If you work as Cabin Crew for a long haul airline, you may find the work a little more challenging than usual. Working night shifts, the jetlag and just the ability to stay sane in a physically and emotionally demanding job, can sometimes take its toll. Often, there is minimum rest time down-route due to airline cutbacks and to use the aircraft and crews to maximum capacity. Fatigue is a common factor for pilots and Cabin Crew, so how can we make the most of our crew rest time and stay healthy on the long haul flights? The long haul traveler may also find these tips useful and adaptable…
The Crew Rest Area
The first thing to consider is to make crew rest time more comfortable. On a long haul flight we are usually allowed a rest time of between 1hour 30 minutes and 3 hours depending on the length of flight. For example, a London – New York flight would only get minimal rest and a London – Singapore flight would get the maximum rest. Crew rest time is divided up between the crew, so that we all have equal times and you may be on rest 1, 2 or 3 depending on how many crew members are onboard. As to where you have your crew rest will depend on the aircraft type, a Boeing 777 or Airbus 340 may have a bunk area underneath the cabin or the 747 may have a bunk area in the tail. Smaller types may not have a crew rest area therefore 3 seats may be curtained off at the rear of the aircraft or you may only have your door/crew seat area as a rest area.
For all these areas, a small feather travel pillow and a child’s duvet will take comfort to a whole new level, especially on a cold night flight! The duvet rolls up really small and you can fit them both into your crew bag with ease. We are prone to feeling the cold on these flights especially when tiredness starts to kick in – so a mini hot water bottle is a huge bonus. If you are resting in the galley or at your crew seat, you can improvise with a plastic water bottle filled with warm water. You may find it helpful to listen to music or a relaxation or language programme to calm the mind and take the focus away from the flight, so a MP3 or Ipod maybe a good investment. If you are lucky enough to have a crew bunk rest area, you can lie down properly and even change into pyjamas if you so wish. If you cannot sleep, it is important just to rest as this will help you cope better with the jetlag which will surface later.
Eat Light and Rehydrate
To help stay healthy, you should only eat light during the flight – things like salads, chicken or fish and nuts and seeds or fruit. These are more easily digested too as uncomfortable bloating can be an issue and in fact our uniforms are fitted one size too big to allow for this! Make sure you drink plenty of water too, to combat dehydration too. If you cannot bear to drink water on a cold night flight, try hot water with lemon slices which is comforting and a mini detox too.
Finally, you will need a freshen-up kit for when rest is over as you need to be back to your immaculate self again. This should include mini travel sized deodorant, face spray and foot spray, a lip balm and eye drops, toothbrush and paste and a comb. A mini perfume and cosmetics are added for the girls to top up their make-up.
Hopefully, you will have gained a little rest during the flight and feel prepared for the continued journey. Eating right and drinking water will help you feel a whole lot healthier and being able to freshen up, will give you the confidence to face the world again.