People Sleeping at the Airport

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London, England

I came to Europe for a Eurail adventure but before it all begins I’m heading to a travel writers conference in Innsbruck.

And while Europe may be expensive, flying isn’t. I booked an EasyJet flight to Munich and will take a conference shuttle to Innsbruck at the bargain price of $75.

But bargains come with a price.

The cheapest flights are often the first in the morning before public transit begins so everyone arrives at night looking for somewhere to sleep.

And as much as I dread the airport overnight I cannot help but be amused by everyone sleeping anywhere they can find at the airport.

Apparently sleeping at the airport is a hot topic:

Sleeping in Airports an entire site with reviews on the best places to sleep

DTravelsRound – Airport sleeping 101

Me? I waited as long as I could before my eyelids were so heavy I just decided to sleep on the floor.

Join the Conversation

  1. Hi Ayngelina! I stumbled upon this post from a RT. Sleeping at airports … these photos make me laugh, only because I think most of us travelers have done this at one point or another. LOL — Michelle

  2. Ugh Hate having to do it, but as you say, it’s necessary at times. Just one word – never try it in Dublin – it’s the most sleep-UNfriendly airport I ever slept (or didn’t, actually) in!

  3. you’re so creepy 😛

    haha, just kidding! i’ve slept in my fair share of airports…

  4. I had to spend the night at Heathrow last year….Not fun I chose not to sleep and instead listened to music all night. I was shattered by the morning!

  5. Total Travel Bug says:

    I was at an airport once that was so small we had to wait outside and sleep on the pavement. Thankfully a backpack and an oversized fleece made my nap almost comfortable!

  6. I wonder if carring a sleeping bag makes airport sleeping more comfortable. I’ve seen people who look rather cosy.

    1. carrying : >

  7. Fascinting topic.

    But I’m not sure if I’d be able to sleep with a Bacon lady creepily sneaking about taking photos of all of us. 😉

  8. The Travel Chica says:

    This reminds me of sleeping in the Costa Rica airport. Luckily, I was the only one so I was able to find a good spot.

    I’ll take sleeping in airports over sleeping in bus stations anytime.

  9. Too funny! I slept in the Atlantic airport on our way home…I would have fell into a deep sleep but they had the A/C jacked.

  10. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    Eeeek no thank you! I’d rather splurge on a hotel.

  11. Seattle Dredge says:

    Haha! Love the photos 😀

  12. That girl in photo #1 has the right idea – underneath the ticket counter.

  13. Yeah, sometimes it just makes sense. Last time I did it at the airport in Tahiti, which was actually pretty nice airport to sleep in. Only problem was that I could find only one electric socket from the whole airport that actually worked! Which I guarded then obviously, others came occasionally to ask if they could borrow my electric socket 🙂

  14. I slept at the Auckland airport and surprisingly enough managed to get a good 3hours solid sleep. That being said, I was not on the floor, I managed to snag a couch. It’s definitely a different experience, but one that solidifies your status as a backpacker! It’s like some cruel initiation into the brother/sisterhood of backpackers.

  15. Matthew Karsten says:

    I took a nice 4 hour nap in the Panama City airport last week because I was too cheap to spend $25 on a cab ride into the city.

    Woke up to find 2 others had joined me.

    The $0.25 local buses didn’t start running until later… 😀

  16. Emily in Chile says:

    The only time I’ve ever slept in an airport was in Lima on my way to Cuzco – definitely not my most comfortable evening!

  17. Did you watch an episode of Sainfeld, more then a decade ago, when Kramer has guests from Japan and they sleep in a drawer cabinet?
    I read years ago that they exist in Japan, in their subway system(?). They were at the time coin operated, just like parking meters on the street. I believe this could be solution but not so sure if hotels around airports would be happy with that idea.
    BTW, grate photos!

  18. Micamyx|Senyorita says:

    I’ve seen a similar scenario while traveling here in SouthEast Asia and I realize that majority of which are westerners 😀 Might as well write a similar entry on my blog hehe 😀

  19. Debbie Beardsley says:

    I was amazed to see all the people sleeping at the airport during my last trip. I actually thought I might need to do this in Budapest but luckily I found a reasonable taxi that would come really early.

  20. OMG I LOVE THIS POST… I slept at an airport for the 1st time in Valencia, Spain (got there at midnight check in was at 8am the next day). Yeah I had no clue so many people slept at airports… People where EVERYWHERE… I was like wow. Here I thought I would be alone…lol!

  21. Nice pics!

    I’ve once slept at Christchurch Airport for about 3 hours.

    I woke up to some dude mopping and sweeping around me.

    Good times.

