Where Do Pilots Sleep?

Many people enjoy sleeping while traveling to relax and pass the time. But have you ever wondered where do the pilots sleep?

Pilots have two options for sleep: in-seat rest in the cockpit or a bunk rest in a bed which is typically only permitted on lengthy trips and the passenger cabin. The pilot room in the plane is called the cockpit, where the pilots usually take a 10 to 20 minutes power nap, particularly during short flights.

You might find it a little strange to consider your pilots getting some rest, but you must be wondering where do pilots sleep between flights. Somehow it makes sense, particularly on a lengthy flight or during situations with high-stress levels, like landing, you expect the pilots to remain as attentive as they can be. Therefore, it makes more sense that they’ll sleep while flying because the workload is much less demanding. 

In this article, you’ll discover everything about where do pilots sleep while flying as well as where do pilots sleep after a flight. As a result, you may read confidently, knowing that you’re obtaining the most relevant information.

Where Do Pilots Sleep

Let’s Get Started!

Where Do Pilots Sleep on Aircraft Carriers?

The front of most long-distance aircraft has a unique rest room just for the pilots that is secured by a standard electronic door.

The exact placement varies from plane to aircraft. Still, for most models from Boeing, there seems to be a unique compartment with accommodation for the pilots that is accessible via a staircase above the first two rows of first-class. 

Like Boeing, it is situated above first class on Airbus aircraft and adjacent to the cockpit.

The pilot rest is positioned on the lower deck of the larger Airbus A380, above the cockpit entrance but before the second-level cabin.

Some pilot sleeping spaces have individual compartments, lamps, first-class cushions, comforters, and sometimes even isolated temperature control—more amenities than just the bunks supplied to flight attendants. Some rest spaces contain entertainment screens, dependent upon that aircraft. 

Your replacement pilot might be upstairs viewing the same movie as you the next time you fly!

As they are frequently located at the front of the airplane for the pilots, another question that comes to your mind is, do pilots sleep with flight attendants? So the answer is no, the flight attendants have a separate cabin at the back of the airplane, and passengers would likely be unaware that they existed.

Some aircraft models have a crew rest compartment located below the cabin in a space often utilized for luggage; the compartment is detachable. An emergency hatch allows you to exit and enter the cabin.


Alternative Sleeping Areas For Pilots

Depending on the aircraft type, there are additional ways to relax the crew. To provide flight crew relaxation, premium class seats are occasionally curtained off. The last row of economy seats on some lengthy flights without a staff rest space would be curtained off to provide the flight attendants some privacy. Some aircraft include extra recliner chairs inside the crew rest room, and the “bunk beds” can be positioned adjacent to one another and climbed from into one end, or they can be piled above one another in pairs and divided by a curtain.

Improvements are being noticed, and several crew rest facilities are being updated with new, extra luxurious premium class styled bedding. The ongoing influx of new airplanes is to blame for this. Some include private storage, IFE systems, and mirrors. The cabin crew will surely appreciate improvements to the claustrophobic staff rest areas.

Why Do Pilots Sleep During Flight?

Given that a pilot’s responsibility would be to fly the aircraft, the idea that they might sleep aboard an airplane may initially appear a little scary. However, pilots require pauses, sometimes even sleep, based on the length of the journey.

A pilot won’t leave the cockpit during a brief flight other than for a restroom break. However, if the trip lasts longer than eight hours, the pilots will switch seats with a relief pilot and ultimately crash before landing.

Depending on how long the flight is, there are three different classifications of rest areas for pilots and cabin personnel.

Class 1: A private cabin insulated from the other passengers and cabin noise.

Most international flights are classified as Class 1 and need a pilots-only space apart from the passengers.

Class 2: A privacy curtain-enclosed lie-flat seat close to the rear of the business class cabin.

Class 3: An extra seat with a footrest and the ability to recline. Typically they are not used by pilots since they would merely stay in the cockpit or even not take a rest for such a little journey.

While taking controlled rest, some guidelines must be followed, such as:

  • Both pilots should talk about and approve controlled rest.
  • A predetermined time frame of between 10 and 40 minutes should be the maximum for controlled rest.
  • One pilot must take a controlled break at once, and even then, only with the seat backward and distant from the controls.
  • Once the pilot has been awakened from sleep, they should refrain from using the controls for a specific time to ensure they are entirely functional and alert. A minimum of 15 minutes should pass before engaging in high workload activities, such as starting the descent.
  • To enable the other pilot to perform their responsibilities during the single-pilot operation, the resting pilot should ensure the operational pilot is well briefed.

How Do Pilots Get Any Rest When Flying?

As you’ve just read, pilots can indeed sleep during flights—at least occasionally. But no matter what happens, they cannot simply fall asleep at the controls. The subject of how pilots sleep during flying therefore arises.

A pilot has two options for sleeping during a flight:

  • Bunk Rest
  • Controlled Rest

Let’s examine each!

