Sleeping in the Airport


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.Β  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.

A photo by Robert G Allen Photography.

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!

Thanks for stopping by today. If you’d like a reminder any time I get the urge to bang on my keyboard, consider Following my blog using the Follow function to the right on your screen. You can also follow me on Twitter, or Like my new Facebook page for discussions that go beyond this blog. Thanks a bunch!

About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
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22 Responses to Sleeping in the Airport

  1. Thanks for telling us about the Chapel…and everything else ;~)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Rosie McNeil says:

    This is super, I travel for work so usually get put up, but I love how you refrence “urban camping ” I really like your positive spin on getting stuck in an airport and the chapel idea is awesome !! – Rosie McNeil

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Rosie! I read another article this week about curating your travel time by planning for it ahead of time. She suggests downloading movies, or shows that you want to binge watch. I can see where having this all ready to go would be a godsend if you got stuck sleeping in the airport! I like to bring snacks and the new trendy adult coloring books now too. Good luck on your travels and if you get stuck, make it an adventure!


  3. susieshy45 says:

    I have slept in airports- Dubai International being a common one.They have long benches of the type you speak of but after a time, one’s neck pains and then you just wish and wish your flight would turn up.
    I have slept on the floor in NY’s JFK a few years back- it was cold and not very clean.
    I have more memories of sleeping on a railway platform in India when trains get canceled because of poor weather. And that is an adventure. We get to see people from every culture and every state of the country, their food, their languages and even make new friends, we spend so much time together and the food is not five star but it is passable. It is easier to travel if our co travelers and not very complaining and accepting of the situation.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. How I admire people who travel. I’ve always loved to.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Those days are finally gone for me, but certainly an adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. soulanceblog says:

    Chapel? Wow that’s new to me. I can’t wait to travel more. Haven’t decided where I will go next and I’m already excited πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. anne leueen says:

    I am past the age of sleeping in airports but certainly did enough of it in my time. Good one about the Chapel I wish I’d known that. I also remember Frankfurt had good recliner chairs.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I haven’t slept in many airports but I’ve pretty much toured Australia sleeping in band trucks, under band trucks, back stage while touring bands are playing and in band rooms. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Em Abroad says:

    I’ve had to sleep at Hong Kong airport after missing a flight and getting stranded with no money – when we finally found a good spot a guy decided to join us and snore the whole night. I think having a positive mind helps through the ‘urban camping’ a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

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