Anyone who has ever been stranded at an airport, knows what this means: hours of waiting on hard seats, first sitting one way, then another, and then giving up altogether and lying flat on the floor. Or, when all else fails, perching on the edge of a plant pot with the risk of being pushed off. Miserable. But, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
There are now airports where you can not only catch forty winks, but very comfortable ones at that. There is even a community of travellers who research and advise each other on the best airports to sleep in and where the choicest spots for napping are: The Guide to Sleeping in Airports. Why book an expensive hotel if you can do it this way?
The travellers of Sleeping in Airports have been judging airports for 17 years. A vote has been held and there is a winner. Several, in fact. So, which are the best airports for sleeping in the world?
Top 3 Best Airports
No 1: Singapore Changi
Singapore Changi has been at the top of the list of “Best Airports to Sleep In” for 17 years. When you read the jury’s report, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re reading about a four-star hotel. This is not the case, but it’s not far off. As a tired traveller, you can withdraw to various relaxation zones in Club Changi. The Snooze Lounge is really quiet and you can lie on adjustable, soft reclining seats.
Would you like a blanket and pillow? Then you shall have a blanket and pillow. Whether you prefer to work quietly or watch a film, it’s all possible. There is free WiFi, a cinema, a swimming pool, a spa, a music/TV/games room, and 24-hour restaurants. You can even take a romantic stroll through one of the seven gardens. If you have so much time to spare that you can leave the airport, you can join a free City Tour. Where can I book?
No 2. Seoul Incheon
Seoul is lauded for its comfortable seats, which in some cases are so large an entire family can lie on them. Cosy. The airport staff is very friendly, it is clean, and there is very fast and free WiFi. If you prefer to be active, you can go for a walk in the gardens, learn to make traditional pencil cases and fans, or watch a traditional dance performance. You can even go skating! Anything is possible at Seoul Incheon Airport. And if you get tired of all these wonderful distractions, you can simply collapse onto a lovely, family-size sofa.
No 3. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
This is the first year Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has featured in the Top 3 rankings, but it has gone straight in at the top: 3rd on the Global List and 1st on the European List. And to what do we owe this success? Traveller Adam passed on his tip: “There’s a place on the upper level between Departures 3 and 4 that is supposed to look like a forest. Apart from the nature sounds that go on until about midnight, there are a lot of reclined chairs as well as these great leaf-shaped beanbag chairs that make amazing beds.”
Amsterdam Schiphol is also popular for its excellent facilities: one hour of free WiFi, TV lounges, a cinema, a museum, a casino, a library, and a spa. You can also go on a city tour from here. But the main thing is, of course, the peace. The transit area has a range of very comfortable seats and adjustable relaxation chairs where you can drop off in delicious comfort. Don’t oversleep, mind!
The Four C’s
The voters didn’t only judge sleeping comfort. Service and all the other facilities that make life at an airport just that bit easier were also taken into account. In other words, the four Cs: Comfort (armrest-free seating and quiet relaxation zones); Conveniences (free WiFi, 24-hour food, showers); Cleanliness (clean floors, bathrooms and food courts); and Customer service (a smile and friendly attitude along the way). After all, when you have just heard that your flight has been delayed, there is nothing better than being shown the way to the relaxation zone by a friendly member of airport staff and being handed a blanket and pillow.
The Best Tips for Relaxing and Lying Down
Unfortunately, we do not always get stranded at the best airports. What can you do to get some rest, or even to sleep, if you have a couple of hours to kill?
- Always ask if there is a relaxation zone tucked away somewhere.
- Be prepared for a delay and take a cheap airbed with you.
- Take an eye mask and earplugs with you.
- Put on your sunglasses. Not all airports are keen on sleeping travellers. If you’re wearing shades, they can’t see you’re sleeping.
- Eating and shopping facilities are often shut at night. Make sure you have bottles of water and some food with you.
- It also helps to have something to do – a magazine, a book, your favourite music. Never set off without them.
More tips can be found on the Sleeping in Airports website.
Credits caption: Ostrich Pillow/Studio Banana