Archive: Sleeping in Airports
Sometimes you're stuck with a very early flight or a forced overnight and you just want to sleep simply and inexpensively at the airport. Which European airports have budget "cabins" or handy budget hotels nearby? Can you "camp out" safely at an airport? Here's what you thought.
At sleepinginairports.net you can find first-hand reports for hundreds or airports train stations, ferry landings and others in almost every country in the world. I used it often to learn where to look for a safe and quiet place to sleep.
Waco, TX USA 12/13/03
Sleeping at Airports
Just over two weeks ago I returned from a 2 1/2 week solo trip to Italy. I flew from Malpensa Airport in Milan - a VERY early flight. Because it left so early I decided to sped the nite at the airport. It worked out just fine, except that around 2a.m. I was startled away by airport police checking my right (and others') to be there. Long story short: be prepared to show your passport and you ticket - or you may be booted out. Have no qualms about safety -the airport is safe, as is Italy in general.
Lakewood, Co USA 12/12/03
If you're flying Ryanair or Volareweb to Frankfurt, you'll probably end up at Frankfurt Hahn Airport, an old US base turned commercial undertaking. It's in Germany's hinterlands, a LONG way from there to Frankfurt and just about anywhere else, so we decided to arrive late and spend the night there before moving on. We stayed at "Appartmenthaus zum Hahn" and had a roomy double with everything you need for a short stay. The clean, modern room was 35 Euros double. We paid 3 Euros each for breakfast as well, which included bread, cheeses, cold cuts, butter and jam, yogurt, and coffee (taken in room.) It's located about 3 miles from the airport in tiny Buechenbeuren, but the owners will pick you up and redeliver you to the airport for free. From the airport, buses depart for Mainz, Frankfurt, Trier, Koblenz, and other destinations - it's a little over an hour to anywhere - or you can pick up a car there. Hahn is an easy come - easy go airport, and the Appartmenthaus zum Hahn is a terrific deal: http://www.apartmenthaus-zum-hahn.de/
Galt, CA USA 12/11/03
Frankfurt Airport? Consider Mainz hotels.
I stayed at the Hotel Konigshof, across the street from the Mainz hbf. There were plenty of markets, shops, and restaurants within the station area, so it was the perfect place to stay the night before my flight. I had absolutely no problem getting the airport for my 10 a.m. flight. Trains leave every ten minutes in the morning and it was only 3.20 Euro to get to the airport.
CA USA 11/29/03
I've slept in the London Stansted airport twice. I know lots of travelers who stay there overnight to save the long trip into the city. Seating is limited and it gets cold at night. There are lots of little stores and food shops.
Luton Airport, London
I slept at Luton airport twice during my travels to Europe last summer. There were no problems with authorities. However, there was only one seat without a handrest that would let you lie down for a good sleep. This miracle seat is right after you pass the immigration officials, at your first entry to the public area. Make sure to grab it quickly, cause otherwise all the other seats have handrests, and you will have to sleep in a seating position. Happy travels!
Minneapolis, MN USA 10/28/03
Da Vinci Airport, Rome
We recently flew out of Da Vinci airport early in the morning. We decided to sleep in the airport since it was such an early flight. I had never been to this airport before so I didn't know what to expect. Well, there are no showers (unlike in other aiports and train stations) and the benches all have arm rests so you can't lie across on them to sleep. It was funny to look around and see how other travelers were making do. Some just gave up and laid out sheets on the floor and slept on the floor, others contorted themselves in a creative fashion to sleep around the arm rests. Others brought two benches together facing each other to sleep in a quasi lounged position, still others used their luggage carts and suit cases to create makeshift beds. I didn't sleep the whole night, but it was kind of fun.
We arrived in Zurich recently after a sleepless (major turbulance) overnight flight, and had an eight hour layover. I saw a sign for "dayrooms" and followed it to find a group of clean, silent, secure rooms that are rented for 6 hour periods. Showers and bath were down the hall and super Swiss clean. We slept for 5 1/2 hours and I think that it saved at least the first couple days of our vacation. They have an automated alarm clock that awakens you and very nice staff. It cost about $45 dollars for a double room.
If you are unable to afford a room, the corridor leading to the dayrooms
is very quiet and full of people sleeping on the chairs, apparently undisturbed.
