Do you have a layover and thinking of booking a sleeping pod at an airport but are not sure if it is safe? Airport sleeping pods are becoming increasingly popular for people who have long layovers or need to catch an early morning flight. These pods offer a private, comfortable and quiet space for you to rest and relax during your travels.

But are airport sleeping pods safe?

Before answering that question, let’s explore the topic of airport security first.

Are airports safe?

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In order to determine the safety of sleeping pods, it is important to start with a discussion of airport safety. Airports are generally safe places. According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), there were more than 2.3 billion passengers screened at airport security checkpoints in 2017. Of these, only 0.0012% were found to have weapons.

This means that the chances of being a victim of crime at an airport are very low. In fact, you are more likely to be a victim of crime at a hotel than at an airport.

However, there are always risks when traveling and it is important to be aware of these risks before you book a sleeping pod.

Some of the most common risks associated with airports include:

  • – Pickpockets and luggage theft: Pickpockets and thieves are always looking for opportunities to steal from unsuspecting travelers. It is important to be aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings close to you at all times.
  • – Terrorist attacks: While the chances of being a victim of a terrorist attack are very low, they do occur. In 2017, there were nine terrorist attacks at airports worldwide, resulting in five deaths and 37 injuries. There have been a number of threats as well that have to lead to evacuations including the recent JFK airport evacuations.
  • – Natural disasters: Airports are often located in areas that are susceptible to natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods.
  • -Fires: Fires are a common occurrence at airports. In 2017, there were nearly 1,900 fires at U.S. airports.

Now that we have discussed the risks associated with airports, let’s take a look at the safety of sleeping pods.

What is an airport sleeping pod?

An airport sleeping pod is a pod or capsule that you can rent by the hour or day, which offers a private and comfortable space for you to sleep or relax in. Sleeping pods are becoming increasingly popular in airports worldwide as they offer travelers a respite from the busy and often loud environment of an airport terminal.

Most sleeping pods are equipped with a bed, pillow, blanket, reading light, and power outlet so you can recharge your devices. Some pods even offer additional amenities like noise-canceling headphones, TVs, and Wi-Fi.

Why do people need sleeping pods in the first place:

Sleeping pods are becoming more popular as an increasing number of flights get canceled. With most airlines still struggling to resume normal operations after the pandemic, labor shortages have hit the sector hard. According to the Federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in 2017 alone almost 40% of flights were delayed or canceled due to weather or late-arriving aircraft. In 2020, about 11.4% of flights were canceled and in 2022, things are getting worse.

According to data compiled by Value Penguin, from January to May 2022, 20.1% of flights were delayed 15 minutes or more. This is almost double the rate in 2020 during the pandemic (10.2%) and higher than any other year since 2014 (21.8%).

To demonstrate how widespread flight delays have been in 2022, the chart below shows the % of flights getting delayed since 2013.

Year% of flights delayed
202220.1%
202111.4%
202010.2%
201918.9%
201817.6%
201719.1%
201615.6%
201519.2%
201421.8%
201318.7%

How sleeping pods are making flight delays and cancellations bearable:

Following a series of studies on rest and how resting is instrumental in human cognitive performance, many airports have started to offer sleeping pods for travelers who are facing long delays or cancellations.

The pods provide a private and quiet space for people to rest and relax, which can significantly improve their mood and energy levels. In addition, the pods can also help reduce stress levels and anxiety.

What makes sleeping pods unsafe? 4 Key Risks

Sleeping pods are an example of spaces created within PUBLIC places which are the airport terminals that are used by thousands of travelers that pass through every day. As we previously established, public places come with their own set of risks, which include:

Risk of your luggage being stolen:

When you are asleep, you may not be able to keep an eye on your luggage and the items in your carry-on bags such as laptops, iPad, phones,s and such. There is a risk that the sleeping pods which are usually located in open halls designed as Terminals for various airlines, your luggage may get stolen.

Risk of sexual assault:

While there haven’t been several reports of sexual assaults taking place in sleeping pods, it is still a possibility. When you are in a sleeping pod, you are in a confined space with someone you don’t know.

There have been reports of sexual assaults taking place in other types of public places such as hotels, bars, and nightclubs.

Risk of being robbed:

When you are asleep, you are more vulnerable to being robbed. thieves may see this as an opportunity to take your valuables such as money, jewelry, and credit cards.

