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Best Airports of 2012

Date: October 15, 2012

This is our 16th annual Best and Worst Airports for sleeping in overnight (or during a long transit) and it is our biggest ever! We had 18,190 survey and poll responses this year. Wow!!

So what makes an airport the "Best"? Here at SleepingInAirports we have our four C's: comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.

Comfort: Seats (and lots of them) without armrests and non-metallic.
Conveniences: Free WiFi, 24-hour food, showers, and activities to do in transit.
Cleanliness: Bathrooms that don't make us want to gag when we enter and clean floors for those of us who have to sit on the floor due to limited seating.
Customer Service: A smile and friendly attitudes go a long way. We thank the kind airport workers who give us blankets and pillows when we're stranded and share their tips about the best sleeping spots.

This year we are going to do things a little different. We still have the Global Best Airports (see below), but now we also have the Best and Worst Airports per region. You'll find the lists here:

So now here are our 2012 Best Airport winners.

toronto airport rest zone

10 | Toronto Pearson International

Last Year: 10

I had a layover at Toronto due to being rescheduled by American Airlines. In the O and P sections in the departure area of Terminal 1 is a huge and cozy lounge which is open 24/7 to all passengers. The lounge offers plenty of armrest free seating and two large loungers. Would definitely stay here again." - WorldTravellerPlus

Toronto Pearson Terminal 1 offers a large armrest free seating lounge (landside). Strangely, it seems to be more comfortable landside than airside at this airport, but you can stretch out airside at an empty gate. There are showers in the pay-in lounges. With armrest free seats, free WiFi and a 24-hour Tim Hortons, what more do you need?

Best Sleep: Landside (Terminal 1)

Travellers Like: Free WiFi • Friendly Staff • Cleanliness • Seating lounge in Terminal 1 (landside).
Travellers Would Like To See: More Things to Do • Improved airside seating for stretching out

Airport Services & Facilities:
Unlimited Free WiFi • Pay-in Lounges ($) • Food 24-hour ( $) • Luggage Storage ($) • Showers (in the pay-in lounge) $ • Hotel connected to the airport ($)

Toronto Pearson Airport Guide

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photo by Scoobyfoo

9 | Zurich

Last Year: --

Airside at Zurich is a great place to be for a night's sleep. There are plenty of reasonable-looking seats without armrests and each block of seats has an electrical outlet. This airport is very clean and all members of staff I encountered (including the lovely immigration lady) were really friendly. There are no announcements until about 6am. " - Mo.Si

This year airport sleepers were found snoozing away airside on the armrest free seating. At night, lights are dimmed and it is quiet since the stores and food concessions shut down. If you are in transit and bench sleeping is not for you, the airport has rest zones and day rooms. Before or after your nap, you can enjoy an airport tour or keep fit with a bicycle rental.

Best Sleep: Airside

Travellers Like: Cleanliness • Comfortable Seating • Easy Transit • Friendly Staff
Travellers Would Like to See: Free WiFi

Airport Services & Facilities:
WiFi ($) • Rest Zone • Pay-in Lounge($) • Airport Tours ($) • Luggage Storage ($) • Observation Deck • Showers ($) • Sports Equipment Rentals ($) • Day rooms ($)

Zurich Airport Guide

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8 | Munich International Airport

Last Year: 6

Munich airport is extremely clean and not as crowded as many others. Everything runs smoothly and there is usually plenty of seating by each gate. There is also a wide range of food and shopping." - survey response

For the airport sleeper, Munich offers you armrest free seating and clean floors. For the transit passengers, before or after your nap you can enjoy activities such as Mini-Golf, Airport tours or a beer made at airport's own brewery.

Best Sleep: Airside, but hidden landside gems exist

Travellers Like: Cleanliness • Comfortable Seats • 24-hour Food
Travellers Would Like to See: Unlimited Free WiFi

Airport Services & Facilities:
30 minutes Free WiFi • Pay-in Lounges ($) • Food-24 hours ($) • Luggage Storage ($) • Showers ($) • Hotel connected to the terminal ($) • Sleep Pods ($) • Mini golf ($) • Spa ($) • Video Games ($) • Airport Tours ($) • Airbrau Brewery ($) • Visitor Terrace ($) • Visitors Center with the airport exhibition • free aviation themed movies and shows • Laundry Service ($) • Kinderterminal for kids.

Munich Airport Guide

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vancouver airport sleeper

7 | Vancouver International Airport

Last Year: 7

Take the advice of others and head for the very end of the US departures area, it's dead silent at night and they often dim the lights down there " - bcguy

When travellers are not napping on the armrest free seating or using the Free WiFi, they are admiring the airside aboriginal art and 30,000-gallon aquarium. While quiet spots exist both airside and landside, they may require some time to find as there are no designated rest zones.

