Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Do Pilots, Flight Attendants Sleep during Long Flights? | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Media ID: 55373597

Planes of Lufthansa airline stand on tarmac in Frankfurt
airport, Germany. (Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach)

Berlin, London- During long flights, which take ten hours or more, most passengers sleep, especially that some longer flights may take around 18 hours. Certainly, pilots and flight attendents also need some hours of rest, even if they cannot sleep.

Marcus Fahl, spokesman to the German Pilots’ Syndicate, said big airplanes respond to the staff’s needs of rest, and that small cabins known as “staff breaks” are allocated for this aim.

The beds allocated for pilots’ break are placed behind the cockpit or above the passengers’ roomettes. Fahl said: “Those small cabins can be reached with a small stair”. Two beds would be found in low height areas, where a person cannot stand up.

Airlines organize sleeping schedules independently. According to Fahl, breaks often take place during flights which take 10 hours or more. Such flights include three pilots; one of them takes a few hours of rest, while the two others continue in the service.

For example, an 11-hour flight includes two hours for take-off and landing, which require the presence of the three pilots. The remaining nine hours spent in the air can be divided into three hours of rest for each pilot.

Based on his experience as a pilot, Fahl says deep sleep is impossible.

A sleeping pilot can usually hear what happens in the command cabin. For the flight attendants, they have separate beds placed in a special room that can be found in different parts of the airplane.