Sleeping in Airports

Best Airports of 2014

Best & Worst Airports of 2014

Date: October 15, 2014

For 18 years, travellers at have been rating airports for not only their “sleep-ability” factor, but also the services, amenities and features offered to layover passengers.

Our annual survey asks travellers to consider the four C’s of airport travel: comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.

  • Comfort encompasses the availability of plush chairs, armrest free areas, quiet zones, reclining options, etc.;
  • Conveniences include free Wi-Fi, 24-hour food options, showers, pay lounges and other things to do at the airport while awaiting a flight;
  • Cleanliness centers around clean floors, maintained bathrooms and tidy food courts;
  • Customer Service means smiling faces and friendly attitudes, along with considerate and helpful workers (who offer up blankets and pillows to stranded passengers).

Whether you plan to sleep your time away in an airport – or are simply looking for ways to pass a couple of hours on a layover – we hope our Best & Worst Airports lists help you plan which airports to use and which airports to avoid altogether!

Once you are done here, be sure to check out our regional airport ratings, which are based on travellers overall airport experience. And, of course, a Best Airports list is hardly complete without an accompanying Worst Airports list, so check that out too.

Regional Finalists

The 10 airports on our Best Airports list below stood out with travellers as being the most sleep-friendly. You’ll find these in the order of their “sleep-ability” rating or the ZZZ Factor, as we call it.

1. Singapore Changi International Airport, Singapore (SIN)

Singapore Airport

I love the amount of sleep lounges available in the different terminals for me to catch a quick nap before my next flight. – a traveller

For the EIGHTEENTH year in a row, Singapore Changi has been voted the best airport not just in Asia – but in the WORLD! Travellers praised the airport for its overall soothing ambiance, its intuitive layout and friendly staff. The sheer volume of activities and amenities left some transit travellers wondering if they has just landed at a shopping mall or resort rather than an airport. With its themed gardens, cultural activities, world-class shopping, spas, swimming pool, gym, lounges, 4-story slide, movie theatres, TV lounges, and free Singapore city tour, a layover here is not likely to be boring. Travellers can enjoy free Wi-Fi and recharge all their gadgets at one of over 800 mobile charging points. In July, the airport opened the Wellness Oasis spa in Terminal 1. The unique feature here is the fish spa that exfoliates your feet and legs.

The ZZZ Factor: Travellers most appreciate the dedicated rest & relaxation zones. There are currently 6 areas set up with reclining lounge style seating. Often busy and sometimes noisy, these areas are appreciated by those travellers who don’t like to stretch out on the armrest free seats at the gate. See also Best Airports in Asia 2014.

2. Seoul Incheon International Airport, South Korea (ICN)

Seoul Incheon Airport

If Incheon Airport provides blankets for travelers who stay overnight, it will be heaven in the world. – a traveller

Seoul Incheon Airport is a favourite as a result of its impeccable cleanliness, its superior customer service, and the volume of comfortable sitting and nap locations. Amenity-wise, the terminals truly are going above and beyond. You will find find indoor gardens, a spa and small shopping extravaganzas located throughout. Unique features here include the Korean Cultural Street – complete with local cuisine and dance performances – and the indoor ice rink. Unlimited free Wi-Fi, showers and uber-luxurious private lounges further delight those who spend multiple hours here. It almost gets to the point where you’d think the airport wants you to stay forever – but then, you realize they also run free guided city tours for transit passengers as well. They really do it all!

