Whether your situation calls for a short nap or an overnight slumber, this sleep guide will give you the essential information needed to prepare you for sleeping in Chicago Midway Airport.
Our guide is updated with the help of airport sleepers who tell us about their experiences at Chicago Midway Airport. If you have a tip or photos to share, please take a moment to write a review to help us keep this sleep guide up-to-date!
Covid-19 Update: This sleep guide was written before Covid-19, so the information may have changed. In October 2021, we will be starting our first guide update since March 2020. A lot has changed, so it’s going to be a massive update. If you are interested in helping, click here to add or update information or write a review to add tips or share photos to help future travellers .
This guide was last updated: 26 September 2019. Read the latest traveller reviews.
Sleeping inside Chicago Midway Airport Overnight
The Chicago Midway Airport is technically open 24-hours, though Security checkpoints do shut down at night. If you’re already inside the Secure areas before closing time, you will be asked to move the public/pre-Secure area.
Locations & Seating
In general, areas inside Security are more comfortable than the pre-Security, public zones. You’ll find more seating options, though these pretty much all have armrests, making it hard to relax. Still, the secure zone is quieter. Travellers consider Concourse C the quietest and cleanest, but benches for stretching out are few and far between – grab one if you can. Otherwise, you’ll likely wind up on the floor, so bring an extra layer, sleep mat, or sleeping bag for some cushion.
Travellers have specifically reported a few metal benches just behind the TSA Security checkpoint where the 3 concourses meet. You could lie down here for the night once Security closes.
At the time of this update, there are no designated rest zones within the airport.
At the time of this update, we have not received reports from travellers related to the overall terminal environment, such as temperature, lighting, and noise. In general, here are some good expectations:
- Temperature: Expect the airport to cool down at night, with air conditioning running and fewer people inside.
- Noise: Even as overnight flights slow down or stop entirely, the airport may still run announcements and cleaning crews may make the rounds, so anticipate some noise.
- Lighting: The airport may stay bright thanks to around-the-clock lights, but certain corners may be dimly lit.
Arrive prepared! We recommend earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones, an extra layer of warmth, and eyeshades or something else to cover your eyes, such as a shirt or towel.
Pro-tip: If you chose a spot near any eateries, keep in mind that the staff arrive early and they can get pretty loud in the kitchen.
Chicago Midway Airport sees more than its fair share of flight cancellations due to bad weather with snowstorms and freezing ice situations in winter and even tornadoes in the summer. The upside is that this means they are more prepared than other airports.
When mass cancellations happen at Chicago Midway Airport, cots are available for stranded passengers who opt against getting a hotel room. To find them, ask an airline or airport employee or use a courtesy phone to reach someone who has access to this information. (Note that cots are not available for travellers who simply choose to spend the night here, and they cannot be reserved in advance.)
Unfortunately, there are no showers available to freshen up.
Food & Drink
When you get the midnight munchies or give up trying to sleep and need a coffee to stay awake, 24-hour food concessions are available. Check out these vendors in the Central Market, post-security: Dunkin Donuts • Gold Coast Dogs • Pegasus On The Fly.
Prefer some privacy and comfort? If you would like a good solid sleep between flights, you’ll have to exit the airport altogether. There are a few hotels nearby, and they offer free shuttle service to and from the airport. See the hotel section in our Airport Guide for locations or visit Tripadvisor to find hotels deals at Midway Airport.
Unfortunately, Chicago Midway Airport has no pay-to-use lounges.
Security & Safety
Airport staff seem quite tolerant of overnight sleepers.
At the time of this update, we have no reports from travellers commenting on safety issues at Chicago Midway Airport. As a precaution, here are a few tips to ensure you have a safe airport sleeping experience:
- Know Where Security is Located. Whether you are sleeping in the airport by yourself or with friends, it is good to know where security is. Know where their office is located and look for video cameras in the spot you decide to stay the night. Ask security where it is safe to spend the night. They’ve probably seen many airport sleepers before you and they will direct you to a safe spot.
- Don’t Seclude Yourself. If you are travelling alone we recommend that you sleep near other travellers or close to security.
- Hide Your Valuables. Don’t leave all your mobile devices out in plain view. We have received reports from people who woke up with earphones and no ipod and a laptop bag strap and no laptop bag (or laptop). Same goes with important documents and money. Keep these secure on your body, so that no one can get them without waking you up.
- Secure Your Bags. If you are a deep sleeper, you may want to padlock your bag to something. If your bags have zippers turn the bag upside down (zippers to the floor) or sleep with your bag up against the wall, so that it would be hard for someone to access.
- Choose to Stay Alert. If you don’t feel safe, drink coffee and stay awake and be alert. You can always sleep on the plane!
Pro-tip: If you are sleeping in the public zone, don’t be surprised if you receive an early morning wake-up call. Security is known to make the rounds waking people up as travellers begin to arrive for morning flights.
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