Boston, MA USA 10/19/03
Amsterdam and Kiev Airport Hotels
Amsterdam airport, Schipol, has the Mercure hotel in the terminal. Reasonably priced with very comfortable rooms. Outside the Kiev (Boryspil) airport, about 150 yards, is the Boryspil Airport Hotel. Very reasonably priced also and very clean. Have stayed at the two hotels when traveling from Seattle to Simferopol, Crimea Ukraine.
Bellevue, WA USA 09/10/03
At Berlin Schoenefeld-Airport (SFX), there is an institution called "Flughafensozialdienst". It is an ecumenical service provided by both the Lutheran and the Catholic Church for those needing help around the airport. One of its jobs is to provide food and shelter to lost passengers, so if your plane left without you or has a major delay, just ask for them. They have some rooms equipped with beds and shower - but of course, you should give them a donation next morning!
a guy from Berlin
Since the airport is literally close to an hour away from the city itself, and the "tram" that ferries people to and fro stops running fairly early (around midnight maybe), if you have a flight that is in the early morning, you'll have to sleep in or near the airport. It isn't bad if you can take uncomfortable benches, bright lights, and the floor cleaning maching-guy. But hey, it's another story to tell, right?
Portland, OR USA 06/17/03
Hotel near Milan's Malpensa
My wife and I just completed a wonderful tour of Italy and we were flying out of Milan. We heard about the La Pista Hotel and restaurant off this wall from another satisfied customer and thought we would give it a try. We were very pleased with both the clean accomodations and wonderful home cooked meal with fresh local produce provided by Enzo his wife Teresa and their attentive staff. Whenever we are in or near Milan, Malpensa Airport again we will be giving Enzo a call. His number is 0331.295054 and they will pick you up and return you to the airport within an easy 10 minute ride. Thanks Enzo, family and staff for exceeding our expectations. Their website is www.lapistahotel.it
Greg & Linda Hewitson
Seattle, WA USA 05/24/03
I always travel with a mylar emergency blanket ($1-2) in case I get stuck and have to sleep somewhere cold. They are tiny until opened and have all sorts of handy uses. It won't provide comfort but it will keep you warm.
san frandisco, ca USA 04/09/03
Best (and safest) sleep I've ever had in an airport has been Abu Dhabi in UAE on the way to Nepal. The flight was delayed by monsoon, and it was comfortable to wrap in a blanket and kip on the floor by the large windows (stay on the west side, as the rising sun beaming down gets brutal in the early morning hours). Slept on my bags, and as a woman traveling on my own, felt completely safe (especially given the ruling muslem laws in the UAE). Airport is open all night and there is a place to get a cup of tea in the am.
Brighton, UK 02/08/03
Amsterdam & Singapore
The two airports that lend themselves to the best sleep are Amsterdam and Singapore. Nice comfortable seats, lockers, food, quiet spaces. I always seek out the chapel or prayer room and go in there for a snooze.
San Francisco, CA USA 12/25/02
Sleeping at Madrid airport
Due to not having pre-booked a room for our last night in Spain and running into a national holiday where every hotel in town was booked, we had to go to Barajas Airport in Madrid at midnight and wait it out until our 6 AM flight. We tried to get some sleep, but there's hardly any chairs near the check-in area, and you can't get into the gate area until they start checking people in for the flight. So we curled up on the cold marble floor and tried without much success to catch some Z's. Not only that, noconcession stands are open during the overnight. Made for a long six hours.
Bloomington, MN USA 12/10/02
Sleeping in Stansted, London
If you want to sleep at Stansted (London), you'd better get there before 10:00 pm or so if you want to have a semi-comfortable night's rest. We got there at 11:15pm and by then, all the chairs without armrests were taken, so we couldn't lay down and had to "sleep" (ha ha--no sleep that night) in regular chairs with armrests and people sitting in the chairs directly opposite us, so we couldn't even stretch out our legs. We felt safe sleeping there with so many other people (there were a lot), and had a chain lock to hook our bags to the chair just in case. Also, it got really cold in the middle of the night, even with coats and sweaters on. So...get there early to get the armrest-less seats, bring layers of warm clothing, and use a chain lock for peace of mind.