Best Sleep: Airside (Gate Areas) and Landside (US Departures)

Travellers Like: Cleanliness • Quiet at night • 24-hour Food • Friendly Staff • Comfortable Seating
Travellers Would Like to See: Airside Rest Zones • More Things To Do

Airport Services/Facilities:
Unlimited Free WiFi • Food-24 hrs ($) • Baggage Storage ($) • Spa ($) • Pay-in Lounge ($) • Showers & Pool at the hotel attached to the airport ($) • Chapel • Art Displays • Aquarium.

Vancouver Airport Guide

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helsinki vantaa airport rest seats

6 | Helsinki Vantaa Airport

Last Year: --

I found myself a very quiet corner, with soft and comfortable chairs, electrical outlets, and Free WiFi in an area around gates 30-31. Hardly anyone was there. I slept like a baby. " - UBS

Well, hello Helsinki Vantaa! Nice to see you here again! This airport disappeared from the Best Airports list for a few years, but it seems to have gone through a renovation over the past few years. Judging by the votes and reviews this year, travellers approve! In addition to the airside Rest Zones with dozens of loungers and armrest-free seating, travellers will find Free WiFi and a few 24 hour food concessions both airside and landside.

Best Sleep: Rest Zones (Airside)

Travellers Like: Cleanliness • Friendly Staff • Free WiFi
Travellers Would Like To See: No suggestions were made

Airport Services & Facilities:
Free WiFi • Book Swap • Pay-In Lounge ($) • Food 24-hours ($) • Showers in the Pay-in Lounges ($) • Hotel Inside and Connected to the airport ($) • Luggage Storage ($) • Art Displays

Helsinki Vantaa Airport Guide

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5 | Kuala Lumpur International Airport

Last Year: 4

[There] were long rows of padded benches with tables and padded chairs. This provided an ideal place to sleep. Shielded from view except from anyone who walked through the narrow table area itself, I could stretch out, put my feet up on my bag, and had an excellent 10-hour sleep. " - Gipsy

There are two terminals -- KLIA and the LCCT. The KLIA terminal is nicer and more comfortable. Airport sleepers like the airport's long benches, reclining rest chairs and showers. Both terminals have 24-hour pay-in lounges that economy passengers can access. On the downside, KLIA is lacking 24 hour food facilities.

Best Sleep: Airside, in the rest areas and Landside, on the 4th Floor

Travellers Like: Free WiFi • Long Benches and Rest Chairs • Cleanliness
Travellers Would Like to See: More 24-hour Food Options • More Rest Zones and Seating

Airport Services/Facilities:
Free WiFi • Free Internet Kiosks • Pay in Lounges-24 hours ($) • Showers ($) • Baggage Storage ($) • Massage ($) • Observation Gallery • Prayer and Silent Rooms • Children's Play Area • KLIA.TV • Transit Hotel ($).

Kuala Lumpur Airport Guide

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amsterdam schiphol airport

4 | Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Last Year: 5

Where most other airports are concerned with turning them into shopping malls with planes outside, Schiphol has tried to actually make it a pleasant place to be for travellers. " - Chriz

Amsterdam's Schiphol airport is popular for its facilities and comfort. Airport sleepers in transit will find several Rest Zones with reclining rest chairs. Landside airport sleeper will have to search a little for a comfy place to sleep, but spots exist and happy sleepers have sent in reviews. The airport offers one hour Free WiFi as well as activities to keep you entertained, such as city tours, TV lounges, movie theatre, a museum and more.

Best Sleep: Airside, in the Rest Zones

Travellers Like: Rest Zones with recliners • Things to Do • Easy to Transit
Travellers Would Like to See: Free Unlimited WiFi • More Rest Zones

Airport Services/Facilities:
1 Hour Free WiFi • Food-24 hours ($) • pay-in Lounges ($) • Baggage Storage ($) • Internet Stations ($) • Showers ($) • Observation Terrace • Weddings at Schiphol ($) • Spa-24 hours ($) • Gym ($) • Sauna ($) • Casino ($) • Massage ($) • Museum/Art Exhibits • Meditation room • Floating Dutchman Bus Tour ($) • 6D Motion Theatre ($).

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport Guide

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hong kong rest area

3 | Hong Kong International Airport

Last Year: 2

I read earlier in this forum that gate 521 level 4 is recommended. Walked over and wow! Quite a number of 4 seaters without armrests, even good for a 6 footer. " - Daisies

Hong Kong offers armrest free seating and rest loungers. If you are in transit and need to rest, look for the lounge chairs hidden behind shrubbery. Before or after your nap you might like to take advantage of the activities and cultural experiences offered at the airport. This year HKIA opened an IMAX theatre inside the airport. Sounds like fun!

