I was wondering what type of hotels they give for your overnight stopover? I heard that on international routes they get 5 star hotels for crew members, what about on regional airlines & domestic routes?
Does it includes free food or its up to the crew to pay for it?
Hotels.....some are awesome (Hyatt Place!)...some are not so awesome (Comfort Inn).
While on a trip all hotels are paid for by my airline. The union stipulates what level of hotels the airline is allowed to place crews in. The airline must try to select hotels with a gym for example. Some hotels have amazing work out facilities (Marriott's and Hyatt Place) while others have old, worn out, rusty pieces of metal.
Depending on the length of the overnight the airline must attempt to select hotels with food/activities around. For short overnights the airline must attempt to select a hotel close to the airport to reduce drive time and increase rest time. For longer overnights the airline must attempt to select hotels located around places to eat and entertainment. Notice I use the words try and attempt. Yeah.
I will say 99% of the hotels I stay at are very nice. There are pilots and flight attendants that review hotels and work with the airline on which hotels to use in each city.
Staying in hotels used to be exciting for me. Now....not so much. I have gotten used to just leaving without having to sign or pay. When I travel with my wife it feels odd to "pay" for a hotel room...even though most of the time we use points...so we don't really pay.
As far as meals, some hotels offer free breakfast, dinner or happy hour o'dourves. Many offer free Internet. As part of the contract every hotel I have stayed in while at my airline comps any Internet charge which is nice as it cost them next to nothing. I have noticed the "nicer" the hotel....the less they offer free. Holiday Inn Express gives free Internet, free hot breakfast (I love their cinnamon rolls) and has an awesome showerhead (my wife bought me the same model for Christmas a few years ago). The Marriott has none of those. The Marriott does offer nicer beds, fancier rooms and really nice smelling lotion (my skin gets really dry while flying).
For each hour I am away from base I get per diem. Over the course of a month a typical line holder gets $350-$550 a month in per diem. This can really help get by during the first few years at an airline. Back when I held a line, I spent at most $230 a month while eating on the road while taking $400 a month home in per diem. I could have spent WAY less if I watched my spending and brought along more snacks/food.
I haven't flown Internationally yet for an overnight, just for turns. I do hear from the crews that do overnights in Mexico and Canada that most of the hotels are on par with Domestic. A few cities have the crews staying at very nice vacation resorts. Would be nice.