Date: October 17, 2015
Sleeping in airports is no easy feat, and the terminals that top this list are the ones that make it decidedly more difficult than it needs to be. Things like liberal uses of armrests, particularly intense air conditioning and staff determined to evict the sleepers annoy the weary traveller and inhibit their rest. The following ten terminals were deemed most un-sleepable by voters stuck with delays or early morning departures.
Here are the Top 10 Worst Airports for Sleeping based on the “sleepability” scores given by voters in our 2015 Airport Survey:
1. Reykjavik-Keflavik International Airport, Iceland (KEF)
No sooner had a got into a relatively comfortable sleep when I was kicked (yes actually kicked) by a security guard on a power trip telling myself and fellow travellers to get up and stop sleeping. – a traveller
As an airport, Keflavik Airport is relatively unassuming and offers an average traveller experience. However, when talking about the ZZZ-factor, voters sang a different tune. Located 45 minutes from Reykjavik, many decided to sleep here in anticipation of early morning departures. Initial complaints revolved around the comfort of the prospective sleeping sites. Then, with a spot secured and eyes closed tight, sleepers reported being rudely awakened by security guards demanding they stay awake as the airport was “not a hotel”. That said, some travellers suggest your night’s sleep may depend more on the security guards on duty than anything else. Pass through to the secure section as soon as you are permitted and you will find bean bag-ish type chairs near the gates. Visit our Keflavik Airport Guide for more information.
2. Paris Beauvais-Tille International Airport outside Paris, France (BVA)
Some tired people sit on the floor, like dogs. – a traveller
Paris Beauvais Airport is technically closed overnight, meaning airport sleeping overnight is not just difficult – it is impossible. However, given that the terminal is located a slow 88 kilometers outside of the capital, delays and cancellations often leave travellers stuck sitting outside the terminal or in the quiet town of Beauvais. If you’re a passenger hoping to get some shuteye during daytime hours, be sure to bring your own comforts. The terminals are short on chairs, and those that do exist are only a small step up from the cold and dirty concrete floor. Visit our Beauvais Airport Guide for more information. See also Worst Airports in Europe.
3. Bergamo Orio al Serio International Airport, Italy (BGY)
There are benches, but you have to be lucky to get a seat. You can sleep on the floor, but be careful, because it’s very dirty so bring a blanket or something. – a traveller
Half of Bergamo Airport closes from 11pm to 6am, leaving sleep-seeking passengers squashed in a small uncomfortable section of the airport near the arrivals gate. Within this section, the available seating is limited to a few metal benches that are snatched up quickly by other overnighters. There are essentially no amenities or services within this section, and multiple voters mentioned that there is one plug available at best. All said, the terminal is located 50 kilometers away from Milan with no public transit options available, meaning that sleeping at BGY is a cost-effective but uncomfortable decision for early morning departures. Visit our Bergamo Airport Guide for more information. See also Worst Airports in Europe.
4. London Luton International Airport, England (LTN)
I woke up couple times to сhange position because my legs became numb – a traveller
Given that London Luton predominantly serves low cost carrier airlines, it is a terminal popular with airport sleepers. However, its popularity has little to do with the comfort offered. Keen overnighters will snatch up the few sleep-able benches, leaving the rest to lay on the cold and uncomfortable floor. Lights are kept on overnight here, as are 15-minute interval announcements, making the sleep process even more difficult. Visit our London Luton Airport Guide for more information. See also Worst Airports in Europe.
5. Christchurch International Airport, New Zealand (CHC)
The security guys keep on checking if somebody is sleeping on the seats, they keep on forcing you to change seats to one closer to the door, where air condition is on. – a traveller
Prospective sleepers at Christchurch international should know that this airport has a strict policy on airport sleeping. To sleep here, you must show proof that you arrived after 10:30pm and will depart by 8am. If you can prove this, you will be allowed to sleep in the Air Lounge for $5, or you can sit – but not lay – in a chair overnight. The airport is serious about this rule, posting links to it on the airport homepage and enforcing it thoroughly, so be prepared! Visit our Christchurch Airport Guide for more information. See also Best Airports in the South Pacific.
