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Do Crews Ever Sleep In The Airplane At Layovers?  
User currently offlineBirdwatching From Germany, joined Sep 2003, 3821 posts, RR: 51
Posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 21721 times:

If an airline flies a long haul aircraft into a country with a less than perfect safety situation or with simply no adequate hotels around, or a war zone maybe, but the airport is guarded well, and they have a decent premium cabin with lie flat seats and a good kitchen and bathrooms and all - as good as a hotel - couldn't they simply sleep inside the plane for the night stop? Has this ever been done as a regular practice?

How about charter or cargo operations?

What about poor airlines who can not afford to put their crews in a hotel?

I certainly wouldn't mind doing this, the only problem might be the lack of showers, but there may be some inside the airport buildings.

Soren   


All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
52 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineiairallie From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 21652 times:

I won't say never but it certainly wouldn't be scheduled. My charter company flies some sketchy places and when we don't layover (intentionally) in those places we operate it as a turn or drop off the pax and ferry the plane to a place where it is safer to crew rest. They can't count time spent on the plane as crew rest even if we aren't working. I can only see it happening if you have a mechanical somewhere without safe layover facilities.

User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19568 posts, RR: 58
Reply 2, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 21626 times:

Quoting Birdwatching (Thread starter):
If an airline flies a long haul aircraft into a country with a less than perfect safety situation or with simply no adequate hotels around, or a war zone maybe, but the airport is guarded well, and they have a decent premium cabin with lie flat seats and a good kitchen and bathrooms and all - as good as a hotel - couldn't they simply sleep inside the plane for the night stop? Has this ever been done as a regular practice?

I cannot imagine any union would agree to this. If this ever happened, it would be due to extremely irregular situations, not due to a planned circumstance.

You have to remember, a trip to a far-off land for a pilot is a routine thing. He does it several times per month. When he does that, he leaves his wife, his kids, his dog at home. He expects (and typically gets) excellent accommodations with as many free phone calls home as he likes and other amenities. A life of traveling long-haul is not an easy one.


User currently offlinedoug_Or From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3403 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 21582 times:

Mesa crew used to do this on CDOs (continuos duty overnights [aka stand-ups, illegals, highspeeds depending on where you work]). These were overnights less than 8 hours where the airline simply refused to spring for a hotel. Caused some problems in Canada where there were requirements about where the crew was allowed to be. Of course the CRJ does not have lie flat seats, a good kitchen, or even comfortable bathrooms. You could spot these crews as they would usually be carrying a plywood plank on the back of their overnight bag or chart case, which was used to bridge the aisle, so they could lie down and sleep. After the practice got media attention I believe Mesa relented somewhat relented, but the result was pretty poor (shared room for whole crew or something like that).


When in doubt, one B pump off
User currently offlineiairallie From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 21492 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 2):
as many free phone calls home as he likes

Where did you hear this one?
We pay for all our phone calls unless we are calling the company.


User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11645 posts, RR: 60
Reply 5, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 21472 times:

Hey Soren!

Didn't the SAS crew on our LYR flight say they did that, as there was something like a 4 hour layover in LYR and pretty much nothing for them to do?


Dan  



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlineltbewr From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13078 posts, RR: 12
Reply 6, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 21425 times:

I am quite sure it happens, especially for a short (4-5 hour) layover as suggested above, but still, such situations may not meet international and many countries standards for cabin and crew safety and comfort. I hope this doesn't give some LCC's like Spirit or Ryanair!

User currently offlineSQ_EK_freak From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2000, 1633 posts, RR: 20
Reply 7, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 21255 times:

Quoting iairallie (Reply 1):
I won't say never but it certainly wouldn't be scheduled. My charter company flies some sketchy places and when we don't layover (intentionally) in those places we operate it as a turn or drop off the pax and ferry the plane to a place where it is safer to crew rest. They can't count time spent on the plane as crew rest even if we aren't working. I can only see it happening if you have a mechanical somewhere without safe layover facilities.

Yes, and also I've heard that some airlines do a double uplift of crews (most times this is because the flight is once weekly which would necessitate a ridiculously long layover) so set 1 of crew work the flight out of home base while set 2 deadhead and relax, then switch at the destination and set 2 works the leg home while set 1 deadheads back. I believe I heard it was KE that did this with their KTM flight?