Pilots Using Bunk Rests for Sleep

Pilots can get a more regular sleep described as bunk rest on long flights, generally described as any flight exceeding 7 hours.

As the name implies, bunk rest allows crew members and pilots to rest in actual bunks or beds away from the public eye. This not only enables the pilots to get some much-needed rest but also prevents them from entering the passenger compartment, which may make passengers feel uneasy. To counter this, premium or first class seats would be set aside for pilots and staff to use as sleeping quarters if beds or bunks are unavailable on a given flight.

There are more pilots than the usual two on several long-haul flights. For some lengthy flights, 3 or 4 pilots are needed; the additional one or two are referred to as “heavy crew” instead of Captain or Officer. The ordinary pilots on these flights will generally take off and drift off to sleep while cruising. The usual pilots will get back to the controls at a later stage, but undoubtedly before it is time to land. The hefty crew will take over for portions of the cruise.

It’s not simply the pilots who get all the rest; this rest is often split as somewhat as possible between all pilots and members of the crew. However, everyone will typically stop sleeping an hour before landing and resume regular postures to facilitate a calm landing.

Pilots Taking Controlled Rest (in-Seat rest)

In-seat rest is another name for controlled rest. When the pilot truly gets a little rest in their seat, as the name suggests. That’s true; they doze off in their headquarters in the cockpit, right next to the controls. The best way to describe this form of rest is to equate it to a quick nap, in which the pilot will typically obtain 15 – 20 min of sleep in their rest period whenever the workload is minimal, though they may acquire approximately 45 minutes of sleep at this time.

You might wonder why they take 10- to 20-minute power naps if they are permitted mins of in-seat relaxation. Which affects the sleep’s inertia, the grogginess you experience when you wake up after a deep sleep. This grogginess can result from sleep periods of at least 30 to 60 minutes, which isn’t suitable for pilots who must be aware and prepared to fly.

Both pilots may find it helpful to take breaks in their seats throughout the trip, but doing so safely requires that specific guidelines be followed.

To avoid the detrimental consequences of sleep inertia, the two pilots should agree on who will take turns napping and when. 10 to 20 min power naps are recommended.

Both pilots cannot sleep simultaneously; one must always be alert and in control.

The pilot’s seat should be pushed back away from the controls if they are dozing off.

If there is no emergency, the pilot should wake up after a predetermined period to regain consciousness.

While controlled rest has been employed, the cabin staff should be made aware in case both pilots wind up nodding off and need to be awakened.

What Happens If A Pilot Is Sleeping During An Emergency?

The circumstance doesn’t sound good. During the flight, there is an emergency, while one pilot is sleeping soundly. What happens then when a situation arises that calls for both pilots, but only one of them is awake? As you may have anticipated, the first thing that occurs is that the other pilot or the cabin crew wakes up the sleeping pilot.

You might immediately recognize a few possible problems if you give this first thought. First, the sleeping pilot may experience the negative impacts of sleep inertia lasting up to 15 to 20 minutes while attempting to orient themselves after being awakened. If that’s the case, how will they be able to assist the pilot of the jet who is still awake and in control?

Will a sleepy pilot be able to efficiently go through the required checklists and procedures if they are groggy? Or should the pilot awake and take control of the situation until the one who was sleeping got over his sleep inertia? It seems like a terrifying situation with no hope of a happy ending.

But happily, one substance—adrenaline—overcomes sleep inertia exceptionally rapidly.

Adrenaline will start racing through the pilot’s body as soon as they are awakened from their sleep by an emergency. The pilot flying will brief the person who just got up as the adrenaline is rushing. Adrenaline is the only known way to quickly overcome the impacts of sleep inertia. Both captains will be awake and prepared to fly in no time. Said that is the capacity of the human mind and body.

Frequently Answered Questions

Q: Do pilots stay in hotels?

Once the flight crew and pilots are away from their homes, the airline typically makes lodging arrangements for them all. When crew members travel, the airline arranges and covers their lodging. Many pilots commute instead of living near their base of operations.

Q: Do pilots come home at night?

Pilots who travel greater distances are unable to return home at night and may spend up to 2 weeks at a period apart from their loved ones. This is particularly valid for commercial pilots and pilots on domestic short-haul aircraft.

Q: Do pilots sleep on the job?

Longer-haul pilots, however, may not be able to visit their family every night and may be gone for up to 2 weeks at a time. This is particularly valid for commercial pilots and pilots who operate on domestic short-haul flights.

Q: What do flight attendants do after landing?

After landing, attendants help passengers exit the plane securely.


By the end of this guide, we hope you will know where do pilots sleep. Since they are frequently located in the front of the aircraft for the pilots and at the back of the aircraft just above the cabin for the cabin crew, passengers would likely be unaware that they existed. Some aircraft models have a crew rest compartment located below the cabin in a space often utilized for freight; the compartment is detachable. An emergency hatch allows you to exit and enter the cabin.

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