Barbara DeLollis notes that bringing on New York hotels is really, really hard not least of which because of labor negotiations.
The old 487-room Ramada Plaza hotel has been closed for 5 years. The property is owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey which doesn’t help matters. And they haven’t been able to come to terms on a labor agreement.
Hotels in New York, and many Northeastern cities (and to a certain extent California) are faced with highly restrictive union agreements that play out in some interesting ways. A hotel may have to close down an entire service like a restaurant or room service in order to re-negotiate labor conditions or wages — lay off workers since the service is no longer offered and then bring the service back under new terms. Rather than continuing to employee people and offer guests the service in the meantime. In some cases this keeps wages high (the hotel doesn’t go through this very costly process) and in others means less employment and fewer services offered.
All complex, and not delving into a normative view on how all this plays out. Just interesting to see it getting in the way of making JFK — one of the very worst airports in American — incrementally better.
JFK could use more renovated hotels, to be sure, but that won’t solve its biggest problems.
Here’s how to choose an airport hotel.
Airport hotel preferences begin with (1) attached to the airport, and then (2) if there is no hotel attached to the airport the one most recently renovated.
Back in 2007 the best property was the Hilton Garden Inn. That was surpassed by the Sheraton, which wasn’t very good for a Sheraton but still better. And for the past few years the best has been the Hilton.
JFK is plagued with many, many problems. One of those is that in order to get a shuttle out of the airport you first have to schlepp your baggage on the airport train, to be taken out to where they allow pickups. After long international flights, where you often need an airport hotel, this is definitely unpleasant.
The train that takes you between terminals also has a stop for hotel shuttles. Hotel shuttles don’t pick you up at each terminal, you have to go to a single collection spot. That’s never fun with checked bags, to take them upstairs to a train in order to catch a van. But that’s JFK.
The wait for the train headed in my direction wasn’t long, and shortly we were leaving the terminal 7 station and enroute for the quick trip over to terminal 8 where American Airlines is housed.
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