Whether you’re a pilot yourself or just curious about the lives of aviators, you may have wondered: do pilots have to pay for their own hotel rooms during layovers or is that cost covered by the airline? This is an interesting question that we’ll explore fully in this article.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: most major airlines cover hotel costs for pilots during layovers or overnight stays away from their home base. However, policies vary somewhat between airlines.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll look at hotel policies for pilots at the major U.S. airlines. We’ll cover how hotel costs work for domestic layovers versus international layovers. We’ll also discuss pilot rest regulations, crashpads and more.

By the end, you’ll understand exactly if and when pilots have to pay for their own hotels.

Hotel Policies at Major U.S. Airlines

Delta Air Lines

When it comes to hotel accommodations, Delta Air Lines takes care of its pilots by providing them with complimentary hotel rooms during layovers. This policy ensures that pilots have a comfortable place to rest and recharge before their next flight.

Delta understands the importance of well-rested pilots in maintaining a high level of safety and efficiency.

American Airlines

Similar to Delta, American Airlines also offers free hotel rooms for its pilots during layovers. This practice is in line with industry standards and helps the pilots to have a good night’s sleep before their next flight.

The airline recognizes that well-rested pilots are essential for the smooth operation of their flights.

United Airlines

United Airlines follows the same policy as Delta and American Airlines when it comes to providing hotel accommodations for pilots. The airline understands the importance of ensuring the well-being of their pilots and ensures they have a comfortable place to stay during layovers.

This helps the pilots to be refreshed and ready for their next flight.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines, known for its unique business model, takes a different approach to hotel accommodations for its pilots. Instead of providing hotel rooms, the airline offers a generous hotel allowance for pilots to book their own accommodations during layovers.

This gives the pilots more flexibility and allows them to choose a hotel that suits their preferences.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines, like Southwest, provides a hotel allowance for its pilots instead of offering complimentary hotel rooms. This allows the pilots to select their preferred accommodations based on their individual needs and preferences.

Alaska Airlines values the well-being of its pilots and ensures they have the resources to find suitable lodging during layovers.


JetBlue, known for its customer-centric approach, extends the same level of care to its pilots when it comes to hotel accommodations. The airline provides complimentary hotel rooms for its pilots during layovers, ensuring they have a comfortable and restful stay.

JetBlue recognizes that well-rested pilots contribute to the overall satisfaction and safety of their passengers.

Domestic Layovers vs. International

When it comes to layovers, pilots often have to spend a night in a different city before continuing their journey. This raises the question: do pilots have to pay for hotels during their layovers? The answer to this question depends on whether the layover is domestic or international.

Domestic Hotel Policies

For domestic layovers, airlines typically provide hotel accommodations for their pilots. This is because domestic layovers are shorter in duration and pilots are expected to be well-rested for their next flight.

Airlines understand the importance of ensuring that their pilots have a comfortable place to rest and recharge before their next duty. Therefore, the cost of the hotel is usually covered by the airline.

However, it’s worth noting that there may be some exceptions or variations in domestic hotel policies among different airlines. Some airlines may require pilots to share a room with another crew member to reduce costs, while others may offer single rooms.

It’s always a good idea for pilots to familiarize themselves with their airline’s specific policies regarding domestic layovers.

International Hotel Policies

International layovers present a different scenario. Since these layovers are usually longer in duration, pilots are often given the option to choose their own accommodations or stay at a hotel provided by the airline.

In some cases, pilots may receive a daily allowance to cover the cost of their hotel stay.

Each airline may have its own policy regarding international layovers. Some airlines may have preferred hotels where pilots are expected to stay, while others may allow pilots to choose their own accommodations within a certain budget.

It’s important for pilots to familiarize themselves with their airline’s policies and guidelines for international layovers.


While airlines generally cover the cost of hotel accommodations for pilots during layovers, there are some exceptions. For example, if a pilot chooses to stay at a more expensive hotel than what is provided or allowed by the airline, they may be responsible for covering the price difference.

Additionally, if a pilot decides to extend their layover for personal reasons, they may be responsible for the additional costs associated with the extended stay.

It’s also worth mentioning that some low-cost carriers may have different policies when it comes to providing hotel accommodations for pilots. These airlines may require pilots to arrange their own accommodations and cover the cost themselves.

Pilot Rest Requirements

Pilots, like any other professionals, require adequate rest to ensure their safety and the safety of their passengers. The aviation industry recognizes the importance of rest for pilots and has implemented regulations to ensure they receive sufficient rest periods during their work schedules.

FAA Rest Rules

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has established rest rules that outline the minimum rest requirements for pilots. These rules are designed to prevent fatigue-related incidents and accidents. According to the FAA, pilots must have a minimum of 10 hours of rest between duty periods, with at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep within the 10-hour rest period.

The rest period includes time for pilots to commute to and from their place of rest, as well as time to eat and relax. The FAA also sets limits on the maximum number of flight hours pilots can work in a specific period, known as flight duty periods.

Hotel Quality Standards

When pilots are required to stay overnight at a destination, airlines typically provide hotel accommodations. These hotels must meet certain quality standards to ensure pilots have a comfortable and restful stay.

