United Airlines passengers stunned when pilot changes out of uniform and takes a NAP in first class an hour into the flight –UK Daily Mail
United Airlines passengers stunned to see pilot take off clothes and fall asleep in first class -UK Mirror
Reading these headlines, you would think the pilot left the cockpit unattended. You might think he blatantly violated his duty and protocols. He did nothing of the sort.
I’ll admit, it was a bit unorthodox for him to remove his uniform before he went to sleep, but don’t fool yourself into thinking he did something wrong.
This flight was operated by a United Airlines Boeing 757-200, a plane that does not have a dedicated crew rest area for pilots. As a consequence, one of the 16 business class seats on the aircraft is assigned as a pilot rest seat. Three pilots typically operate a 757 transatlantic flight, with two on-duty while one is off-duty.
As a United spokesperson notes:
The safety of our customers and employees is of prime importance at United Airlines. On transatlantic flights, pilots are required to take a rest break. This aircraft is operated by a cockpit crew of three and this pilot was on his rest period.
That’s it. Not only is practical, it is mandated. There is no need to worry.
I guess I can understand why an irregular flyer might be concerned to see the captain snoozing in business class. But there is absolutely no need for alarm. As Zach from The Points Guy notes, this rest prevents fatigue, which keeps passengers safer.