Qantas flight attendants have been photographed setting up a blanket fort to get some shut-eye after a malfunction meant the lights would not turn off on their flight earlier this month.
This strange scenario came about because the return of international travel has created high demand for transpacific travel and Qantas does not have enough long-haul jets for the routes.
Because of this, the flying kangaroo is running flights between Brisbane and Los Angeles on an A330 to keep up with demand.
Health and safety regulations say that flight attendants must have some time to rest on a trip of this length (11525 km and over 14 hours), but A330s don’t currently have crew rest bunks.
So flight attendants have been setting up makeshift blanket forts at the back of the plane to have a bit of a snooze.
However, the blanket fort fiasco is indicative of something larger at Qantas.
The flight had crews from New Zealand after the airline had disagreements with the union representing Qantas’ flight attendants.
According to The Daily Mail, New Zealand flight attendants are not protected by the same rest requirements as Australian crews.
This has seen 55 per cent of Aussie staff grounded on a reserve roster.
Teri O’Toole from the Flight Attendants Association of Australia told Nine the Kiwi crews are also entitled to adequate rest.
‘The crew have tried to get some privacy by making a fort like little kids out of blankets to give themselves privacy, which is just a disgrace,’ she said.
‘It’s not appropriate rest in the workplace. It’s not appropriate rest for anyone.’
In response to this, Qantas cabin crew executive manager Rachel Yangoyan told Daily Mail that the airline was creating a solution that would create a private rest area for the cabin crew.
‘It’s really important to note that what you’ve seen currently is actually not what the long term solution will be,’ she said.
‘What they will have installed in around six weeks is a full curtain that wraps around that lie-flat rest area.
‘But in the interim, whilst we’ve been operating without that curtain, we have changed the timing of those flights so that they are operating during the day [and] our crew don’t need as much sleep time as they would typically need if we were to operate these flights during the evening.
‘We’ve also looked at some additional rest that we’re giving these crew in Los Angeles and also when they return home.
‘Once we get that curtain in place, we’re really confident that this will be a private area with a lie flat bed, where our crew really will be able to get some adequate rest on these longer duties.’
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