Airlines often have partnerships with specific hotel chains that meet their standards for safety, cleanliness, and amenities.

The quality standards for pilot accommodations vary among airlines, but generally include criteria such as proximity to the airport, availability of a quiet room, comfortable bedding, and reliable Wi-Fi.

Airlines understand the importance of providing pilots with a conducive environment for rest and relaxation before their next flight.

Length of Rest Periods

The length of rest periods for pilots depends on various factors, including the duration of the previous flight, the number of flight hours worked, and the time zone changes. Long-haul international flights often require longer rest periods to allow pilots to adjust to different time zones and recover from the effects of jet lag.

The FAA sets specific rules regarding the minimum length of rest periods based on these factors. For example, after a flight to a different time zone, pilots may be required to have a longer rest period to ensure they are sufficiently rested before their next flight.

It is important to note that while airlines provide accommodations for pilots during their rest periods, pilots are generally not responsible for paying for their own hotel expenses. These expenses are typically covered by the airline as part of the overall cost of operating flights.


When it comes to the question of whether pilots have to pay for hotels, one term that often comes up is “crashpads.” So, what exactly are crashpads? Let’s explore this interesting aspect of the aviation industry.

What Are Crashpads?

Crashpads are affordable accommodations that pilots can rent near their base or airport. They are essentially shared living spaces where pilots can rest and sleep between flights or during layovers. These crashpads can be anything from small apartments to houses, with multiple bedrooms and common areas for pilots to relax and unwind.

Crashpads are a popular choice among pilots for several reasons. Firstly, they provide a sense of community and camaraderie, as pilots often stay together and share their experiences. This can be especially beneficial for new pilots or those who are new to a particular base, as it helps them build relationships and gain support from fellow aviators.

Pros and Cons

Like any other accommodation option, crashpads come with their own set of pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look at both:

  • Pros: Crashpads offer significant cost savings compared to traditional hotel stays. They also provide a sense of belonging and community, which can be invaluable for pilots who spend a significant amount of time away from home.

    Additionally, staying in a crashpad can often be more convenient, as they are usually located closer to the airport or base, reducing commuting time.

  • Cons: While crashpads offer cost savings, they may not provide the same level of comfort and privacy as a hotel room. Sharing living spaces with other pilots means you may have to adjust to different schedules and living habits.

    Additionally, crashpads may not always be available or may have limited availability, especially during peak travel seasons.

Cost Savings

One of the biggest advantages of crashpads is the potential for significant cost savings. Pilots who opt for crashpad accommodations can save a substantial amount of money on hotel expenses, especially if they fly frequently or have long layovers.

The exact amount of savings will depend on various factors such as the location of the crashpad, the number of pilots sharing the space, and the length of stay.

According to a study conducted by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), pilots who utilize crashpads can save up to 50% on their accommodation expenses compared to staying in hotels. This can translate into thousands of dollars in savings over the course of a year for pilots who frequently travel.

It’s important to note that crashpads are not provided or subsidized by airlines. Pilots are responsible for finding and paying for their own crashpad accommodations. However, the potential cost savings make crashpads an attractive option for many pilots looking to minimize expenses while on the job.

Other Hotel Cost Considerations

While pilots generally do not have to pay for their hotels directly, there are other cost considerations that they need to be aware of. These include suite upgrades, amenities and incidentals, as well as taxes and fees.

Suite Upgrades

Some pilots may choose to upgrade their hotel rooms to suites for added comfort and convenience. However, these upgrades often come with additional costs. Pilots may have to pay the difference between the standard room rate and the upgraded suite rate.

While this is not a requirement, it is an option that pilots can choose if they prefer a more luxurious stay.

Amenities and Incidentals

Hotels often offer various amenities and services that pilots can take advantage of during their stay. These can include access to fitness centers, swimming pools, or spa facilities. While these amenities are typically included in the cost of the hotel stay, pilots may need to pay for incidentals such as room service, mini-bar charges, or laundry services.

It’s important for pilots to be mindful of these additional costs and budget accordingly.

Taxes and Fees

Just like any other hotel guest, pilots may be subject to taxes and fees associated with their hotel stay. These fees can vary depending on the location and the hotel’s policies. It’s important for pilots to be aware of any additional charges they may incur, such as resort fees or city taxes, which could affect their overall hotel expenses.

It’s worth noting that the specific policies and costs associated with pilot hotel stays may vary depending on the airline and the individual pilot’s contract. Some airlines may cover all hotel expenses for their pilots, while others may have specific guidelines regarding what costs are covered.

Pilots should consult their airline’s policies or speak with their union representative for more information.


In summary, whether pilots have to pay for their own hotels depends primarily on the airline’s policies, whether it’s a domestic or international layover, and the type of accommodation. At most major airlines, the cost of hotel rooms for layovers is covered for pilots.

However, there are some exceptions, limitations and other considerations.

Crashpads present a more affordable alternative for pilots’ rest on shorter layovers near their home base. Rest requirements also play a role in hotel policies and quality standards.

While airline pilot jobs come with the travel perk of free hotel stays during layovers, pilots do have to pay incidental fees and taxes associated with their accommodations in most cases. Understanding the nuances around hotel policies can help pilots manage expenses and get proper rest.

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