Have you come across an SIA (Singapore Airlines) girl sleeping beside you on a long-haul flight? If you have, you weren't dreaming, because she was probably taking a break.
That was what one traveller, who wanted to be known as Tan, found out after he saw some Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight attendants resting in the last few rows of the economy-class seats on his flight back to Singapore from Christchurch, New Zealand
"I was on a long flight back, about nine hours, and I was amazed to see the stewardesses on the flight take their rest among the passengers.
"Despite this, some passengers kept asking them for drinks even though they were clearly on their break," Tan told The New Paper.
He also questioned why the crew was not given a private rest area away from the view of other passengers.
It is understood that there are no bunks for in-flight crew onboard some SIA flights to and from Christchurch and Auckland as the aircraft used for the flights -- a variant of the Boeing 777 -- do not come with crew bunks. That has been the situation since last July.
SIA spokesman Nicholas Ionides said the absence of bunks on these flights was in line with guidelines set by the Air Operator Certificate Requirements. It states that rest is only mandatory for cabin crew members who are on duty for 14 hours or more.
"Notwithstanding that, we set aside a block of economy-class seats on medium-haul flights on the particular aircraft type for our crew to rest during breaks," added Ionides.
On such flights, six economy-class seats are set aside for the crew members to rest. On average, SIA has 14 to 15 cabin crew members and three cockpit on a flight.
However, the airline did not comment on why crew bunks were no longer provided for those working that particular route.
Meanwhile, image consultant Elaine Heng said that the sight of the crew sleeping could adversely impact the airline's branding and image.
"The crew represents the airline. They're expected to be well groomed and professional, but you can't do that when told to sleep and rest in full view of the passengers," she added.
Flight attendants who spoke to the same paper said that such situations create an awkward environment between crew and passengers. One crew said the rest seats are marked only by a red sticker.
"Most times, passengers don't even know what the red stickers mean and some passengers get annoyed when we tell them those seats are meant for cabin crew use," he said.
Another flight attendant lamented that because they are resting in the cabin, passengers would still approach them for service.
"I rest very little during these flights, which is exhausting, considering the journey to Auckland is nearly 10 hours," she said.
One brand consultant, who declined to be named, said the response from the flight attendants reflect the need for private rest facilities.
Passengers may not know the attendants are on their breaks, and this could lead to the perception that flight attendants are sleeping on the job.
Regular SIA passenger Dexter Ng, 23, told Yahoo! Singapore the crew should not be blamed in this case.
"From a humane point of view, it is understandable for them to rest because it can get pretty exhausting.
"But it is up to the management to provide them a private resting area because it will create an impression that the flight attendants are unprofessional," he said.
Honestly this is so annoying sleeping on passengers seat where crews will not get enough rest at all, as pax will approach the crew altho they are resting. Specially on the day flight, pax might not sleep and the noise around and by pax staring on us which disturbing the crew for rest. On this NZ route where crew only have 45mins rest over nearly 10 hours flight time, specially over the night routine can be exhauting yet still been given rest which we can't rest at all. Finally this has been reported so really hope company put more concern on crew who really work hard for them. We just need a proper resting area.