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Airline crews call LAX parking lot home

Motor home community is in Lot B

By Karen Datko Sep 14, 2009 10:24PM

Here's the strangest proof we've seen to date that the airline industry ain't what it used to be. According to the Los Angeles Times, airline pilots and other employees are living in a collection of 100 campers and RVs in Parking Lot B of Los Angeles International Airport, less than 3,500 feet from the south runway.

 

It has the feel of a modern-day shantytown, replete with the sounds and smell of jets coming in for a landing at the nation's third busiest airport. Parking the motor home at a Wal-Mart sounds glamorous compared with this.

 

The LA Times reports:

It is a drab expanse of crumbling gray asphalt, approach lights, chain-link fencing and rows of beige and white RVs -- some battered, others grand. A splash of color comes from the red and white blooms of about a dozen rose bushes along the colony's northern edge.

But it's a steal. Rent for each space is only $60 a month.

 

Incidentally, it's not the only way LAX is setting a standard for weird. It gets a "Worst Airport Winner" award from The Guide to Sleeping in Airports Web site. (From what reviewers said, sleeping out in the parking lot would be preferable, even with the noise and fumes.) And, of the 12,000 laptops lost or stolen in U.S. airports each week, LAX ranks No. 1 with 1,200. LA Weekly reports that most are left behind at TSA checkpoints.

 

Why are pilots and other airline workers no longer sharing LA apartments with colleagues, which is what they used to do so they wouldn't have to commute long distances to their primary homes between flights? Pay cuts are part of the shrinkage that has plagued the troubled industry. The Times further explains:

Salaries for pilots, mechanics and other airline workers have plummeted. Captains like (Alaska Airlines pilot Jim) Lancaster have been demoted to first officer, losing hard-earned seniority and forcing them out of plum assignments at airports close to home. Lancaster, who came to LAX from Seattle about 18 months ago, estimates that his reduction in rank cost him about $30,000 a year, roughly 20% of his pay.

Published July 23, 2009

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