I went inside the secret room where pilots sleep on long-haul flights.

Insider’s author toured the room where pilots rest on Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300ER planes.Monica Humphries/Insider

  • Pilots take shifts on a long-haul flights. When not flying, they rest in hidden rooms on the plane.

  • On an Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300ER, I toured the secret area where pilots sleep and relax.

  • I thought it was the nicest spot on the aircraft, with plenty of room, beds, and recliners.

Twelve hours is a long time to be on a plane. But when you have the responsibility of flying the aircraft, it’s an even tougher role. That’s why long-haul flights have multiple pilots onboard who work in shifts.

The cockpit of a Boeing 777 showing displays and controls during the Farnborough International Airshow in 2022.

The cockpit of a Boeing 777 showing displays and controls during the Farnborough International Airshow in 2022.John Keeble/Getty Images

And when a pilot isn’t in the cockpit, they’re resting in secret rooms onboard the aircraft.

A view of the pilot's rest area.

A view of the pilot’s rest area.Monica Humphries/Insider

On my recent 12-hour Air New Zealand flight from Auckland, New Zealand, to Los Angeles, I gained access to this part of the plane that most people don’t see.

The author in the pilot's secret bedroom area.

The author in the pilot’s secret bedroom area.Monica Humphries/Insider

Read more: I took a 13-hour flight to New Zealand from LA. Here are 8 mistakes I made and what I’ll do differently on my flight home.

I boarded the Boeing 777-300ER early, and Sarita Rami, the in-service flight manager, greeted me in business class.

The author with in-service flight manager Sarita Rami.

The author with in-service flight manager Sarita Rami.Monica Humphries/Insider

Together, we walked past rows of lie-flat seats in business class and into the airplane’s front galley.

The business-class section on Air New Zealand's Boeing 777-300ER planes.

The business-class section on Air New Zealand’s Boeing 777-300ER planes.Monica Humphries/Insider

Read more: I went inside Air New Zealand’s future plane cabin that has bunk beds in economy and wireless chargers in business class.

From the galley, I could see the aircraft’s cockpit. But I didn’t spot any door or signs indicating the pilot’s rest area.

The entrance to the plane's cockpit.

The entrance to the plane’s cockpit.Monica Humphries/Insider

That’s because the doorways to the room are intentionally camouflaged so passengers don’t accidentally disturb the resting pilots, Rami said.

The door to the pilot's rest area is in the front galley.

The door to the pilot’s rest area is in the front galley.Monica Humphries/Insider

Rami pointed to a locked door, entered a secret code, and opened the latch.

Sarita Rami unlocks the door to the secret plane bedrooms for flight attendants.

Sarita Rami unlocks the door to the secret plane bedrooms for flight attendants.Monica Humphries/Insider

Behind the door was a narrow, steep staircase. I climbed up the stairs and was immediately shocked by how spacious the room was that I entered.

Flight attendant Alice climbs up into the bedroom where pilots rest on long-haul flights.

Flight attendant Alice climbs up into the bedroom where pilots rest on long-haul flights.Monica Humphries/Insider

Although I couldn’t fully stand at 5 feet and 8 inches, the room had enough space for two reclining chairs and two beds.

The pilot's rest area.

The pilot’s secret rest area on an Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300ER.Monica Humphries/Insider

On most long-haul flights, there are four pilots who split time between the cockpit and the rest area. But at any point during the flight, there must be at least two pilots in the cockpit, according to the Federal Aviation Authority.

A chair pilot can use to rest in.

A chair pilots use to rest.Monica Humphries/Insider

Source: The Conversation

A representative for Air New Zealand told me that the flight’s captain typically decides when the breaks happen, but like flight attendants, pilots typically take their breaks in 2-hour slots. Once on a break, the pilots have the option to spend their time in the recliner, in a bunk-style bed, or a combination of both.

Two beds have pillows and blankets.

Two beds have pillows and blankets.Monica Humphries/Insider

Read more: I went inside a hidden room where flight attendants sleep on long-haul flights. I was amazed by its small size and comfy beds.

No matter where they choose to rest, there are seat belts.

Both the chair and the bed have seat belts for moments of turbulence.

Both the chair and the bed have seat belts for moments of turbulence.Monica Humphries/Insider

Near the recliner chairs, the pilots have a TV equipped with entertainment. The setup was nearly identical to my TV in business class. I also saw a plug, temperature control panel, and cupholders nearby.

Each pilot has a TV in their secret rest area.

Each pilot has a TV in their secret rest area.Monica Humphries/Insider

Between the seats, a phone is available to the pilots to communicate with the cockpit or flight attendants in the cabin.

Below the beds is a phone.

Below the beds is a phone.Monica Humphries/Insider

Behind the leather seats are two cubby-style beds.

Two beds.

Two beds are located in the pilot’s rest area on the Boeing 777-300ER.Monica Humphries/Insider

The narrow beds each come with a curtain to block out light and allow for privacy.

The area has two leather seats and two beds.

The area has two leather seats and two beds.Monica Humphries/Insider

Inside the sleeping cubby, I saw two sets of blankets and pillows, which looked similar to the ones I received in my business-class seat. I thought the mattress on the bed looked comfy enough for a decent nap.

A bed

The pilots have pillows and blankets to use while they rest.Monica Humphries/Insider

Along the edge of the bed, I spotted more cupholders and a control panel for the lights and airflow in the bed nook.

The pilots have lighting.

Each pilot is able to control the light and airflow from their bed.Monica Humphries/Insider

As I descended the stairs, I spotted a wardrobe. Rami told me that’s where the pilots store parts of their uniforms while they rest.

The pilot's rest area has a closet for storing uniforms.

The pilot’s rest area has a closet for storing uniforms.Monica Humphries/Insider

I felt spoiled in my business-class seat, but I thought the pilot’s room was even more luxurious. They had privacy, space to stretch out, and a larger bed than my lie-flat seat.

The author in her business-class seat.

The author in her business-class seat.Monica Humphries/Insider

And, of course, those perks were well earned. On my flight home, I slept better knowing that the pilots had room to rest and re-energize for some of the world’s longest flights.

Air New Zealand pilots arrive at the Sydney International Airport.

Air New Zealand pilots arrive at the Sydney International Airport.James D. Morgan/Getty Images

Read the original article on Insider

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *