• Crew rest area: The pilots’ favourite zone

Perhaps you’ve ever wondered where flight crews go to relax on those seemingly endless journeys. Where do they find refuge to recharge their batteries between shifts on long haul flights?
Today we’re opening the doors to this open secret: the crew sanctuary, the aircraft rest areas. Will you join us?

Safety comes first

Thanks to cutting-edge aerospace technology, we have the ability to fly non-stop for an impressive 16 hours. This fact, combined with increasing global interconnectedness, means that transoceanic flights last an average of 12 hours.

But what about the crew? They have to remain vigilant whether passengers are sleeping and having sweet dreams or are up at night. But on the other hand, they also need to be relieved by other colleagues to rest and not make mistakes in the air.

Rest to work better

Did you know that fatigue is one of the most significant risks to flight safety? A flight crew member or pilot can be fatigued without showing obvious signs of exhaustion. In such circumstances, our abilities are impaired.

For this reason, both the Spanish and European authorities have established strict regulations for the rest of flight personnel. In Spain, the regulation in question is Operational Circular 16-B.

This regulation delimits the maximum period of activity of a pilot, which can be up to 13 hours. But be careful, this period starts to count from the moment the employee arrives at the airport of origin.

The crew rest, the oasis at altitude

And here comes the answer: the “crew rest area“. This is the place where the flight crew retreats to rest and get away from the hustle and bustle of the passenger cabin during their rest periods.

This space has been created to provide a comfortable environment for crew members, including soft lighting, air conditioning, temperature control and even reading material. While this space may vary in terms of size and amenities depending on the aircraft model and airline, the concept is the same: flight crews need a place to refuel between duties.

Crew rests are equipped with a loudspeaker system to alert the flight crew if their presence is required. They also have oxygen masks in case of depressurisation and safety belts.

Where is the crew rest area located?

Historically, the crew rest area was located in the rear section of the aircraft. That changed with modern long-range aircraft such as the A350 or the Boeing 787.

These current aircraft have two rest areas, one located just behind the cockpit, which is used by the flight crew, and one at the rear of the aircraft, reserved for the flight attendants.

In this video, Captain Joe shows what the crew rest area looks like and how it is legally regulated – don’t miss it!

Pilot relief, the great ally

An important figure is the “Pilot Relief“. This additional pilot takes over while the main pilots take a break. But not to worry, these professionals are equally qualified and prepared to keep the flight safe and comfortable.

However, this change of pilot does not take place on all flights, only on very long flights. Pilots, on continental or domestic flights, do not need pilot relief in ordinary conditions.

Although the duty period can be up to 13 hours, most airlines incorporate pilot relief in advance to avoid over-fatigue in pilots and cabin crew. In addition, rest also helps to mitigate jet lag. If you want to know more about jet lag, we suggest you take a look at the post where we explain the causes and how to prevent it.

What would we do without the flight crew?

Because flight crew are essential in aviation. Every measure that is taken with regard to employees, safety and time is done in order to ensure maximum comfort on the flight.

But it’s not just about ensuring a smooth flight, rest is a right and a well-deserved reward – aviation professionals are true heroes!

We hope you enjoyed this article and that you have learned a little more about the work of flight attendants. If aviation is your thing and you want to learn more about it, follow our aviation blog.

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