Risk of infection:

Open public places are breeding grounds for viruses to spread and we saw that in 2020 with COVID Pandemic which led to lockdowns. Sleeping in the open places you at higher risk of getting infected with viruses or diseases that can be passed on from one person to another when you are close together. Read about current Mask mandate guidelines for airports.

What can you do to stay safe in a sleeping pod? 15 Things to do to be safe:

There are some steps you can take to stay safe while using a sleeping pod:

Lock your sleeping pod and

Make sure to use the lock on the door of the sleeping pod or sleep cabin you are using – if it is lockable. This will help deter any thieves or criminals from trying to enter the space. If it is not lockable, make sure your luggage is stored in a way where it is not easy to access.

Use a TSA-approved lock to secure your luggage:

Use a TSA-approved lock on your luggage that can only be opened by you and TSA security officers using universal “master” keys. This way, your locks will never have to be cut open during bag searches.

Below is my favorite best-selling luggage locker approved by TSA for flying;

TSA-approved locks to secure your luggage when sleeping in a sleeping pod
TSA Storage Lock

Use an airport storage locker to keep your luggage:

If the sleeping pod in your airport doesn’t have space for you to keep and secure your luggage when you sleep, rent an airport storage locker.

Some airports have storage facilities where you can store your luggage while you sleep.

Airports such as JFK, Fort Lauderdale, St. Paul’s Minneapolis, San Francisco International Airport, and Seattle’s Tacoma have storage lockers (measuring 23 inches high by 15 inches wide by 35 inches deep) that go for $4 for the first hour and $1 for each hour thereafter.

Travel with a friend:

If you are traveling with a friend, consider booking a sleeping pod together. This will help deter any criminals as they are less likely to try and rob or assault two people. You can take turns sleeping or keep watch while the other person sleeps.

Be aware of your surroundings:

As we discussed earlier, it is important to be aware of your surroundings at all times when you are in a public place. This includes when you are in a sleeping pod.

Make sure you know who is around you and what is going on in the area. If you feel like something is not right, trust your instincts and leave the area.

Keep your valuables with you:

As we mentioned before, there is a risk that your valuables may get stolen when you are asleep. To help deter this from happening, make sure to keep your valuables such as money, jewelry, and credit cards on you.

You can keep them in a secure place such as a money belt or travel wallet.

Choose a well-lit area:

When selecting a sleeping pod, make sure to choose one that is in a well-lit area. This will help deter criminals as they are less likely to try and rob or assault someone who is in a well-lit area.

It will also make it easier for you to see your surroundings and what is going on around you.

Avoid sleeping pods near the restrooms:

Try to avoid sleeping pods that are located near the restrooms. This is because people often congregate in these areas and it can be noisier.

It is also easier for someone to slip into a sleeping pod when it is located near the restroom as people are coming and going.

Check the reviews before using a sleeping pod:

If you are thinking about using a specific sleeping pod, make sure to check the reviews first. See if other people have had a positive or negative experience using the sleeping pod.

This will help give you an idea of what to expect and whether or not it is a safe place to sleep.

Other ways to be safe when getting sleep using airport sleep pods:

Tie your luggage to your wrist:

One strange but practical suggestion given by a Quora user is to tie your luggage to your wrist while you are sleeping. This way, if someone tries to take it, you will feel it and wake up.

Sleep on one part of your luggage:

To make sure you’re extra safe, you can even sleep on top of your luggage. This way, if someone tries to take it, you will feel it and wake up.

Don’t Wear headphones:

According to the Met Police advertising campaign, wearing headphones increases your risk of being mugged. When you can’t hear what’s going on around you, it makes you an easy target. Read more about headphones and crime here.

Be Wary of who’s around you:

You should always be aware of your surroundings and who is around you. If you see someone suspicious, trust your instincts and move away from the area.

Keep Your valuables close:

As we mentioned before, it is important to keep your valuables close to you when you are sleeping. This includes money, jewelry, and credit cards.

You can keep them in a secure place such as a money belt or travel wallet.

Don’t give away too much information:

When you are talking to someone, be aware of how much personal information you are giving away. If you are talking to someone you don’t know, they may be trying to find out more about you so they can rob you.

Be careful what you post on social media:

When you are posting on social media, be careful about what information you are sharing. If you are letting everyone know that you are sleeping in an airport, you are also letting potential criminals know where you are and when you will be there.

Don’t travel with what you can’t replace:

This is a general travel safety tip, but it is especially important when you are sleeping in an airport. If you are carrying valuables with you, there is a chance they could get stolen.

If you can’t replace them, don’t bring them with you.

