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  4. I toured the 600-room hotel with a pool and gym that American built exclusively for its employees — see inside Skyview 6

I toured the 600-room hotel with a pool and gym that American built exclusively for its employees see inside Skyview 6

Taylor Rains   

I toured the 600-room hotel with a pool and gym that American built exclusively for its employees — see inside Skyview 6
The "Globe of Firsts."Taylor Rains/Business Insider
  • American Airlines opened a $250 million employee-only hotel at its Texas headquarters in 2023.
  • The hotel features 600 rooms and numerous amenities, like a gym, an outdoor pool, and a cafeteria.

American Airlines spent $250 million to build an employee-only hotel at its sprawling Texas headquarters that opened in January 2023.

Complete with 600 rooms and heaps of amenities, the "hospitality complex" is basically a mini-city exclusive for employees traveling to the airline's main hub, Dallas/Fort Worth, on company business.

Think flight attendant and pilot training or annual conferences. Eligibility extends to employees at American's mainline operation and its wholly-owned subsidiaries like Envoy Air, Piedmont Airlines, and PSA Airlines.

American's senior manager of corporate real estate, Holly Ragan, told Business Insider during a recent tour that the hotel's purpose is to have everything in one place where employees can easily access everyday needs. It also creates community and pride among employees, she said.

"Skyview 6 is the central heart of campus where our team members can gather," Ragan said. "We have dining, corn hole, a fitness center, a pool, and just various offerings to help our employees feel a sense of normalcy when they're here."

Take a look inside American's "Skyview 6" hotel, which is not open to the public.

Skyview 6 is a rare perk in the industry. Only a few employee-specific airline hotels have been built in the US.

Skyview 6 is a rare perk in the industry. Only a few employee-specific airline hotels have been built in the US.
The entrance to Skyview 6.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

Republic Airways, a regional carrier that contracts flying from American, Delta, and United, has its own hotel in Indianapolis for employee training.

However, it's more common for airlines to book rooms at nearby hotels for employee training or business rather than running their own space.

The hospitality complex was built on the former site of the industry's first Stewardess College, which American opened in 1957.

The hospitality complex was built on the former site of the industry
Aerial view of American Airline Stewardess College.      University of North Texas Libraries/Tarrant County College NE

The Stewardess College was the airline's flight attendant training center.

American wanted to ensure employees had access to things like food and fitness without having to leave campus, Ragan said.

American wanted to ensure employees had access to things like food and fitness without having to leave campus, Ragan said.
Skyview 6 is part of American's giant Dallas/Fort Worth headquarters, which includes corporate offices, dispatch operations, and training centers.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

For example, new hire flight attendants will spend about six weeks at the hotel during training and don't have to venture far for anything.

Meanwhile, Skyview 5 — American's flight academy — is just a short walk from the hotel, so trainees don't have to rely on a car or shuttle to get to class (though there is a service if needed).

The company wasn’t exaggerating — the hotel has literally everything.

The company wasn’t exaggerating — the hotel has literally everything.
The author at Skyview 6 during a tour in May.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

The entire Skyview 6 complex is 550,000 square feet and is covered with unique airline memorabilia and artwork.

The private hotel can accommodate everyone from flight crews and corporate employees to airport staff and maintenance technicians.

Employees entering Skyview 6 for the first time will enter through a giant lobby complete with ceiling art that represents different engine types.

Employees entering Skyview 6 for the first time will enter through a giant lobby complete with ceiling art that represents different engine types.
The Skyview 6 lobby.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

"When team members arrive, we don't want them to feel like they are visiting; this is their home, too," Ragan said.

She noted that the company's maintenance team in Tulsa assembled the four engines, which include those from an Airbus A320, a Boeing 777, a Boeing 787, and a Boeing 737.

Along the wall is the famous staircase where early-day American flight attendants stood for their graduation picture.

Along the wall is the famous staircase where early-day American flight attendants stood for their graduation picture.
The staircase installed for flight attendant graduation photos.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

The staircase represents the graduation ceremony that started at the Stewardess College, where the newly winged flight attendants stood for a photo.

On the day of my visit, it was the graduation of a class of flight attendants. They, too, would pose for the iconic staircase photo.

