Where Do Pilots Sleep on Long Flights?

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Do pilots sleep on long flights?

Yes, pilots can and do sleep on long flights. Pilots are also human and need sufficient resting periods to be in good health.

But pilots are responsible for all the passengers and crew members on the plane. So there are some regulations to be followed when they take naps.

They can only rest for a brief period and the other pilot must be awake during that time. Pilots need to adhere to the following restrictions:

  •         The resting pilot should not exceed their nap time beyond forty-five minutes. This depends on the intensity of the work they have to perform.
  •       They are certainly not permitted to be getting many hours of sleep on the flight.
  •        The co-pilot or the first officer is required to take over the aircraft when the other is resting.
  •        Before this, they are required to give important instructions to the co-pilot. The other pilot will take care of the flight deck when they are absent.
  •        Once they are back from their nap, they should not immediately take over the flight controls.
  • They should wait at least a quarter of an hour to ensure they have fully woken up.

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How many pilots are there on a 12 hour flight?

There are always two pilots flying the aircraft. Exceptions include an especially small aircraft carrier or shorter flights.

The same applies to long haul flights lasting 12 hours or much longer.

Sometimes the journey is especially long and difficult. There may be three or four pilots to lessen the intensity of the work.

This way, they can all switch up easily while they alternatively take naps. This ensures the physically strenuous ride doesn’t exact a toll on their health.

This also guarantees ease of flying. On the contrary, domestically working pilots are limited to just one.

Domestic trips tend to get over in a couple of hours and one pilot is sufficient. In those cases, there is no need for them to take a nap.

Do pilots go home every night? 

The simple answer is sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. This largely depends on the flight route a particular pilot is assigned or frequents.

If they are on domestically functioning flights, they would be making shorter trips. They will finish in time to go home for the night.

It becomes a bit more complicated when they are handling international flights.

They would have to follow strict rules if they are flying to different countries. They cannot go home after a single trip.

The standard practice is they would be away from home for two weeks. Then they would go back home for sometime till they are required to report for duty again.

How many flights does a pilot do per day?

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Like most professions, pilots enjoy an evolving and interesting work schedule. Pilots running short-haul flights would be able to fly multiple flights.

They can complete about six to eight trips on a particular day. It can also change depending on the distance and atmospheric conditions.

But pilots on long haul aircrafts spend half of their time operating one flight. They will not be able to complete multiple trips in the same stretch.

It would be the next day by the time they come back from their rest period. So they are limited to flying just one for the day.

A pilot’s seniority and experience will also determine if they’ll be asked to complete longer trips.

Do pilots sleep in hotels?

Yes, they do. For the duration of their trips, the airlines will handle hotel bookings and other expenses of their stay.

Pilots need a good night’s rest like everyone else. It is vital for them to come back well-rested to be on the top of their flying game.

Pilots handle the heavy responsibility of flying the very next day. So they need adequate time to energize themselves.

Some airlines give free first class seats to their pilots for resting. Similarly, they are also given hotel rooms depending on seniority of position and experience.

Usually, pilot veterans are allocated hotel rooms. Newbie flight crew members might be assigned crash pads that resemble hostel accommodations.

Many airlines today that can afford to do so, allocate rooms to everyone. But sometimes the aviation industry faces some obstacles.

Exceptional situations like the pandemic can bring unpredictable changes. The quarantining restrictions in different countries need to be considered.

How often do pilots stay in hotels?

Pilots stay in hotels whenever required. But it mostly depends on the location and flying span.

Generally, pilots complete more than one trip on a given day. This excludes the case of very long journeys.

At the end of a day, the pilots and cabin crew might be away from their homes. In those cases, the airlines would make arrangements for their stay.

Hotel bookings are made for the night and they would be able to go to work the next day.

They would also stay in different hotels depending on the destinations and availability. This could change during unforeseen circumstances.

Unexpected situations include extreme weather, the COVID-19 pandemic, and so on.

Where do pilots sleep on aircraft carriers?

Flights have one or two in-flight options for the pilots to get some rest. They need to maintain their optimal health for the sake of everyone on board.

The most typical kind is the seated or controlled rest. Here, they will be sleeping in their seats for half an hour, more or less.https://www.youtube.com/embed/k9s5fVHyENI?showinfo=0

The second kind is the bunk rest. Here, pilots will take rest in secret rooms housing bunk beds that will not be visible to the main cabin.

If this option is not available, airlines also give business class seats or even first-class ones to pilots.

These seats offer more reclining space and legroom than passenger seats. They are built to allow the pilots to take a comfortable rest.

It is necessary that another pilot take over for them when they go on a break to rest.

Do flight attendants sleep with pilots?

No, they do not. They have a distinct space reserved for them in the form of tiny crew rest areas.

These areas are shrouded from the view of the passenger cabin and off limits to the public.

These crew rest compartments in long-haul flights may not be as fancy as the dedicated pilot bunks. But they are still effective rest areas.

The crew members usually take turns resting there for a couple of hours. It also depends on the duration of the flight.

Sometimes the flight travels only a short distance like domestically running aircrafts. There will be no need for the flight attendants to make use of this space.

On longer journeys, these enclosures come in handy to get some rest. The flight attendants have to stand for long periods and could easily tire.

FAQ relating to where pilots sleep on long flights

How long do pilots sleep on long flights?

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Pilots are not allowed to sleep for a long time. They should follow the regulations dictated by the Federal Aviation Administration when they go for a nap.

Long-running flights have bunking spaces engineered into them. These make sufficient resting beds for the pilots.

The typical span of their naps can be anywhere between a handful to forty-five minutes. However, they cannot immediately come back to the deck.

Upon waking, they are given a few more minutes to gain back full vigilance. Only then can they operate the flight controls.

Some airlines have topped the list of the lengthiest nonstop flights. This includes Singapore Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines, and Air New Zealand.

The pilots belonging to these airlines need to get requisite periods of rest. This helps them maintain their alertness and man the aircraft properly.

Business Insider reported that Singapore Airlines runs the longest flight in the world. It takes 19 hours to cover the distance between New York and Singapore.

Do airports have places for pilots to sleep?

The short answer is yes. Some airlines reserve exclusive lounges away from the public eye for all the flight crew members to use.

Most of the sleeping after the flight takes off happens inside the aircraft. But these lounges are still used by crew members to rest.

Some of them have comfortable reclining seats and sleeping rooms. These spaces are also used by the members for relaxation and grabbing a bite.

It is frequented by those who do not have a place to stay for the night or during emergencies.

This is still a more preferred option by the crew members than in-flight facilities. Some have trouble falling asleep due to the constant whirring sound of the plane.

Sometimes, temperature controls and the air vent need to be switched on and off. This also hinders the sleeping process of some people.

Do pilots pay for hotel rooms?

No, they do not. The cost of their stay in hotels along with the flight attendants’ is reimbursed by the airlines.

Pilots enjoy similar perks to most employees who go on trips to perform official duties. The difference is this is their entire job.

The airlines will however organize their accommodations only during the journey.

Pilots or flight attendants need to cover their expenditure during other times. This includes staying or traveling anywhere when they aren’t officially flying.

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