Sleeping in Airports

Sleeping in London Heathrow Airport

sleeping in london heathrow airportWhether 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 London Heathrow Airport.

Our guide is updated with the help of airport sleepers who tell us about their experiences at London Heathrow 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: 2 September 2019. Read the latest traveller reviews.

Sleeping inside London Heathrow Airport

The London Heathrow Airport is open 24-hours, but depending on your arrival time during the night and your specific terminal, the protocol may vary. For instance, in Terminal 3, it seems that airport security staff will relocate all overnight sleepers to one designated area until around 4:00 AM.  If you do end up at a terminal that you are not departing from, be sure to check the inter-terminal bus departure start times so that you get to the right terminal in time for check-in.

Locations & Seating
London Heathrow Airport bus station connector
Central Bus station (Photo courtesy of a Guest Reviewer / 02Dec2017)

In general, there’s a good amount of seating available, though the quality and locations vary in each of the 4 terminals. Expect to find both metal chairs with armrests and various benches with and without armrests or padding. If you’re arriving to spend the night, you may have to stay in the pre-Secure, public zones until Security checkpoints open in the early morning. A recent review mentioned that overnight stays are permitted Airside in Terminal 3 only. Travellers prepared to sleep on the floor, perhaps with a blanket, sleep mat, or even sleeping bag, are able to find dimmer corners and don’t seem to get any flack from airport staff.  [ update ]

Here are good sleep spots that travellers have reported:

  • Terminal 2, a relatively secluded quiet zone can be found when walking to gates B31-B49 from A gates. Make sure to not get on the escalator and take the lift down or you might miss it.
  • Terminal 3, above Departures and near the Pret a Manger are some padded, armrest-free benches and plenty of power outlets.
  • Pre-Security in Terminal 4, you may be able to hang out in the 24-hour cafe for a long time, as long as you buy something.
  • Terminal 5, the floor above Departures has some armrest-free benches near the G area.
  • Pre-Security, the Central bus station connected to Terminals 1, 2 and 3 and the train by the underground tunnel connector.
Rest Zones

London Heathrow Airport offers designated rest zones, equipped with lounge chairs perfect for tired travellers needing to relax. Located throughout the terminals. A rest zone in Terminal 3, Gates 24-25 also has couches, snack machines, and more.  [ update ]

Temperature

At the time of this update, we have not received reports from travellers related to terminal temperature. Still, 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.   [ update ]

Lighting
London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 Quiet Area
(Photo courtesy of mytie5 / 21Mar2016)

Expect the lights to stay on and brightly lit all night, especially if you’re staying in a designated overnight sleeping zone.  Come prepared with eyeshades or something else to cover your eyes, such as a shirt or towel.  [ update ]

Noise

This is a busy airport, so anticipate some noise no matter the hour. Daytime sleepers can expect to hear frequent announcements plus TVs and music playing. At night, a lot of the flight traffic calms down and little to no announcements play, so it does get quieter. Still, depending on your location, you may hear nearby travellers chatting and occasional cleaning crews. Luckily, it’s nothing that earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones can’t solve!  [ update ]

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. Shower facilities are located inside several pay-to-enter lounges, including:

  • Terminal 2: two Plaza Premium Lounges and the United Club
  • Terminal 3: Club Aspire, the No. 1 Heathrow Lounge, Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge and the Regus Express Lounge
  • Terminal 4: two Plaza Premium Lounges, the SkyTeam Lounge and The House Lounge
  • Terminal 5: The Aspire Lounge & Spa in T5.

See our London Heathrow Airport Guide for locations and details.  [ update ]

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: Costa Coffee, in Terminals 2 and 5, and Caffe Nero in Terminal 4. All vendors are located in the pre-Security, public zones.  [ update ]

Security & Safety

Airport staff and security are generally tolerant of travellers sleeping in the airport, as long as you follow any protocol they may have.

Travellers seem to feel quite safe here, particularly overnight. Security guards seem to be pretty visible, often checking travellers’ IDs and tickets if they’re staying in a pre-Secure area for an early-morning flight. They may wake you up to check, but it seems that most travellers appreciate this, as it keeps non-travellers out of the terminals.

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

If you are looking for a private place to nap for a few hours in between flights, you can choose from several of the many airport lounges. In addition to offering a comfortable place to hang out, several lounges offer nap rooms, including a few locales of the Plaza Premium Lounge, and the Club Aspire Lounge and the No. 1 Heathrow Lounge, both in Terminal 3. Rooms can be booked at the lounge door or sometimes pre-booked online. For details and locations on lounges, check out our London Heathrow Airport Guide.  [ update ]

Hotel

If you’re craving the privacy and comfort of a hotel room, you’ve got some options right at the airport. YOTELAIR in Terminal 4 rents day rooms and overnight rooms, for anywhere from 4-24 hours. This hotel is located in the public, pre-Secure zone, so you will have to re-enter Security for your next flight.

For something more traditional, a Sofitel is connected to Terminal 5 via covered walkway, offering free shuttle service and day rooms. A Hilton is directly connected to Terminal 4, too.

See our London Heathrow Airport Guide for information on these and other nearby hotels.  [ update ]

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Airport Sleep Guide