Sleeping at an airport is no longer just for the back-packer or the not-so-cash-flush. More of us are using this as an alternative to paying out for an expensive airport hotel when we have a long layover, cancellation, unpredictable storms, or an early morning flight. There is an entire sub-culture out there doing it, so what’s it all about?
Before joining the revolution, traveller’s first need to look at the four C’s for airport sleep-overs and should consider the following:
Comfort –the availability of comfy chairs, armrest free benches, and quiet zones
Conveniences – free Wi-Fi, 24 hour food availability, shower facilities, pay lounges, and entertainment
Cleanliness – clean floors, regular bathroom maintenance, and tidy and clean food courts
Customer service – happy helpful attitudes
Here are 10 of the best:
Singapore Changi International Airport, Singapore (SIN)
The soothing ambiance of this airport and its easy layout stands out as the best of the best. There are plenty of activities with an abundance of amenities reminiscent of a world-class shopping mall.
Changi boasts themed gardens, cultural attractions, spas, a swimming pool, a gymnasium, multiple lounges, cinemas, TV lounges, and a 4-story high slide! Boredom is not going to kick in anytime soon at this airport.
There is also a free city tour on offer, free Wi-Fi, over 800 mobile charge points, and the piece do resistance – the recently opened Wellness Oasis spa situated in Terminal 1, offering weary travellers a fish spa for a feet and leg exfoliation.
Sleep Factor – There are six reclining lounge areas and several dedicated relaxation zones. There is also a refreshing outdoor smoking area that has a bar and is an oasis that sprays fine cool mist to cool you down in Singapore’s notorious heat.
Seoul Incheon International Airport, South Korea (ICN)
This is an impeccably clean airport which offers highly focused customer service with multiple rest and nap zones. The amenities are endless with indoor gardens, a spa, and voluminous shopping areas.
It has a unique Korean Cultural Street within the airport which provides local dance performances and food courts. You might like to pass the time by having a skate on the indoor ice rink, access the free Wi-Fi, take a shower or relax in one of the many the uber-luxurious lounges.
Sleep Factor – There are large padded recliners available in a few dedicated rest areas and ample rows of armrest free seats which are located near the boarding gates.
Helsinki International Airport, Finland (HEL)
This airport innovatively ticks the four C’s with the amenities on offer. It features a book exchange, quiet rest areas, virtual passport kiosks which eliminate the need to line up, an art gallery, and a unique public ergonomic lounge.
Helsinki airport recently initiated an airport driven survey which asked travellers what they would like to see put in place to make their travel experience better.
Feedback was received and ideas were piloted over a course of a few months, including free yoga and Pilates classes, as well as some new local cuisine pop-up cafes. Another temporary project on trial was a zone which featured beds, sleeping pods, and easy chairs.
Sleep Factor – This airport offers comfortable recliners, a dedicated rest lounge featuring ergonomic seating and ultra-soft carpet for those not lucky enough to get a seat, and plenty of armrest free seating close to the boarding gates.
Munich International Airport, Germany (MUC)
With typical Germanic efficiency it is easy to navigate throughout Munich International Airport. It offers the traveller plenty of activities to keep transit passengers entertained including a tour of the airport brewery, mini golf, and a spa.
Sleep Factor – There are relaxation zones and sleep pods available in Terminal 2. For those who have some spare cash, there are sleep cabins for rent close to the rest areas.
Vancouver International Airport, Canada
This airport is beautiful, clean, friendly, and comfortable and has been recently voted the best airport in North America. It features cultural and art exhibits, an aquarium, tours, fantastic food choices, and quiet rest areas.
There are some pay lounges which have resting rooms and private showers, a spa, and a gymnasium facility which is available at the adjoining Fairmont Hotel.
Sleep Factor – A quiet nap on the armrest free seating near the boarding gate is probably your best option, but recent improvements have brought in several new areas offering seats with footrests, TV lounges, and unique padded sofa blocks which are able to be moved around and fitted together as needed.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia (KUL)
This airport proudly boasts a back drop with a tropical native Malaysian rainforest nestled into the terminal. Beautiful wooden walkways and a canopied mezzanine floor offer travellers an education into the rich terrestrial eco-system of Malaysia.
There are many long benches, reclining chairs, free Wi-Fi, and showers. The new KLIA2 terminal has recently opened to be Malaysia’s next generation international airport hub.
Sleep Factor – There are newly installed seats with footrests in a relaxation area and comfortable long benches to rest up on.
Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong (HKG)
This is a shining example of show stopping extravagance and is a ‘city within a city’! The country’s largest IMAX theatre sits in the terminal together with a series of miniature gardens, and a cockpit simulator.
There are plenty of charging docks for electronic devices, free Wi-Fi, showers, and a spa. There is a lounge tucked away near gate 60 which has sleeping rooms and the massive food court is nearby. It’s a large terminal, but relatively easy to navigate and it is kept very clean.
Sleep Factor – There are plenty of armrest free benches and a number of lounge chairs.
Tokyo Haneda International Airport, Japan (HND)
Tokyo has two airports – Narita, which is two hours plus away from the city and Haneda, which is conveniently located close to the city center being only 45 minutes away. The airport is super clean, efficient, and relatively easy to navigate.
While there is free Wi-Fi, showers, and luggage storage it is limited as far as entertainment goes. There are pay lounges available which are private as well as a transit hotel which is located within the International Terminal and a hotel which is connected to the domestic terminals.
Sleep Factor – There are plenty of padded seating areas and armrest free seats close to the boarding gates. There are lots of people sleeping in this airport and it feels safe with plenty of guards around.
Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport, Netherlands (AMS)
This is an ultra-efficient, comfy, and friendly airport. There is free Wi-Fi, rest zones, sleeping pods, and a casino. For those wanting a little more culture there is a library and a satellite extension of the famous Rijks Museum.
Sleeping Factor – There are rest zones and TV lounges with a variety of seating options near the boarding gates.
Zurich International Airport, Switzerland (ZRH)
This is a lovely clean airport which has easy connections and has a plethora of armrest free chairs, and a family center which has baby and parent beds. Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi is only free for one hour and has a fairly heavy charge.
Sleep Factor – There are plenty of benches for sleeping together with rest zones and day rooms.