Where cabin crew sleep

Long-haul journeys can be exhausting for hardworking flight attendants as well as passengers, but where do crew go to unwind and escape demanding flyers?

Many Boeing 777 and 787 planes feature a secret staircase that leads to a tiny set of windowless bedrooms known as Crew Rest Compartments (CRCs).

Fascinating images provide a rare glimpse inside these confined areas, which few people have a chance to witness for themselves.

This image of a Boeing plane shows flight attendants stretched out in the hidden bedroom area, which many passengers don’t get to see

A small staircase can be seen leading to a compartment of sleeping spaces for long-haul crew members. These bedrooms are located in the rear of this Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and there are another two further sections at the front of the plane too

Sleep tight: The cosy  sleeping quarters on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner  feature cushions, pillows and curtains to offer a touch of privacy

Sleep tight: The cosy sleeping quarters on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner  feature cushions, pillows and curtains to offer a touch of privacy

Enter the cabins where aircraft crew sleep during long journeys

Most flyers are unlikely to have spotted the area before, as its narrow stairs are concealed behind a door, which usually requires a code or key to access it, and sleeping areas for crew are discreetly hidden above their heads.

The size and position of these spaces varies depending on each aircraft model, but they are typically nestled away behind the cockpit area, located above first class.

One image of an American Airline’s Boeing 777 300 even shows staff members entering the relaxation areas through a hatch disguised as an overhead bin.

The accommodation is cramped and features an average of eight beds, depending on the airline.

On Boeing 777s, there are between six to ten beds, each containing storage space for flight attendants’ belongings during the journey.

This model of plane also includes a separate area for pilots, with two beds, two business-class seats and, in some airlines, a bathroom area with a sink or lavatory.

WHAT IT’S LIKE TO SLEEP IN THE CABIN CREW BEDROOM ACCORDING TO A BRITISH AIRWAYS FLIGHT ATTENDANT

A British Airways flight attendant revealed to MailOnline Travel: ‘On the Boeing 747s it is all bunk beds and on the 777 it feels like you are in a coffin.

‘They are cramped but you can make it comfortable as you get a blanket and a pillow.

‘I always take my own pyjamas and I make a little bed up. I sometimes try to take pillows and blankets from business class if they aren’t in use.

‘It’s very basic, some have TVs but they are tiny, smaller than iPad minis.’

On the Boeing 777, there is a separate area for pilots, with two beds, two business-class seats and, on some airlines, a bathroom area with a sink or lavatory

As this graphic shows, some of the sleeping compartments are situated at the front of the plane above the first class section

As this graphic shows, some of the sleeping compartments are situated at the front of the plane above the first class section

Staff are pictured chatting and relaxing with magazines and refreshments inside the Crew Rest Compartments on a Boeing 777

Some bays come with entertainment systems, a blanket, pillows and on occasion, pyjamas, with each bed separated by draped heavy curtains which muffle out the sounds of other crew.

Different airlines have opted for varying bed layouts, ranging from Malaysian Air A380s, which has beds stacked on top of each other, to American Airlines Boeing 773s, which has beds sectioned-off from a central aisle.

A British Airways flight attendant revealed to MailOnline Travel: ‘On the Boeing 747s it is all bunk beds and on the 777 it feels like you are in a coffin.

‘They are cramped but you can make it comfortable as you get a blanket and a pillow.

‘I always take my own pyjamas and I make a little bed up. I sometimes try to take pillows and blankets from business class if they aren’t in use.

‘It’s very basic, some have TVs but they are tiny, smaller than iPad minis.’

The crew accommodation is cramped and features an average of eight beds, depending on the airline.This image shows the layout inside a Boeing 787 Dreamliner

The crew accommodation is cramped and features an average of eight beds, depending on the airline.This image shows the layout inside a Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Tight surroundings: Layouts vary depending on each model, but the sleeping areas are typically nestled away behind the cockpit area

Tight surroundings: Layouts vary depending on each model, but the sleeping areas are typically nestled away behind the cockpit area

There is a strict policy of one staff member to each bunk, which usually stretches 6ft long by 2.5ft wide.

Dan Air, the flight attendant behind Confessions of a Trolley Dolley, which has thousands of fans on Facebook and Twitter, told MailOnline Travel: ‘Crew rest areas on certain aircraft are a lot better than they used to be.

‘They are very small and very cramped and yes can be very claustrophobic. It’s not nice being in the tiny, confined space during severe turbulence, it can get very unnerving.

