The hidden areas of the planes are where the passengers rest

Editor – Ticket Monthly is a CNN travel story that explores some of the most exciting topics in the travel world. In June, we take to the skies to check out the latest in aircraft, with people working to change the way we fly.

(CNN) – There are some hidden areas on the planes, where pilots and car crews can rest for long periods of time. Passengers could not enter them under the conditions and they were well hidden from view.

They are called Crew Rest Compartments and they have a different place on the plane.

On newer aircraft, such as the Boeing 787 or the Airbus A350, they are located on the main shaft, on the upper fuselage. But on older airplanes, they could be in the trunk or in the main house.

They come in pairs: one for pilots, which always sits on the cockpit and often has two beds and a lounge chair, and the other for sailors, usually six beds or more. or placed on the back car, the area in the back of the plane where food and drinks are prepared.

Like the hotel capsule

Airlines have a say in the arrangement of passenger rest areas when they purchase an aircraft, but large parts are regulated by regulators such as the Federal Aviation Administration. It mandates, for example, that riders ’rest areas should be“ free from intrusive noise, smells and vibrations that have a minimal impact on sleep, ”and they should control heat and allow for runners to adjust the lights.

The size of the mats (“or the other side to make a flat bed”) is 78 by 30 inches (198 by 76 inches) in size – tall people should be aware – and is 35 cubic feet, respectively. Not one cubic meter, of space all around them. It must have a community area for conversion, entry and exit that provides approximately 65 cubic feet of space.

The rest area of ​​passengers on a Boeing 777 aircraft.

The rest area of ​​passengers on a Boeing 777 aircraft.


The end result is a bit like a Japanese capsule hotel: a windowless, cropped, but comfortable bed, with power windows and a flashlight – and all the necessary safety features like oxygen masks, seat belt lights and an intercom, among others.

“They can be fun,” said Susannah Carr, a flight attendant with United Airlines who works on Boeing aircraft with the 787, 777 and 767.

“They have padded mattresses, air vents to keep the air flowing and regulate the temperature so you can keep it cool or warm, and they provided us with clothes. like the ones used in the office on our ground them – but I’m only about 5 feet 8 inches, so if you put in a man 6 feet 4 inches inside, they’ll probably hold on a bit, ”he said.

But is it better than a job or a first class seat?

“In some ways, in some ways not,” Carr said. “The bunks can be wider than the first floor and for me, because of the plane, I have the bathroom. You’re not private. And if you’re claustrophobic, you can feel there – it’s it flies, so you only have a lot of space to put things.


A rest area for pilots near the cockpit.

A rest area for pilots near the cockpit.


Sailors’ rest areas are designed so as not to draw too much attention from passengers, regardless of where they are stopping: “A passenger may think there is a room. , ”Carr said.

“I’m not going to go very far the way we’re going to get in – safe, I’d say. Somewhere.”

Behind the entrance, there is a small staircase and a staircase leading up, at least on the latest planes.

“The boards are open on one side or the other, so you can crawl in – sometimes I call them ‘catacombs,'” Carr said.

On older planes, such as the Airbus A330, the passenger lounge is accessible in the cargo hold, so go down a flight of stairs. But on older planes like the Boeing 767, there are spaces left in the main building, and there are only recessed seats with screens around them.

“They’re very heavy shields, they’re resistant to light and a lot of noise, but not if you’re a strong crowd on a plane or an angry kid. They’re going to be in the car, so no it’s the best vacation. “

Undoubtedly, most pilots want seats on the seats, but the improvements to the planes do not need to provide a large space that can be used for wheelchairs. .

Higher education

A snapshot of a Finnair A350 cabin.  The entrance from the front car park was on the right.

A snapshot of a Finnair A350 cabin. The entrance from the front car park was on the right.

Aleksi Kousmanen / Finnair

Airlines typically spend about 10% of the flight time on long -haul flights in the rest of the country.

“On average, I would say 1.5 hours for a long flight,” said Karoliina Åman, an airline pilot with Finnair working on the Airbus A330 and A350 aircraft. This can vary depending on the flight and flight time – vacation time can extend by several hours.

“Since we don’t have free space on the plane for our lunch or coffee break, this vacation time is very important and helps us,” he said.

“This is the time of flying. We don’t answer passengers’ phones and do something else but relax, and rest our feet and our minds. The whole flight and if someone comes. the unexpected, we are ready to do it. “

But not everyone sleeps alone in bed.

“Usually on a flight out of Helsinki, I use my vacation to listen to an audio book or read a book since I got home and have a good rest. – for example I have trouble in. “sleeping in Asia – and then at rest, you usually fall asleep. Waking up from that sleep can be very difficult sometimes if your brain has changed to a night sleep mode,” says Åman.

To reach the rest area on this A330 SAS aircraft, passengers go down a small staircase.

To reach the rest area on this A330 SAS aircraft, passengers go down a small staircase.

Philippe Masclet / filmmaker / Airbus

“Jet lag can be a tough animal,” Carr said, “sometimes I can relax and I can fall asleep, sometimes my body isn’t ready for sleep., So we can watch a movie. on it, or read a book. “

Rest areas were closed during boarding, unloading and landing, and they were used as a result of migrations by the captain – or the purser chief, in the supply plane – the member of the garage who takes care of other things and oversees activities on board.

This person usually uses a special bed near the door of the restrooms and has an intercom, to talk to the pilots and so on.

“Everything in our business is about high quality, from the menu you fly to the tracks you can hold on to, to your holidays,” Carr explains. “The longer you go there, the better the benefits and one of those benefits is choosing your vacation time – we go on the orders of the old man, so choose the best on the plane if they want a first break. or a second break, and then you go on the list until everything breaks. “

Driving benefits

A rest area for pilots, which is separate from what is reserved for passengers, is close to the cockpit. Due to the length of the flight, there can be four pilots on board, but two more in the cockpit; As a result, the pilots had only two bed rest areas (or only one on older planes) but there was a seat that was provided at times with the pleasure of flying, which was not available to the public. sail. Other than that, the pieces are pretty much the same.

“I usually sleep well there,” said Aleksi Kuosmanen, vice president of fleet at Finnair.

Kuosmanen flew in the A330 and A350, and said he wanted a rest stop, which was on the car in front of the main building. “It has very good screens, you can control the temperature better, there is more air, and the sound is louder.

In this Boeing 787 Dreamliner, there is lounge for passengers at the back of the aircraft.

In this Boeing 787 Dreamliner, there is lounge for passengers at the back of the aircraft.

Roslan Rahman / AFP / Photo Gallery

The next time you fly a long -distance plane, you may want to keep your eyes open for an invisible door on the front or back of the plane – if you see a pilot or pilot lost in it, you know. a place of rest.

But keep in mind that sailors aren’t happy to show you around, because passengers are banned from entering the resorts: “It’s kind of a little like Disney – we take care of the magic work behind closed doors, ”Carr said.

“You don’t want to know that your flight attendants will be around a bit, but at the same time you’ll be happy when we go upstairs after our little cat is asleep like a daisy.”

Top photo: A restroom for pilots, located behind the cockpit of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Roslan Rahman / AFP / Photo Gallery

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