  22. Loralee Hutton says:

    Absolutely LOVE the photos. And I’ve definately curled up like the guy wrapped around his backpack, more than once. If any of my ‘sleeping in an airport’ experiences can be called #1, it would be at the Toronto, Canada airport when I’ve had connecting flights. There are plenty of quiet areas, without arm dividers. Getting an extra 4-5 hours sleep before a 6 am flight makes a world of difference. Thanks for the great shots! ~ Loralee

  23. Shirlene from Idelish says:

    Haha love this post! It makes me wonder if pictures of Jeremy and I sleeping at the airport (too many to count because yes, we love cheap red-eye flights too!) has made it onto someone’s website/photo gallery/blog?!

  24. I tried sleeping in the airport before. It was at the airport in Washington DC. Man that was the worst one to sleep at because they have huge vacuum cleaners moving around and cleaning the place at night x_X Do not recommend that one for sleep over.

  25. Roy Marvelous says:

    Small price to pay. If you have a sleeping bag with you, it’s pretty easy!

  26. Raymond @ Man On The Lam says:

    Thankfully, I’ve only slept at an airport once. Some poor guy had a heart attack on my flight from Toronto to Munich, so we got detoured to Boston. I missed my connecting flight to Istanbul so had to 7 hours to kill in Munich. I hate those hard plastic seats. 🙁

  27. Haha. If you get the first train in the main cities at about 4-5am, you can see people sleeping all over the place there from where they’ve missed the last train home too. Love it. 😀

  28. I did this on an Easyjet flight myself on my first trip. I had to wait about 8 hours in Gatwick for my next flight over to Athens. Gatwick had these funky, neon chairs which were comfortable for a while, so Starbucks it was! Those velvet chairs are mighty comfy. Plus, you get to wake up with coffee. In Stanstead, the bed of choice was the floor. Yeah, it happens.

  29. This was me yesterday. Only it was night time according to my body clock (on Istanbul time, 7 hours ahead) as we sat in JFK for 6 hours. In Terminal 3 of all places, one of the dirtiest terminals ever. Didn’t help that there was a group from New Jersey pouring mini bottles of vodka into their juice. ::shakes fist::

  30. dtravelsround says:

    I love it/hate it. I love it because it is a little mini-adventure. But, when I am laying on a cold bench and listening to loud-speaker security announcements all night, while shivering b/c my towel I packed specifically for this purpose is actually in checked luggage, and the couple next to me won’t shssh, and I all I want to do is sleep … it sucks. And yes, I continue to do it. Most recently, I slept at BKK and then LAX. Not so great b/c I had traveled for almost a day each time. Will I do it again? Absolutely!

  31. Daniel Lim says:

    Hahaha this is really amusing. Was there an incident that resulted in many flights being delayed? I’ve never seen so many people sleeping at an airport before.

    But perhaps that might be due to my lack of travelling.

    Anyways, love how it feels like you sneakily took photos of them while they were asleep. Espionage 😀

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh that is what it is like every night, people arrive early to catch their flight.

  32. Chris Haughey says:

    Ha, this made me laugh. Makes me glad I’ve only a couple of hours to wait for my connection in London! 😛

  33. The Nomadic Pinoy says:

    I did sleep at Dubai’s airport which has great seats and I’ve tried again in some other cities but my constant worry about my carry-on getting snatched from me made me less sleepy 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      My carry on strap goes around my waist and I use it as a pillow.

  34. Steve Thompson says:

    I’ve slept in this airport (Stansted) several times, it is like a small city at times, packed with people crashing wherever they can find space. Actually spent over 48 hours in here one trip, that was amazing, some pix on my blog site noted here most likely in the En Route gallery offerings. Peace.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Stansted is the best! You have to get there early for a good piece of floor.

  35. The Travel Tart says:

    Ha ha, this sounds like one of the Commandments of Tight Arse Travel. There’s nothing like sleeping on a cold airport or bus station floor! Yes, that’s the voice of experience talking!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I have done it too many times, you never get a good sleep.

  36. Thomas | Jus Getaway says:

    Wow what a sight! I guess you do what you have to do to get the price you want. The one were the person is sleeping on the newspaper is just classic.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah I wish I had brought a newspaper.

  37. Lusso Bags says:

    Just make sure you keep your passport and other i.d. and valuables tucked closely by you when sleeping, esp. if traveling solo.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Head on my bag as a pillow!

  38. I love the pics! I feel all warm and fuzzy towards my fellow travelers roughing it on the floor. Geneva airport was my worst for sleeping.. cold hard marble floors. Changi gets two thumbs up, I found armchairs which I pushed together to form a sleeping pod – luckily I was flying Singapore Airlines that trip, not sure what the budget terminal is like in Singapore.

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