The secret places on planes where passengers are not allowed revealed

Entering this area isn’t going to fly.

Airplanes have secret, forbidden areas where passengers are prohibited from — and even the most elite members don’t have access to them.

On select airplanes, there are hidden “crew rest compartments” reserved exclusively for crew members to rest during long-haul flights — and passengers are strictly prohibited from entering.

According to CNN, the bunkers — equipped with padded mattresses, linens, lights, power outlets, air conditioning and typical airplane safety equipment like oxygen masks — are located in the upper fuselage above the main cabin in newer aircraft. They are often in the cargo hold or main cabin on older planes.

Either way, the tiny compartments are hidden from passenger view, and the secret passageway to the bunks could be easily confused as a closet.

“It’s a little bit like Disney – we keep the magic behind closed doors,” United Airlines flight attendant Susannah Carr, who regularly flies on Boeing 787, 777 and 767, told the outlet.

While the compartments’ locations vary from aircraft to aircraft, most long-haul planes are equipped with the bunks. Boeing

“I won’t go too far into how we access it – it’s secure, I will say that. Occasionally we have people that think it’s a bathroom door and they try to open it, but we just show them the way to the actual restroom instead.”

According to Carr, who jokingly calls the cramped compartments “the catacombs,” the secret door on newer aircraft leads to a landing with a ladder that leads to the bunks that could feel too confined for people who are claustrophobic.

“They can be quite comfortable,” Carr said.

“I like them – but I’m also only about 5 foot 8 inches, so if you put a 6 foot 4 inch person in there, they might be a little tight.”

“It’s a little bit like Disney – we keep the magic behind closed doors,” Carr said. Cathay Pacific
They may seem cramped to someone who is a bit taller, Carr noted. Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

While there’s “more legroom” in the bunks for crew, “you don’t necessarily have the full head space of being in the cabin and obviously you don’t have privacy either,” she noted.

That’s especially true on aircraft that don’t have bunks but rather recliners that are shrouded with a heavy curtain that blocks out light and some sounds.

“We’ve had passengers open the curtains, looking for something or thinking they’d be going into the galley, so it’s not necessarily the best rest,” Carr recalled.

On long-haul flights — defined as flight time longer than six hours — only 10% of the journey is allotted for rest for the crew, equating to about an hour and a half per flight, Finnair flight attendant Karoliina Åman told CNN.

Behind closed doors, a ladder will lead either up or down into the bunks, where the crew can take quick rest breaks. Toronto Star via Getty Images

“This is the moment during the flight when we don’t answer passengers’ calls or do any other task but rest, and let our feet and mind have their break too,” she explained, adding that the “rest period is extremely important” for the crew, since they don’t have a private area for breaks.

“The purpose of this rest is to maintain an alert and ready mindset during the whole flight so that if anything unexpected happens, we are ready to take action.”

But the bunks aren’t just for getting shut-eye.

Åman said she sometimes takes the time to read books or listen to audiobooks on outbound flights home, but inbound flights to a foreign destination may prove more exhausting and require some in-air slumber.

“Waking up from that sleep can be a really harsh experience sometimes if your brain has switched to night sleep mode,” she said.

Carr said she also struggles with getting ample sleep due to jet lag, which she calls “a tricky beast.” Sometimes she can sleep, but other times her body is “just not ready for a nap,” so she uses her rest time for watching a movie or reading.

There are often separate bunks for the pilots as well. Boeing
The bunks are hidden behind unassuming doors that could be easily confused for a closet. Corbis via Getty Images

When it comes to determining who will get a break first, Carr said that’s up to seniority, which rules everything in the aviation industry, “from the schedule you fly to the routes you can hold to your days off.”

“You don’t necessarily want to know that your flight attendants are getting a little bit of shuteye, but at the same time you’ll be happy when we pop up after our little cat nap all fresh as a daisy,” she said.

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