Quoting doug_Or (Reply 3):
Mesa crew used to do this on CDOs (continuos duty overnights [aka stand-ups, illegals, highspeeds depending on where you work]). These were overnights less than 8 hours where the airline simply refused to spring for a hotel. Caused some problems in Canada where there were requirements about where the crew was allowed to be. Of course the CRJ does not have lie flat seats, a good kitchen, or even comfortable bathrooms. You could spot these crews as they would usually be carrying a plywood plank on the back of their overnight bag or chart case, which was used to bridge the aisle, so they could lie down and sleep. After the practice got media attention I believe Mesa relented somewhat relented, but the result was pretty poor (shared room for whole crew or something like that).

That is atrocious!! I thought some of our shorter layovers were bad, but still we always get a nice hotel room, if only right by the airport!

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 5):
Didn't the SAS crew on our LYR flight say they did that, as there was something like a 4 hour layover in LYR and pretty much nothing for them to do?

Off the top of my head we have a tag on flight from BKK to HKG that we layover in BKK in after our first leg from home base, then work the tag on but given the BKK-HKG flight is a short 2:30 we don't layover in HKG. However, we get in around 17:30 at HKG and the return isn't till 22:30. We by no means sleep/relax on the plane, we actually have lounge access and leave the aircraft with our bags and all and re-board later. We then layover back in BKK before working the flight home. I much prefer this method, though I have to say it isn't my favorite flight to work.



Keep Discovering
User currently offlinesw733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6321 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 21046 times:

I swear I heard BA did this (or still does) with their Luanda flights...take the 777 down, arrive in the morning, park somewhere at the airport, sleep in the crew rest, and fly it back that night to London.

I don't have proof of this, but I thought I had heard it...


User currently offlinelowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 20948 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 2):
He expects (and typically gets) excellent accommodations with as many free phone calls home as he likes and other amenities.

I would say that, based on my experience, this is not always the case. Accomodations can vary widely in quality from 5 stars down to -1 star, phone calls home are never free (unless you have free internet service and unrestricted access to skype) and the amenities vary widely as well, from free laundry and heavily discounted food, down to scrounging for a towel.



Proud OOTSK member
User currently offlinejetblast From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 1231 posts, RR: 10
Reply 10, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 20537 times:

Quoting sw733 (Reply 8):
I swear I heard BA did this (or still does) with their Luanda flights...take the 777 down, arrive in the morning, park somewhere at the airport, sleep in the crew rest, and fly it back that night to London.

I don't have proof of this, but I thought I had heard it...

I'm not sure if it was done before but to my knowledge they do in fact have hotel accommodations in LAD but they are advised to stay inside due to the danger associated with mosquito bites...maybe one of our cabin crew can elaborate.



Speedbird Concorde One
User currently offlinebastew From Australia, joined Sep 2006, 1027 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 20251 times:

Quoting sw733 (Reply 8):
I swear I heard BA did this (or still does) with their Luanda flights...take the 777 down, arrive in the morning, park somewhere at the airport, sleep in the crew rest, and fly it back that night to London.

I don't have proof of this, but I thought I had heard it...

At the moment we fly to Luanda once per week (I believe increasing to twice weekly if we havent already).

It is the only longhaul destination where the aircraft stays on the ground while we take the legal minimum rest of around 10 hours. But it is taken in a hotel, not on the aircraft.


User currently offlinesw733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6321 posts, RR: 9
Reply 12, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 20231 times:

Quoting bastew (Reply 11):
But it is taken in a hotel, not on the aircraft.

Thanks for clearing that up. Very interesting. I don't know where I heard that they sleep on the plane, but obviously that was incorrect.


User currently offlineKristiaand From Netherlands, joined Jun 2009, 43 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 20199 times:
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At the airline for whom I am working for it is a labour agreement that the crews have to have a hotel accommodation when the lay-over is more then 5 & 1/2 hours. So basically when the lay-over is just 5 hours (Which is without the turnaround 4 hours en 15 minutes) the crew can stay either in the aircraft or in the terminal depending on the agreements with the handler / airport.

But most of the times (if not all) they run out of duty time and have to have a hotel accommodation anyway.



"The airport runway is the most important mainstreet in any town." -Quoted from : Norm Crabtree.
User currently offlineAirTran737 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3704 posts, RR: 12
Reply 14, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 20188 times:
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Quoting DocLightning (Reply 2):
I cannot imagine any union would agree to this. If this ever happened, it would be due to extremely irregular situations, not due to a planned circumstance.

