Whether 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 Newark Airport.
Our guide is updated with the help of airport sleepers who tell us about their experiences at Newark Airport. If you have a tip to share, write a review to help us keep this sleep guide up-to-date!
Sleeping in Newark Airport Overnight
The airport does not allows travellers inside the Secure zones overnight and will move anyone to the terminal’s public, pre-Security areas until Security checkpoints open in the early morning, around 4:00 AM.
Locations & Seating
The amount of seating is OK, but most seats are bolted to the floor and equipped with armrests. If you’re looking to spread out, you’ll have to prop yourself between nearby seats or spread out on the cold floor. Extra layers or a sleep mat will provide necessary comfort, whether you grab a seat or opt for the floor. In general, Terminal B seems to be the most comfortable, particularly inside Security. Some travellers point out that the food court in Terminal A has a few padded benches.
There are no designated rest zones within the airport.
Expect cold temperatures – many reviewers describe the terminals as “freezing”. Arrive prepared with a blanket or even a sleeping bag. A hoodie and gloves provides extra warmth if the terminal gets even colder.
Lights stay on around the clock in the pre-Security area, which is where all overnight travellers must congregate. Come prepared with eyeshades or something else to cover your eyes, such as a shirt or towel.
Daytime sleepers can expect to hear frequent announcements regarding things like boarding calls and general airport announcements (safety warnings, passenger pages, etc). At night when there are no more flights, you would think the announcements would be put to rest, but that is not always the case. As a precaution, you should come prepared with earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones.
Newark Airport sees more than its fair share of flight cancellations due to bad weather (summer thunderstorms and winter snow), but this means they are more prepared than other airports. When mass cancellations happen at Newark Airport, cots are available for stranded passengers who opt against getting a hotel room. To find them, ask an airline or airport employee (look for the red coats) or use a courtesy phone to reach someone who has access to this information.
Please note that these cots cannot be reserved in advance and they are not available except for mass cancellations. That means you cannot access them simply because you chose to stay the night in the airport instead of getting a hotel room.
Freshen up (and loosen those stiff muscles) with a shower before your flight. Shower facilities are available if you are flying with United and pay for entrance at the United Club in Terminal C, between Gates C102 and C120. Entry details are available in our Newark Airport Guide.
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: Subway, in the pre-Secure area of terminal B, and Dunkin’ Donuts, in Terminal C.
Prefer the privacy and comfort of a hotel room? If you would like a good solid sleep you’ll have to head to a nearby hotel. The Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott is located on airport grounds, and several other hotels, located within a 5-minute drive, offer free shuttle service. See the hotel section in our Airport Guide for locations or visit Tripadvisor to find hotels deals at Newark Airport.
While Newark Airport has several lounges, 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 Newark Airport Guide that you can pay to access.
Security & Safety
Airport staff don’t seem to mind overnight campers, but they will relocate anyone who’s inside Security to the pre-Secure, public zones of the airport until about 4:00 AM, when Security checkpoints open. Note: a traveller (April 2019) reported sleeping Airside in Terminal C from 11:00PM – 6:00AM with no issues from security. Please write a review to help future travellers.
At the time of this update, no recent traveller reviews mention any safety issues at Newark Airport. Older reviews included a couple references to a few homeless people in the pre-Security areas. 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 alone or with friends, it is good to know where security is. Know where their office is located and look for video cameras where 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 or close to security.
- Hide Your Valuables. Don’t leave all your mobile devices out in plain view. We have received reports from people who woke up with only earphones and a laptop bag strap, but without the iPods or laptops that were attached. The same goes for important documents and money. Keep these secure on your body so 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 it.
- Choose to Stay Alert. If you don’t feel safe, drink coffee, stay alert, and stay awake. 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.
Newark Airport Photo Gallery
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