Have you ever wondered where the crew on long-haul flights rests? For most of us, going to work and reclining on a bunk to take a nap between shifts wouldn’t be a typical day, particularly while flying at 35,000 feet. But for flight crews on some Boeing 777 long-haul routes ranging between 14 and 18 hours, this schedule may become routine.
The challenge on long-haul commercial jetliner flights is to find areas in the airplane for flight crews to rest that don’t take up space intended for revenue-generating seats or cargo.
For such a flight it has a crew of ten or more flight attendants and an additional shift of pilots. But where does the crew go after a shift? In an area strictly forbidden to passengers
On large wide-body jets, crew rest compartments (known as CRCs) for flight attendants and pilots are usually tucked away behind locked doors and are off-limits to the public.
Depending on the type of aircraft, these compartments are usually located either above or below the passenger cabin. It’s amazing what you’ll find up here. There are smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, flashlights and portable oxygen containers for use in an emergency. There are also comfort items, such as power outlets, a small mirror, coat hooks and a phone to call the other flight attendant stations. The crew rest configuration varies by aircraft type.
For example, Boeing worked closely with airlines, pilots and flight attendants to create crew-rest stations that lie within the overhead area – the area located between the top of the stow bins and the crown of the airplane. Space in the airplane crown was opened up by relocating systems such as wires, tubes and ducts from the center to the sides of the crown and creating a novel structure to support the crew rests, overhead systems and other optional features. Other systems were redesigned to accommodate the change. Locating crew-rest stations in the overhead areas of the airplane permits the main and lower decks to be available for additional revenue generation.
On some planes, you won’t find a dedicated, fully enclosed compartment for the crew.
So the next time you hear snoring on a plane and you don’t realize where it’s coming from, look up – it might just be the pilot taking a nap …