6. New York City LaGuardia Airport, USA (LGA)
After spending the night in La Guardia, I think I would rather sleep on the streets of Soviet Eastern Europe than stay here. – a traveller
Given La Guardia’s consistent standing as the worst airport in North America, few travellers intentionally plan to sleep here. Rather, our voters in this category most often found themselves stranded here overnight as a result of a weather delay. In spite of the frequency of New York flight-delaying winter storms, LGA does not provide cots to the stranded like some other US airports do. From time to time, you may be tossed a pillow and a blanket to help protect yourself from an otherwise cold, noisy, unclean and armrest-heavy terminal, but that is not consistent. Travellers should also note that if you are planning to sleep here to catch an early morning flight, you will be evicted to the pre-security section, where you may find yourself bunking next to members of the local homeless population. Visit our New York City LaGuardia Airport Guide for more information. See also Worst Airports in North America.
7. Brussels Charleroi Airport, Belgium (CRL)
If you are sleeping in front of the bar, be prepared for the noisest moments of the night: cleaning staff will start moving tables, chairs and they are not doing this kindly. – a traveller
As an airport that caters to budget airlines, it’s not surprising that the terminals of Brussels Charleroi Airport attracts a number of individuals overnight who have early morning departures. However, that doesn’t mean it’s anything close to comfortable. Sleepers are treated to a series of cold metal seats with plenty of armrests – meaning you’ll want to come with your own form of cushioning. Once you manage to snuggle in, you should also brace yourself for the noise that radiates from cleaning machines and the restaurants. Coupled with the bright lights, CRL does little in terms of providing a restful atmosphere. That said, a few voters mentioned that the community of people who end up sleeping there at night are a fairly interesting and entertaining bunch – a small consolation prize. Visit our Brussels Charleroi Airport Guide for more information. See also Worst Airports in Europe.
8. Rome Leonardo da Vinci – Fiumicino International Airport, Italy (FCO)
By mid night all overnight sleepers have to wake up and move to same terminal for the rest of the night, where places are already taken with merely no seats left. – a traveller
If you’re planning to sleep in Rome Fiumicino Airport because you have an early morning flight, be sure to pass through security. Airside, life is made infinitely more comfortable – and thus sleepable — with the presence of leather chairs near Restaurante Gusto and reclining chairs near the G Gates in Terminal 3 and the B Gates in Terminal 1. Travellers who made it here had much better things to say about sleeping at FCO than those who opted for the utterly uncomfortable landside area. Before security, you’re corralled into a small section of the terminal with limited seating that is almost entirely divided with armrests. The floor is virtually the only space you can spread out, and you may find yourself in close quarters with local homeless people. Visit our Rome Fiumicino Airport Guide for more information.
9. Sydney International Airport, Australia (SYD)
Forced to sleep after hours near the entrance to the train station and locked in like prisoners until the next morning. Constant boarding pass/passport checking in ‘sleeping’ area. – a traveller
If you are thinking about sleeping at Sydney Airport, be forewarned the domestic terminal closes between midnight and 3 am. If you hold an international ticket, you will be able to sleep squashed into a small area of the International Terminal near the train station. Said to be cold, bright and particularly uncomfortable with about a dozen seats with armrests, this is hardly an option to be sought out. In the Domestic Terminal, there is nowhere to sleep and no connecting airport hotel – a strange feature given SYD’s position as a major travel hub. In this case, your only choices are to pay for the AU$11 per person roundtrip airport shuttle to stay at the aforementioned sleep quarters in the International terminal or wait outside the Domestic terminal until it opens. And if you choose the first option, be prepared to be kicked out if security checks tickets and notices that you are actually departing from the Domestic Terminal. Visit our Sydney Airport Guide for more information.
10. Los Angeles International Airport, USA (LAX)
Nothing but armrests as far as the eye can see. I was stuck there on a layover and not only was i forced to sleep upright on a chair (no way I’m sleeping on those floors) – a traveller
Although LAX receives a number of trans-Pacific passengers late into the night, it does little to accommodate these weary folk. The airport has no day rooms and no airport hotel, leaving travellers forced to wrap their bodies around metal chairs with plenty of armrests. The floor does provide a bit more space to spread out, but it is noted to be especially cold and dusty. Restaurants are also largely closed overnight, leaving the jetlagged among us with little options for food. The lack of showers is also a sore spot for those arriving after a multi-hour flight. All in all, while it is not going to be easy to get comfortable here, with a little advance preparation and some sleeping supplies you might catch a couple hours of shut eye. Visit our LAX Airport Guide for more information. See also Worst Airports in North America.
Continue on to read about the Best Airports for Sleeping.