Have you ever wondered where the crew sleeps on a long-haul flight? For some airlines who operate long-haul flights with the A380, like Qantas, the team has their particular rest area onboard. What does it look like inside?
Why do crew need a rest area?
It might seem like a silly question, but why do aircraft crew need a rest area onboard an aircraft?
On short-haul flights, the crew is generally working the whole journey. It is only when a flight starts to push beyond a few hours that the team is entitled to a rest break. When some of these flights are more than a day’s work (such as a Sydney to Dallas flight, which is 15 hours long), they may get to sleep as well!
You may not notice it when you travel long-haul (as you may be distracted by inflight entertainment, meals, or being asleep), but the crew changes throughout the journey. The cabin crew will rotate through several shifts, with some team members going to a special rest area to relax away from the passengers.
Where does the crew rest on board an A380?
Qantas rosters 20 crew members on its long-haul A380 aircraft who have access to a restricted rest area underneath the economy cabin.
Inside the rest area, there is space for up to 12 crew members to lie down on bunks.
As for the pilots, they have their rest area near the cockpit that gives them a chance to relax and refresh themselves before landing. Again, on longer flights, there are two flight crews to rotate through the journey.
What other types of rest areas are there?
The FAA mandates that all aircraft provide the crew with at least one crew rest area, with the category class depending on the length of the flight.
The crew rest classes are:
- Class 3: Short-haul flights. This class only requires a spare economy seat that can recline and has a footrest for flight attendants to use. Generally located at the very back of the plane. This class has no privacy.
- Class 2: Medium-haul flights. A fully lie-flat seat in business class with a curtain for privacy.
- Class 1: Long-haul flights. A completely private area with bunk beds away from the passengers. Like what we have seen onboard the Qantas A380
Crew rest areas are generally not allowed to be occupied during take-off and landing unless proper seating is provided.
If you want to check out the crew rest area yourself, we have some bad news. According to FAA regulations, the crew rest area is, in fact, off-limits to passengers at all times.
This is to not only protect the privacy of the hard-working crew members (imagine being shaken awake by a passenger asking for a drink) but because many of these crew areas are in the belly of the beast. If you have to access it by climbing down a ladder, as with the Qantas aircraft, then its not safe for passengers.
What do you think? Would you like to sleep on one of those bunks? Let us know in the comments.