Here’s where Qantas pilots sleep on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner

By David Flynn, December 15 2017
Here’s where Qantas pilots sleep on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner

With Qantas' Boeing 787 now flying on international routes – first to Los Angeles, and then from March 2018 to London – there'll be plenty of business travellers snoozing away in their lie-flat beds.

Little known to them, directly overhead there's another set of beds – inside a hidden upstairs compartment – with arguably the best beds on the plane, and this is where the pilots will be napping between shifts.

Welcome to the Boeing 787's secret bedrooms.

There are two crew rest areas on the Dreamliner: one at the front of the plane, directly above the first three rows of business class; and a second larger space for the flight attendants, located at the rear of the plane above the last rows of economy.

You can spot their exact location because the central overhead luggage bins are missing from those parts of each cabin – they've been replaced by flat panels without a latch to open and close the bin.

The pilots grab their shut-eye above rows 2 and 3...

... with the flight attendants snoozing upstairs of economy rows 57 through 59.

The door to each crew rest area is protected by a combination lock set into an innocuous-looking galley panel, which swings open to reveal a steep winding staircase leading upstairs.

This is the pilot's rest area, which has a well-padded seat tucked away next to the stairwell...

... and two wide flat beds.

There's a bolster and curtain between them, to provide a little privacy and a sense of your own space.

Next to each bed are recesses for water bottles and oddments such as an amenity kit, reading glasses, a phone and other bits of personal kit...

... a wide rack for books, magazines, tablets and what-not...

... an AC socket to recharge that smatphone or tablet...

... and an intercom handset for communicating with other areas of the aircraft, such as the crew stations and the flight deck.

The flight attendant rest area at the rear of the Boeing 787 is pretty much the same, only larger – it has beds for six cabin crew, and you can bet they'll all be used during that 17+ hour non-stop trek between Perth and London.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

05 May 2016

Total posts 619

So does this mean the front three rows of Business could be undesirable with limited overhead luggage space to keep your belongings near you?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2016

Total posts 108

No, due to the fact that only ~ 3-4 people share the one overhead locker, it shouldn’t be a problem. Economy, might be a different story.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Aug 2012

Total posts 2199

The enormous bins over the aisle seats ensure that there is still plenty of space to go around the first three rows of Business.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 462

There are still overhead bins on the window sides; it's only the central bins that are not present over those first few rows. It just means those in those centre seats use the bins over the other side of the aisle. And there's PLENTY of room in those bins.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 699

Interesting there is no IFE up there.

Emirates, AA, Air India and Singapore Airlines (just to name a few) have installed IFE in the crew rest area on some of there long haul aircraft.

02 Dec 2016

Total posts 31

Will make sure to avoid those rows of economy!

03 Nov 2013

Total posts 6

I am just curious. On these ultra long haul flights e.g Perth does QANTAS handle the aircrew requirements? I am aware some airlines carry two separate crews (two Captains etc)...I am not aware that QANTAS has ever done it that way. On recent flight on the upper deck of 747 it appeared me that there is a 'cast of thousands' on the flightdeck. Well at least 4.

Any one know how it actually works?

03 Nov 2013

Total posts 6

Actually meant Perth - London

Think on the A380s Qantas does one Captain, one first officer and two second officers don't they??

05 May 2016

Total posts 619

Presumably all the pilots would be on flight deck for take off and landing and whilst cruising would take turns to rest.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Apr 2011

Total posts 106

"Welcome to the Boeing 787's (now not so) secret bedrooms." ;-)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Apr 2015

Total posts 2

Interesting topic, well done David.

All long haul 787 have this. Philhrrll, it is a flight crew of four for flights as long or longer than Australia - LAX.

03 Nov 2013

Total posts 6

thanks for the comments

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Nov 2017

Total posts 3

Whats an IFE please?

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 388

'IFE' = 'in flight entertainment' such as monitors fixed to the seat in front of a passenger, or that sometimes swivel out from under the armrest where there is no seatback in front of a traveller.

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