You have to remember, a trip to a far-off land for a pilot is a routine thing. He does it several times per month. When he does that, he leaves his wife, his kids, his dog at home. He expects (and typically gets) excellent accommodations with as many free phone calls home as he likes and other amenities. A life of traveling long-haul is not an easy one



I work for the same company as Allie, and can completely back her up. When you are flying into a shithole the accommodations tend to reflect the local environment. As far as phone calls go, it's on your own dime, and that's why we all use skype. At the end of the year you tax deduct your cell phone bill.



Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15735 posts, RR: 26
Reply 15, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 20084 times:

Quoting Birdwatching (Thread starter):
couldn't they simply sleep inside the plane for the night stop? Has this ever been done as a regular practice?

I've heard of this happening with some corporate jet crews, but never airlines. Of course, they have somewhat different rules.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlinesw733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6321 posts, RR: 9
Reply 16, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 20074 times:

Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 14):
At the end of the year you tax deduct your cell phone bill.

All of it, or just the calls made while on the road?


User currently offlinefloridaflyboy From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 2010 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 19989 times:

There were several occasions at XJ when we would get in late on a high-speed and only have three hours before our return flight. We'd just sleep on the plane for that period of time. Fortunately, on the saab, if you pull off a seat cushion, it fits perfectly across the aisle and makes a wonderful bed. And of course, row 11 goes all the way across  


Good goes around!
User currently offlinecaribillo From Spain, joined Jul 2006, 218 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 19930 times:

Years ago, IB used to send the DC10 to SSG.

It was a return flight, just with the minimum time needed to unload an load the plane again.

But, in case of AOG, the crews were instructed to sleep inside the aircraft, not allowing them to leave the plane. They were not allowed even to go to the terminal.

It was due to safety and health reasons.

It happened from time to time.



Red, orange and yellow...with a big crown!
User currently offlineDTWPurserBoy From United States of America, joined Feb 2010, 1619 posts, RR: 7
Reply 19, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 19901 times:

You've got to be kidding! I could hear the screeches of outrage right now. We are professionals traveling on company business just like any other corporate traveler. We would never stay on the airplane. No showers or adequate sanitary facilities, privacy or basic amenities. Our hotels are generally top notch and even in some of the poorest parts of the world that we travel to there is always at least one 4 or 5 star hotel with adequate security and safe food.


Qualified on Concorde/B707/B720/B727/B737/B747/B757/B767/B777/DC-8/DC-9/DC-10/A319/A320/A330/MD-88-90
User currently offlineAirTran737 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3704 posts, RR: 12
Reply 20, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 19884 times:
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Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 19):

It's not always practical. Go on an overnight in FIH and then talk to me. I'd rather stay on the bird and sleep rather than make the trek to the hotel



Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
User currently offlineUnited960 From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 36 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 18055 times:

When I flew for United in the late 1990s and early 2000s, we had several IROPS nights at ORD where crews were deadheading out to layover because of lack of available hotel rooms in the Chicago area. My crew came in from SFO, misconnected, and then attempted to work on outbound that subsequently cancelled. As the end of the operation was nearing around midnight, there was a long line at the crew desk of misconnected crews with nowhere to go. When we got to the front of the line they just gave us deadhead tickets to PHL. We deadheaded out, laid over, and then deadheaded back to ORD the next afternoon to pick up the balance of the trip. The reason they did this was to keep us legal to work the next day. If we had slept on the airplane, we would have been considered still on duty and thus illegal to work anything the next day. United did the deadhead to layover procedure as way to protect coverage for outbounds the following afternoon.

I knew several coworkers who slept in a 777 in DEN during the summer of 2000 dispute between the pilots and the Goodwin administration. They ended up having no hotel rooms, and no more flight attendants legal to work anything outbound to even cover crews to deadhead to layovers. So everyone just slept on a few parked jumbos. Those crews were all illegal to fly the next day, and the situation just compounded. But sleeping on airplanes is not rest and not a way to guarantee a safe operation. Luckily at United we had union support to walk away from any trips where those situations happened, guaranteeing that working pilots and flight attendants had adequate rest to fly safely.


User currently offlinelowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 22, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 17859 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 15):
but never airlines.

Yes it does happen. Sometime it is the safest, most practical thing to do because,

Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 14):
When you are flying into a shithole the accommodations tend to reflect the local environment.

Couldn't have summed it up better myself.



Proud OOTSK member
User currently onlineB777LRF From Luxembourg, joined Nov 2008, 1332 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 17536 times:

The crew, albeit not cockpit, of certain An-124 operators are infamous for living onboard their ships for extended periods of time. The smell can be quite overwhelming (think smelly socks combined with sweat, cheap cigarettes and cooked food of dodgy origins).


