American Airlines blasted by pilots, flight attendants unions for transportation delays, lack of hotel rooms

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Unions representing American Airlines flight attendants and pilots have filed a grievance with the air carrier, claiming it has failed to provide crews with adequate transportation and hotel accommodations in between layovers, violating its collective bargaining agreement.

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The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA), which represents approximately 28,000 American Airlines flight attendants, claims that the number of complaints from its members about the third-party vendor operating American's hotel and limo desk, TA Connections, has reached "unprecedented, unacceptable levels." 

Complaints include "excessive hold wait times", lack of timely and reliable transportation, non-contractual compliant hotels being used, no rooms upon arrival, limited service hotels being used over full service properties, and "unsuitable hotels". 

"Flight Attendants should not have to wait hours on end to speak with the hotel/limo desk. We have Flight Attendants sleeping in airports and outside of baggage claim due to the company not providing hotel accommodations in a timely manner," AFPA National President Julie Hedrick said in a statement. "Crew rest is being impacted, and clean, comfortable, and quiet rooms are not being provided for required rest."

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The AFPA further alleges that American has either failed or refused to do the following:

  • Provide a comfortable, safe and clean single occupancy hotel room to flight attendants during layovers or scheduled or unscheduled ground time exceeding four (4) hours 
  • Make every effort to avoid delays in room assignments at all hotels  
  • Ensure that flight attendants will not be required to provide a credit card in order to check in to the hotel 
  • Provide transportation at all layover stations  
  • Investigate and respond, within 15 calendar days, to the APFA National Hotel Department on the results of the Company’s investigation and the actions being done to resolve the problems, after receipt of a report of a problem with a facility or associated transportation arrangement.

The Allied Pilots Association, which represents approximately 15,000 American Airlines pilots, is demanding reimbursement for lodging and ground transportation expenses for travel accommodations arranged by pilots themselves.

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"Taking care of our crewmembers while they’re away from home is a priority for American," the airline told FOX Business in a statement. "We’re looking into the concerns raised by APA and APFA."

A spokesperson for TA Connections did not immediately return FOX Business' request for comment. 

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AALAMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP, INC.21.46+0.00+0.01%

The complaints come as American Airlines has struggled to meet rising travel demand due to staffing shortages. In order to alleviate the pressure on its current staff, American has hired nearly 3,500 new team members in 2021 and plans to hire 350 new pilots by the end of the year and more than 1,000 pilots and 800 flight attendants in 2022.

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