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Crew Accommodations

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Hotel Update

 

Jay Lyle, Crew Accommodations Committee Chairman

Jay Lyle
Chairman, Crew Accommodations Committee

I received an e-mail from one of our pilots asking me if I knew anything about personal smoke protection hoods. I didn’t, but this pilot did some research and has some information on his web site. The pilot is Richard Nelson and his e-mail and web site addresses are rmnelson@erols.com and http://www.erols.com/rmnelson. He purchased a smoke hood for about $40 to use for getting out of a hotel fire, if necessary. He has some information on a few different hoods on his site.

We had the grievance hearing on the change of hotels in Fort Lauderdale and we have received a reply from Captain Gibson’s office. At the hearing I was able to present management with a proposal from the Embassy Suites to house our pilots starting April 1. Captain Gibson asked the Crew Accommodations Department to pursue the Embassy Suites proposal. The hotel is still willing to house us and I’m hoping that by the time you read this, we will have a new hotel for the long overnights in Fort Lauderdale.

The move would only affect pilots because the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) didn’t file a grievance over this move and seems to be happy with Howard Johnson’s for the long layovers. This would be the first time the pilots have split from the flight attendants on an overnight; the AFA has split from us on overnights in the past. The two instances were in Buffalo when the Airways was still there, and the other in London when they decided to use a hotel in Brighton instead of the Gatwick Hilton.

The change should be able to happen quickly. This does not constitute a termination of the contract with the Howard Johnson’s as the flight attendants will be remaining there.

International crews flying to London should note that the flight attendants moved to the Hilton with us, I believe, on April 1. There will be some problems with their rooms being ready when the second crew arrives. There are two separate contracts in effect at the Hilton but there will still be six rooms ready for our pilots. Pilots may give up their rooms to flight attendants and wait for another at their option. The wait for rooms should only apply to the second flight attendant crew.

There have been some problems with the Sheraton Hotel in BDL charging crews for 800 toll free calls. This is something we might start to see spread across the country as hotel companies look for ways to increase revenues. After 30 minutes on an 800 call the hotel will start charging 10 cents a minute. If you would hang up before 30 minutes there will not be a charge. If you would talk or stay connected to the Internet for 29 minutes, hang up, and then call right back there wouldn’t be a charge.

Why is this happening? One reason is many guests, not just airline crews, traveling with laptop computers are getting on line for a couple of hours at a time. The hotels don’t have enough lines coming into or out of the hotel so some guests are not able to make calls and the hotel is not able to receive some calls. Right now this is only happening in BDL at the Sheraton, but I’m anticipating it spreading across the county. One hotel trade publication I receive has been talking about this as a way to generate more revenue in addition to freeing up some of the hotel’s trunk phone lines.

There is a problem in concluding a contract with the Fort Myers hotel. There have been some protracted negotiations, but our intent, as well as management’s, is to remain there. The problem has been with an insurance clause the US Airways Legal Department has put into the new contract. For some reason the hotel’s legal department has a problem with it. We have not run into this problem with other hotels, but we are trying to get the legal departments together to solve this problem. Because of the long process our trip sheets started coming out with "to be announced" as the hotel for RSW. Noticing this, the hotel’s management thought we wanted to leave as soon as the season was over. I’ve tried to assure the hotel’s manager that we want to stay and that we have not considered looking for another hotel. Hopefully, this will all be solved by the time you read this.

We also started using two new hotels on short notice starting March 1. The new hotels are a St. Louis long hotel and a long hotel in Dulles. The reason for both were consistent long overnights in St. Louis and upwards of 50 rooms a night required in Dulles, which was more then the Days Inn could handle. The new hotel in St. Louis is the Radisson Hotel and Suites. The hotel is on Fourth Street right next to the arch. The hotel will provide transportation by April. It had to sub-out the transportation in the beginning because of the short time-frame to start up.

The Radisson is close to many activities. The RCA Dome is a couple blocks away and Busch Stadium is also a few blocks walk in the opposite direction. There are a few riverboat casinos nearby and two of them send shuttles to the hotel about every two hours. One of them is within walking distance of the hotel, the President Casino. The boat doesn’t leave the dock, and because of that they have specific boarding times. Check with the hotel on these times so you don’t head there and have to wait for an hour or two to get in.

The Radisson Hotel is in the process of building a new executive lounge which our crews will have access to. They are also building a workout room. In the meantime we have access to the YMCA one block away. The St. Louis Center Mall is three blocks away. However, it closes early. There is also Union Station which is about one and a half miles away (the hotel is providing shuttle service). At Union Station there are restaurants, shops, clubs, and movie theaters. Also near the hotel and RCA Dome is the Lacled’s Landing eating and shopping area.

The hotel in Dulles is the Holiday Inn at Fair Oaks Mall. It is located in the parking lot of the Fair Oaks Mall. The mall is fairly nice and has four sit-down restaurants, a fast food court, and movie theaters. The hotel has a small exercise room plus access to a local gym. The gym is free to hotel guests except during peak times. At peak times there is a $5 fee. The hotel will also provide shuttle service if you want to go further than the mall. This hotel is charging 75 cents for local calls.

We are in the process if inspecting ORD, CHS, YUL, and SAN as the contracts are coming up for renewal. We are not sure if there will be any changes in any of these cities but the short ORD hotel has received quite a few complaints.

Have a good overnight.

Watch List

CHA – The hotel’s location is isolated for long overnights. There were no comments on this hotel for the month.

CHS – The hotel is too isolated for long overnights and the rooms are in poor condition. The hotel is renovating, but that doesn’t solve location problem. There were no comments on this hotel for the month.

FAY – Hotel’s location is poor for long overnight. No comments were received for the month.

IND short – Quality South. Room condition is a problem, as well as use of the hotel for long overnights. If we could get better consistency from the Ramada at the airport we might be able to drop this hotel. We may need to find a new short hotel for all crews.

TPA long – New to the list. The hotel had room problems during the renovation along with some transportation problems. This hotel is tied with FLL long for the most complaints for the month. The contract is up in the summer; we will see if they improve by then or we will look for another hotel.

Disapproval List

FLL long – We have a favorable decision on the grievance and hope to have a new hotel for the pilots April 1.

DAY long – Reason: hotel condition and location. No long overnights for the month. When some long overnights are scheduled we should be able to secure a new hotel.

EWR long – Reason: location of the hotel from the airport. We have started to make some calls to other hotels. Time has been a factor in getting anything done on this city.

The total number of OF-310 forms and e-mails we were able to answer this month was 84. Please continue to send in the OF-310 forms. We need all the information you can provide.


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US AIRWAVES - April 1999

Central Air Safety