On the day of my visit, it was the graduation of a class of flight attendants. They, too, would pose for the iconic staircase photo.
Photos on the wall at Skyview 6 show the Stewardess College graduates on the staircase in 1957.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

Ragan said the medallion behind the staircase is the original.

"It makes me appreciate the time period, seeing them just lying on the bed studying," she said, pointing to photos of flight attendants at the Stewardess College in the 1950s. "Especially the new hires, it helps them connect to what was originally here."

Near the lobby is a 10,000-square-foot multi-use ballroom where events like the annual State of the Airline hosted by CEO Robert Isom are held.

Near the lobby is a 10,000-square-foot multi-use ballroom where events like the annual State of the Airline hosted by CEO Robert Isom are held.
The ballroom at Skyview 6.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

The entire space can be sectioned off into smaller rooms, each closed off by a giant garage door that enters into the main hallway.

Besides the CEO's annual meeting, events held here may be leadership development training or business conferences.

There are also conference rooms scattered throughout the hotel's first floor, as well as a coffee and wine bar.

There are also conference rooms scattered throughout the hotel
The coffee and wine bar.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

Ragan said longtime employees who may not see each other often will meet up at Skyview 6 after hours to chat over a glass of wine.

The wine bar complements the on-site tavern with a cabin-style fireplace and billiards table.

Employees staying overnight at Skyview 6 will be assigned one of the 600 rooms available on-site.

Employees staying overnight at Skyview 6 will be assigned one of the 600 rooms available on-site.
The 8th floor of the Skyview 6 hotel.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

An elevator takes employees to one of the nine available floors, each representing a different destination in America's network — the higher the floor, the further the city.

The rooms came with everything you’d expect at a regular chain like Marriott or Hilton, including a bed, television, bathroom, desk, and closet.

The rooms came with everything you’d expect at a regular chain like Marriott or Hilton, including a bed, television, bathroom, desk, and closet.
Inside one of the Skyview 6 hotel rooms.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

Ragan said company employees stayed at off-site hotels before Skyview 6 opened.

The bathroom has a standing shower, toiletries, a make-up ring, and a Bluetooth-capable mirror for listening to music or a podcast.

The bathroom has a standing shower, toiletries, a make-up ring, and a Bluetooth-capable mirror for listening to music or a podcast.
The bathroom.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

There is also a motion-sensor under-counter light that helps employees find their way in the dark, as well as a hairdryer.

Ragan said the shower is particuarly unique as the shower head and the nob to turn it on and control the temperature are on opposite sides.

Ragan said the shower is particuarly unique as the shower head and the nob to turn it on and control the temperature are on opposite sides.
The shower head is on the other side.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

She further explained that bulk toiletries are part of the complex's effort to reduce waste, particularly plastic.

The shower door closes all the way to ensure no mess or splashing like in some hotels.

Aviation-themed art nod to the airline without being overbearing.

Aviation-themed art nod to the airline without being overbearing.
The artwork varies room to room, Ragan said.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

The art will change from room to room, but the overall layout and size of each space are exactly the same. Ragan said this ensures there isn't a hierarchy among team members.

Aside from the expected hotel amenities, American has added a few special touches based on employee feedback.

Aside from the expected hotel amenities, American has added a few special touches based on employee feedback.
American's private hotel operates like any other, complete with a housekeeping service.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

Ragan said the input of American flight crewmembers, who stay in hotel rooms far more than the average person, was essential in creating the hotel design.

For example, Ragan said crews travel with clips to hold curtains together and keep light out, so a magnet was added to make them easier to latch.

For example, Ragan said crews travel with clips to hold curtains together and keep light out, so a magnet was added to make them easier to latch.
The author clamping the curtains shut.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

She said the curtains also have a slight drag to ensure the slit at the bottom doesn't let in any light either.

Another crew-specific amenity is a board to pin up their 'paper tiger,' which is a poster diagram of the cockpit required for pilot training.

Another crew-specific amenity is a board to pin up their
The board where pilots can hang up their cockpit diagrams, which are nicknamed "paper tigers."      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

"Those little details that resulted from feedback from our team members will make the employee visits more successful," Ragan said.

Meanwhile, employees asked that there be no microwaves in the rooms to avoid unwanted smells like burned popcorn.