Best Sleep: Airside, in the Rest Areas

Travellers Like: Free WiFi • Cleanliness • Comfortable Seats • 24 hour Food • Friendly Staff
Travellers Would Like to See: Faster WiFi

Airport Services/Facilities:
Free WiFi • Internet Kiosks • Showers ($) • Baggage Storage ($) • Pay In Lounges-24-hour ($) • Food/Drink-24-hour ($) • Miniatures Gardens • airside Resting Areas • Exhibitions and Demonstrations/Workshops (such as Tea-making or Chinese Medicine) • IMAX ($) • 9 hole golf course ($) • PlayStation Gateway •  Sports Simulators (soccer, basketball, golf, boxing, skiing, car racing, shooting) • Asia Hollywood is an interactive movie studio ($) • Aviation Discovery Centre • Children Play Areas • Children's TV Lounges

Hong Kong Airport Guide

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seoul incheon airport rest lounge

2 | Seoul Incheon

Last Year: 3

The highlight of this airport, for long layovers, is the Rest and Relax area. There are several around the airport, with loungers for sleeping, modular couches, etc. " - Etoile

Seoul Incheon offers Free WiFi, 24-hour Food and Drink (airside and landside) and comfy seats airside for the transit passengers. When you are not napping you can enjoy the gardens, watch traditional dance performances and learn how to how to make traditional pencil cases, fans, and bags. There is even an Ice Skating Rink (landside).

Best Sleep: Airside, in the Rest & Relax Area

Travellers Like: Free WiFi • Comfortable Seating/Rest Zones • Friendly Staff • Cleanliness
Travellers Would Like to See: Cheaper Food

Airport Services/Facilities:
Food-24 hours ($) • WiFi • Internet Kiosks/Stations ($) • Sauna and Spa-24 hours ($) • Shower ($) • Massage ($) • Baby Care Lounges •  Children's Play Areas • Korean Cultural Museum • Cultural Activities • Traditional Craft Gallery • Ice Skating ($) • Observation Deck • Gardens (Pine Tree, Woody Plant, Alpine, Green, Cactus, Water, Four Gracious Plants, Star Garden and Wildflower) • Driving Range ($) • Tours ($)

Seoul Incheon Airport Guide

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singapore changi rest

1 | Singapore Changi

Last Year: 1

I slept for 12 hours without realizing that I am in the airport. I woke up with a blanket around me." - Juan Armando

Is this any surprise, really? For the 16th year, Singapore Changi Airport has won our coveted Golden Pillow. With its facilities and variety of services, Club Changi seems to have been made for your travelling (and napping) pleasure.

Enjoy the WiFi and Internet stations, nap in a snooze chair, watch a free movie or live music. There are also city tours, a swimming pool and Jacuzzi, 24 hour massage and spa facilities, video games, music and TV lounges, gardens, video games and a 4-storey slide-- all at the airport.

The thing we love about Changi is their ability to make the airport fun! Being at the airport doesn't have to be a boring, coma-inducing experience.

Best Sleep: Airside, in the Rest Zones

Travellers Like: Free WiFi • Friendly Staff • Gardens • Activities • Comfortable Seating • Cleanliness • 24-hour Food
Travellers Would Like to See: More Rest Zones and Sleep Seats

Airport Services/Facilities:
Free WiFi • Free Internet Kiosks • Food-24 hours ($) • Baggage Storage($) • pay-in Lounges ($) • Shower ($) • Gym & Spa ($) • Massage ($) • Swimming Pool & Jacuzzi ($) • Convenience Stores/Supermarkets ($) • Prayer rooms • Business Centres ($) • Singapore City Tour • Nature Trail  (including a Butterfly Garden, Cactus Garden, Fern Garden, Koi Pond, Orchid Garden, Sunflower Garden, Fragrant Garden, Night Light Garden) • airside Rest Areas with snooze chairs • Aviation Gallery, Children's Play Area • Entertainment Deck (including a Jam Studio, Lan Gaming, Music Area, MTV Booth, Movie Theatre, XBox and PlayStation consoles) • The Slide @ T3 - 4 storey slide ($) • Grand Prix Race Simulators ($) • Transit Hotel ($).

Singapore Changi Airport Guide

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This list is determined by user votes, survey responses and airport reviews submitted to the site between October 2011 and September 2012. If you would like vote in the 2013 survey, click here.

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