From receips and radials over straight pipes to big fans - been there, done that, got the hearing defects to prove
User currently offlinedw747400 From United States of America, joined Aug 2001, 1259 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (4 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 17387 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 15):
I've heard of this happening with some corporate jet crews, but never airlines. Of course, they have somewhat different rules.

Its not common, but I know of more than one instance of a Part 121 wide-body crew spending the night on the airplane--these instances were due to security issues.



CFI--Certfied Freakin Idiot
25 6YJCX : I don't know about crew, but back in the 1980's when AA just took delivery of their A300's we were forced to sleep on one of them at the gate in MIA a
26 aviateur : I did this once, in 1993, on a Dash-8 at Bangor, Maine, during what's known as a "stand-up" or "continuous duty" layover. Those are a lot of fun. Not.
27 aviateur : Like where, if you don't mind me asking? PS
28 eta unknown : Years ago, I believe the QF Connect 717 crew (or was it Impulse back then?) would sleep on board in LST- it made the news.
29 AR385 : I have a book by Elliot Hester. " Plane Insanity". In it he refers an incident where he had sex with his lover on a DC-10 lower lobe galley. The plane
30 KL642 : I once had a neighbor that was a f/o for SY who told me that when the DC-10's would fly into Mexican cities at night, that they would drop off the pas
31 United960 : Situations like this are not technically layovers. They are likely "sits" between flights during one crew duty period. Union contracts at various air
32 Post contains links Norlander : FIH is Kinshasa, DR Congo. Kinshasa is listed by Mercer as the most dangerous city in Africa, beating out Mogadishu for the dubious honor...now I don'
33 ditzyboy : It is not strictly true. Impulse Airlines had a 0100 departure MEL-HBA. The crew then ops the 0530 HBA-MEL flight for a duty period/credit of 7 hrs.
34 757ops : I agree, even at the Hotels you feel unsafe and I have been threatened before there by the hotel staff, nowadays when going to FIH the crew rest in B
35 babybus : When I was on the ramp at LGW it was common for the Dan-Air crew to have to stopover in the Canaries for 4 or more hours at night and they were expect
36 ElpinDAB : Sleeping in the airplane happens regularly. Airline crews in the US getting less than 4 hours of sleep each night is common too. You're next "Delta" f
37 sw733 : FIH is a crap hole, but the idea that it's more dangerous than Mogadishu is, to say the least, laughable. I imagine that finding statistics on Mogadi
38 kgaiflyer : I have been at the Heathrow Crowne-Plaza with airline folks who -- for whatever reason -- had credit or invoices refused by the front desk. Since I w
39 bwaflyer : We used to operate a trip flying LHR-DAM on day 1, day 2 we operated DAM-ALP-DAM with a 6 hour stop in Aleppo. We were offered shared hotel rooms in t
40 Edina : Only sleptovernight on board once........on 9/11. Should have operated LGW-JFK, but diverted to YHZ we offloaded pax after 4.5 hours & then slept
41 Norlander : I agree with you, which is why I don't put too much credence on lists like that, but the overall point of "sleeping on the plane is preferable in Kin
42 MD11Engineer : Our boss thinks that it is ok to keep loadmasters and mechanics on board of the aircraft for 3-4 days, since, after all, we can get our rest while the
43 BMI727 : Don't they have some relatively comfortable seats (late 90s Business Class-ish) up there too, at least in converted ones?
44 MD11Engineer : I can´t really sleep when I´m sitting. I rather stretch out. Jan
45 BMI727 : Fair enough.
46 burnsie28 : They don't get free phone calls home. Often times on "illegals" where the crew gets in late and leaves early sometimes some of them elect to sleep on
47 Post contains images kiwiandrew : My brother works at AKL and told me that a Russian freight charter company once had to be told in no uncertain terms that it was not acceptable for th
48 Post contains images MD11Engineer : Try to take a shower out of a mineral water bottle in the galleyx Jan
49 iairallie : Yep lots of trips have sit times built into the duty day. At my airline they can build a sit time of up to 5 hours before a hotel and minimum crew re
50 Post contains images sw733 : I would say the issue is not necessarily sleep, but true recuperative sleep. You could rest ("sleep") for 10 hours in a comfortable chair, but it pro
51 BMI727 : Well, yeah. Russian plane = Russian toilets.
52 DocLightning : That was the BA Captain's deal, I think.
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