During a 14-hour flight from New York City to Tokyo, travelers will likely eat several meals, watch some questionable movies, and get in a few hours of sleep. But for the flight attendants and pilots who are on duty, 14 hours translates into a very long work day.
That’s why some airplanes designed for long-haul flights, like the Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliners, are outfitted with tiny bedrooms where the flight crew can catch a little shut-eye between serving meals and doling out tiny bottles of wine.
If you’re not an airline staffer, you’ll likely never see the little sleeping compartments tucked above the main cabin. Now, thanks to a recent story on Insider, curious passengers can finally take a peek behind the curtain — no, not the one that separates the first-class and economy cabins, but the one that hides a secret world tucked inside the plane.
The photo gallery reveals a secret staircase that takes flight attendants up to the sleeping area, which typically has six to 10 beds, with layouts that vary from bunk beds to side-by-side beds divided by curtains.
In-flight amenities for flight attendants depend on the particular plane (just as they do for paying passengers), but most of the sleeping spaces are outfitted with pillows and blankets. According to the Daily Mail, some come with entertainment systems and pajamas. The Boeing 777 even has a separate area for pilots, with two beds, two business-class seats, and, in some airlines, a bathroom area with a sink or lavatory.
The accommodations may sound luxurious, but according to one flight attendant who spoke to the Daily Mail, on some flights like the Boeing 747, the bunks feel “like you are in a coffin.” Plus, the flight attendants are still at work, and remain on-call in case of emergencies.
The mystery of where flight attendants sleep has been solved, but how they last for 14 hours without wrinkling their uniforms is still a mystery to us.