This Is the Single Best Place to Nap in an Airport
Secrets for catching shuteye on the fly
Who hasn't been stranded for hours in an airport, desperate for some shuteye, only to find any dreams of snoozing shattered by the cacophony of the crowds, the headache-inducing fluorescent lighting, the ultra-rigid seating, and the endless flight-delay announcements blaring over the loudspeakers? Yes, it's as if airports are cruelly designed to keep you awake at all costs. But the truth is you can nap in an airport—if you simply know where to look.
If you're a frequent flier with club status, you already know where to catch some shuteye. As an elite member, you have access to massage chairs, quiet areas, and a delicious free buffet—all wonderfully conducive to sleep. Some airport lounges even offer kits with eye masks and earplugs.
Those who aren't willing to pay the $50 entry fee for one of the clubs, however, can still reap the benefits. Simply check your credit card perks. The Citi Prestige and Chase Sapphire Reserve cards come with Priority Pass Select access to 1,000 lounges across 600 airports worldwide, and the American Express Platinum card features its own global lounge collection, comprised of Centurion, Delta Sky Club, Lufthansa, Plaza Premium, Airspace, and Escape, among others. And, obviously, you can get in when you hold a carrier's card, such as AAdvantage Executive or United Club.
Luckily, for those of us who don't carry around such status in our wallets, several of the world's busiest and best airports have created specific quiet zones. Seoul's Incheon International Airport and Singapore's Changi Airport offer relaxation areas as a free amenity. Others, including Washington D.C.'s Dulles International Airport and Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, host businesses such as Minute Suites and Sleepbox, which have shower facilities and private rooms you can book by the hour.
In the event that there are no facilities—free or otherwise—you can still find the perfect siesta spot with a little bit of searching. No matter the airport size, you'll find the quietest and emptiest gates at the far ends of the terminals, away from the main concourse of shops and restaurants. In Chicago's O'Hare Airport, you can snatch a spot on one of the S-shaped sofas located between concourses K and H, and K and L. At Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Papi's Cuban Grill in terminal T not only has delicious Caribbean cuisine but also a small bookstore attached that features a leather chair hidden in the back by a window (yours truly has first-hand experience napping here).
If all else fails—and you're desperate for that nap—simply ask an agent or employee for help. It's not unusual for airlines to keep cots handy for delayed or late-arriving flight crews to curl up in, and if you're really fortunate and friendly they'll provide you with one. (It never hurts to ask!) At Boston's Logan International Airport, for instance, airline employees routinely provide cots to stranded passengers. If that doesn't work—and you're still pooped as you board your connecting flight—fear not. Simply check out our expert guide to sleeping soundly in a cramped plane seat!