Studying in London, UK 11/03/02
Through the left rear passageway as you face the ticketing counters you can proceed downstairs to find the all night shop with everything. They sold us wine at 3AM ;-) If you continue to the very rear of the space there is a mirrored set of windows. Two of these are doors with a lovely terrace on the other side. Great benches. Finest airport sleeping I've ever experienced. Highly recommend.
Hotel near Milan airport
I had read a recommendation on this site for the Hotel Cervo which is very close to the Milan airport. What a great way to end our trip. The room was only 83 euro. We took the bus from the Central train station and called the hotel from the terminal. They picked us up and brought us to the hotel (3 euro/person). The driver even carried my bags to my room - what a treat after lugging them for 10 days! The hotel has a restaurant which opens at 20:00. The food and service was very good. They just put the meal charge on our bill. The room was very clean and the bathroom was spacious. There was a minibar in the room with reasonable rates. Breakfast is included with the room rate. It is self serve buffet and the croissants are kept in a warmer! The driver took us back to the airport in the morning which took about 5 minutes. It was a very nice way to end the trip. I would definately stay here again.
Wilm, DE USA 10/02/02
I decided to sleep in Zurich airport rather than worry about getting there on time to catch my early morning flight the next day. Put my bags in one of the lockers in the train station located on the bottom level of the airport, then went up to the Terminal B (Int'l) area and discovered the "Andachtsraum/Chapel" a place people go to pray or think in the airport. There was a curtained off prayer room no one seemed to be using so late at night so I blew up my travel pillow, set my alarm clock, put on my eye mask as the room was brightly lit, and slept on the floor the whole night. Occasionally heard people come into the main chapel/prayer room but mostly it was very quiet and no one bothered me. Floors are not the most comfortable place to sleep, but it was better than sitting in airport lounge chairs and much quieter/safe feeling there. If you have to sleep in Zurich airport, the chapel might be the most peaceful/comfortable place to do so.
Santa Rosa, CA USA 10/02/02
This was the most miserable part of my trip after flying into London from Stockholm. It was cold and without any comfortable seating anywhere. There's nowhere to lock up your valuables. I could not wait to leave. We ended up sleeping in the airport Starbucks. The guys that work there were wonderful. They gave us something to eat for free and didn't seem to mind the collection of people stuck there till early morning.
Lake Oswego, OR USA 09/20/02
Near CDG airport, Paris
I would recommend the Suite Hotel as an alternative to the Ibis at CDG airport in Paris. Antiseptically clean rooms, decorated in the latest high tech fashion, friendly help, and restuarant nearby. Shuttle service to all terminals. E89. If you have a morning flight back to the US this is a smart move.
Kerry Ellen Elliott
Boise, Id USA 07/16/02
Slept 8 years ago at Trondheim (Norway) airport. Airport closed at 9 p.m.. So I was lucky and a security guide locked me in the baby-facility-room till the next day. Don't stay outside, cause you may get in trouble with Hell Angels/ Banditos!
Mannheim, ger 06/26/02
Sleeping in Copenhagen airport
I spent the night in cubicles in Copenhagen's airport (Kastrup). They were small but quiet and comfortable. Each had their own bathroom with shower, too. I'd stay there again.
WA USA 05/05/02
I have had long layovers overnight at the Frankfurt airport and found the mezzanine in the international terminal to be a safe place to nap, "somewhat removed" from both traffic and noise. You can stretch out on padded couches using your backpack as a "pillow." Do ask for someone to point the way because the terminal is so huge, you may not realize it exists.
Stoneham, MA USA 02/24/02
Basel closes about midnight--1st flight: 5:30 am. Other than maids and maintenance people, no one there until 5 am besides the other cheapskates. You can't get to the protected area which has nice soft sofas and chairs--you sleep in the lobby-- metal park benches with the swiss cheese design. Would I do it again? Yes. Would I enjoy it? No.
dallas, tx USA 02/08/02
London Luton was miserable. London gatwick has some nice benches with no arms (unlike Luton).
In Manchester International Airport, here in Britain, there are some quiet departure lounges that are barely ever used. I recommend going into one of those. I wasn't stopped when I tried it, but I'm not sure if you're supposed to go into those lounges or not.
