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Regional Crews Rest Uneasy In Crash Pad

Old 08-04-2009, 04:59 PM
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By Sholnn Freeman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 4, 2009

At first sight, the Sterling Park house looks like an ordinary split-level, complete with carport, backyard grill and freshly mowed grass. But instead of housing a growing suburban family, it offers accommodations for 30 pilots and flight attendants struggling to string together a few precious hours of sleep.



This is a typical crash pad for regional airline flight crews -- part of a subculture of boardinghouses jokingly referred to by those who use them as the world's largest illegal housing network. It's a makeshift arrangement for people who often have to travel cross-country from the cities where they live to the airports where their jobs are based. A few describe themselves as "somewhat homeless" and complain that they make so little money that they have to make crash pads their primary homes.
Regional airline pilots, whose employers pay much less than major airlines, say crash pads are emblematic of the dysfunction in the nation's air transportation system. They exist to fill a need for a cheap place to rest.



Far From Home, Regional Airline Flight Crews Rely on Crowded Crash Pads - washingtonpost.com
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Old 08-04-2009, 05:10 PM
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A good article that every passenger should be required to read.
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Old 08-04-2009, 05:13 PM
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The crash pad I stayed in was quite nice with cable tv, wifi internet, comfortable beds, good A/C and heat, and a 3 minute walk from the airport. Only 7 of us stayed there, not 30, and rarely were there more than 2 of us any given night. Most nights I spent alone, not much different than a hotel.

I had to get dressed by cell phone light a few times though. But, they aren't all bad.

Not quite like home, however.
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Old 08-04-2009, 06:07 PM
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Launch the photo gallery. Picture 5 sums it up for me. Small room with bunks with a pilots shirt hanging in the background next to their zip tie and lanyard.

Truly living the dream
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Old 08-04-2009, 07:03 PM
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The way I see it there are four levels for crewmembers:

1) Those who can’t afford anything and end up sleeping at the airport in the crew lounge, at an empty dark gate or in an old car in the employee parking lot.
2) Those who pay into a cheap crashpad or kick a bit back to a friend who allows them to sleep at their place.
3) Those who can afford an actual hotel (usually line holders who reserve 4-6 nights a month at $50-$80 a pop).
4) Those who live in domicile or within a reasonable driving distance.

I’m a crashpader and I fear that they will crack down on crashpads forcing us out long before they pay us enough to afford a decent hotel. At my CP there's usually no more than 2-4 of us there per night and we are all provided or own beds, HBO, Wireless internet, fully functional kitchen and two full baths all within a 10 minute walk of the airport. It's not bad at all, especially for the price we pay. If they shut CP's down, more of us would fall into category 1 or we'd start hotel pooling.
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Old 08-04-2009, 07:21 PM
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Far From Home, Regional Airline Flight Crews Rely on Crowded Crash Pads - washingtonpost.com
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Old 08-04-2009, 07:45 PM
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Saw that this morning on the Company News Feed. A very good read. Giving the flying public some insight to what some of you guys go through in your career is a good thing. You don't get enough respect in my opinion.
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Old 08-04-2009, 08:13 PM
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Very interesting read indeed. What troubles me is that nobody seems to have a viable solution to this problem. Or that people who are in a position to do something don't have the gumption to make the hard decisions.

That article places part of the blame on low pilot pay. I was just reading this Newsweek article that said this "The recession will probably lead both American businesses and workers to the point where it is clear that the cost of labor in the United States has been too high, and it has been too high for twenty or thirty years. That has not been true uniformly across all industries. Labor became too expensive in the car and other manufacturing industries in the 1970s. The cost of service workers, especially in the technology industry, has become too expensive in just the last few years. The American worker is going to have to come to terms with the fact that an economy that supports 95% employment will be an economy where the incomes in many industries must decrease. The hundreds of thousands of workers who have been fired from the auto industry, the airline industry, and other segments of the private sector that have suffered irreversible damage to their fortunes may not be able to find permanent unemployment. The government cannot afford to care for them. Some of these people will may jobs for less money and that will bring the overall cost of labor in America down. That will, in turn, reduce consumer spending, so the Administration's plan to help improve the export portion of the economy as a key to GDP growth comes at the right time."
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Old 08-04-2009, 08:21 PM
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Not really sure why it's targeted towards "regional" airline pilots.

I've had crashpads in LGA, BOS, IAD, EWR, IAH, and LAX. EVERY one of them had "mainline/legacy" pilots on them as well "regional" pilots.
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Old 08-04-2009, 08:49 PM
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Picture 9 looks like a clip from the show "Cops", filmed on location at a crashpad near you.
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