Sleeping in Airports

Sleeping in San Francisco Airport

sleeping in san francisco 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 San Francisco Airport.

Our guide is updated with the help of airport sleepers who tell us about their experiences at San Francisco 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: 1 August 2018. Read the latest traveller reviews.

Sleeping inside San Francisco Airport

Locations & Seating

Airport Sleep GuideThe seating varies across the 4 terminals, though the International Terminal may be the most comfortable. Inside Security, look around for new, modern furniture that is padded and comfy. Other seating includes leather loungers, but they are equipped with armrests. For more privacy, keep your eyes peeled for some hallways and corners, but be prepared to sleep on the floor – some of which is carpeted. A sleep mat, blanket, or sleeping bag will go far to provide some much-needed cushion.

Here are good sleep spots that travellers have reported:

  • In Terminal 2, head to the hallway towards Gates 50-60 or Gates 40-48, near the yoga room, for an area with some couches.
  • In Terminal 2, Gates 52-54 have some quiet corners for floor sleeping.
  • In Terminal 3, head to the food court at night and try moving furniture around for a makeshift bed.
  • Terminal 2, pre-Security, padded benches are located near Baggage Carousel 4 and big enough for 2 people to fit.
  • Terminal 3, pre-Security, has some couch-like benches. If that fails, try pushing furniture together for a makeshift bed with some privacy.
Rest Zones

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

Temperature

Expect chilly temperatures inside the airport, especially at night.  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

Daytime sleepers can expect the usual hum of airport activity: announcements and music blaring, travellers and workers passing by and chatting. At night, the airport quiets down a bit, but travellers have reported frequent overhead security announcements. Cleaning crews may be a bit noisy as they move through, but they don’t stick around for long. Come prepared with earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones if you’re serious about getting some rest.

Showers

Freshen up (and loosen those stiff muscles) with a shower before your flight. Shower facilities are located in Freshen’ Up (International Terminal) for $25, which includes 30-minute shower, towel, toiletry kit, and hairdryer. Two pay-to-enter lounges also offer shower facilities, if you’re flying Delta or American. See our San Francisco 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: Green Beans Coffee (Terminal 1, pre-Security) and Roasting Plant Coffee (International Terminal, inside Security).

Security & Safety

Airport staff are generally tolerate of airport sleepers. At night, they may wake you to check your ID and boarding pass.

At the time of this update, we have no reports from travellers commenting on safety issues at San Francisco Airport, though a couple travellers reported homeless folk wandering in the public areas of the terminals overnight. 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

While San Francisco 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 San Francisco Airport Guide that you can pay to access.

Hotels

Prefer some privacy and comfort of a hotel room? If you would like a good solid sleep between flights without the stress of going through security, Nap Rooms is located inside the airport. Nap Rooms offers 3 rooms, each equipped with a bed, but showers are an additional fee. Rent by the hour or overnight.

For a more traditional hotel stay, several more hotels are located within a quick 6-minute drive of the airport, and most offer free shuttle service. See our San Francisco Airport Guide for information on nearby hotels.

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