Sleeping in Airports

Sleeping in London Stansted Airport

sleeping in london stansted 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 Stansted Airport.

Our guide is updated with the help of airport sleepers who tell us about their experiences at London Stansted 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: 3 September 2019. Read the latest traveller reviews.

Sleeping inside London Stansted Airport Overnight

London Stansted Airport closes periodically from 12:00 AM (midnight) until 2:00 AM. This recent change means the airport no longer allows sleeping in the airport overnight, and it seems they are clamping down on in-airport nappers. The airport recommends arriving no sooner than your flight’s scheduled check-in time.

Locations & Seating
London Stansted Airport
(Photo courtesy of a Guest Traveller 03May2018)

Unfortunately, this airport is none too sleep-friendly, even if you’re looking to sleep during daytime hours. There’s not enough seating for the many travellers, and what exists is mostly equipped with armrests. (The seating may even have signs warning no feet on seats.) Sleeping on the floor is reportedly not allowed, so staff will likely wake anyone sprawled on the floor. Restaurants and cafes no longer seem to allow travellers to use their chairs or benches for resting. Inside Security is a bit more comfortable, with more shops and restaurants, but you may not be able to clear into this area until much closer to your flight.

Rest Zones

At the time of this update, there are no 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
London Stansted Airport
(Photo courtesy of a Guest Reviewer 25Oct2018)

We have received only a couple recent reviews mentioning bright lights. Eyeshades or something to cover your eyes, like a shirt or towel, are often useful. However, with recent clampdowns on airport sleepers, wearing an eyeshade may make you stick out to airport staff.

Noise

Daytime travellers can expect to hear frequent announcements and the din of other travellers. At night, the airport quiets down a bit as restaurants close and flights pause for a few hours. The airport may close in the middle of the night, but it seems Security checkpoints open around 3:00 AM, so do expect the noise factor to pick back up then. As a precaution, 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.

Cleaning Crew

Several travellers have reported needing to relocate – sometimes more than once – as cleaning crews circulate in the middle of the night. With the airport’s recent policy trying to prevent airport sleepers, you may not experience this.

Showers

Unfortunately, there are no showers available to freshen up.

Food & Drink

The airport has traditionally had a few 24-hour eateries, including Costa Coffee, Harris + Hoole, Pret a Manger, and Starbucks. With the recent announcement of the airport’s periodic overnight closures, it is unclear whether these eateries are still open 24-hours. Bring extra snacks and water to be safe.

Security & Safety

Airport staff seem to be much less tolerant of overnight sleepers – or even daytime sleepers – than they used to be. Recent travellers have reported airport staff waking them up because sleeping in the airport, particularly overnight, is something the airport is trying to prevent.

Still, it seems that travellers generally feel safe at the airport. As a precaution, here are a few tips to ensure you have a safe airport 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!

Lounges

While London Stansted Airport does have an airport lounge, it does not have designated sleep rooms or rest areas. If you just want to relax in a comfortable environment, check out our London Stansted Airport Guide for details.

Hotels

Rather spring for the privacy and comfort that a hotel room offers? You’ll have to leave the airport behind, but two hotels are located within a 2-minute walk of the airport: the Hampton by Hilton and Radisson Blu Hotel London Stansted Airport are both connected to the terminal via walkway, and the Radisson Blu offers day rooms.

Other hotels are located within a 5-minute drive of the airport. See our London Stansted Airport Guide for information on nearby hotels.

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