Ever wonder where pilots go for some inflight shut-eye? A pilot has freaked out fliers by revealing the comfy but claustrophobic quarters where captains bed down during long-haul trips.
“They have different options to choose from when it comes to getting some shut-eye” explained Ethiopian pilot and A350 instructor Tewodros Solomon in an Instagram video that has garnered 4.9 million views
In the ensuing footage, the viewer is taken into a restricted access room behind the cockpit outfitted with two reclining seats.
The camera then pans up to a platform with two cramped-looking, full-length “sleeping bunks” that are enclosed by curtains, evoking the modern version of sleeping cots aboard an 18th century galleon.
These special napping cabins are generally only available on long-haul flights (defined as those that exceed 7 hours in flight time). During shorter trips, tuckered-out flyboys generally snag their Zs in business class seats that are designated for crew rest, The Points Guy reported.
Needless to say, many viewers were alarmed by the pilot’s slumber pods with one labeling them “claustrophobic.”
“Aren’t those seats too narrow?” fretted another. “One’s shoulders hardly fits in there. As a passenger with no work except to watch movies, that’s fine but for pilots on duty?”
Meanwhile, many commenters seemed disturbed by the notion that pilots sleep on the plane at all.
“They sleep? New fear unlocked,” wrote one worrywart, while another exclaimed, “Why they sleep during flight ? They are paid for driving the plane.”
However, as savvy viewers pointed out, there are generally three to four pilots during long-haul flights, ensuring that there’s always someone controlling the aircraft as others get adequate rest, per Flight Deck Friend.
“The same two pilots are at the controls for take-off and landing whilst the other pilot(s) will take control for other segments of the flight to give the others an opportunity to sleep,” the site states. “At least one pilot must always be awake and at the controls at all times.”
In fact, sleeping on the plane is paramount as it potentially prevents pilots from nodding off at the controls.
“This [sleep room] allows them to recharge their energy so they can continue to ensure the safety of our skies,” explained Solomon on Instagram. “So next time you’re on a plane, you can rest assured that the pilots have had some quality rest to keep them alert and focused.”
In other words, they crash to reduce the chances of, well, crashing.
For this reason, the Federal Aviation Administration requires pilots to take a 30-minute nap during flights that are longer than 8 hours.
Additionally, pilots must get at least 8 hours of rest before starting a flight and nab 10 or more hours off between flying gigs.