Sleeping in Airports

Sleeping in Houston Intercontinental Airport

Houston Airport Terminal B
Terminal B, Airside (Photo courtesy of Priscilla / 25May2013)

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 Intercontinental 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!

This guide was last updated: 02 October 2019. Click here to read the latest traveller reviews.

Sleeping inside Houston Intercontinental Airport Overnight

Airport Sleep GuideThe 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, it seems that if you’re already inside the terminal before closing time or you have a ticket for an early-morning departure, you are allowed to remain inside. Be safe by having a backup plan ready!

Locations & Seating

The seating in this busy airport is disappointingly limited. If you are able to 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 probably seeking out a quieter corner or nook and lying down on the floor for some shuteye. Travellers recommend Terminal D the most often, as its often unused at night, so it’s much quieter. Terminal C is likely the next-best option. Bring along an extra layer or two 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.

  • 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.
  • Gate D5 is often quiet because it’s typically used for evening international departures.
  • Gate E24 has a side nook that is reportedly quieter than other areas at night, plus its carpeted.

In Terminal C:

  • Pre-Security, Terminal C’s baggage claim area is reportedly fairly 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 through the airport at your own risk. Many travellers report that airport staff don’t allow people to sleep in these locales. [ update ]

Rest Zones

At the time of this update, there are no designated rest zones within the airport.  [ update ]

Temperature

Travellers report chilly temperatures, during the day and 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.  [ update ]

Lighting

At the time of this update, we have not received reports from travellers related to terminal brightness.  Come prepared with eyeshades or something else to cover your eyes, such as a shirt or towel.  [ update ]

Noise

Noise is definitely 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 loudly 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 a hard time sleeping much past 4:00 AM  [ update ]

Weather Delays

Airport Sleep GuideWhen 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 who has access to this information. Importantly, you cannot reserve these cots in advance, and the cots are only available for travellers who are stranded at the airport because of cancelled flights, not because you’ve simply chosen to stay for the night.  [ update ]

Showers

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-enter Centurion Lounge in Terminal D. Unfortunately, there are no other showers available. See our Houston Intercontinental Airport Guide for details.  [ update ]

Food & Drink

A Texas Monthly News shop which sells limited drinks and snacks is the only airport food option which is open 24 hours. Plan ahead. Location: in the Food Court, near Gates A17-A30.  [ update ]

Security & Safety

In general, 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 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. If you are sleeping in the public zone, make sure they are actual travellers and not homeless people – it is sometimes hard to tell in certain airports.
  • 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.

Lounges

Houston Intercontinental Airport has several lounges, however none have designated sleep rooms or rest areas. If you just want to relax in a comfortable environment, check out this list of lounges in our Houston Intercontinental Airport Guide that you can pay to access.  [ update ]

Hotels

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 service and free shuttle service are both available to reach the Houston Airport Marriott at George Bush Intercontinental, but you will have to re-enter through Security for your next flight.

Several other hotels are located within a 6-minute drive of the airport. See our Houston Intercontinental Airport Guide for details.  [ update ]

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