org/reports/hotel/ and we also trend and track issues of importance that affect not only Flight Attendants, but all guests in hotels.  None of us are exempt from the numerous scams that proliferate around the world at any number of hotels but knowledge is power.  Knowing about these scams creates awareness and provides us with a layer of protection we might not otherwise have. 

Guarding our whereabouts and those of the other Members of the Crew with whom we are traveling should be of paramount importance.  As we begin the slow and arduous return to “normal”, we must recognize the financial challenges that have affected many around the world.  As financial difficulties rise, some seek ways to take advantage of others for their own personal gain.   Collectively, we must guard against this for our well-being.

As an added measure of security, we should never discuss or share, no matter how innocent it may appear, our layover location to passengers or others not having a need to know where the crew is laying over. 

Once at the hotel, we register with the front desk. Unless you are planning to charge incidentals to your room, no credit card information should be requested nor should you provide it unless you plan to charge items purchased within the hotel to your individual guest room.  In the same way, there should be no reason for front desk staff to contact your room to request a credit card once you have checked into the hotel.  You should be highly skeptical about any call from someone claiming to be a hotel representative asking you for credit card information.  Under no circumstances should you even consider providing this information in response to an unsolicited request.  Should the need arise for you to provide a credit card number to the hotel, we strongly recommend that occur only in the form of an in-person transaction with Front Desk staff.

Scams to Consider

Hotel policy regarding the protocol as it pertains to placing calls to guest rooms varies between properties.  In some instances, only the name is needed.  In others, the name and room number of the guest must be provided before the call is transferred.  In others, calls may be transferred without additional verification.  These protocols are typically applied when calls are received from outside the hotel.  However, within the hotel, instructions for room to room dialing are clearly delineated on the room telephones.

We are learning of recently developed scams in which a person having intentions to steal your personal financial information will call your room advising they are calling from the Front Desk of the Hotel and will proceed to generate questions about your personal information and may even request you provide credit card information often claiming they wish to “verify” the information on file.  If you receive such a call, simply hang up and contact Front Desk staff.  If they insist that they must have this information, we strongly recommend you conduct that transaction in person, with staff at the Front Desk, in person.

As a refresher, the company and the Union have agreed to the terms of the AFA Contract and Hotel Standards which include:

  • Personal check cashing or ATM on property.*
  • In-room phone activation and room access without credit card.
  • No service charge associated with toll free (i.e. 800) calls.
  • May require credit card imprint for signing privileges to cover incidentals. (This transaction should occur only with Front Desk staff.)
  • Ability to access services with cash.

*The parties may mutually agree that an ATM within reasonable walking distance satisfies the requirement.

A second, popular scam is modeled after the ‘pizza flyer scam’ that occurred in recent years in Orlando, FL.

Victims of these scams, using flyers found in the hallway of the hotel or delivered under their guest room door, use the information from the flyer to place what they believe to be a legitimate order for food.  In point of fact, the flyer is a scam intended for one purpose only – to secure the credit card information from an unsuspecting guest.  Once they have that information, they are in a position to immediately begin ordering items using the credit card information. In some cases, sub-standard food is delivered and credit card charges begin appearing some time later.  In others, no food is delivered and the charges to the card begin almost immediately.

While there is no information that would suggest any of our Members have been victims of these scams, our objective is to alert you to the possibility.  While many may question why we’ve implemented standards by which our contract hotels must operate, we’ve done so in an effort to ensure the continued safety of our Members. 

Please continue to use our reporting system to let us know about concerns and issues you encounter with your layover hotels or transportation. The company does not share with the Union reports filed using United Voices or Help Hub.   It is for this reason that we strongly recommend you provide information to AFA via our internal reporting forms found on the MEC website at www.unitedafa.org.   

 

 

 

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