Sleeping in Airports

Sleeping in London Gatwick Airport

sleeping in london gatwick airport

If you’re dealing with a long layover or an early morning flight departure at London Gatwick Airport, you might be wondering if it is possible to sleep in the airport. Our guide to sleeping in London Gatwick 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 London Gatwick Airport

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

Locations & Seating

gatwick streetview airport sleepers
South Terminal, Airside. Photo source: Google Street View screenshot

There’s a decent amount of benches and seats, both landside and airside, but they are frequently full thanks to the many travellers. Airside, the seating is more comfortable, with reports of padded, armrest-free benches and lounge chairs, some even with footrests. 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 is to arrive early for a decent seat.

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

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Rest Zones

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

Hotels

gatwick airport hotelsPrefer some privacy and comfort? You can choose from two hotels for a good, solid sleep between flights without the stress of leaving the airport. Bloc Gatwick is a budget hotel in the South Terminal, just before the Secure Departures area. YOTELAIR, also in the South Terminal, is another budget hotel offering both day and hourly rates. Both hotels are accessible from the landside area, so you must re-enter security for your next flight.

A few more hotels from familiar brands are located directly at Gatwick Airport, including a Hampton, a Hilton, a Premier Inn, and Sofitel. See the hotel section in our Airport Guide for locations, or visit Tripadvisor to find hotel deals at Gatwick Airport.

Lounges

gatwick airport loungesLondon Gatwick Airport has several lounges, but none have designated sleep rooms or rest areas. If you only want to relax in a comfortable seat for a few hours before your flight, check out this list of lounges in our London Gatwick Airport Guide that you can pay to access.

More Airport Services & Facilities

For information about drinking water, 24-hour food & drink options, luggage storage, showers, mobile charging and WiFi, visit our Gatwick Airport Guide.

Airport Conditions

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

  • Temperature – At the time of this update, we have not received reports from travellers about terminal temperature. Still, you can expect the terminal to cool down at night as the 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 at 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 noise level will depend on your resting spot – the public areas near 24-hour eateries are busier and louder than airside. The noise does pick up again around 4:00 AM. As a precaution, you should come prepared with earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones.

Security & Safety

Airport staff and security guards don’t seem to be bothered by sleepers, both day and night. Travellers report feeling safe here; some have even commented on particularly friendly staff. Security guards may ask to see your ID and travel tickets, depending on where you set up camp for the night.

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 located 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.

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Airport Photo Gallery

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