There are so many details to consider when looking for a crash pad! After more than 4 years in the crash pad business and working as a flight attendant, I decided to create a list of considerations to help commuters who are looking for a decent place to rest their head between work flights, home and those lovely reserve days. My hope is that this list will serve as a starting point for those of you who don’t know where to start at all.
1. Hot Bed vs. Cold Bed
If you are new to the airline business, you may not get this term- but it’s a very important one! Hot beds may be cheaper, but they are used by more than one person. This translates to sharing your bed with other crashers, putting on and removing your bedding during each stay, and the possibility of being left without a bed if the bed becomes occupied. A cold bed entails your private bed, with only your linens on it, reserved for you and only whatever you decide to put on it. I wrote a full article on hot beds versus cold beds here.
2. Limitation of days
I always encourage potential candidates to ask about the commuter rules for each crash pad they contact. I have heard one too many stories of my colleagues being misled, only to learn later that their crash pad rate only allows for a specific number of days per month, and once more days are used, the rate shoots up. This may be fine and well for those expert line-holder commuters, but no one can predict a reserve month or a storm that may leave you stranded at your crash pad for days. I personally would much rather prefer the security and insurance of knowing that I will have a bed whenever I need it throughout the month.
If you don’t have a car in the area, you will want a guarantee that you will make it to and from the crash pad -and get around to nearby locations- that won’t break the bank. Lyft (use code TARA660 to get your first ride free) and Uber provide a cost-efficient alternative, but public transportation is even better, if available. Create a route with GoogleMaps to explore the best route and to determine the approximate cost from the airport to the crash pad. Play with the time frames to figure out how often the lines run. If there is a shuttle, great! Ask the representative how much, how often and to what terminal the shuttle runs? Inquire about what methods their crashers use the most?
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4. How Many Stars do You Have?
Word of mouth is always the best source of review. Ask your crew members if they’ve heard about the crash pads you’re considering and what they’ve heard? News travels fast within the airline community, and one thing flight attendants love to do is share stories! You might be surprised at what you can find out by simply dropping a name and listening. If you’re part of any online crash pad communities within the area, make a post asking for input. CrashPadJoe.com is a free crashpad network, but with no reviews. www.Crashpad411.com is a great resource for finding crash pads with reviews and ratings featured. If your crash pad representative mentions recent improvements, updates, repairs or long-term crashers, I would give them extra points. A professional management team that understands client needs and who seek to address issues make all the difference. Just like your landlord or apartment management has the ability to ruin your experience at their property, crash pad managers who are unprofessional and have little to no business management experience may put a strain on what little resting time you have on the ground.
5. Home vs. Apartment
I highly discourage everyone from sharing an apartment with other crewmembers. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard a new hire flight attendant tell me that they are going to lease an apartment to use as a crash pad with some friends. First of all, leasing an apartment and subletting beds within the apartment is illegal, and could be shut down at any time. But what usually happens next is either someone flakes and the others are stuck with a bill larger than they can afford, or it becomes stressful to handle the issues that arise because there is no role of crash pad manager. With that being said, you may have the choice of deciding whether you would like to spend your reserve days in an apartment or house. Given the choice, I would much prefer the extra space of a large house, closet storage, several community areas, a large backyard and a safe neighborhood to stroll about. Paper-thin walls and cramped apartment living is at the bottom of my list.
You definitely need to determine if the crash pad meets your expectation of clean. Review pictures and consider what others may tell you about the level of cleanliness. Ask your crash pad agent what measures they take to maintain a clean environment? Does crash pad management check in on the property? If there is a weekly maid service included, I would consider that a win.
7. Crash Pad Management
I’ve already mentioned how important reviews are, but let’s consider the crash pad management in general. If there is a crash pad website, check it out! If it’s clean and appears to have taken a lot of time and effort to build, the management most likely takes a great amount of time and effort with all other aspects of the pad. Make a phone call or message them, and note how long it takes for someone to respond. If they aren’t very punctual in contacting you, they probably won’t be punctual with anything else. And there is a lot to tell from the tone, wording, and attitude. If you’re getting a bad vibe from one phone call, you should probably listen to it! Here are some questions you could ask to clear any doubt of incompetent management: Is there an onsite crash pad manager? Is there a suggestion box, and how have you dealt with suggestions in the past? How long have you managed this property? Do you have a professional billing system? How do you address needed repairs? Find out how well they understand the sky life. How understanding does the representative appear to be toward your situation?
It may not be totally about the little things, given your new hire wages, but you’ll want to make your list of preferences and try to check off as many of those items possible as you’re researching your local crash pads. Items you might consider include washer/dryer, high-speed WiFi/Cable, a computer station, an image/prep room, potential crash pad pets, and a fully equipped kitchen for your convenience. If you like to work out or go walking, you might ask about nearby gyms and walking paths. Cleaning service is also an amenity I would prefer not to live without!
As a flight attendant, I felt it was important to provide a certain standard to the flight crew I host. My management team designed and built custom bunk beds that I refer to as Lux beds. In my experience, I have never learned of any other properties that provide the perks of our Lux beds. Our beds were designed with sturdy wood for adults, perfectly measured for a Travel Pro rollerboard suitcase to fit directly underneath. Each bed includes a personal shelf, wall outlet, light and blackout privacy curtains. I would say these are awesome amenities. We tell our new crashers that all they need to bring with them is twin bedding and a towel.
9. Crash Pad Community
Keep in mind that a cheap cost usually provides for a cheap experience, and with it comes along the community. A crash pad full of pilots may not be the best fit for a new hire flight attendant. Perhaps you would be more comfortable in an all-female crash pad. Additionally, I would consider the application process for that crash pad as a telling point as to what kind of market they serve. Are references required? Does the crash pad accommodate commuting airline crew only, or civilians and full-timers as well? Does your crash pad cater to new hires or senior flight attendants? The two environments would be fairly different, and the goal is to join a community that will help you thrive as the flight attendant you are, not diminish the experience! You may also want to inquire how many crashers there are per room? If there are more than six, I might become concerned about the space available. The last thing you want after a long flight trapped in a metal tube is a cramped space that leaves you feeling like a sardine.
10. Food & Other Nearby Conveniences
Of course, food is a top priority! You will need food as well as other needs at some point during your stay at your crash pad! If you have an address for the crash pad, check out the nearby area for restaurants, grocery stores, a banking branch, nail salons, and other shopping. Maybe there is a cinema, mall or snow cone shop nearby to entertain you during those lulls of time you will spend there. If you can walk (or bike, or skateboard) to those locations, that’s more money in your pocket if you don’t have transportation at the base. InstaCart is also a great delivery service for groceries from your nearest store. Use this coupon to get $10 for free.
When your head isn’t in the clouds, you deserve a relaxing place to rest your head. May this list guide my fellow new hires into their most suited home away from home. More than anything, I hope that this will save some of you from the unnecessary struggles such as unbearable costs, environment, and inconvenience that happen all too often.