‘In terms of what staff do there, well that would be telling, but I’m sure you can imagine that a lot more than sleeping often goes on here.

‘We try to make them as comfortable as possible for us, bringing our own pyjamas, blankets and teddies to try and help us get some sleep, but to be honest it’s often very difficult to sleep.’

Cathay Pacific ‘A Day in The Life of a Flight Attendant’

Real or plastic Christmas tree?

The Christmas tree: it’s a quintessential part of the holiday season. But it turns out not all festive trees are made equal — at least not when it comes to environmental friendliness.

So, which is better for the planet — a freshly cut tree or a fake one?

The short answer, which may come as a surprise to some, is a real tree. But it’s actually more complicated than that.

It ultimately depends on a variety of factors, including how far you drive to get your evergreen and how you dispose of it at the end of the holidays ― and, if you choose an artificial tree, how long you end up using it.

Here’s an explainer on how to make the more Earth-friendly choice this Christmas season:

1 If you choose an artificial tree, you need to use it for a very long time

An artificial tree needs to be reused for many years to make it more environmentally friendly than buying a fresh-cut tree annually. According to forester Bill Cook, a fake tree would have to be used for more than eight to nine years. A 2009 study out of Montreal, however, concluded it would take more than 20 years of use to make it a more eco-friendly choice.

Artificial trees have “three times more impact on climate change and resource depletion than natural trees,” said the study, conducted by the consulting firm Ellipsos.

2 Most fake trees are made from toxic, non-recyclable materials

Artificial Christmas trees are made of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, a non-recyclable plastic. PVC has been linked to adverse health and environmental impacts. Fake trees may also be manufactured with lead and other toxic additives.

There are artificial trees on the market that are not made from PVC. Polyethylene plastic (or PE) trees are said to be a less toxic option.

3 If you’re going to buy artificial, choose domestic

More than 85 percent of artificial Christmas trees in the U.S. are imported from China, significantly enlarging their carbon footprint.

If you’re opting for a fake tree, aim to buy one with a “Made In USA” label.

4 Similarly, if you’re buying a real tree, go local

Minimize the number of miles driven to get your Christmas tree. Research shows that driving to get your tree often has more environmental impact than the tree itself.

“If you pick up a real tree close to your home or pick it up on a trip you were going to make anyway, the impact of the real tree is almost nil,” Bert Cregg, a horticulture expert at Michigan State University, told HuffPost.

Buying local also means supporting your community’s growers and businesses, as well as preserving local farmland.

The Christmas Tree Farm Network maintains a comprehensive list of farms in the U.S., organized by state.

5 Real Christmas trees are grown specifically for that purpose

“You’re not doing any harm by cutting down a Christmas tree,” Clint Springer, a botanist and professor of biology at Philadelphia’s Saint Joseph’s University, told The New York Times in an earlier interview. “A lot of people think artificial is better because you’re preserving the life of a tree. But in this case, you’ve got a crop that’s being raised for that purpose.”

6 Christmas tree farms can serve as a habitat for local wildlife

About 350 million trees grow on Christmas tree farms in the United States, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. About 30 million of these trees are harvested annually.

These farms have environmental costs of their own, noted Thomas Harman, who sells artificial Christmas trees. “If you use an artificial tree for 10 years, you need 10 trees, and that is 70 years’ worth of growing trees,” he told Weather.com in 2013. “You have 70 years of water and pesticide consumption.”

Researchers say, however, that pesticides aren’t actually too much of an issue on Christmas tree farms.

“If you look at the continuum of chemical use in U.S. agriculture, Christmas trees production certainly ranks on the low end,” Cregg told Mother Jones in an earlier interview.

Christmas tree farms can also serve as important habitats for local birds, insects and other wildlife.

7 Real trees can be composted or recycled

Don’t just chuck your used Christmas tree in the trash after the holidays. Repurpose or recycle it!

Many towns and cities have curbside pick-up options for recycling Christmas trees, or recycling drop-off centers. Some also offer tree mulching and chipping programs, allowing residents to recycle their trees and take home a free bag of mulch for their garden.

Feeling handy? You can also turn your tree into a DIY project. Create coasters and decorations with the branches and trunk of your tree. Or make some Christmas-scented potpourri.

The bottom line

All things being equal, it seems real Christmas trees are better for the health of the Earth ― and of your family. But depending on a variety of factors, either option can be a good choice.

If you have an artificial tree, reuse it for at least a decade and consider choosing a domestically manufactured, non-PVC option. If you want a real tree, get one close to where you live, and recycle or compost it when the season is over.

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