Liverpool, Merseyside UK 01/20/02
If one wants to sleep for free in London for that Early morning flight I recommend buying the late night train ticket (discounted) from Victoria station to Gatwick, and then sleeping on the train as it goes back and forth to Gatwick. Once this becomes boring, the couches near the international arrival terminals are very comfortable. This plan works best if you have several pints while waiting for that 2AM train for Gatwick (and a very early flight back to America)
Houston, TX USA 12/25/01
sleeping at airports
Last weekend I had an early flight from Marseille to Paris and stayed at a Best Western adjacent to the airport. It was a great room at a reasonable price and they provided free airport shuttle to and from their motel.(starting at 5 AM) We used the shuttle 5 times, going into Marseille and they were very pleasant about it. The Marseille airport is some 15 miles from Marseille but the bus connections are every 30 min.(the fare is around 50 francs). There are three other hotels that advertise free airport shuttle.
Hickman, KY USA 11/10/01
If you need to sleep overnight in the Madrid airport, this summer we found a somewhat torerable spot, 4 seats together with no armrests in between. The major drawback is that EVERYONE smokes, and the airport must be kept at 10 degrees celsius. (It was 45 degrees outside) Bring extra warm and fluffy clothes.
Edmonton, Ab Canada 11/08/01
Great place near Shannon
For anyone looking for a great place to stay, with excellent food and service near Ireland's Shannon airport, I strongly recommend The Hunter's Lodge in Newmarket on Fergus. It is only 8 km from the airport and the same couple owns the B&B, pub and restaurant. We tried 'em all! Kathleen is a dynamo as owner, waitress and cook and will take good care of you.
Atlanta, GA USA 10/03/01
Athens' new airport
If you're in the new Athens airport, it is much easier to sleep in the arrival area than the departing area. The departures floor only has seats with arms on each side and is filled with people waiting for flights throughout the night. The first floor or arrival area is more quiet and has seats without armrests. This way you can sprawl out over two or three seats. I slept there twice for about two + hours each and wasn't bothered. Happy travels and go to Greece.
Union, NJ USA 09/24/01
Cocoons closing at CDG
The Cocoons at CDG airport in Paris were a life-saver last summer when we had a flight at the crack of dawn. But I just called today (7/27) to reserve a coccoon for the 2nd of October and the woman I spoke with said that they were closing in 2 days. I asked her if they were closing for good and she said they would not open again. So sad, it was such a good bargain especially when you're only going to sleep for a couple of hours. I guess I'll have to try Hotel Ibis. :(
Stafford, Tx USA 07/27/01
FYI when flying out of Malpensa in Milan. If you have a very early flight, you should be very careful assuring that you will be able to arrange transportation to the airport. We travelled Italy by train and found that we could not find a hotel that would help us get to the airport (1 hr on the outside of Milan) at 4am for a 6am flight. The bus did not run this late and we couldn't confirm that cabs or taxis were running at this time. We decided to sleep in the airport. Unfortunately, we did run into difficulty attempting to stay in the VIP lounge. We were told it was for business and first class passengers only. We did however, snag a few of the "chaise lounge" type chairs near British Airways check-in. This was much more comfortable than the normal chairs. There were a lot of people sleeping there. I felt relatively safe, although we rotated one person staying awake to watch for pick-pocketers.
CA USA 07/14/01
WIbis, near Paris CDG
e had an early morning flight from Paris to US and didn't book anything ahead. We left Amsterdam in the early am and got to CDG in Paris in the late afternoon, via the rail system. We called from the station and asked if there was a room available at the Hotel Ibis. We walked around the corner, checked in, had a nice dinner, a good night's sleep, breakfast and a shuttle to the airport. It was a no hassle experience and one I would highly recommend to those having early flights out of Paris.
Florence Not Open at Night
Note: The Florence airport IS NOT open all night. I sadly followed another posting to this wall, and assumed it would be, but ended up sleeping for 6 hours on the street! Not a great experience...