Meanwhile, employees asked that there be no microwaves in the rooms to avoid unwanted smells like burned popcorn.
The rooms have a safe (top drawer in the pictured dresser) that is big enough to hold a standard-sized laptop.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

Ragan said there is microwave capability on the main floor for employees who need it and that other kitchen equipment like a refrigerator and Keurig are available in the rooms.

The closet area features plenty of hanging space for uniforms, as well as a full-body mirror.

The closet area features plenty of hanging space for uniforms, as well as a full-body mirror.
The full-body mirror is on the sliding closet door.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

There's also an iron, closet space for a suitcase, and drawers for extra storage.

Outside the rooms are lounges for employees to socialize or study.

Outside the rooms are lounges for employees to socialize or study.
This is one side of the lounge — a study space is on the other.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

"We wanted team members to be able to control their environment as much as possible, so there are breakout spaces throughout the entire complex, from the lobby to the floor lounges," Ragan said.

Ragan said each living space comes with a customized color scheme and artwork representing a destination.

Ragan said each living space comes with a customized color scheme and artwork representing a destination.
The study area of the lounge.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

She noted that the floor living spaces are meant to be casual and comfortable, but there is a noise policy because people are actively studying at all times.

As far as food, employees have access to things like a grab-and-go market and a giant cafeteria.

As far as food, employees have access to things like a grab-and-go market and a giant cafeteria.
The grab-and-go market is pictured in the top left. The cafeteria offers silverware to cut down on plastic.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider, American Airlines

The cafeteria, complete with options like pizza, Chinese cuisine, and hamburgers, can be used by any American employee on the greater HQ campus and was packed with people on my visit.

According to American, the food is free for some team members, like new hire employees in training. Local team members have to pay, Ragan said.

A huge compass covered half of the ceiling, with indicators showing due North and the degrees.

A huge compass covered half of the ceiling, with indicators showing due North and the degrees.
The giant compass on the ceiling of the cafeteria.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

The art complements the other aviation-themed pieces throughout the complex.

The sitting area outside the food hall stretches into a large courtyard where employees can access sports courts and walking trails.

The sitting area outside the food hall stretches into a large courtyard where employees can access sports courts and walking trails.
The courtyard outside Skyview 6 hosts some 400 new trees and rocks that were excavated from the original Stewardess College.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

Employees have access to a basketball court, tennis court, pickleball court, and beach volleyball court.

A sign inside the fitness center posted a volleyball tournament being held later that week with a QR code to sign up — it was cool to see those community events.

The centerpiece of the courtyard is the 'Globe of Firsts.'

The centerpiece of the courtyard is the
The "Globe of Firsts."      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

The 12-foot stainless steel sculpture features names like Bonnie Tiburzi, the first female pilot hired by a major US airline.

The McDonnell Douglas DC-3, which was built in the 1930s after strong insistence from American then-president Cyrus Rowlett "CR" Smith, also made the globe.

For gym buffs, Skyview 6 has a giant two-level facility with everything from treadmills and weights to massage chairs and showers.

For gym buffs, Skyview 6 has a giant two-level facility with everything from treadmills and weights to massage chairs and showers.
Inside the gym.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

A large locker room complete with towels and toiletries is available in the 73,000-square-foot fitness center.

The size of the gym was the most shocking part of the entire tour, and it easily dwarfed my local LA Fitness.

The size of the gym was the most shocking part of the entire tour, and it easily dwarfed my local LA Fitness.
Inside the gym at Skyview 6.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

"The gym is complimentary if you stay at the hospitality complex," Ragan said. "We have classes and a few studios for events and fitness in general."

There’s even a pool outside.

There’s even a pool outside.
There were people enjoying the pool during my visit.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

The pool is likely an enjoyable perk during the Texas summer heat.

It's clear American didn't cut corners when designing its new employee-only complex.

It
Inside Skyview 6.      Taylor Rains/Business Insider

The hospitality complex is meant to be all-inclusive, and I can imagine employees are happy with the private space, given they were in contract hotels prior to Skyview 6's opening.

"[Skyview 6] establishes a level of pride for our employees," Ragan said. "When you are in a space like this and you walk other training centers, you have a great appreciation for the commitment this organization has made to creating such an amazing experience for its team members."


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