back to article A380 too quiet, moan Emirates pilots

Airbus A380 operator Emirates has encountered an unexpected problem with the aircraft - it's "too quiet" for pilots to enjoy a quick kip in the crew rest area. According to Flight International, the company's flyboys complain the lack of background engine noise means they can hear every wailing infant and flush of the vaccuum …


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  1. zedee
    IT Angle

    Lo-tech solution

    Earplugs, anyone?

  2. Jerry
    Dead Vulture

    And you too have become shills


    Pause for a nanosecond and think who this 'news story' benefits. None other than Emirates themselves perhaps?

    The 'Plane too quiet' story is an obvious ad-agency inspired attempt to drum up business for Emirates.

    I'm not sure it is viral. If it is, is there any special classification of viral that confines itself solely to ingenue journalists? Or to be slightly more direct, to journalists seeking to fill in an otherwise dreary December morning's news?

  3. Robert Grant Silver badge

    Just wear earphones generating pink noise

    Problem solved - cheap. Why the pilots need to go further to solve this than their own initiative is something I don't want to consider.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    why dont the airlines........

    Play white noise over the aircraft speaker systems. Not many people seem to know this

    but if you play white noise to a baby/child (maybe even adult ?) or make such sounds yourself

    next to baby's ear it will go to sleep. Then they can get some sleep.

  5. Simon Hildreth

    a challenging problem....

    1. Attach label to door, "staff only"

    2. Lightweight device = ipod

    You can send my consulting fee in the post.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to our world pilots!

    Maybe now, they'll get around to banning children on aircraft so that we can ALL get some sleep!

  7. Max

    Use my technique

    When I'm on a flight and need my peace and quite, I use wax earplugs and noise reduction headphones. I can't hear a thing!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Erm, earplugs?

    I thought these guys were supposed to be smart?

    Paris, because she's smart too.

  9. Stuart Van Onselen

    No joke

    There's a tendency to react with "Oh the poor little darlings. Now they know how we feel, stuck in cattle class for the whole flight".

    But it's actually not a joke. The last thing I want is for the pilot landing the plane to be sleep-deprived!

    But I also note with amusement that now even the pilots have to suffer for the sake of the comfort of the well-heeled. And we're still waiting for our luxury shopping level/gym/what-hav-you -equipped flying hotel. :-)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    The solution....

    ....Open the windows and let some air in!

    Oh, and what about just putting a sign on the door saying "Private"


  11. joe K
    Thumb Down

    Sleeping pilots?

    I don't know about you, but I always thought that the people that should always be awake on a plane are the pilots! Why can't they get 12 hours sleep the night before the flight and then stay awake for their 12 on duty hours like the rest of us working folk?

  12. Stuart Van Onselen


    To all the hard-of-thinking who have recommended earplugs: The bloody article states that theyve already tried that, to no avail.

    And this story does not help Emirates. They'd be admitting that their cattle-class is a miserable, noisy, sleep-depriving place.

    But it does look good for Airbus, and whichever engine-maker they chose.

  13. Danny Silver badge

    Not so smart

    "Or to be slightly more direct, to journalists seeking to fill in an otherwise dreary December morning's news?"

    "It is funny because it is true!", to quote Family Guy,

    "The last thing I want is for the pilot landing the plane to be sleep-deprived!"

    Most pilots are sleep-deprived even in older aircraft, simply because they stay up screwing, snorting and drinking all night long. The last thing they do each day before going to bed is to take off. All the warnings beep like an alarm clock. They also know ground-crew can't smell cocaine on their breathe and those dark avaiator glasses hide a variety of sins. We have mandatory drugs tests for prisoners who are already locked up, for soldiers recovering from battle, but we don't test pilots for anything unless they turn up at an airport reeking of alcohol.

    "I thought these guys were supposed to be smart?"

    Commercial pilot cadets are selected through psychological tests to be smart enough to cope with an emergency, but not so smart that they get easily bored with routine. I find them dullards, and my stereotype of them would be a macho 40 year old man trying to live a teenage lifestyle. The average lorry drivers day is more mentally taxing and stimulating than the average airline pilots. BA is where the RAF second-raters retire.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    FTA: "the pilots sleep with earplugs but the cabin noise goes straight through them".

    They must be pretty crap earplugs though, I can't hear a thing through mine.


  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Putting up signs like 'staff only' would work assuming that passengers can read.

    Really the problem isn't Airbus, it is Emirates. They could have built the cabin behind the deck near the first class area where it would be too expensive for kids to be in, but they decided not to. All for the sake of chasing profit.

