Have you ever slept on a flight? It’s not the most comfortable way to catch up on your beauty rest, that’s for sure. But have you ever wondered how the crew on long flights are able to stay awake the entire time?
Well it turns out they don’t. Most Boeing 777s and 787s have a secret staircase that leads up to a cabin where pilots and flight attendants can sleep. Some of the planes have a separate area for pilots with reclining chairs and a bathroom, while others have bunk style beds for the crew to grab a few hours of rest.
In the picture above you can see the compartment with chairs and sleeping areas tucked above the first class section of the plane. It definitely isn’t big and it’s not luxuriously decorated, but if you’re on a long flight overnight, I can imagine it’s nice to have someplace to stretch out and rest.
Until I stumbled on this article, I never gave any thought to this at all. I certainly didn’t expect to learn that planes have entire secret compartments for the crew to sleep in. It definitely makes you wonder what else could be hidden just behind the tacky plastic-feeling walls of the airplane!
If you’re claustrophobic at all, I can imagine these hidden sleeping quarters don’t look very appealing, but I can imagine it feels a little sneaky to head up the secret staircase tucked behind an inconspicuous door and relax while the passengers below are completely unaware. A few of the planes even have the access to the crew compartment hidden inside a normal-looking overhead bin. Now that is not something you would expect to see when you try to stow your suitcase!
Once you find the entrance to the crew quarters, you don’t quite know what you’ll find at the top of the stairs. Different airlines have different features in their crew sleeping compartments. Most have bundles of bedding that can be used and storage areas for crew to store personal items so they won’t be a hazard. Some airlines provide pajamas for the crew and still others offer reading lights, mirrors or entertainment systems.
I’m not sure I believe the crew members are this happy to be in the cramped, windowless sleeping area where they can’t even fully stand up, but maybe they are enjoying the fact that none of the passengers below know they have a place where they can fully stretch out and not have to worry about armrests, noisy, overweight passengers in the seat next to them or the total lack of legroom.
I can’t say I expected that our exploration of secret rooms would take us to airplanes, but I’m pretty fascinated by these compartments that I never knew existed. Did you know they existed? Have you ever been in one? We’d love to hear about your experience!