The ZZZ Factor:The airport offers a few dedicated rest zones that feature large padded recliners. There are also rows and rows of wonderful armrest free seating near the gates. See also Best Airports in Asia 2014.[notice]

3. Helsinki International Airport, Finland (HEL)

Helsinki Airport

Choosing Helsinki and Finnair was the best possible decision. I came into airside at 10 pm, and spent very comfortable and easy night for free. – FighterMan

The innovative and transit-friendly Helsinki International Airport excels in terms of comfort, convenience, cleanliness and customer service. Favourite unique features here include the book exchange, relaxation areas, electronic passport kiosks (that virtually eliminate lines), art gallery and, perhaps most importantly, the ergonomic and publicly accessible Kainuu lounge. What really set Helsinki apart this year was the TravelLab series – an airport-led initiative designed to improve the travel experience. Last winter and spring, the airport collected feedback from travellers as to services they’d like to see offered. They then piloted the best ideas over the course of the summer. Highlights included free yoga and pilates classes, pop-up Finnish restaurants and a ‘selfie-wall’ that featured famous national landmarks.

[notice type="zzz-factor"]The ZZZ Factor: Early in the voting period the airport opened a rest & relaxation zone for a 3 month trial period. The fantastic space featured beds, sleep pods and easy chairs. We’re not sure what became of the project, but even without it the airport continues to offer comfortable recliners, a special rest lounge with ergonomic seating and soft carpets, as well as ample arm-rest free seating near the gates. See also Best Airports in Europe 2014.

4. Munich International Airport, Germany (MUC)

Munich Airport

I sat in the lounge chairs for about two hours reading, listening to music and surfing the internet (thanks to the 24 free Wi-Fi), then at midnight I moved to my gate where I found benches without armrests, so great to lay down and sleep – Dreamliner

It perhaps comes as no surprise that Germany’s Munich International Airport is well reviewed for its efficiency and ease of navigation. The airport offers up a number of entertaining activities for transit passengers, which range from tours of the airport brewery to mini golf to the Fit & Fly Spa. This year, they even had a temporary in-airport stationary surf station, complete with a grand stand and an artificial palm-fringed beach! Extravagances aside, what really delighted voters this year were the relaxation zones and sleep pods in Terminal 2.

The ZZZ Factor: Munich offers travellers armrest-free seating and quiet rest areas with reclining seats. If you prefer more privacy (and don’t mind paying), there are sleep cabins near the rest areas that you can rent for a few hours. See also Best Airports in Europe 2014.

5. Vancouver International Airport, Canada (YVR)

Vancouver Airport

I can’t say that I’ve been all over the world, but I can promise you YVR will be one of the best airports you could chose to sleep in.
– drvannostren

Beautiful, comfortable, clean and friendly – we’re not surprised to see Vancouver as the top-voted airport in North America again this year. Art exhibits, an aquarium, self-guided tours, great food options, rest zones, and ample aboriginal cultural influences make this airport an interesting airport to be stuck for awhile. Couple that with a few pay lounges complete with resting rooms and showers, and a spa and gym at the adjoining Fairmont Hotel, and you’re looking at a pretty comfortable layover! What more – luggage storage and a super-convenient public transit system make the heart of Vancouver accessible to travellers with extensive layovers.

The ZZZ Factor: While your best sleep will probably be on the armrest free seating found at the gates, the airport has recently installed several new seating options including seats with footrests, a number of new TV lounges and padded couch blocks that can be moved around and pieced together as required. See also Best Airports in North America 2014.

6. Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia (KUL)

The new sleeping chairs are awesome. Definitely safe and with basic amenities. Best of all, free showers on 4th floor! – a traveller

Kuala Lumpur amazes visitors by having transplanted a chunk of Malaysian rainforest into the terminal itself. Wooden walkways and the canopy-level mezzanine floor allow guests to tour all tiers of the forest while learning about the rich terrestrial eco-system in Malaysia. While some voters lament that KUL isn’t quite as futuristic as Incheon or Changi, Kuala Lumpur still provides excellent versions of the airport-essentials. This includes long benches, reclining chairs, showers and free Wi-Fi – among other things. Plus, we kind of like that this airport has opted for a tropical theme rather than a science fiction theme. This year the airport opened the long-awaited KLIA2 to favourable reviews.

The ZZZ Factor: In addition to the nice long benches, the airport has installed seats with footrests in a new rest and relaxation zone. See also Best Airports in Asia 2014.

7. Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong (HKG)

Hong Kong Airport

Very comfortable lounge chairs between Gate 60 and Food Court behind DFS Watches store. Hidden and quiet away from traffic. – a traveller

Hong Kong Airport’s show stopping extravagance is that it is home to the country’s largest IMAX theatre! It also boasts a series of miniature gardens, a cockpit simulator, free Wi-Fi, lounges with sleep rooms, a couple of spas and a sprinkling of showers. Restaurants are plentiful and always open – and the shopping too is quite good. Travellers also appreciate that the architecture consistently keeps the place feeling airy, light and spacious.The terminals are easy to navigate, kept consistently clean, and are filled with delightfully friendly and supportive staff. Best of all, this airport reportedly keeps prices reasonable – for Hong Kong.

The ZZZ Factor: Hong Kong offers armrest-free seating and rest loungers. If you are in transit and need to rest, look for the lounge chairs hidden behind shrubbery. See also Best Airports in Asia 2014.

8. Tokyo Haneda International Airport, Japan (HND)

It’s got lots of shops, restaurants and a fantastic observation deck! It’s super clean and there are security guards and lots of other people sleeping, feels very safe. – nilamps

Two airports service Tokyo, Japan and Haneda’s distinct advantage is its location relative to the city center. While neighbouring Narita takes 2+ hours to reach, HND is a quick 45-minutes away. Couple that with its reputation for being clean, easy to navigate and efficient and you can begin to understand why voters were impressed. Amenity-wise, travellers appreciate the free Wi-Fi, showers, luggage storage, but there is little else to do in between flights. If you prefer more comfortable (and private) facilities, there are pay lounges, a transit hotel in the International Terminal and hotels connected to the domestic terminals.

The ZZZ Factor: While Tokyo Haneda offers plenty of padded benches and armrest free seating possibilities near the gates. See also Best Airports in Asia 2014.

9. Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport, Netherlands (AMS)

Amsterdam Airport

With all the fancy seats taken, I made do with a bench-seat in the upper-level food court. – JustOneCarryOn

Travellers praise the airport for being an efficient, comfortable and friendly place. Early voters would in fact go so far as to write they “could move in here” and they “like everything about AMS” – but more recent voters were less delighted. It seems that AMS is currently undergoing a renovation, which has significantly reduced the rest zone seating and comfort. The airport is temporarily a little less sleepable – and we’re not sure how long this will last for. For transit passengers wishing stay active, a number of the terminal’s famed activities and amenities are still available and accessible. This includes unlimited free Wi-Fi, (fewer) rest zones, sleep pods, a casino, a library and the extension of the city’s famous Rijks Museum. We hope that with the end of the construction period, the airport will return to its usually sensational self – so stay tuned!

The ZZZ Factor: According to recent reviewers the rest zones appear to be under renovation, so be forewarned that there will be fewer rest seats until everything is back to normal. (We’ll update this as soon as we receive news). The airport also offers a few TV lounges with funky seats and a variety of seat options near the gates. See also Best Airports in Europe 2014.

10. Zurich International Airport, Switzerland (ZRH)

Zurich Airport

Sleeping on the seats was obviously not as comfortable as sleeping in a bed. But for seats, I had quite a good nights sleep. – Khai13

Zurich Airport offers swift, easy connections and clean facilities. Additionally travellers find unique amenities that create a “soothing atmosphere”. Voters appreciate the plethora of armrest-free chairs, and the family centers that are fully equipped with baby beds and parent beds. By contrast, the non-weary travellers on a layover can burn off some steam by renting some sporting equipment (bikes, walking poles, inline skates) and taking a spin outside. The only real downside to ZRH is that prices in the airport are high. Once you exhaust your hour of free Wi-Fi, prepare your wallet for a small amount of damage.

The ZZZ Factor: If you are in transit and bench sleeping is not for you, the airport has rest zones and day rooms. See also Best Airports in Europe 2014.