What is a Crash Pad?

What is a Crash Pad?

2020-01-29T17:46:11-05:00September 27th, 2017|How to start a Crashpad, Tips|0 Comments

Unless you’ve already worked in the airline business previously, you were probably scratching your head the first time you heard this term. As a flight attendant in training academy, it certainly took a few minutes to wrap my head around it. The idea of 14 flight attendants sharing one three-bedroom apartment.

Webster’s Dictionary defines CRASH PAD as the following:

1:  protective padding (as on the inside of an automobile or a tank)

2:  a place to stay temporarily

We’re leaning more toward the second definition here. While crash pads do offer protection to airline professionals in many ways, they are most often apartments or houses. For an airline crew member (such as a flight attendant or a pilot, usually a commuter), a crash pad is a place to stay temporarily, in between flight sequences, and located at the crew member’s base (chosen by the airline, not the crew member). A crash pad provides a place to sleep, eat, and shower when needed. It replaces a hotel and requires a monthly cost. It’s usually always cheaper than what one would spend on a hotel. Crash pads are temporary places to stay- a home away from home if you will. In most cases, they only require a month to month contract and a deposit.

Are you looking for a crash pad, and could use some direction on what questions to ask? Please remember these ten key points about crash pads in order to find the best one for you!


A crasher is an airline professional who pays monthly in return for a place to stay temporarily, not to reside permanently. Many airline crew members become crashers, as they commute from their home which is not located at their base city (or hub). Some airline crew members use crash pads as a temporary home as they look for an apartment at their base. I always hesitate to use the word Renter here because it should be noted that the crash pad is not a permanent dwelling, and most often crashers are required to have a permanent dwelling already.

Hot Bed vs. Cold Bed

A hot bed is shared by more than one person and is used on a first-come-first-serve basis. Hot beds are usually offered at a cheaper rate than dedicated beds. A cold bed (or a private bed) is a dedicated to only one individual and is for one person’s use. I wrote a full blog post about them here!

Commuter vs. Full-Timer

A commuter is a client who uses the crashpad as a place to reside temporarily before and after flight sequences, but who make every effort to commute back home. Their full-time residence is located away from base. Most crash pads do not allow commuters to spend more than half of the month at the pad. A full-timer is a client who has 24/7 access and permission to spend 30 nights. For airline crash pads, most full-timers are temporary – mainly because of base changes, but also because of the pennies that the airlines pay new hires.

Education is Key

I hope that this post at least gives you a better explanation than Webster’s dictionary can. The world of crash pads is only scary and overwhelming to the commuting flight attendant until they educate themselves a little, which was my goal here. If you know any newly hired flight crew, please share this blog with them! Because airline flight crew means being a professional traveler, I also recommend you check out Crew Traveler’s travel tips.

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