A short note drew my attention to United Airlines flight attendants in his union. Apparently some flight attendants don’t leave layover hotels and some may even charge fees for incidental purchases and not pay for them. It’s an important reminder that we should all be checking out of hotels rather than just leaving.
Union to United Flight Attendants: Check out of your hotel and pay the bill for incidentals
A November 15, 2022 memo to flight attendants outlines the issue:
Section 5.B.4. of our contract establishes our responsibility for check-in and check-out at our stopover hotels. Given the sometimes shorter layovers or last minute reassignments, skipping departure is something that can happen unintentionally. Nonetheless, it is something that we must all collectively make a priority as part of maintaining United’s relationship with these hotels. Based on this check-out requirement, flight attendants are not required to provide a credit card for room service or in-room phone calls upon check-in.
Upon departure, pay for any charges incurred during your stay, including phone calls or room service charges, and request a receipt. This is a great way to ensure that incorrect charges were not mistakenly applied to your room folio during your stay.
From there, it’s no exaggeration to say that some flight attendants were likely abusing the contractually negotiated privilege of not having to provide a credit card at check-in. I’ve stayed at hotels like this before (all outside the US): you check in with a prepaid rate, you’re told all incidentals will be charged upon checkout, then you can basically checkout room service, dine at the hotel restaurant, or use other hotel amenities simply by signing in for them.
If you leave without checking out, there is a problem because (in the case of the flight attendant) your employer has only agreed to pay for the room and therefore the hotel is faced with a dilemma: try to make the airline pay, sue the flight attendant, or write it down. The growing response is that hotels don’t even allow such arrangements anymore.
This story resonated with me not because I have the ability to dine and dodge effectively, but because I have to admit I’ve neglected to check lately on several recent stays. As a general rule, if I’m at a Hyatt and checking out before the 4:00 p.m. checkout cut-off time, I’ll leave my return option open just in case of an unforeseen delay. Then I forget to check.
When you skip payment as a regular consumer, your credit card is simply charged for any balance on the hotel bill at some point after payment. This is where you can create a headache for yourself. In my case, a hotel I stayed in recently did not remove breakfast (an overall benefit). It then took time out of my day to call the hotel and get the reserved rate (it actually took two calls).
So I make it a point to always check and review my bill in person when it’s not available on a hotel app. You should too.
United flight attendants have been reminded, by their union no less, to ensure they check out of a hotel on departure and pay all charges. But this is an important reminder for all of us: sometimes long queues can seem daunting, but that time spent will be less than correcting an error afterwards.
Do you bother checking out hotels upon check out?