On flights lasting several hours, the workers on the plane, just like the passengers, also need to sleep. Flight attendants and other workers take turns resting, but they are no where to be seen. In this article, we will reveal where exactly these airline crew members disappear to during a flight.
The location where airline crews rest is dependent on the duration of the flight and the number of members working on that flight. For the different classifications of flight duration, the FAA has 3 categories that set the guidelines for how crew members rest.
The simplest category, class 3, describes the standards of a rest facility on short-haul flights. On these flights, the crew rest area is only required to have a normal passenger cabin seat with foot support and recline. Flight attendants rest in practically the same seats as the travelers on these types of flights, although many times they might not rest at all. If a flight is full, however, the flight attendants can sit in the foldable seats in the galleys or by the jump seats next to the exits.
On medium-haul flights or flights that fall under class 2, the FAA requires that crew rests have a lie-flat seat that can turn into a bed and curtains for privacy. This type of crew rest is the least common, as a handful of aircraft don’t have these types of seats. As a result, because planes used on medium haul flights will commonly be the ones that are used on long-haul flights or short-haul flights, crew members onboard medium-haul flights may be able to rest in long-haul rest facilities, or less fortunately, in short-haul rest facilities. Class 2 rest facilities also create an inconvenience for the crew members since curtains have to be installed and removed from a seat.
Lastly, on long-haul flights, FAA’s class 1 category requires that crew rests are separated and isolated from passengers and contain bunk beds or other flat platforms to sleep on. The isolation of these rest areas is why flight attendants seemingly disappear from the plane when they rest on long-haul flights. These secret crew rest compartments are usually located above the cabin, and to access them, flight attendants need to unlock a door and climb a narrow set of stairs. These private compartments are compact and simplistic and do not contain any windows or entertainment screens. The beds come with seatbelts and curtains for security and privacy.
Not all crew rest area compartments are the same on aircraft, as airlines incorporate these rest areas into their aircraft accordingly, based on which planes are used for these types of routes. These private rest stations are basically only found in wide-body aircraft since narrow-body aircraft might not necessarily have the space.
Aside from the flight attendants, the pilots on a flight have essentially the same resting regulations as the cabin crew, but they are able to rest in the cockpit instead with another pilot supervising the controls. When pilots rest outside the cockpit, they are usually separated from the crew though.
In the end, employees onboard a plane rest in the same places as passengers on short flights, and in their own compartments on long flights. Next time you fly on a plane, ask the flight attendants about the crew rest areas, and they might let you catch a glimpse of it.
- Business Insider (Cover Photo)