I’ve slept in airports all over the world. I have favorites too. Internationally, my favorite airports to sleep in include Heathrow in London and Schiphol in Amsterdam. Stateside my all time favorite airport to catch a few ZZZZZZZZs in is O’Hare in Chicago, IL. My favorite gate there to sleep in if you get stuck there overnight, is Gate F. You’ll thank me later.
I guess the first question I should address is “Why would you sleep in an airport?” Usually I travel for business, so a hotel room is in the cards if I get stuck with a canceled flight. If you travel for leisure, which I also do quite often, usually I’m on a budget. A canceled flight can add another couple of hundred dollars to my travel budget. I can always make the argument that my leisure travel budget can be better spent on my leisure activities rather than on a hotel room. Besides, I can always shower once I reach my desired location.
These days airlines are becoming less and less liable for your inconvenience. One of my latest experiences of being stranded in an airport due to bad weather had the airline handing me a blanket and a pillow and saying “Tough luck!” All I remember about that night was falling asleep with hundreds of other stranded passengers and staring up at the bottom of one lucky woman’s Ferragamo boots because she was fortunate enough to make it to a bench before they were all gone. That was in Atlanta, GA. O’Hare has a nice, quiet corner with a padded bench you can actually stretch out on. It has a television with the volume on low and a doughnut shop right around the corner. It’s the perfect set-up for a pleasant night’s sleep.
The accommodations for rest are endless at Schiphol. You only have to have a look around to find that perfect spot and think of it as an adventure instead of a nuisance. I like to call it Urban Camping.
There are several airports I’ve been stuck in that close after the last flight. Austin, TX is one of those that close and lock their doors. Under those circumstances you have to get a hotel room. If this happens make sure you do everything you can to get the airline to comp your stay. I think that’s the fair thing for them to do. But never count on that.
If you’re a timid traveler, but you’re game for spending your first night as an Urban Camper, you can always bunk down in the airport chapel. They all have one. The chapels are very quiet and very safe.
From one Urban Camper to another…Safe Travels over this new holiday season. If you get stuck out there be sure to pop over on that free airport WiFi and tell me all about it!
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