Sleeping in Airports

Sleeping in London Gatwick Airport

sleeping in london gatwick airportWhether 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 London Gatwick Airport.

Our guide is updated with the help of airport sleepers who tell us about their experiences at London Gatwick Airport. If you have a tip to share, write a review to help us keep this sleep guide up-to-date!

This guide was last updated: 28 June 2018. Read the latest traveller reviews.

Sleeping inside London Gatwick Airport

London Gatwick Airport is technically open 24-hours, but Security checkpoints do close for a few hours each evening. It seems if you arrive at night after they’ve closed, you can stay in the pre-Security areas until the checkpoints open in the morning around 3:00 AM.

Locations & Seating
gatwick streetview airport sleepers
Airport Sleepers are spotted napping on some comfortable seats located in the South Terminal (Airside). Photo source: Google Street View screenshot

There’s a decent amount of benches and seats, both before and inside Security, but they are frequently full thanks to the many travellers. Inside Security, the seating is more comfortable, with reports of padded, armrest-free benches and lounge chairs, some even with foot rests. These are good for a full lie-down if you get lucky enough to grab one. Some travellers prefer the South Terminal to the North Terminal, because it’s somewhat quieter, though it doesn’t seem that the seating and sleeping options are too different. We don’t have many reviews from travellers who opted to sleep on the floor, but it does seem that small corners and nooks offer some peace and quiet for those who leave behind the main public and gate areas. The bottom line – arrive early for a decent seat or sleeping both before or inside Security.

If you’re staying pre-Security in the North Terminal, travellers specifically recommend heading to the lower level near the coffee shop for some comfy seats.

Rest Zones

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

Temperature

At the time of this update, we have not received reports from travellers related to terminal temperature. Still, you can likely expect the airport to cool down at night, as air conditioning continues to run and fewer people are inside.  Arrive prepared with a blanket or even a sleeping bag. 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 related to terminal brightness.  Come prepared with eyeshades or something else to cover your eyes, such as a shirt or towel.

Noise

The airport is busy nearly 24-hours a day, so anticipate noise even during the night. Daytime sleepers should expect frequent announcements on the loudspeakers, news and music blaring rather loudly, and ambient noise from other travellers. At night, the level of noise will depend on your resting spot – the public areas near 24-hour eateries are definitely busier and louder than inside Security. The noise does pick up again around 4:00 AM. As a precaution, you should come prepared with earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones.

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.

Showers

Freshen up (and loosen those stiff muscles) with a shower before your flight. Location: inside the pay-to-enter Regus Express Business Lounge in the South Terminal. See our London Gatwick Airport Guide for details.

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:

  • North Terminal: Costa Coffee (Arrivals), Jamie’s Coffee (inside Security), M&S Simply Food grocery store (pre-Security), Pret a Manger (inside Security), Starbucks (inside Security), and the Nicholas Culpeper Pub & Dining (pre-Security).
  • South Terminal: Caffe Nero (pre-Security), Costa Coffee (Arrivals), M&S Simply Food grocery store (pre-Security), Pret a Manger (inside Security), and Starbucks (inside Security).
Security & Safety

Airport staff and security guards don’t seem to be bothered by sleepers, both during the day and at night. Travellers report feeling safe here, and some have even commented on particularly friendly staff. Depending on your overnight sleep spot, security guards may ask to see your ID and travel tickets.

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

London Gatwick Airport has several lounges, but none have designated sleep rooms or rest areas. If you just want to relax in a comfortable seat, check out this list of lounges in our London Gatwick Airport Guide that you can pay to access.

Hotels

Prefer some privacy and comfort? If you would like a good solid sleep between flights without the stress of leaving the airport, you can choose from two hotels. Bloc Gatwick is a budget hotel located inside the South Terminal, just before the Secure Departures area. YOTELAIR, also in the South Terminal, is another budget hotel that offers both day rooms and hourly rates. Both hotels are located in the pre-Security area, so you will need to re-enter Security for your next flight.

A few more hotels are located directly at Gatwick Airport, including a Hampton, a Hilton, a Premier Inn, and Sofitel. For information on these hotels, see our London Gatwick Airport Guide.

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Airport Sleep Guide