Sleeping in Airports

Sleeping in Houston Airport

sleeping in houston airport
Terminal B (photo courtesy of Priscilla / May 2013)

If you’re dealing with a long layover or an early morning flight departure at Houston Airport, you might wonder if sleeping in the airport is possible. Our guide to sleeping in Houston airport provides essential information for seasoned airport sleepers and newbies to help travellers arrive prepared for the experience.

We keep this guide up-to-date with the help of airport sleepers who have generously shared their experiences and airport reviews. If you have any tips or photos to contribute, please take a moment to write a review. Your feedback will help us stay informed about the latest advice for future sleepy travellers.

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 will likely have 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 relatively 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.

Would you have a good location, airport tip or photos to add? Click here for our review form.

Rest Zones

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

Airport Conditions

If you plan to spend the night at the airport, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Temperature – 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. 
  • Lighting – 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 – Noise is 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 past 4:00 AM.

Flight Delays & Cancellations

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.

Food & Drink

A Texas Monthly News shop selling drinks and snacks is the only airport food option open 24 hours a day. Location: in the Food Court, near Gates A17-A30.

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-use Centurion Lounge in Terminal D. Unfortunately, no other showers are available. See our Houston Intercontinental Airport Guide for details.

Hotels

Houston airport hotelsWould you prefer some privacy and comfort? A hotel is connected to all terminals if you want a good, solid sleep without straying far from the airport. 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.  Here are a few:

For more options, visit Tripadvisor to find hotel deals at Houston Airport.

Lounges

Houston airport loungesHouston 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. However, sleeping in any airport can include a certain level of risk, especially when travelling alone. It’s important to take certain precautions to ensure your safety and the security of your valuables. Here are a few tips:

  • Safety First. It’s a good idea to know where the security office is and look for video cameras where you plan to sleep. You can also ask the security personnel for advice on the safest places to spend the night.
  • Don’t Seclude Yourself. If you’re travelling alone, we recommend you stay near other travellers or close to security. This will help you feel more secure and deter potential thieves.
  • Hide Your Valuables. It’s also important to hide your valuables. Don’t leave them out in plain view, as this could make you a target for theft. Additionally, if you are a deep sleeper, you may want to padlock your bag to something or sleep with your bag up against a wall to make it harder for someone to access zippers and pockets. We have received reports of sleepers who woke up without their phones and laptop bags. The travellers were left with just their headphones and laptop bag strap.
  • Stay Alert. It’s best to stay alert and awake if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages to help you stay awake, and remember that you can always catch up on sleep during your flight. These simple precautions can help you enjoy a safe night at the airport.

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.

Write a Review

To help us keep this page up-to-date for future airport sleepers, write a review about your experience sleeping in Houston Intercontinental Airport.

Airport Photo Gallery

Thank you to the airport sleepers who have written reviews and shared their airport photos to help future travellers. Click here to add your airport photos.