You may never have heard of flight attendant ‘crashpads’, but they’re all over East Boston

If you’ve been walking up Cottage, Havre, or Princeton streets in East Boston, you’ve almost certainly passed a so-called “crashpad,” an apartment with multiple beds for rent for flight attendants and crew.

After Boston Detectives Shut Down An Illegal East Boston Crashpad earlier this month, GBH News has identified more than a dozen crash pads in east Boston, all within a few miles of Logan International Airport.

Interviews with flight attendants indicate there are even more, marketed on private Facebook groups like “Boston Crew Commuter Apartments” and “Boston Crashpads New”, where users must be flight crew members to join. Others are advertised on crashpad-focused websites like Crashpad411 and

Crashpads have been around since the inception of the airline industry. These are shared spaces with beds allowing airline employees to rest several nights a month, close to the airport. Online listings say prices range from $250 to $500 per month, depending on the listings, with “cold” beds – beds not used by other guests – at a higher rate than “warm” beds, which have other occupants but the sheets are changed between visitors.

Rent is good, especially considering that a room at the nearby Embassy Suites by Hilton Boston is $300 a night, and a room in a multi-bedroom apartment in East Boston can cost upwards of $1,000. per month.

“The cost of living in Boston is ridiculous for a flight attendant’s salary,” said Krystal Valdes, a flight attendant who stays at an east Boston crash pad. She lives in Texas, but is based in Boston.

“When you’re doing training, many training instructors recommend going for a crashpad,” she said. Valdes didn’t say where she was staying, but said the rules said she couldn’t stay there for more than six days in a row.

Affordability gives crew members “the opportunity to save money, especially when they don’t earn much in the first few years,” she said. New flight attendants earn between $24,000 and $30,000 in base salary each year, putting normal rental prices out of reach in many cities. And the nature of the work is such that they can only spend a few nights a week in their “home base”.

Airlines pay for hotel rooms during overnight layovers, but don’t pay for rooms if the attendants are on call and just need to be close to Logan airport, or if they’re arriving from a another “home” town and need a place to sleep before leaving early.

Obviously, one of the customs of crashpads is that members don’t talk about crashpads. GBH News contacted nearly 30 flight attendants who had posted publicly on crashpad websites, and most declined to comment. A participant in a crashpad Facebook group has warned others not to speak to the press after receiving a message from GBH News.

“In this case, the media is not your friend,” the stewardess wrote. “Our lifestyle is none of their business,” and negative media coverage “could potentially ruin our unique lifestyle that has existed since airlines have existed.”

A message in a crashpad group warning flight attendants not to speak to the media.

Screenshot by Sarah Betancourt/GBH News

Crashpads occupy a legal gray area. People who want to turn an apartment into a short-term rental in Boston must go through various steps, such as having licensed contractors do any prep work, then getting inspections, final approval, and city registration.

Boston has different categories of units that can be approved, such as a “limited share” unit, where an “operator” is present, or a “colocation” unit where an entire apartment is a rental when the operator is not present. , like an Airbnb.

But the ordinance authorizing short-term residential units for Boston does not address renting beds in an apartment or squeezing multiple people into a room.

The Boston Inspection Services Division did not grant a request from GBH News for an interview about the legality of the East Boston crash pads.

Three GBH News crashpads identified with publicly accessible addresses on Havre, Cottage and Princeton streets in East Boston are not listed as short-term accommodations on the Department of Inspection Services website.

The Geneva Street The garage that Boston inspectors closed on April 6 had a four-bedroom apartment with multiple beds in each room, intended to accommodate up to 20 people, but usually not at the same time. Owner Aaron Daigneault did not have permission to convert the commercial space into housing, let alone one for a rotating cast of 20 people, according to the Department of Inspection Services.

Daigneault told GBH News via email that when he bought the building it was a warehouse and apartment, and he raised $3,600 a month from a tenant. . He told NBC10 Boston that he rented the second floor of the building to a woman, who sublet the space and added the extra beds without his knowledge.

“It’s a death trap,” John Meaney of Boston Inspectional Services told GBH News the night of the bust, describing how the entire apartment was above highly flammable materials, with no escape route, no smoke detectors and other health violations.

But for many flight attendants, crashpads are a great place to live.

Chalet Street.jpg
The Cottage Street building in which a crashpad operates in East Boston.

Photo by Sarah Betancourt, GBH News

A crashpad of several on Cottage Street benefits from its location — two blocks from the free airport shuttle, with “no hot bedding and super high-speed Internet,” for just $300 a month. Others offer a 24/7 shuttle service to and from the airport.

A crashpad on Princeton Street even offers day rentals, with a 12-hour stay for $40 and a 12-24 hour stay for $70. Amenities are plentiful – Netflix, coffee, an iron and a “clothes rack to keep your uniform in good condition”. The person who listed the space did not respond to requests for comment.

Finding a crashpad is usually done by word of mouth, Valdes said.

She described how people could leave toiletries or food on a certain shelf for others to help themselves to. “Everyone tries to help each other as much as possible. It kinda reminds me of a sorority. She has a cold bed, so no one else sleeps in it while she’s gone.

A former flight attendant named Kaitlyn, who did not want her last name released for privacy reasons, said she lived in a Boston crash pad for 18 months.

She sympathizes with new flight attendants who are on duty more than a week a month. “You have no other choice, it’s either get a crashpad or sit on the airport floor,” she said. Crashpads aren’t unusual at all – she said “there are hundreds of them in every city”.

Kaitlyn worries about her flight attendant friends, some of whom can no longer live in the condemned apartment on Geneva Street. “They say on the street that the city doesn’t care,” she said. She worries that more media coverage of the issue could lead to the city cracking down and closing more crashpads, leaving flight attendants without affordable housing.

But the spotlights don’t seem to deter new owners. One recently posted on Facebook: “Hello everyone, we have a crash pad being renovated and everything new on Princeton St. in East Boston will be available 5/1/22, or may -be at the end of April!” Single, double and quadruple beds in one room are available. The author, who said the crashpad is a four-minute drive from Logan Airport, did not respond to a request for comment.

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