    If anything, this article only reminds me not to fly Emirates.

  16. Luca


    I fly over 30,000 miles every year, now they can finally feel the way I feel. Why should I get all the baby-crying fun?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I wonder

    Is there room for two in said sanctuary? If so those pilots may not be getting so much rest.

    Sanctuary much....

  18. Paul
    Black Helicopters

    Not just a problem for the pilots...

    Been on one, the engines are quiet, but that just means its like you are stuck in a tin can with 500 people you wouldn't choose to be with, oh, you are. The engine noise is preferable to crying baby noise everytime. I agree, babies should not be on long haul flights!

    Black Helicopter, as those pilots must suffer too

  19. Linbox


    Just got back from Oz and I noticed that the crew rest area on 4-class BA 777s is between the mid-toilets at the front of cattle class. There can hardly be a more noisy place on the whole aircraft. The sound of crying infants, however, isn't unique to economy, there was 2 in Club on the return leg, both of which were completely drowned out by a pair of Sennheiser PXC 350 noise-cancelling headphones. Probably cheaper to buy a couple of dozen pairs of those babies than re-fit an electric jet.

    Agree with an earlier poster : Ad agency gumbo.

  20. Tim
    Thumb Up

    Can't sleep?

    Obviously the pilots aren't drunk enough.

  21. yeah, right.


    The article specifically says that the cabin noise goes right through the earplugs they use. Either they need better earplugs, or a white noise generator as suggested.

  22. Anonymous Coward



    'Capt Ed Davidson, said: "We're getting a lot of complaints. It's not something we expected. On our other aircraft, the engines drown out the cabin noise. [On the A380] the pilots sleep with earplugs but the cabin noise goes straight through them.'

  23. censored

    Don't be ridiculous...

    Earplugs work everywhere else, so buy some decent one!

    What about the poor fuckers back in cattle class who have to put up with hear every wailing infant and flush of the vacuum toilets, while trying to sleep upright in a chair?

  24. Martin Marv
    Thumb Down

    Links back to source?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Old news...

    This has been discussed extensively on flight forums already, with the suggestion that Emirates should just move the CRC back to where Airbus suggested it should be in the first place, up front. FC pax don't make a big noise, so it's better up front.

  26. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Prime Directive #XXXX ...... NIRobotICQs

    One would have thought that Pilots and Vital Crew would Fly First Class for Optimum Performance.

    At Five Miles High, things can be Heady/Heavy/Hairy/Hair Raising/Exciting/Frightening/Heavenly. :-)

  27. jim

    well boo hoo hoo

    Previous poster said it all with "welcome to our world, pilots".

  28. Richard Joseph

    I think they need one of these....'s called a Vroom Box, they'll probably need the 'Wide body' edition (at all good duty-free stores, soon).

    If they don't like the Jumbo sound, they'll could always try a nice V8, or maybe even Concorde.....I'll get my....

  29. pctechxp
    IT Angle


    Ok I've only flown short haul but one would hope that Otoo isn't given the run of the flight deck and that one pilot is always up front.

    Rather than adding generators, just put an audio system with a CD on repeat or hard disk with an MP3 of the sound of engines, generators, Albatross or whatever does it for 'em.

  30. Edwin


    Customer doesn't like vendor's solution.

    Customer modifies vendor's solution.

    Customer's solution turns out to have some shortcomings.

    Vendor expected to fix customer's broken solution.

    Definitely some linkage to IT here...

  31. Gulfie

    Strange but true...

    I wouldn't have believed this but a former colleague worked in the middle east, he lived and worked in a shipping container. To make it livable the container had a hole cut in one end and an AC unit welded over the hole. It ran 24/7.

    When he came home after a 6 month stint he had to go to sleep with the vacuum cleaner turned on, he wasn't used to sleeping in such a quiet environment.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New Reg Tag Line

    "The Register: Yesterday's News Tomorrow"

    No offence, but this story is at about a week old and has been done to death just about everywhere.

  33. Jason


    "One option on the cards is to install "lightweight generators to create ambient noise"."

    Or they could spend 10 pound on a pair of cheap speakers and play a recording of background engine noise? Or is that too cheap/lightweight/sensible?

  34. Kenny Millar

    I have a better idea...

    ... better ear plugs! £1.49 from B&Q for 10.

  35. Doug Glass

    Ear Deadening

    Ear plugs, cotton balls, a little cheese to go with their whine.