Los Angeles, CA USA 04/04/01
The airport in madrid is open 24 hours, but it's pretty much designed to discourage people from sleeping at it, even if your flight is canceled (as was mine). the chairs all curve up at the sides, making it impossible to stretch out on them, and i swear the floors have never been cleaned--they were filthy, with a thin layer of soot. if you have to stay the night there, make sure you bring a good book (i had a nice camus one to keep my brain busy) and bring a sleeping bag or sheets you're willing to fly with dirty.
on the plus side, the most beautiful women i've ever seen in one place
all seemed to be walking through the airport like it was a runway--great
airport for spanish women watching!
new york , ny USA 04/02/01
Great place near Frankfurt
We found a gem near the Frankfurt airport. Sorry, I don't know the phone, but I've got the name and address:
Taunus Str. 6
It's in the town of Wicker, about a 10-minute drive from the airport.
A bit hard to find, but has spacious rooms, it's spotless and only $45/night.
There's a great restaurant (Adler's) next door. (We had a car--I don't
know about public transportation.)
Long Beach, CA USA 03/02/01
Last year we stayed at the Sheraton Hotel at the Frankfurt airport the night before leaving for home on an early-morning flight. We had a comfortable room for 3 people, plenty of time and space to pack, and actually slept in a bit, as the room was only about 1000 feet away across a skybridge from the check-in counter at American Airlines.
Eugene, OR USA 02/12/01
In Paris I would stay at the IBIS hotel with a free shuttle bus. Another option is the CDG Sheraton right at the airport. It is close to the rail station so when you come in from London or arrive in Paris you can just bed right down after or before a long flight.
For those rare flights to Orly on Corsair and AOM there is also an IBIS and a Hilton.
For a quieter stay I would recommend Rick's option and stay in Senlis the night before.
Another great hotel in the Marais District in Paris is Grand Hotel Jeanne D'Arc, which Rick recommends; it also has budget rooms and is close enough to the airport.
I have also stayed at the Velizy Holiday Inn close to Paris. Rick, please add Velizy as one of many cities to visit. It is close to Paris and Versailles as well as Giverny. I have enjoyed the Holiday Inn there. The rooms were very adequate. The staff was helpful and you could even watch American TV--a nice way to catch up on the US before heading home. If you are renting from Avis you can return your car here and then bed down. The included buffet breakfast is a lot better than the usual continental breakfast. The hotel rooms are very large and for $80-90 a night it's worth the splurge after staying in youth hostels or budget hotels with the bathroom down the hall. There is a mall right across the street with great places to eat and a movie theater where you could stay up late on your last night.
Sleeping right in airports is noisy and uncomfortable. Just imagine
yourself on a 10-hour flight to Paris in coach; it is the exact same feeling,
unless you rent a day bed, which has its limits on how long you can stay
there. If you are a member of an airline lounge, you can stay there before
or after your flight, but not during the night when they close down.
Saratoga, CA USA 01/16/01
I followed Rick's advice and stayed at a "Cocoon" cabin below the KLM desk at the CDG airport in Paris. I was female, solo, 73, and felt completely safe and comfortable. Yes, it's small, but it has everything you need including a shower and TV. And you really don't need extra space if you plan to arise to check in at 5:00 A.M. A real time- and money-saver!
Sacramento, CA USA 01/04/01
Having had the bad luck of losing my wallet while in Stockholm, I was forced to stay at the airport on my last night. However, in spite of the circumstances surrounding the affair, the overnight experience at Arlanda was a fairly pleasant one. (Never mind the oddball Finn who followed me around all evening, wanting to chat in "English.") The best thing about the airport is that Scandinavian Airlines' lounges come furnished with drinks and fruit, so as a disgruntled AirFrance passenger, I spent the bulk of my time filching bananas from SAS. Plus, the airport was nice and quiet, with ample benches to sleep on. The only 'disturbance' was being woken by a Swede policeman in the morning!
On a less positive note, I wouldn't recommend any attempt to sleep at
Paris CDG; the chairs must have been taken straight from a Texas execution
and the sheer volume of people loitering doesn't add to one's sense of
security. (Never tried the cocoons, though. Must be a well-kept secret.)
San Diego, CA USA 11/19/00
Austria's Vienna airport is very safe and quiet. For the people who are
still awake at 2:00-3:00 in the morning you might be able to get a free
drink called Almdudler. A flight attendant walks thorough the terminal handing
out these tasty .5 litre non-alcoholic drinks.
