Whether you are an experienced airport sleeper or new to the game, this sleep guide will give you the essential information to better prepare you for sleeping in Houston Airport.
Our guide is updated with the help of airport sleepers who tell us about their experiences at Houston Intercontinental 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!
Sleeping in Houston Airport Overnight
Houston Intercontinental Airport is technically open 24 hours, but this may not mean you can arrive in the wee morning hours and expect to get inside. Instead, if you’re inside the terminal before closing time or have a ticket for an early-morning departure, you can remain inside. Be safe by having a backup plan ready!
Locations & Seating
The seating in this busy airport is disappointingly limited. If you can grab a seat or two, it likely has armrests, making a comfortable sleep position nearly impossible. Overnight, you might be able to get away with pushing some seats together for makeshift beds. Your best bet is to seek out a quieter corner or nook and lie on the floor for some shuteye. Travellers recommend Terminal D the most often, as it’s often unused at night, so it’s much quieter. Terminal C is likely the next-best option. Bring an extra layer for warmth and cushion, especially for floor sleeping.
Here are good sleep spots that travellers have reported:
In Terminal A, there may be some comfortable chairs in the food courts or the hallway that connects the two sides of the terminal.
- Landside, near the Subway
- Airside, Gates D1-3 are in a hallway that sees little foot traffic, so if you’re good with floor sleeping, you may be able to squeeze into some carpeted nooks that are darker and quieter than other areas.
- Airside, Gate D5 is often quiet because it’s typically used for evening international departures.
- Airside, Gate E24 has a side nook that is reportedly quieter than other areas at night and is carpeted.
In Terminal C:
- Landside, Terminal C’s baggage claim area is reportedly relatively comfortable and quiet. There may be some decently comfortable chairs near carousel C7.
Spots to avoid: Sleep in the two chapels or the massage chairs scattered throughout the airport at your own risk. Many travellers report that airport staff don’t allow people to sleep in these locations.
At the time of this update, there are no designated rest zones within the airport.
Travellers report chilly temperatures during the day, especially at night, as fewer people are inside. Arrive prepared with a blanket, sleep mat, or a sleeping bag, especially if you plan to sleep on the floor. A hoodie provides extra warmth if the terminal gets even colder.
At the time of this update, we have not received reports from travellers about terminal brightness. Come prepared with eyeshades or something else to cover your eyes, such as a shirt or towel.
Noise is definitely an issue here, especially at night. During the day, you can expect run-of-the-mill airport announcements, passenger pages, and noise from other travellers. At night, even at unused gates, it seems that TVs and speakers blare throughout the night. Do come prepared with earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones. As the airport wakes up, there’s enough noise that you’ll likely have difficulty sleeping much past 4:00 AM.
When bad weather and mass cancellations happen at Houston Intercontinental 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 with access to this information. Importantly, you cannot reserve these cots in advance, and the cots are only available for travellers stranded at the airport because of cancelled flights, not because you’ve chosen to stay for the night.
Freshen up (and loosen those stiff muscles) with a shower before your flight if you are a Centurion Credit Card holder. Locations: the pay-to-use Centurion Lounge in Terminal D. Unfortunately, no other showers are available. See our Houston Intercontinental Airport Guide for details.
Food & Drink
A Texas Monthly News shop selling drinks and snacks is the only airport food option open 24 hours. Plan ahead. Location: in the Food Court, near Gates A17-A30.
Prefer some privacy and comfort? If you would like a good solid sleep between flights without straying far from the airport, a hotel is connected to all terminals. A free underground tram and shuttle are available to reach the Houston Airport Marriott, but you must re-enter through Security for your next flight. Several other hotels are located within a 6-minute drive of the airport. See the hotel section in our Airport Guide for locations, or visit Tripadvisor to find hotel deals at Houston Airport.
Houston Intercontinental Airport has several lounges; however, none have designated sleep rooms or rest areas. If you want to relax in a comfortable environment, check out this list of lounges in our Houston Airport Guide that you can pay to access.
Security & Safety
Generally, airport staff tolerate overnight sleepers as long as you’re not disruptive or sleeping in inappropriate areas.
We have no reports from travellers commenting on safety issues at Houston Intercontinental 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 alone or with friends, it is good to know where security is. Know where their office is located and look for video cameras where 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 only earphones and a laptop bag strap, but without the attached iPods or laptops. The same goes for important documents and money. Keep these secure on your body so no one can get them without waking you up.
- Secure Your Bags. You may want to padlock your bag to something if you are a deep sleeper. If your bags have zippers, turn the bag upside down (zippers to the floor) or sleep with your bag up against the wall, making it hard for someone to access it.
- Choose to Stay Alert. If you don’t feel safe, drink coffee, stay alert, and stay awake. You can always sleep on the plane!
Pro-tip: If you sleep 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 arrive for morning flights.
Houston Intercontinental Airport Photo Gallery
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