Updated 15 December 2015
A futuristic phenomenon is taking root at airports worldwide: sleeping pods! After decades of travelers sprawled out across chairs and aisles, ingenious and entrepreneurial individuals are finally beginning to invent comfortable ways to nap while in transit – but with a cost. From reclining cocoon chairs to queen sized luxury beds with a TV, airport layovers are taking a step towards becoming a little more bearable for those of us who are willing to pay. While these pods are far from universal, the following airports have made the initial investment into varying models, providing a safe haven for the weary traveler.
- Abu Dhabi: Located in Terminal 3, 2nd floor between Etihad transfer desks, $10-18/hour depending on your length of stay
- Dubai: Concourses A and B (within the Maharaba lounge) and Concourse C
- Helsinki: Gates 31, €4.50/hour
- Tallinn: Gate 9, Free to use
- Amsterdam: Concourse D
- Tokyo Haneda: Coming soon!
- Belo Horzonte: Coming soon!
Hop into an ultramodern cocoon to grab some shuteye on your layover through a chair that reclines into a flat-bed seat with a partial or full sliding shade for privacy. Comfortable, quiet and dark, these pods are quickly cropping up in airports worldwide Each includes a generously sized place for luggage storage, a charging station and a tablet PC using the airport’s free public WiFi, with more features to follow. A range of branded amenity items are available for sale at the various airports, including blankets, pillows (rental), snooze/shower/dental/shaving kits, memory foam neck pillows and matching eye shades.
- Munich: Located in Terminal 2 (Level 4 & 5), $15 – 22/hour depending on time of day, with a $42 minimum
- Berlin Tegel: Located in the Main Hall of Terminal 3, $15 – 22/hour depending on time of day, with a $42 minimum
While these 4 square meter nap pods look more like vending machines than they do a room, inside travelers are surprised to find fresh white sheets, a work space with a multimedia touch screen, charging stations, internet access, air conditioning and mood lighting for relaxation or invigoration. Payable by credit card at arrival, this model of sleeping pod also is equipped with an alarm clock and up-to-date flight information, ensuring you do not overstay. Upon checking out, the pods are automatically locked until cleaned by airport staff. So far, the only negative of these cabs is that they are first-come-first-serve and there quite simply are not enough! Also – fun fact: students developed these cabs as part of an Innovation Competition hosted by the Technical University of Munich back in 2007. Inventive!
- Hanoi: Located in Terminals 1 and 2, with prices beginning at approximately 120,000VND for single/double occupancy.
After a few hiccups with the initial July 2014 opening, Noi Bai International in Vietnam has officially opened 14 4m2 sleep pods. Single and double-person pods are decked out with a bed, a drawer, a clock, some plugs and hangers. During your stay, you are also given access to complimentary snacks, drinks and Wi-Fi! You can rent out the pods for any amount of time between an hour to 24 hours. Kids under 6 do stay for free, while those between 6 – 12 years pay a discounted rate. Considering all that is included in your stay, this seems like a pretty good rate!
Sams Snooze at My Space
- New Delhi: Located in Terminal 3 (International Flights, opposite Gate 17) Departures Lounge, $12/$22 per hour for single/double occupancy
You are in for a real treat if you end up with a layover in Delhi. India’s sleeping pods are outfitted impeccably with the usual bed/table/plugs/Wi-Fi/storage combination, but also a flat screen TV, DVD players and a fridge all for a very low hourly rate! Unlike other pods, Sams takes online reservations, guaranteeing a bed during your layover. The 24-hour reception always has newspapers available, and it is worth asking about specials. Often, a stay of over three hours will entitle you to a free meal!
- Dubai: Terminal 1 Gate C22, $21/28 per hour for single/double cube
With Dubai’s new status as the fourth busiest airport in the world, layovers here are becoming inevitable and the airport is consequently making this experience as pleasant as possible. Dubai’s spotless and soundproof sleep cubes are equipped with a twin bed, a touch screen TV and Wi-Fi access and are basic but get the job done. Airport bathrooms are located just across the hall and a pub is conveniently located a few steps further. There are rumours circulating that new cubes will also be built with nature inspired murals – but that seems to be pure nap-pod speculation at the moment.
- London Heathrow: Terminal 4 beside baggage claim
- London Gatwick: South Terminal across from baggage reclaim exit
- Amsterdam Schiphol: Departures terminal across from passport control
YotelAir is the Four Season’s of airport sleep cubes. Every 7 – 10 square meter room is equipped with an en-suite bathroom, decked out with towels, body wash AND a fabulous monsoon rain shower. Extra comfortable mattresses with high quality linens make for a delightful nap, while the workstation and free WiFi allow you to be productive as well. Best of all? Guests are able to order Food to Go at any time from ‘Mission Control’, where complimentary tea, coffee and hot chocolate are always available. YotelAir has also opened its first non-airport miniature hotel in New York City! Prices vary greatly depending on length of time, airport and time of day. Ranges from $40 for 4 hours – $100 for a full night.
- Bergamo Orio al Serio: Located in the arrivals area, $12/hour
In late 2015, Zzzleepandgo opened its first soundproof sleep cubes at Bergamo Orio el Serio in Italy. Equipped out with a bed, free Wi-Fi, a flight status screen and some plugs, these basic pods can be reserved 24-hours a day online or through the company’s nifty app. Frequent BGY travelers can purchase multi-visit packages that save up to 40% of the regular price. The rest of us will just have to settle for this boost of comfort at one of the airports voted to be among the worst in the world for sleeping.
- Tokyo Narita: Located outside Terminal 2, prices begin at $15 for a 2-hour stay
Just outside Tokyo Narita’s Terminal 2 is the 9H capsule hotel, suitable for travelers in need of a shower, a nap or overnight accommodation. Each guest is provided with an amenity bag, complete with lounge wear, towels, tooth brushes and slippers. You also get access to a locker, bath towels, shampoo, conditioner and a toothbrush once you get into the shower area. The capsules themselves are simple and efficient, providing guests with Sleep Ambient Control System and little else. Visit the 9H web site.
- Atlanta: Concourse B at Gate B15
- Philadelphia: 13 suites at the A/B Link
- Dallas: Terminal D at D23
Minute Suites are cropping up across American airports, offering relief to domestic and international travelers. Each suite is equipped with a daybed sofa, pillows and blankets, HDTV with access to DIRECTTV, Internet and the airports flight tracking system. This company takes the napping experience incredibly seriously. They have gone so far as to soundproof every unit, and provide a unique guided power-nap audio track for each guest. The newer units in Dallas also offer a hot shower to guests for an extra luxurious layover experience. This company has partnered with local tourism university students who staff aspects of the business, gaining work experience at this innovative travel company. Rates are pretty hefty here: $38/hour or $130/night, with discounts available for longer stays.