Cutlerville, MI USA 11/10/00
I just spent the night at the Frankfurt airport in October. We stayed in
the international terminal, which was a huge mistake. It was so awful, it
was hilarious. Between the floor waxers and the jackhammers (I am not kidding)
I didn't get much shut-eye. I couldn't sleep on the plane either-a 10 am
flight. But I slept like a log when I got home and turned in at 10 PM. No
jet lag whatsoever. So staying up all night seems to have its advantages--at
least for me, a very quick adjustment to at-home time and sleep schedule.
Next time I will just go party somewhere!
Springfield, MO USA 10/30/00
In March, two friends and I were flying out of Fiumicino (Rome) very early in the morning, which made it impossible to catch a train out from Rome itself. We ended up in a recently constructed (read: drafty) terminal with little heat on rock-hard wire benches with about 15 other students and travelers, huddled together in a large lobby. It was the only place in the entire building where we could find other people (besides the janitors, who seemed to run their noisy floor-waxer by the benches every 15 minutes or so, just for fun.) Nearly all the lights were turned out, giving the place an eerie museum-like quality and ruling out the option of reading or quietly entertaining oneself. I finally gave up trying to sleep and just kept vigil, searching for any sort of approaching human life form.
On an up note, we then had a 5-hour layover in Milan, where we commandeered
the reclining built-in chairs in the "VIP lounge" and enjoyed a good nap.
It's a little nook filled with lounge chairs somewhere in the maze of
duty-free shops, and I highly recommend it...there's no real foot traffic,
and it's rarely got anyone in it (certainly no REAL VIPs disturbed us
while we were there...) and no one came by to check our VIP status, or
lack thereof, much less our tickets or passports.
Springfield, MA USA 08/30/00
Agree with the post below on Mainz. Had the same experience at the same hostel before flying out ofFrankfurt. People should get out of that mindset that says that to get to an airport you have to start out from some big city. There is plenty of public transportation from smaller towns directly to the airport, not via a large city.
The same applies when landing at an airport. To get out of there and
start your travels, it's not necessary at all to go to some large city
to get to the train station. Trains often come right to the airport and
you can leave from there to other parts of the country or take a bus to
get to a small town station.
Frankfurt Airport is nearly as close to the pleasant city of Mainz as it is to crazy Frankfurt. Luckily for budget travelers, the newly remodeled Mainz youth hostel, at about $14 per person per night, provides a relatively high level of service for those seeking a comfortable place to unwind before or after a flight.
The basic 2-4 bed rooms each have their own modern shower/WC; many have a window with a view of where the Rhine meets the Main River. There's a new and very nice, inexpensive bar/cafe off the lobby where you can get snacks or drinks in the evening, a playground for kids out back, several common rooms with TV and a nice view of the Rhine, and a snappy dining room where a very ample breakfast buffet is served (included in the overnight price.) The management and staff seem unusually customer-service-oriented for a hostel.
It's located just off the "Volkspark," a grassy park with a playground, mini-golf, and a kids' choo-choo ride, just south of the Mainz Süd station and on the west bank of the Rhine. The Mainz Süd train station (not the main station) is closest and has direct connections to the Airport station (20 - 25 minutes). The walk to the train station took 20 minutes, through the Volkspark and the truly beautiful, manicured "Stadtpark" (city park) which made it quite enjoyable. The hostel is also reachable by bus or taxi (when you call to reserve, ask for directions).
Anyway, three thumbs way up from my family for the nicest hostel we've
ever experienced. Address: Otto-Brunfels-Schneise 4, 55130 Mainz. Phone:
(06131 )85332. Fax: (06131) 82422
Galt, CA USA 07/24/00
Our last night in London we decided to save the 15 pounds the hostel
would cost. We left our luggage in storage at the airport, then headed
back to the city's pubs and clubs where we partied 'til 6 in the morning.
Afterwards we headed back to the airport to catch our 9 a.m. flight home;
we slept the whole plane ride. It was one of the best nights of my life!
NY, NY USA 07/24/00
Istanbul's Ataturk Airport, May 1998: not a pleasant night! Scary people
lurking in the shadows, only two other English-speaking people in the
whole place (fun when you're trying to figure out how come YOU made it
but your bags ended up in Amsterdam), and NOTHING TO EAT. I'll never forget
Seattle, WA USA 05/01/00
Since we had to be at the airport at 5 am, we spent our last night in
Rome at the Leonardo da Vinci airport. Bright, safe. The security safe
(packing heat, nonetheless), asked to see our passport and tickets once.
