Date: October 15, 2016
In our annual survey, we asked travellers to rate airports worldwide based on their comfort and sleep-ability. Most often, voters end up sleeping at these terminals because of jet lag during long layovers, flight delays, arriving the night before an early flight or just to take a quick cat nap before a flight. Factors that might help to determine an airport’s sleep-ability include:
- Designated rest and quiet zones where travellers can relax and enjoy some stress-free time before their flight.
- Availability of transit hotels and sleep pods.
- Plentiful, comfortable, arm-rest free seating
- Cots, blankets and pillows provided to travellers stuck in the airport overnight due to flight cancellations
The airports on this list are those that are devoid of sleepable features. In fact, many go so far as to offer the exact opposite. Loud areas with horrible seats are characteristic of these terminals, and comforts like rest zones, sleep pods or transit hotels most definitely are not available. When traveling here, travellers discovered conditions that were hard to merely exist in… let alone sleep in.
Here are the Top 10 Worst Airports in the World for Sleeping based on comfort and sleep-ability ratings, as determined by voters in our 2016 Airport Survey.
1. Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport, Saudi Arabia (JED)
No place to sit, too small, smelly, too many people, too few seats even during the night…. – survey respondent
It should come as no surprise that the worst airport in the world in general would also be the worst airport for sleeping. Crowds and an absence of seating do an excellent job at making sure passengers with long layovers stay wide awake for every moment. The floors could be a better option to the bus-terminal style benches, except that they’re dirty and cold. The prayer room is said to be carpeted, but real estate here is at a premium. Voters have reported seeing mobs of people sleeping head to toe, in hopes of finding a bit of rest among the madness. ( Photo courtesy of winarno_lulusingbudi / Instagram )
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounge ($) • Free WiFi. For more information, visit our Jeddah Airport Guide.
2. London Luton International Airport, England (LTN)
There were a bunch of people plonking themselves down next to obviously sleeping passengers and proceeding to talk loudly, play games on their phones with the sound on, and generally make a massive nuisance of themselves. – survey respondent
Given that London Luton Airport predominantly serves low cost carrier airlines, it is a terminal popular with airport sleepers. Weary travellers often arrive at Luton the night before early morning flights. Keen overnighters will snatch up the few sleep-able benches, leaving the rest to lay on the cold and uncomfortable floor. The icing on the cake for overnighters was the ongoing construction starting at 3:00AM. Once airside, your options do not improve. Don’t expect any sleep here! ( Photo courtesy of framostudio / Instagram )
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi (4 hours) • 24-hour Food Options ($) • Luggage Storage ($). For more information, visit our Luton Airport Guide.
3. Reykjavik-Keflavik International Airport, Iceland (KEF)
Staff started to ask people not to fall asleep or use their sleeping bags in a rude and offensive way. – survey respondent
Last year, Keflavik Airport was rated the worst airport in the world for sleeping – and it seems that ranking deterred a great many traveller from trying to sleep there in 2016. Those that did try found out that indeed, there are a number of signs that say “no sleeping” and that security guards actively enforce those policies. If you’re just looking for a quick nap between flights, the chair situation at this small and crowded airport is limited. All in all, don’t expect to get any sleep here! ( Photo courtesy of megasassa / Instagram )
Airport Services/Facilities: Free WiFi • Luggage Storage ($). For more information, visit our Keflavik Airport Guide.
4. Pisa Galileo Galilei International Airport, Italy (PSA)
They turn on the sprinklers even though it has rained lots during the day, just to keep people away – survey respondent
The main reason travellers end up sleeping at Pisa’s international airport is because they’re showing up the night before an early morning departure. Unfortunately while you might show up early evening and set up at a moderately comfortable spot, you’ll be swiftly evicted around midnight. This airport closes from about 12am to 4am and sleepers will get the boot. Sleepers are only permitted outside the terminal – landside isn’t good enough – and some report that airport staff are even rule-ish about sleeping on the lawn, going so far as to turn on sprinklers from time to time! Better to choose cheap accommodations nearby or pack a rain jacket.
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi (60 minutes) • Luggage Storage ($). For more information, visit our Pisa Airport Guide.
5. Venice Marco Polo International Airport, Italy (VCE)
Just before they locked up, a massive invasion of homeless showed up. Once in, the doors could not be open in any direction, so they were home free. They made their beds all over and most other people stayed awake all night. – survey respondent
Though Venice Airport isn’t much of a travel hub, individuals do tend to try to sleep here before early departures or because of flight delays. However, try is the operative word in that sentence. Hard seats are decidedly uncomfortable, and some survey participants reported that their sleep was interrupted by police officers asking to see plane tickets. This is perhaps a necessary security protocol, since other travellers reported a number of sketchy non-passengers posting up at VCE overnight as well. In general – not the terminal to cozy up in for a rest! ( Photo courtesy of Mellow Mood Official / Instagram )
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • WiFi ($) • Luggage Storage ($). For more information, visit our Venice Marco Polo Airport Guide.
6. New York City La Guardia International, USA (LGA)
Many flights were cancelled due to weather. They sent us out of the relative comfort of the gate and told us to go to the “Welcome Center.” The welcome center was packed with people trying to sleep in chairs. Many more were sleeping on the floors. It is unsanitary, inhumane, and very uncomfortable. – survey respondent
Given LaGuardia Airport’s reputation for being one of North America’s most loathed airports, travellers mostly sleep here as a result of one of the many flight delays/cancellations that occur. Here, you’re sure to find massive crowds vying for uncomfortable chairs with armrests – and many suspect that these crowds are made up of travellers and the homeless. Once airside, while LGA did install new diner style seats along with a few other renovations, they’ve done little in the way of providing support or comfort. In fact, some say that it’s simply better to opt for the floor right off the bat. Best to hope that weather doesn’t force you to spend more time here than necessary. ( Photo courtesy of rabbischwartzy / Instagram )
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi (30 minutes). For more information, visit our New York City LaGuardia Airport Guide.