So is an airport sleep pod safe?

While there are some risks associated with sleeping in airport sleeping pods, there are also some things you can do to help make sure you are safe. Airport sleeping pods can be safe as long as you take some precautions and follow the tips we have listed above. It is important to have your luggage secured with a TSA-approved lock and if your sleeping pod is lockable make sure you lock it. Use airport storage lockers if you can’t secure your luggage next to you in an airport sleeping pod such as GoSleep.

Are JFK sleeping pods safe?

Sleep pods at JFK’s Terminal 5 (Jetblue) and Terminal 7 (British Airways) are situated in open areas that make them safe from high-risk crimes such as robbery but you’ll need to ensure your luggage is safe as the Terminals are full of passengers. As sleep devices, the pods are totally safe. They are soundproof, temperature-controlled, and have adjustable beds, reading lights, and electrical outlets. Each pod also comes with a privacy curtain.

Are sleep pods dangerous?

No, sleeping pods are not dangerous. Since the introduction of sleep pods at airports around 2011, there hasn’t been a case of accidental or deliberate injury. Despite the risk of losing your luggage to thieves when sleeping, you shouldn’t be worried of any serious risks that pose a risk to your life. However, falling asleep in public can be dangerous as you are vulnerable to attack.

This article has plenty of things you can try to make sure you are not in danger when using sleep cabins in airports.

Are Dubai Sleep Cabins safe?

Yes, the airport sleeping pods at Dubai International Airport are safe. The Gosleep pods at Dubai Airport are located in Terminals 1 and 3 and are offered by a third-party company called Sleep N Fly. For safety, they’ve limited accessibility to the sleep areas and there are security staff that constantly keep an eye on sleeping passengers to ensure their luggage is safe.

Are Heathrow Airport sleeping pods safe?

YotelAir, Gosleep and Aerotel Sleep cabins at Heathrow Airport are considered safe as the airport’s security itself is considered among the top in Europe. In addition, the sleep pods are located in secure, well-lit areas with CCTV coverage. We still recommend that you ensure your luggage is secured with a TSA-approved lock or rent the official Heathrow Airport storage lockers that will cost you at least 7.5 British Pounds.

Snapshot showing cost of storing luggage securely in airport sleep pods

FAQs

Can you sleep in the airport lounge?

Yes, you can sleep at airport lounges, but not all of them will allow it. We recommend checking with the specific lounge before you try to sleep there. For example, the No1 Traveller lounge at London Heathrow has beds and showers available for guests.

Can you sleep in an airport overnight?

Yes, you can sleep in airports overnight. We recommend checking with the specific airport before you try to sleep there. Some airports, such as Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, and Singapore’s Changi Airport have designated areas for sleeping.

Can you leave luggage in an airport sleeping pod?

You should never leave your luggage unattended in an airport sleeping pod. If you need to step away from your pod, make sure you take your luggage with you or secure it with a TSA-approved lock.

What are the benefits of using an airport sleeping pod?

Airport sleeping pods offer a number of benefits for travelers. They provide a comfortable and quiet place to rest, they can be booked in advance so you don’t have to worry about finding a place to sleep when you arrive at the airport, and they can be used for short naps or for sleeping through the night.

can you sleep in airport parking lot?

No, we do not recommend sleeping in airport parking lots. Airport parking lots are not designed for sleeping and they can be dangerous. If you are tired and need to sleep, we recommend finding a more safe and comfortable place to sleep such as an airport sleeping pod.

Are there any other tips you would recommend for sleeping in an airport?

Yes! Here are a few more tips for sleeping in an airport:

– Bring earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to help block out the noise from the airport.

– Bring a eye mask to help you sleep in a bright airport.

– Bring a small sleeping bag, pillow or neck pillow to make sleeping more comfortable.

– Dress in layers so you can adjust to the temperature changes in the airport.

– Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

– Avoid caffeine and alcohol before trying to sleep.

– Stretch or do some light exercises before trying to sleep to help your body relax.

– Use the restroom before you settle in for a nap or sleep so you won’t have to wake up in the middle of the night.

– Follow the TSA rules and regulations for carry-on items so you don’t have any problems at security.

– Familiarize yourself with your surroundings so you know where the exits are in case of an emergency.

– Trust your instincts – if something doesn’t feel right, move to a different area.

Can you buy an airport sleeping pod?

Yes, you can purchase airport sleeping pods. GoSleep is one company that sells airport sleeping pods for about $11,000. Read more on Gosleep’s website here.

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