Other than that, our evening was relatively uneventful, though not high
in the comfort category.
MD USA 04/12/00
We got caught in the switch to daylight savings time in Italy and missed
our flights back (no one told us to move our watches ahead one hour) from
Florence to Dulles via Frankfurt. So we got a late evening flight to Frankfurt
and slept on the cushy chairs (no arms, 5 or 6 in a continuous row) toward
the back of the main terminal's lower level near the shopping mall. Were
very comfortable, no one bothered us, and we felt a lot better in the
morning than we had expected (good enough to take a quick train trip into
Durham, NC USA 04/10/00
The Cocoon at Charles de Gaulle Paris is just okay re: cleanliness,
and really bad on convenience if your flight is out of Terminal 2. Also,
the RER station is not actually at Terminal 1 so you must take an unmarked
bus (says Parc PR). A better Terminal 1 bet is Hotel Ibis, right next
top the RER station.
Palo Alto, CA USA 04/08/00
I arrived in Milan-Malpensa on a flight from Prague, Czech Republic
on a Friday night at 5:00. I didn't have any money left, it was the end
of my trip, and I had a flight to Chicago in the morning, at around 9:00.
I decided to find a quiet place to sit and just sleep there. There are
chairs there that are basically chaise lounges, and there were no shady
characters there at all in the night. I woke up, washed up in the deserted
bathroom and got on my flight, and saved a lot of money.
Bloomington, IN USA 04/04/00
I had to sleep in London's Heathrow Airport a few years back, and found
it uncomfortable (loud, and constantly being moved around by cleaning
crews). But I soon learned that things are better on the "other side."
The terminals have many soft seats/floors to sleep on. A mistake many
people make is to wait outside of the terminals. Get to your airport before
midnight if possible, and make sure to check in, even if you don't know
what gate you're headed to. Find the general area for your airline's terminals,
and sleep there fairly comfortably. The grass really is greener on the
Sonora, CA USA 03/04/00
Before you decide to sleep overnight in an airport, be sure it is open
24 hours a day! Some local and/or regional airports close overnight if
there are no flights scheduled (Tallahassee, FL for one!).
Tallahassee, FL USA 01/21/00
I spent a late night and early morning at Heathrow before a 9 AM flight
in Nov. '99. There was quite a bit of construction taking place (remodeling
and layout changes for in the airport shops) so it was drills and echoing
hammers until approximately 2 am. After the work had stopped it was very
quiet and one could meander about the level for exercise and bathrooms,
in between dozing. By 5:30 AM airport workers started to arrive and by
7:30, it was very busy. The armless chairs suitable for stretching out
were located in the video games and soft drinks vending machines area.
It was a bit surprising that HR had not attempted to provide airport overniters
with a bit more hospitality or suitable space for those who had an early
AM flight departure. Still, it was an interesting spot to observe the
dawn. Be prepared for chair sleeping, snorers, and vending/video noises
in the background.
berkeley, CA USA 12/09/99
The Hammer Hotel at the Mainz, Germany HBF is only 25 minutes by train
to the Frankfurt Airport. The Hammer is a business-class hotel with large,
soundproof rooms, and costs about $90 with excellent breakfast. The train
delivers you right inside the airport; a ticket is about $5. Trains are
every 30 minutes to the airport and hourly to Bacharach and St. Goar hotels.
Marble Falls, TX USA 11/04/99
Amsterdam! Rent a room, take a shower, work out, visit the casino, eat
at a dozen different places and use machines that exchange coins and bills
for US dollars--all within the airport. Fly out of Amsterdam if you can
and get there early.
I have stayed in the Florence airport a number of times. Lights might
stay on all night. Music from the ceiling speakers will be playing all
night. The cleaning people will be coming with their noisy equipment sometime
during the night. Sometimes passengers will be landing very late from
a delayed flight or taking off very early. Ask airport employees where
the best place is for sleeping.
Detroit, MI USA 09/13/99
Due to a ticket mess-up in London (they accidentally issued me a ticket
for Washington DC when I needed to get back to Seattle WA!), I ended up
spending 3 days and 2 nights in the Heathrow airport. Actually quite a
comfy airport, and very friendly staff! Though attempting to correct the
ticket mess up was a comedy of errors, the stay in the airport was actually
not bad. Books to read, music to listen to, variety of food, even a cheap
Burger King! And the food at the pub in Arrivals was great AND reasonably
priced! If you must be stuck in an airport, Heathrow is not bad at all!
