After chatting with a disgruntled crew on a recent flight, I learned that the flight attendants were only on a 9 hour layover staying at an airport Holiday Inn, whereas the pilots were staying downtown that evening in a more upscale property. Based on this one example, it might seem that the pilots stay in nicer hotels than the flight attendants, but generally a lot more goes into their accommodations.
We wrote about What Hotels Do Flight Attendants Stay At? and from this sampling flight attendants actually stay in some nice hotels (for instance the SLS Las Vegas).
What really determines where the crews stay is how long their overnight is. Well generally the flight attendants will fly with each other for a whole trip, and pilots will fly together, often the trips of the flight attendants and pilots are completely separate.
As an example, let’s say we have a Delta flight from New York to Phoenix (PHX). The pilots could have a 24 hour layover in Phoenix and be staying in downtown Scottsdale, before working the redeye back the next night. The flight attendants on the other hand could be working an early morning flight to Atlanta, and only have 10 hours in Phoenix, which is why they are staying at the airport hotel, which isn’t as desirable.
When it comes to international carries, generally the flight attendants and pilots are staying at the same hotel, because they are working the same flight back together on the return.
So in closing, pilots may stay at nicer hotels than flight attendants if they have longer layovers, but the same could true if the flight attendants have longer layovers than the pilots.
Feel free to share your thoughts below.