November 3, 2009

Hotel Behavior

Being a junior line holder last month (October) was a wonderful break from reserve... no pager, no call windows, I held mainly 4 day trips- the downfall was that I spent many of my nights in hotels up and down the east coast.
When I first started, I was kind of excited about all the hotel stays. I felt like I was on vacation, no making the bed, dusting or cleaning and if I got hungry room service was always there to bring me food right to my room!
A few years, a few too many stories on hotel cleanliness, and a few crew horror stories later (bed bugs, things under the bed and mattress) and the trill of hotels has permanently worn off! I know Flight Attendants (and probably most pilots) have their routines they do when they get into a room. Some are pretty extreme, mine really is not. However, with Flu Season coming up and the spread of the dreaded H1N1 virus, I've decided to step up my routine a notch and keep myself extra safe this winter. So, I decided to share some of my hotel behavior with you.

- When I get into my hotel room (after its been checked by my crew for scary men in my room) I immediately hang up my clothes and jacket in the closet. Bed bugs live in any articles of furniture, clothing, or bedding, so they or their eggs may be present in used furniture or clothing.

- I always pull out the luggage rack and set my suitcase on it before I ever open it up. Bed bugs scare me more than the flu.

- I set any other bag on the desk, dresser or bedside table and never leave them sitting on the floor.

- I carry flip flops or slippers depending on the time of year. Socks work too... The floors are DIRTY and who knows how long ago they were really cleaned! I do not reccommend walking around your room barefoot.

- Before sitting on the bed, I always pull back the sheets, look under pillows and pull up the mattress. Look for little red dots of blood an indication of bed bugs or the bugs themselves... Bed bugs have flat bodies and may sometimes be mistaken for ticks or small cockroaches. Bed bugs feed by sucking blood from humans or animals. Adult bed bugs are reddish brown in color, appearing more reddish after feeding on a blood meal. Nymphs are clear in color and appear bright red after feeding.

If all clean and clear, Plunge into the bed- remember not to touch or snuggle up in the comforter. It probably has not been changed for quite some time as well!

-Before you reach over and grab the tv remote, stop and think about how often that gets wiped off. Like a door handle, lots of people touch that thing and probably not after they have washed their hands. I carry anti- bacterial wipes to wipe it down. Other flight attendants i know use the ice bucket liner to put over it.

- The main thing I learned after becoming a Flight Attendant is to NEVER use the glassware or the coffee pot in the room. Dirty, dirty, dirty things happen there. I will use the coffee pot if it is the coffee pot that pours into the to go cups. Again, I usually carry a water bottle and coffee cups of my own. If I get really desperate (think 4am wake up call in winter) then I will run it under hot water and wash it out with soap and water. Beware of the coffee pots please, it took me only one story of a flight attendant washing her panty hose in the pot for me to swear them off forever. (And I'm sure we've all seen this...

If not, please watch it. It is a good reminder that unlike at home.. no matter what hotel you stay in, you really are in someone else's world and you can never be sure what really goes on in there. So, work extra hard to keep yourself safe and healthy this holiday travel and flu season!

What does your hotel behavior look like? Any new tips for me and the other readers out there?


Postcards and Coasters said...

So true... the more time you spend in hotels the grosser they seem to get. :)

Bed bugs also freak me out! I flew with a flight attendant who said he was bitten by a mouse in his hotel room. It was at a hotel infested with mice. You could hear them running on the ceilings. So gross... I tried to avoid that hotel.

The Friendly Skies said...

ohhh nooo! thats so grosss!!! ewww. glad that I haven't encountered that yet. Yes, please stay away from that hotel!

Meekiyu said...

aiya.... I'm also very wary of hotels and I always check the bed and never used the coffee machine.. though I actually have no idea how to work it. I bring all my own things if I don't have slippers I wear socks to walk across the carpet...

Anonymous said...

The people that clean hotel rooms are some of the harderst workers in the hospitality industry.
Wonder what stories they could tell about the "guests" that they work so hard to clean up after??!!

Anonymous said...

I was at the Embassy Suites in Jacksonville Fl. I made marks on the bottom of glasses I had poured soda into to see if the glasses were changed that day. Well, when I returned, those same glasses with marks on the bottom were out again as clean. I went to management and told them what I did. They were quite upset at housekeeping (or that they had gotten caught). I did this because I had just seen on TV a hidden camera in a hotel room that caught the same thing happening and the maid was washing the glasses in the bathroom sink or tub and drying them with dirty towels.

Crew Companion Expert said...

You are so right about the hotels! No matter where you stay really the whole room is just like a public bathroom, so treat it as such.

Alicia said...

Ick! I had never seen that video! It really opened my eyes! I don't stay at hotels often, but when I do..I will checking for bed bugs.. and dirty glasses..and all of those other nasty things I should have been looking for!