Denying Meal and Rest Breaks —The New Chic With Your Frequent Flyer Miles

It’s not secret that LAX Airport is in the process of a multi-billion dollar renovation.

And with the renovations comes luxury… but is denying meal and rest breaks and cheating people out of their wages part of the new chic at the airport?

In the July issue of Interior Design Magazine they featured Slade Architecture’s most recent project: A chic new clubhouse for passengers.

Virgin clubhouseclubhouse 2

Photography by Tom Sibley

Terminal 2 just added Sea Legs restaurant and lounge


And Tom Bradley International Terminal greets arriving passengers with an integrated environmental media system.

Not only are there luxurious renovations to behold while walking through the terminals but LAX has some extravagant items available for purchase. For example per the June 12, 2015 issue of Curbed, an airline in LAX’s Terminal 5 is now offering an anti-paparazzi facility. This means a VIP lounge behind frosted glass, a separate entrance, and private corridor that funnels to a premium security line. For an additional $350 one can have a Porsche pick them up directly on the tarmac.

 So the airport is going out of its way to accommodate everyone – but maybe not so much when it comes to people working there?

Amidst all this luxury, we still have workers like Elsa. She is a mother and a grandmother. She worked as a cabin cleaner in LAX. However, instead of working directly for the airport or the airlines she along with all the other people that clean planes, works for a third party subcontractor. In her case she was not given rest breaks or meal breaks, and although she sometimes worked between 10 and 12 hours a day she says she never received overtime pay and is now owed nearly $7,000 in wages.

 While passengers are dining at the new Border Grill or Chaya Sushi, Elsa and her coworkers were often eating their lunch in a van between plane arrivals. They were expected to clean the planes in 45 minutes. The management timed them, breathing down their necks.  The pressure is so intense to move beyond human speed that she and cabin cleaners have suffered injuries and sometimes feel anxious or depressed on the job.  

Elsa and women like her go to work every day to provide for their families, give their children an opportunity to succeed in this country. Like her parents did before her. And yet she is being cheated out of hard earned wages, forced to eat in a van when there is a Petrossian Champagne and Caviar bar less than 200 feet away.


With California’s new wage theft ordinance we have an opportunity to restore fairness at LAX.

Today working people are standing together to stop wage theft and demand A Fair Day’s Pay For All.

 Follow the latest on efforts to end wage theft in California by following #FairDaysPay and #WageTheft on twitter

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