Sleeping in the airport: Tips and Locations

Who needs a hotel? These European airports are the best for an overnight stay

Photo: Getty Images

Some airports have tailored their facilities for overnight guests. Here are Europe’s favourites, along with tips to get some sleep in a terminal. 

Having to spend the night in an airport building is not exactly on a globetrotter’s wishlist. Sometimes there’s just no other choice if your budget is exhausted at the end of a long trip or an airline goes on strike and the nearby hotels are fully booked. 

But going without a bed isn’t always as horrific as it sounds. Some airports fly high when it comes to passenger facilities for getting a good night’s kip. We’ve also included a few tips that will ensure you’re not so whacked when you wake up. 

The website “sleepinginairports.net” surveyed travellers who have stayed at airports around Europe about their overall experiences. They assessed things like comfort in general, the service, the food supply, safety and cleanliness. And the best airports might surprise you. 

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3 Tallinn Airport, Estonia

Though small in size, Tallinn’s airport ranks number three among the respondents of the survey. It scores especially highly for the comfortable chairs, free reclining seats and a library. No wonder it calls itself “the cosiest airport in the world.” 

Sajab lund. Rajamasinad veel hetkel garaažis :)

Sajab lund. Rajamasinad veel hetkel garaažis :)

2 Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, Finland

The airport in the Finnish capital reached second in the list and three things really stood out: the great architecture, the friendly staff, and the unique sleeping cabins that can be reserved for free. The “Gosleep Sleeping Pods” can be fully screened off. The egg-shaped designs have ergonomic seats which can be converted to a flat reclining surface while a canopy protects from the noise of the airport.

sleeping at Helsinki's airport

1 Munich Airport

The best European airport to sleep in is located in Germany. For the second time, Munich was the continent’s leading entry in the rankings for overall experience. Respondents hailed its cleanliness and amenities such as free morning coffee and Wi-Fi. An on-site brewery, a mini golf course and the Christmas market were also singled out for praise. Munich also includes “Napcabs” that provide a bed and a desk covering four square metres along with internet, with pricing varying depending on the time.

Flight cancelled! #Napcab for the win!

A post shared by Floh (@flohjoes) on

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general tips

  • Be prepared that airport staff won’t necessarily let you sleep like that. They won’t kick you out immediately but you may be asked why you haven’t booked a hotel room. 
  • You should always have your ticket to hand to prove that you will leave the airport the next day 
  • ​For extra safety, find yourself a sleeping place where surveillance cameras have a good view of you 

Items you should pack

  • A self-inflating air mattress, sunglasses, earplugs, a blanket and a pillow to make your night at the airport as comfortable as possible - the last two things are often given to you by an airline
  • At most airports, there are water dispensers where you can fill your own water bottle. With a couple of snacks in your hand luggage, you can last the night without having to spend anything at the expensive airport shop
  • Time passes quickly with personal entertainment such as music, books, or your laptop but don’t forget headphones
  • Disinfectant wipes and your own toilet paper can prove to be saviours when visiting the public toilet 
  • If you don’t have an alarm clock and would rather not use your phone battery, just take small sticky notes with you. Write a message like “Wake me up at 6am” and stick the labels on your body and the neighbouring seats. It works; people will wake you
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11 2016 The Red Bulletin

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