Where Do Crew Members Sleep On Long-Haul Flights?

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.

Cockpit Suite Jumbostay

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.

MD-11 Airbnb

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.

Crew OCRCabin crew OCR

“Open Sesame”

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 entranceCockpit 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.

B787 OCRB787 OCR

KLM pyjamas

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 OCRCockpit crew OCR

I wake up after a short power nap. Time to do some cloud gazing and a bit more (day) dreaming!

Posted by:   Jelte Vlasblom  | 
Join the conversation Show comments

Charles aryee-hyde

Very very interesting.what a nice place to relax

Jelte Vlasblom

It sure is a nice place to relax!

Robbertjan Derksema

I flew many years for klm as a crewmember …Sometimes passengers were really surprised that we had to rest by law but don’t forget ……with pre-flight duties and post- flight duties we have working daysof 14-15 hours if all goes well……Delays could make them even longer …So to be fit to fly as well call it , the bunks are more than welcome ….


hi klm love

Jelte Vlasblom

Hi :)

Florin M

I’m sure these are far from ideal condition to rest, but they definitely do a part of the job. I have to thank again to each and every KLM personnel that was on board for each of my journeys. You guys are the best, and the main reason for me to always consider KLM over any other company!

Jelte Vlasblom

Thank you! Always happy to have you on board.


I wish i had a bed during every flight. Just fall a sleep and wake up at my destination. I cant sleep well in a chair.

Jelte Vlasblom

Me neither, but that’s why I look outside the window and do some (day) dreaming :)


May I suggest the OCR as a special treat for Platinum for Life members …. :)


Just book a business class bed, more comfortable and you’ll be served food and drinks.

Jelte Vlasblom

That would be awesome indeed :)


An interesting article. Thank you x

Jelte Vlasblom



Interesting and informative article. Thanks KLM to enlighten my curiosity.

Mark Percival

Very interesting article. I do enjoy your blog.

Jelte Vlasblom

Thank you! I enjoy making them :)

Suzanne Turgeon iMs

Thanks for posting this, I have always wondered what the OCR looked like, what a great system.

Jelte Vlasblom

It sure is!


Do The crew change into pyama’s or do they take their rest time in their uniform. Onlu 1,3 Hours Deen short to Change?


Crew changes into special klm pyjama’s. Uniform would be way too wrinkled afterwards :-D
Does require some quick and efficient changing, especially since orc height is not by far enough to stand straight up… :-)


I love the notice on the outside of the OCR door: ‘one person per bunk maximum’.

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