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Hotel Lounges – Distinctions, Access & Discretion

Date: January 28, 2022

We have received significant feedback from several of the hotels contracted with United suggesting there may be some misunderstanding as to the acceptability of our use of the hotel lounges.  These hotel lounges are a nice amenity and, when offered, are certainly appreciated. 

Some of these reports indicate that there may be confusion between the hotel lounge and a “crew lounge.”  When hotels offer a “crew lounge” or a crew room it is an offering of goodwill provided by the hotel after earning United’s business.  They are providing the facility for our use as crew members, but we should always remember, this is not an entitlement under the terms of our Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Put simply, it can be taken away.

Often these lounges have beverages and food available for the crew and these amenities are specifically intended for the exclusive use of crew members. It has been brought to the attention of the MEC Hotel and Transportation Committee by hotel management that some crew members are bringing guests who are neither crew members nor guests of the hotel to these lounges.  This is happening, in particular, at international locations. In many instances, the hotels view these unauthorized guests as a breach of their security and have reached out to the Union for assistance in appealing to our Members to avoid other unintended consequences.  Please, do not jeopardize this benefit by bringing non-crew members into these lounges.

Alternatively, many hotels offer a “members” lounge for guests who have earned a level of status at their brand.  AFA is not involved in access to these lounges in our layover hotels. These are private agreements between the hotel and the “member” who has attained a specific status and the hotel chain. 

More recently, many hotels routinely restrict access to these lounges when the guest is on a “group rate” or “crew rate” – meaning that the guest has not directly booked their stay.  These “membership lounges” often offer food and beverages that are intended to be consumed in those lounges and not to be removed from the facility for consumption elsewhere. 

Increasingly, we are getting feedback from hotels that some of our members are using these offerings to “stock up” their personal food coolers for the following days. To the extent that we are unable to check our own behavior, the hotels are indicating they may be left with no choice but to deny all crew members access to these lounges. 

Considering the advantage having access to these lounges provides all of us collectively, we implore any crew members legitimately having access to these lounges to use them as intended under your agreement with the hotel.   

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