Seattle, WA USA 07/27/99
It's not exactly simple and inexpensive, but when flying out of Milan
on an early morning flight, Rick's recommended Hotel Malpensa saves the
aggravation of the long (and costly, if you take a taxi) trip from the
city to the airport. The Hotel Malpensa is a businessperson's type of
hotel with all the "mod-con"s and a great breakfast buffet. And it's only
a fast three-minute trip to the airport check-in counters. I highly recommend
it! And the quick and easy start helps overcome the return trip jet lag.
Atlanta, GA USA 06/15/99
We were stuck in Vienna's airport for TWO days trying to get to the states
on a standby pass! We were sleeping in an area where only ticketed, passport
carrying passengers were allowed so it was relatively safe. The airport
itself has everything including a place to get your hair done. It's like
being in a mall! We only found out on our 3rd day there that there are
"rooms" available with just a bed and a shower. Aggg!
stockton, ca USA 02/09/99
A friend and I had an eight-hour layover in Paris en route to Munich.
We were a bit too worn out to head into the city from Charles de Gaulle
so we wound up renting one of those tiny rooms at the airport called "cocoons."
Clean, cozy, dark-as-night and inexpensive, this was just what we needed!
Plus the rooms have showers so we arrived in Munich fresh and rested and
ready to go. Sometimes a $20 splurge is well worth it.
Arlington, VA USA 02/07/99
Our flight home to San Francisco from New Delhi, India, was punctuated
by a very long layover (16+ hours) in Singapore. We found a pretty reasonably
priced day bed at the Singapore airport - right in the airport- it was
very clean and nice, and just perfect for a little perky six hour nap.
After a month or two of roughing it in India, the daybed/hotel accommodations
seemed quite sumptuous.
Madison, WI USA 01/05/99
Returning to the US from Mykonos, Greece, we thought that arriving at
Athens airport about 9 PM & getting a 6 AM flight the next morning would
mean roughing it in the airport. What a mistake! Only old form fitting
plastic shell chairs or dirty marble floors. Everything was closed until
5 AM. No coffee, books, anything. But spending a few hours in a nearby
hotel would have been stressful too (to get up in time).
Dana Point, CA USA 12/28/98
I slept -really- well (overslept even!) in Frankfurt on the main floor
near the windows. for the complete story see luckycard.com/journal.html...
I slept free better than most hostels. Find couches in back. There's a
cool club on the 3rd level down too!
tempe, az USA 12/11/98
I recently slept at the Charles De Gaulle airport outside of Paris. I
thought it was the worst decision ever, at first. The floors were
hard at it was cold (I had on five layers on top in October, but that
was just me) but I felt fairly safe and it's really quiet between 11 pm
and 7 am. The other few people I saw sleeping there as well made me feel
like it was OK, and no one bothered us.
MP, IL USA 11/29/98
We slept -- under armed guard -- at Narita airport in Japan. We'd fallen
asleep on the comfortable cushioned benches upstairs, and in the middle
of the night were shaken awake and escorted downstairs to hard benches
inside a wall of windows (i.e., NO insulation -- and it was extremely
cold. Our final destination was Thailand, where it's quite warm in January,
so we'd dressed for that.). We were awakened several times during the
night so police and airport security could check our tickets and passports,
and an armed guard sat on a chair near our benches all night. No matter
how expensive it is to spend the night in town, we'll do it -- we're never,
ever sleeping at that airport again!
Mike & Cheri Edwards
Seattle, WA USA 11/10/98
I've slept at both the Orly and Charles De Gaulle Airports, and had
no trouble at either one. The only thing I had to do was show the guards
my ticket. I slept on my luggage so no one would attempt to steal it,
and no one bothered me. I actually got a few well-needed hours of snoozing!!
Indianapolis, IN USA 11/07/98
I needed a room for a 7:30 AM flight out of Copenhagen & discovered
that there was a cubicle-type hotel right at the Kastrup airport. Alas
I found out too late, it was booked solid.
Baltimore, MD USA 10/27/98