A few days ago, a travel blogger wrote about smoking on a China Eastern flight, and the smell of cigarettes came from either the cockpit or the crew rest area:

So I’m not sure who is smoking, though I have to assume that it’s either the pilots in the cockpit, or otherwise the flight attendants in the galleys and crew rests

The CAAC's (Civil Aviation Administration of China) decree #71 banned smoking in the cabin and toilets in domestic and regional (HK, Macau and Taiwan) scheduled flights, as well as smoking in non-smoking areas and toilets for international flights. The major Chinese airlines don't have smoking areas on international flights anyway.

In reality, many pilots and first officers on Chinese airlines smoke in the cockpit, regardless of whether it's a domestic or international flight. It seems that the cockpit and crew rest area are not part of the cabin according to Chinese standards.

  1. Are the crew rest area and cockpit considered as part of the cabin according to ICAO?
  2. Does any major civil aviation authority consider them to be part of the cabin?
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    $\begingroup$ It's possible they are ignoring the rules. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 22:23
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    $\begingroup$ Definitions are multiple, what is pertinent here is the definition used by CAAC when publishing the decree. When the ICAO uses the wording "cabin crew" or "cabin safety", it doesn't include the flight deck. See also this Wikipedia definition. On the other hand "cabin pressure" is related to the entire volume within the pressure vessel, this includes the flight deck. That said, the blogger's unstoppable moral duty to inform might have sent the poor crews to China's jail. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 14:44
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    $\begingroup$ They are ignoring the rules. I have heard a non-Chinese (Western) turbine Captain relate how his Chinese FO's pleaded with him on longer sectors about being able to light up. Smoking is considered socially acceptable anywhere at anytime by the Chinese, even if it is technically illegal $\endgroup$
    – timbo
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 7:32

1 Answer 1


Speaking as an ex cabin crew with one of the world's largest airline. I can definitely say that the CRC is part of the cabin, as safety and security checks are completed by the crew as part of cabin checks.

Flight deck if I'm not mistaken is not considered part of the cabin. However smoking is usually not allowed according to general aviation rules everywhere. Not even e-cigarettes are allowed. Why are e-cigs not allowed if they have no smoke you may ask?

Reason is that many people might see someone using an e-cig and think that it's ok to smoke, hence lighting up a real one. This has happened before.

I've even had faulty no smoking lights on flights and passengers thinking that smoking in that specific area of the plane where the light is faulty is fine.

When travelling people tend to pack so much stuff for their trips but leave the most vital thing behind - their brains!


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