  36. Tom
    Thumb Down

    Sleeping.. whilst flying?

    bloody fly boys get it easy these days, ILS, Auto-Pilot, sleeping area, and they still complain.

  37. Fluffykins

    The cargo hold was rejected as an alternative because crew might find it claustrophobic.

    "The cargo hold was rejected as an alternative because crew might find it claustrophobic."

    It's a REST AREA FFS. Just how claustrophobic would it be WITH YOUR FRIGGING EYES SHUT?

  38. TimM

    decent earplugs or noise cancelling headphones

    My shure e2c foam buds are great for this. Use them on flights and at work, and blissfully go unaware that someone is trying to talk to me :). Fantastic sound quality too for music.

    Or shelve out for some Bose noise cancelling headphones. Supposed to be the dogs danglies.

    As for kids and white noise to calm them... drugs would do the same job ;-). I think it should be a condition that they are put under before they are taken onto the flight. Same goes for drunken yobs and obnoxious business travellers in cattle class that like to hold meetings with their oversized laptops whilst everyone else is trying to get some sleep.

    God forbid the chaos once mobile phones are the norm on flights. I just prey the charges are too high for the majority, else I can assure there will be blood spilt on flights!

  39. Anonymous Coward

    Not a problem with Boeings

    What a great problem for Airbus to have. A plane that is TOO quiet. Not a problem usually encountered on Boeing aircraft. Have you ever flown in a Boeing 757? They're so loud you can barely speak and when they come in for landing it sounds like pieces are breaking off. When I first heard the landing gear go down on a 757 I thought I was a goner!

    It's Airbuses for me from now on :)

  40. Andy Bright

    Duct Tape

    The answer to all your problems. Believe me the half of passengers that aren't whining bitches will be only too happy to hold down the other half while you duct tape their mouths shut and their phones to the back of their heads.

    As for babies, don't understand why they aren't checked, but there's always cough syrup or hard liquor if they won't go to sleep for 10 hours. Has anyone else noticed how apoplectic pharmacists get when you ask them for sleeping pills for babies? Well those work pretty good while we wait for some saint of a pharmaceutical conglomerate to deliver on what I believe is an unspoken promise.

    If we can give amphetamines to school kids because they're bored of maths and won't do their homework, sleeping pills for babies can't be too far behind.

  41. James O'Brien

    @Stuart Van Onselen

    In answer to your question about the engine makers IIRC it was Rolls-Royce.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    nuff said

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC re: babies

    "if you play white noise to a baby/child (maybe even adult ?) or make such sounds yourself next to baby's ear it will go to sleep."

    As the father of a four-month-old, I can only say... I wish it were that simple!

    I do find that 'A State of Trance' works quite well to calm him down, though.

  44. James


    ...Emirates provide noise cancelling headphones to their first/business class passengers anyway? I'm sure they aren't that skint that they can't afford 4 more sets for the pilots.

  45. Paul Smith

    Staff only door?

    Stick an 'Exit, Mind the Step' sign on there. As for the noise, I've slept in shipping containers with lads using stihl saws outside but baby yowling really is worse, usually creeping into your dream as some kinda alien cat monster. Didn't they ban carry-on babies along with liquids, books and shoes?

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Crew quarters

    If they want to sleep, then why do they climb into the crew quarters in pairs?

    No sleep for you, my Captain!

    (Paris must have done this before)

  47. n

    ...and the rest

    -kids under 5.... go in the hold.

    -anyone using a 17' the hold with you and your acer.

    -In fact since it's Emirates airlines, Middle Eastern style laws should apply on the flight- yobs in the window seat who have been drinking in the past 1hr before take off....breathalysed....then in the hold....then 100 lashes!

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WAH WAH hichic WAHWAH

    The sound of a baby crying is the only sound absolutely GUARENTEED to wake the DEAD/SLEEPING. Designed by mother nature to be so

  49. Michael Maal

    Solutions Provider, IT and More....

    If the pilots would like a custom earmold to drown out the cabin and lavatory noises nicely and comfortably, then you ought to contact me. Been in this business for quite a few years and have references galore to attest to the quality of service and the outstanding performance of these custom earmolds. :)

  50. RogueElement
    Paris Hilton

    solution option

    Given that the overpaid pilot can't find it in his minuscule common sense gland to grab a couple of hours in a free hotel room to get his/her head down (ALONE) before arriving for the flight then surely (yes, I am serious) either (a) sack the pilot for turning up to work in an unfit state or (b) sack the pilot for sleeping whilst on the job.

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