See also: Worst Airports in North America
7. Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport, Nepal (KTM)
Not a lot of seating and what is there is a of the hard metal variety- both land and air side. – survey respondent
Kathmandu’s Domestic terminal frustrates weary travellers with its bent, crooked, rusty and uncomfortable chairs. While these chairs aren’t very appealing, travellers still feel like they’re better than the floor. And so, they’re doubly frustrated when they realize that there aren’t even enough mediocre chairs to satisfy all the passengers. We should extend a bit of slack to KTM given the natural disasters it has experienced over the last few years. ( Photo courtesy of xmindbox / Instagram )
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • Free WiFi. For more information, visit our Kathmandu Airport Guide.
8. Honolulu International Airport, USA (HNL)
The sleeping area is lit up like a baseball field. The floor polishers were running half the time over exposed aggregate..noisy! – survey respondent
Honolulu Airport is resented by airport sleepers because of its generous use of unfriendly seats throughout the terminal. Those passengers hoping to catch some shuteye during the day are limited to either sleeping on the concrete benches outside the terminal, or to chairs with ample armrests. Airside, you might be tempted to try to sneak a free snooze in the plush massage chairs, but be warned that airport security have asked non-paying snoozers to move. Your best bet will probably be to seek out one of the few benches, and to try and cope with the fact that they’re located in high traffic areas. At night, the landside area does have a designated sleeping area (for ticketed passengers only), but the area is heavy on the armrests and filled with bright lights. Most sleepers will opt for the floor until about 4am, when the airport opens up and sleepers are given the boot. ( Photo courtesy of jenn__bb / Instagram )
Airport Services/Facilities: Pay-per-use Lounges ($) • WiFi ($). For more information, visit our Honolulu Airport Guide.
9. Rome Ciampino-G.B. Pastine International Airport, Italy (CIA)
I can’t still believe it. They’ve just closed the airport forcing out all the passengers. I would say – brutally, without any explanation or excuses. Awful and wild! – survey respondent
Rome Ciampino is another airport with a new and firm no-sleeper policy. In June 2016, the airport started to close overnight and they are actively booting out anyone who tries to stay. In the summer, a few travellers felt like sleeping outdoors was manageable, however it’s hardly an ideal experience for the unprepared. For the sleepers seeking a little midday nap between flights, CIA isn’t much of a picnic either. There’s hardly enough seating and often there are more travellers standing than sitting. If desperate, you can try for a floor spot, but that’s about as good as it will get. ( Photo courtesy of marc_t_richardson / Instagram )
Airport Services/Facilities: Free WiFi. For more information, visit our Rome Ciampino Airport Guide.
See also: Worst Airports in Europe
10. Berlin Schoenefeld International Airport, Germany (SXF)
I had to stay at berlin sxf airport for the night and it was horrible. It was very cold and untidy airport. – survey respondent
Berlin Schoenefeld Airport rounds off our list of worst airports in the world for sleeping, thanks to the fact that it’s dirty, noisy and short on chairs. People who slept here did so because they got to the terminal well in advance of an early morning flight. Given that the terminal has easy connections to Berlin on the public transit system, you’re likely better off staying the night in the city centre if you expect to get any real sleep. ( Photo courtesy of rustem.jantayev / Instagram )
Airport Services/Facilities: Free WiFi. For more information, visit our Berlin Schoenefeld Airport Guide.
See also: Worst Airports in Europe
Top 30 Worst Airports for Sleeping
Below is a list of the Top 30 Worst Airports for Sleeping as voted by travellers in our 2016 Airport Survey:
- Jeddah King Abdulaziz International Airport, Saudi Arabia (JED)
- London Luton International Airport, United Kingdom (LTN)
- Reykjavik-Keflavik International Airport, Iceland (KEF)
- Pisa Galileo Galilei International Airport, Italy (PSA)
- Venice Marco Polo International Airport, Italy (VCE)
- New York City La Guardia International, USA (LGA)
- Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport, Nepal (KTM)
- Honolulu International Airport, USA (HNL)
- Rome Ciampino-G.B. Pastine International Airport, Italy (CIA)
- Berlin Schoenefeld International Airport, Germany (SXF)
- London Stansted Airport, United Kingdom (STN)
- Brussels South Charleroi Airport, Belgium (CRL)
- Paris Beauvais–Tillé Airport, France (BVA)
- Eindhoven Airport, Netherlands (EIN)
- Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Philippines (MNL)
- Los Angeles International Airport, USA (LAX)
- Miami International Airport, USA (MIA)
- Mexico City Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juárez, Mexico (MEX)
- Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport, Egypt (CMN)
- Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, China (CAN)
- Perth Airport, Australia (PER)
- Chennai International Airport, India (MAA)
- Santiago de Chile Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport, Chile (SCL)
- Newark Liberty International Airport, USA (EWR)
- New York City John F. Kennedy International Airport, USA (JFK)
- Houston Intercontinental Airport, USA (IAH)
- Sydney Airport, Australia (SYD)
- Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport, USA (FLL)
- Melbourne Tullamarine Airport, Australia (MEL)
- Washington Dulles International Airport, USA (IAD)
Negatives aside, there are a number of airports in the world where sleep is possible. Read on to learn about the Best Airports for Sleeping!