Does it matter whether or not they were asleep? Regardless, they missed their destination and couldn’t be reached by air traffic controllers. It matters more what they weren’t doing than what they were doing.
Experts Puzzle Over How Flight Overshot Airport
Micheline Maynard and Matthew L. Wald, NY Times, October 23, 2009
Instead of landing the Airbus A320, with 144 passengers and three flight attendants aboard, the pilots flew past Minneapolis-St. Paul to the skies above Eau Claire, Wis., despite repeated radio calls from controllers and other pilots in the area as well as e-mail messages from the airline’s dispatchers. Finally, when the plane was 110 miles past the airport, they responded, according to a report from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport Police Department. The plane turned around and returned for a safe landing.