United Airlines “European-Style Business Class” [Roundup]

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • When the U.S. banned travel by non-U.S. residents from several Southern Africa countries (but not right away!) it was supposedly to ‘buy time’ to deal with Omicron. Omicron was already spreading in the U.S., and it’s not clear what we used this intended time for exactly. Now that it’s the dominant strain here, it’s obvious the ban on Southern Africa travel is not in any way protective against Omicron. So it’s being lifted. But not until December 31. Because reasons.

  • The Westin Paris near Place Vendome has laid off all of housekeeping and outsourced the function. There’s no way I’d stay there at this point… not out of ‘worker solidarity’ but out of a bet on future cleanliness.

    While the luxurious hotel reopened its doors on Wednesday after long months of closure, 107 people, or the entire department which employs the chambermaids, housekeepers, and the concierge, have already been laid off in favor of a subcontracting service, provided by the company Elior.

  • Gina Sheldon flew Air France flight AF334 from Paris to Boston at the end of her ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ trip to Italy. When she arrived home she found that the Christmas gifts she had packed in her luggage were gone. The bag came off of her Paris – Boston flight and still had a similar weight – because the presents were replaced with dog food, shaving cream, and old t-shirts.

    Since her tickets were issued by Delta Air Lines, she called them and couldn’t get through for hours. She should have dealt with Air France, but now that media are involved Delta is managing the connection between the passenger and the European airline which apparently allowed someone to access her bags between the time they were checked and when they were delivered in Boston. The leather jacket she’d purchased for her daughter, “and leather purses for family members and friends” were gone, all totaling about $3000.

  • European-style business class (blocked middle seat) on United Airlines.

  • Merry Christmas!

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I am curious if she declared these items at arrival before finding them missing. Most don’t. So if she didn’t, is this an out for AF? She would be subject to a fraudulent claim if this was the case.

    Just curious, not accusing.

  2. The Westin in Paris Texas? Surely not the one in France?
    I thought France had worker protection like “jobs for life]?”
    I guess another thing has changed.
    Billionaires and corporations own and run this world (they surely control our politicians-here’s looking at you Joe Manchin.
    Now there’s another level of profit taking between the hotel and housekeeping meaning they will be even more stressed and underpaid.
    The service is guaranteed going to suck…..

  3. Never, never put valuables in checked luggage. Ship (insured) articles too large for carry-on or don’t buy them.
    Seems common sense to me.

  4. @Jorge Paez

    Shame on you.

    You mention politicians being OWNED but fail to mention poppy-pants joe, Camel Toe, and Obuckethead???

    Manchin is one of the VERY FEW demokkkrats that actually gives a shit about this country.

  5. @Jorge – without knowing the details your response (and Gary’s comments) are out of line. First of all “outsourcing” doesn’t mean the workers are fired or are not doing the same job. For much of my career I worked to negotiate and implement IT outsourcing. It was very common that a company’s employees transitioned to the service provider (at the same or better salary) and they had career opportunities with a firm that focused on IT as opposed to being buried instead a company which IT was often seen as simply a budget line item. The contract had specific service levels (usually with penalties) that had to be met which you really can’t do with in-house staff.

    Without knowing more this could simply be a case of the hotel contracting with a company that specializes in these type of services and the former hotel employees that performed them are now are employed by the service provider. Frankly it is smart to do this for many companies at a time when there is difficulty filling positions or concern over service quality. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing for guests or the former employees so without knowing more you have no basis for any of your comments.

  6. “European Style Business Class”, is that where a US airline does not treat you like human garbage with a bank account?

  7. Does anyone really want to stay at a property at which cheapest bid gets the job? Does anyone really want to eat at a restaurant at which cheapest bid gets the job?

    Regarding the Westin in Paris . . . there is a false premise. Irrespective of how Marriott positions Westin as a brand, Westin does not come to mind when talking about true luxury brands. The authentically luxurious properties that come to mind are::
    – Four Seasons (George V)
    – Mandarin Oriental
    – Ritz Paris
    – Rosewood (Crillon)

  8. It’s Christmas. Gary is Jewish. Ergo he’s once again logging in as multiple commenters and creating arguments with his other personas.
    Bravo. Gary, you’ve fooled all your other personas including this one.

  9. AC has a valid point about outsourcing. Labor laws might well protect the non-productive worker. Whereas, a property can fire a contractor for failing to meet production standards. But, at this point, we don’t know the property owner’s intentions.

    That being said, Westin is still not a luxury brand.

  10. Pretty sure that under the Delta-AF alliance, Delta provides customer support in the US, and AF provides support in Europe, regardless of who issued the ticket.

  11. it’s always Tito, the naive socialist that still believes in true evil socialists LOL. yeah, jobs for life.

  12. @Jorge thanks for your very true words. I couldn’t have said it better myself. And as for the clown @Amazing Larry, the KKK, along with the White supremacists, nazis, insurrectionists and just about every other right wing extremist today has more in common with the GOP than the Democrats. Oh I get it. Clowns are adverse to facts.

  13. Re: Housekeeping outsourced: this is a very common (as in “ubiquitous”) practice in the industry, even when it comes to luxury hotels. Virtually every hotel in most countries in Europe will have outsourced chambermaids and cleaners. Also, as someone else pointed out, most of the time when transitioning from “in house” housekeeping to outsourced, most laid off line staff are typically employed by the service company as they are already trained on the specific product.
    Cost wise, it often costs more to outsource if you look at a per-roomnight basis, and the prime reason to do it is flexibility. This will not necessarily mean a degradation in service, and especially the large chains have many service standards in place ensuring this is not the case.

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