A short memo caught my eye to United Airlines flight attendants from its union. Apparently, some flight attendants are not checking out of layover hotels and some may even be running up charges for incidental purchases and not settling them. It’s an important reminder that we all should check out of hotels rather than just depart.
Union To United Flight Attendants: Check Out Of Your Hotel And Settle Bill For Incidental Charges
A November 15, 2022 memo to flight attendants lays out the issue:
Section 5.B.4. of our Contract establishes our responsibility to check into and out of our layover hotels. Given the, at times, shorter layovers, or last-minute reassignments, overlooking check out is something that can happen unintentionally. Nevertheless, this 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 telephone calls at check-in.
When checking out, settle all charges incurred during your stay, including telephone calls or room service charges and request a receipt. This is an excellent way to ensure that erroneous charges have not been applied, in error, to your room folio during the course of your stay.
From this, it is not a stretch 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 USA): you check in under a prepaid rate, are told that any incidentals will be charged at checkout, and then essentially can order room service, dine in the hotel restaurant, or use other hotel amenities just by signing for them.
If you leave without checking out, there is a problem because (in the flight attendant case) your employer has only agreed to pay for the room and therefore the hotel faces a quandary: try to charge the airline, go after the flight attendant, or write it off. The increasing answer is that hotels are not even allowing for such arrangements any longer.
This story resonated with me not because I have the ability to effectively dine and dodge, but because I have to admit, I’ve neglected to check out lately on several recent stays. Typically, if I am at a Hyatt and leave ahead of the 4:00 pm checkout deadline, I will leave open my option to return just in case of an unforeseen delay. Then I forget to actually check out.
When you skip checkout as a regular consumer, your credit card is simply charged for any remainder on the hotel bill at some point after checkout. That’s where you can create a headache for yourself. In my case, a hotel I recently stayed at failed to remove breakfast (a Globalist benefit). That then took time out of my day to call the hotel and to get the charge reserved (it actually took two calls).
So I now make it a point to always check out and review my bill in-person when not available on a hotel app. You should too.
Flight attendants at United have been reminded, by their union no less, to ensure they check out of a hotel when leaving and settle any charges. But this is an important reminder for all of us: sometimes long lines may seem like a deterrent, but that time spent will be less than correcting a mistake after the fact.
Do you bother to check out of hotels when departing?
image: weariwandered / Instagram