Sunday, July 19, 2009

Alternative to the crash pad: Crews living in LAX parking lot

by B. N. Sullivan

LAXI have to admit I was taken aback for a moment when I read a story in today's Los Angeles Times about some airline employees -- including pilots, flight attendants and mechanics -- who are living part-time in a parking lot at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Instead of opting for the usual crash pads, about 100 crew members from assorted carriers have chosen to park their RVs in a particular parking lot at LAX to use them as a home away from home.

They have formed something of a crew colony there, and they even have an unofficial 'mayor'. This is not done on the sly, but in a very organized way, sanctioned by the airport authority

According to the L. A. Times article:
For several years, clusters of RVs were scattered around the airport's parking lots until LAX officials decided to consolidate them in Lot B. Now operating as an organized camp overseen by the airport, it has an unofficial mayor, a code of conduct and residency requirements, including background checks, regular vehicle inspections and proof of employment at an air carrier.

"There might be a few other places like this nationally, but I think this is rather unique," said Michael Biagi, who heads the land-use division at Los Angeles World Airports.

Today, the colony has more than 100 residents -- mostly men -- from around the country, including captains, first officers, mechanics, flight attendants, support staff and employees of air cargo companies. There are at least two married couples, who work as flight attendants. About 10 people are on a waiting list.
Apparently the RVs used by these airline employees as parking lot crash pads range from relatively cushy motor homes to bare-bones campers on the backs of pick-up trucks.

This idea is a new one on me, but hey -- whatever works! (I'll give them extra points for being inventive, too.)

Here's a slide show about the LAX parking lot residents. Does anyone know of any similar RV camps near other airports?

[Photo Source]