However long the flight, my preferred pastime is looking out the window. But after staring outside for a few hours, I really do feel a bit tired. Time to take a nap… From the comfort of my seat, I wonder how the crew members sleep on board an aircraft. Perhaps there are special bedrooms on board?
A cockpit suite? Sweet!
At Stockholm-Arlanda airport in Sweden, you can spend the night in a genuine B747 that’s been converted into a hotel. This former cockpit has been transformed into a proper suite, where you get to feel like a real pilot. But don’t get any ideas about flying off! Fortunately, the “seats” in the cockpits of our aircraft are quite different.
In 2014, KLM transformed a decommissioned MD-11 into an apartment that could be rented via Airbnb. If only all the beds on board an aircraft looked like this! Unfortunately, a bed on board for each passenger would be unaffordable, although some aircraft really do have real beds on board. These “bedrooms” are used by the crew to rest during long-haul flights.
Welcome to the OCR
The Overhead Crew Rest (OCR) is located above the cabin. OCRs like this can be found on board KLM’s B747s, B777s and B787s. Crew are required by law to rest on flights of longer than 10.5 hours. The staff members relieve one another during the flight, ensuring that all the crew members are sufficiently rested to guarantee safety on board.
Cabin crew OCR
The OCR can be accessed through a special door, which can only be opened by the crew members on board. A narrow staircase brings you upstairs within the aircraft.
Cockpit crew OCR entrance
Just as for each passenger in the cabin, the bunks are equipped with a reading lamp. There are a maximum of eight beds of 70 cm wide and 1.95 metres long. The beds are also equipped with a belt to ensure that the crew members stay safely in their beds when sleeping. Turbulence is felt more at the back of the plane, so the belt isn’t an unnecessary luxury. The flip side of the coin is that the crew are “rocked” to sleep as a result.
The purser compiles a duty roster with two shifts. The Crew Assignment Movement List specifies who gets to sleep first. The aircraft and service on board affect how much rest the crew members are given. They are usually given around 1.5 to 3 hours rest.
The crew always have KLM pyjamas. This is a crucial item, because crew must always be recognisable in the event of an emergency. The cockpit and cabin crew members have separate OCRs to ensure that their sleep schedules are not interrupted. The pilots’ is situated elsewhere in the front of the aircraft. And it’s not possible to enjoy the view, since the OCRs don’t have any windows.
Cockpit crew OCR
I wake up after a short power nap. Time to do some cloud gazing and a bit more (day) dreaming!