- JetBlue flight attendants who recently started on the job say they are facing high accommodation costs.
- Someone who spoke to Insider said up to eight people were sharing a hotel room designed for four.
- The workers say they are not allocated flights, which affects how much they can earn.
Traveling isn’t what it used to be – airlines are losing passengers’ luggage, canceling flights, diverting flights mid-air, and even asking people to get off a plane they just boarded.
The airline’s crew is also under pressure from the summer’s travel chaos. Insider spoke with two JetBlue flight attendants — including one who recently retired — who described their difficulty finding affordable lodging after completing the airline’s training and being assigned a base.
Jiani Santana, who quit about two weeks after being assigned to Newark Airport, said she had spent far more money on lodging than she had earned.
Another flight attendant, who did not want to be named, told Insider: “This would be a dream job for many of us, but we are living a nightmare. Most of us are practically homeless or living in a hotel with up to eight people in one room, barely surviving on the small wages we earn.”
They fear that they will be thrown out of the hotel if the management realizes how many people are staying in a room intended for four people.
JetBlue began flying from Newark, New Jersey, in July 2020 and expanded last year, but cut several routes earlier this year, according to Simply Flying.
A flight attendant said JetBlue was aware it could not cope with the influx of new crew. “We’ve talked to the trustees and the emergency fund – no one is willing to help. All the crash pads are full until September. We don’t make a lot of money as beginners, so we’re splitting a room that costs almost $3,000 a month.”
The flight attendant added: “There are still quite a few of us here with nowhere to go. There are so many newbies who have already quit because they couldn’t afford to stay.”
The worker also knows colleagues who break the rules by staying in crew lounges at airports.
Santana said they were told not to worry about where they would be based until they completed their training. “You don’t need to look for a place to live right now because you don’t know if you’re going to pass,” Santana said she was told.
Both Santana and the flight attendant said they were both on standby, as were many others. They were paid $21 an hour before tax, but were only guaranteed a minimum of 75 hours a month, which equated to $1,575.
However, Santana said she spent about $2,400 in about two weeks on lodging, food and Uber rides.
Santana said she felt unsupported: “Everybody in management kept telling us it will get better—it’s just something you have to go through. I didn’t get any flights. I literally spent money that I didn’t get back in return. .”
The anonymous flight attendant added: “The biggest problem is that we don’t fly. Our base is new so there aren’t that many planes.”
A JetBlue spokesperson told Insider that they did not provide housing for employees, but do offer confirmed seats on flights for those who decide to commute to their bases from other areas during the summer peak season.
“JetBlue has reduced its flying by more than 10% this summer to reduce operational issues, including cancellations and delays from weather and flight control programs,” they added.
Receipts, a copy of a contract and screenshots of a group chat have been seen by Insider.