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  • Inside Airline Pilot 'Crash Pads'

    Because airline crew members can make as little as $17,000 a year but are often based in expensive hub cities like New York, they often commute from a less expensive home city to the base airport. The airlines do not provide these "commuters" with sleeping accommodations, so commuting pilots are often forced to make their own arrangements when they need to sleep away from home before a flight. They sleep on chairs and couches in airport "crew rooms" -- even when airline rules expressly forbid it -- or in pilot "crash pads," found near major airports across the country. The crash pads, like this one in the Kew Gardens section of Queens, New York, near LaGuardia airport, offer pilots the chance to sleep in tiers of bunk beds in crowded bedrooms for a small fee.
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  • Inside Airline Pilot 'Crash Pads'

    At another crash pad near LaGuardia, the doorbell is taped over and a sign asks visitors to knock instead of ringing. The doorbells of crash pads are often taped over so visitors will not wake the sleeping crew inside.
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  • Inside Airline Pilot 'Crash Pads'

    Inside this crash pad, pilots sleep in handmade wooden triple-decker bunks. Each berth is assigned a number. The orange foot grips help airline crew members hoist themselves to the top bunk.
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  • Inside Airline Pilot 'Crash Pads'

    Each of the triple-decker bunk beds is assigned a number, 1 through 24, and crew members must sign up for the beds by number and time.
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  • Inside Airline Pilot 'Crash Pads'

    The beds and the pillows are numbered, and guests are asked to use pillowcases and bring their own sheets and towels since the beds will be used again after they leave.
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  • Inside Airline Pilot 'Crash Pads'

    A crash-pad sign asks flight crews to be quiet for "Day Sleepers" as well as night sleepers. It's a 24-7 operation.
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  • Inside Airline Pilot 'Crash Pads'

    "People are waiting for your bed," reads a sign in the crash pad. Since space is limited and turnover is quick, crew members using the crash pad are required to cancel their reservations if they?re not going to show up.
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  • Inside Airline Pilot 'Crash Pads'

    Crew members can also opt to sleep in the airline crew rooms at the airport. A pilot is seen sleeping in the crew room at Philadelphia International Airport in January. Eye covers and ear plugs are commonly used sleep aids in crew rooms and in crash pads.
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  • Inside Airline Pilot 'Crash Pads'

    A sleeping crew member at LaGuardia Airport.
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  • Inside Airline Pilot 'Crash Pads'

    LaGuardia, 8 a.m.
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  • Inside Airline Pilot 'Crash Pads'

    A pilot sleeps in a reclining chair in a crew room at Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey.
    ABC News
  • Inside Airline Pilot 'Crash Pads'

    After the Buffalo crash, some airlines started to put up signs like these, telling pilots that if caught sleeping overnight in the crew room they "may be removed without pay in the interest of safety from their next work assignment."
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  • Inside Airline Pilot 'Crash Pads'

    Though rules forbid sleeping in crew rooms, it remains an accepted practice. Pilots and flight attendants sometimes use air mattresses like this one when sleeping in the crew rooms at the airport, and here a crew member has left a mattress in plain sight in the crew room for later use.
    ABC News
  • Inside Airline Pilot 'Crash Pads'

    Two pilots sleep overnight on side-by-side couches in one of the many crew lounges at LaGuardia Airport, N.Y. The Federal Aviation Authority has instituted rules to try to ensure that pilots are properly rested before they fly, but the rules do not address the issue of "commuting" pilots.
    ABC News
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