Getting off a long flight and anticipating a long layover before your next flight can be physically and mentally draining if there are no flexible sleep services located within the airport. Luckily, there has been an emergence of innovative tech-enabled sleep services such as sleep pods, sleep cabins, sleep capsules, and sleep suites at various airport terminals.
Trust me, these technologies have been a game-changer for travelers who need some rest between flights and don’t want to leave the airport or even leave the security or passport control area. Having experienced layovers in several airports, I know the pain of lacking convenient and flexible sleep options.
Aside from Yotel(founded in 2002), most of these sleep tech services emerged in the last 10-15 years. The rise of these pay-per-session sleep technologies has given traditional airport hotels a real challenge(see 10 differences). Hotels that have long relied on enticing travelers with complimentary shuttles and breakfast treats now have to innovate and look at effective sleep when traveling.
Having used some of these sleep technologies(including when some were in their testing phase) ,I can attest to their convenience and comfort level. I found some pods to have state-of-the-art tech with Smart Beds, mood lighting, and even sleep therapy features.
Let’s look at their benefits in detail:
Benefits of Innovative Airport Sleep Technologies:
- Pay-per-session: You only pay for the hours you need to rest, which is ideal for travelers on a budget. This makes it cheaper than hotels if you only need a few hours to nap in these nap pods.
- Flexibility: Most airports have several sleep technology options with varying time packages. If your layover is short, you can choose to nap for an hour or two, and if it’s longer, you can opt for a full night’s worth of sleep.
- Convenience: No more leaving the airport and going through security and passport control again just to get some shuteye. Sleep pods, cabins, or suites are usually located within the terminal or just a short walk away.
- Advanced comfort features: With the rising competition, sleep technology companies are continuously upgrading their pods or cabins to offer optimum comfort. Features such as adjustable lighting, smart beds, soundproofing, and even air circulation systems make for a better sleep experience.
- Privacy: Unlike traditional airport lounges, sleep technology offers a private and secure space for travelers to rest without any interruptions. This is especially beneficial for solo travelers or those who value their privacy.
- Science-backed benefits: In a study published in the Future Healthcare Journal titled “Sleep is the Best Medicine: How Rest Facilities and EnergyPods Can Enhance Staff Wellbeing,” researchers explored the efficacy of utilizing EnergyPods for rejuvenation. The findings revealed that taking naps in these state-of-the-art pods had significant benefits. According to the study, 81% of participants reported feeling more alert, while an impressive 83% experienced increased energy levels. Additionally, half of the respondents felt more confident in their ability to drive after using the EnergyPods.
In the next section, I have gone into detail explaining the different types of innovative sleep technologies;
Types of Innovative Airport Sleep Technologies
Airport Sleep Pods:
These are compact, self-contained units designed to provide a private space for travelers to rest or sleep during layovers. They typically come equipped with a mattress, pillows, and blankets, along with amenities like USB charging ports, and sometimes WiFi. Some airport sleep pods also have the option of adjusting lighting and temperature for optimal comfort.
RestWorks, a pioneering company in sleep pod services, operates locations in major cities worldwide, including airports. RestWorks known for its GoSleep brand of sleeping pods is a Finish company operating out of Helsinki.
The company has two sleep pods specifically designed for airports;
GoSleep Pod is designed to look like a pod with a flat horizontal bed that reclines to be a chair and has an underneath storage compartment where you can store small carry-on items such as briefcases and backpacks. To get some privacy, you simply roll down the pod screen and can use the charging outlets located on the inner sides of the pods.
GoSleep Pod is a bit longer compared to Energy Pod measuring 39.4x89x46.1 in(W, L,H).
RestWorks has created another sleep pod tailored for airport use, known as the EnergyPod. This innovative design boasts a privacy visor, a built-in timer, and carefully curated sleep music. When the nap comes to an end, the EnergyPod gently rouses the user with a harmonious blend of light, sound, and vibration.
The Energy Pod offers a wider space compared to the GOSleep Pod, providing ample room inside. Its dimensions measure 48×83.5×58 in (W, L, H).
Below are some airports that have Sleep Pods:
- GoSleep pod at JFK
- GoSleep Helsinki-Vantaa (HEL)
- GoSleep Schiphol (AMS)
- GoSleep Perth (PER)
- GoSleep iGA (IST)
- GoSleep Warsaw (WAW)
Jabbrrbox Booth as Sleep Pod(Escape Pods)
Some travelers have discovered a unique way to take short naps while on the go – using an innovative and comfortable workspace provided by Jabbrrbox. This specially designed work booth offers a quiet environment, perfect for mobile workers who seek a more productive work environment.
As you can see, the booth above is branded ‘Escape Pods‘ which is the name of the company that has sourced these booths from Jabbrrbox, the booth designer and manufacturer.
It is important to clarify that Jabbrrbox is specifically designed to meet the needs of mobile workers who seek a private and comfortable work environment. However, as travelers have discovered, these booths can also serve as a cozy spot for catching some Z’s while waiting for their flight.
With dimensions of 39.5″×39.5″x87″(W,L,H), these Escape Pods challenge your creativity to find a way to sleep on them, because, well, they don’t come with beds or beddings. Sweet dreams in desk dreamland!
Below are some details about these small workspaces that you can utilize to nap.
These Escape pods are meticulously designed airport workspaces, with features tailored to enhance productivity. Each booth is equipped with a 33.5-inch glass door, a solid glass back panel, a spacious 27.5″x11″ surface, and a stool seat with a convenient hydraulic up and down handle. Stay connected with power, data, and aux ports, complete with volume control. Illuminate your workspace with an LED light, and keep your devices powered with the included power cord.
They offer the following amenities:
- Encrypted Wi-Fi
- Power Outlets
- Adjustable Fan
- Built-In Microphone
- Built-In Speaker
- Bluetooth Capabilities
- USB Ports
- Adjustable Lights
- Digital Lock
- Web Camera
Escape pods can be booked for 15-minute slots, with a maximum duration of 2 hours. For 2 hours, it will cost you $60.
According to Jabbrrbox’s website, these work booths are now in JFK(T4 and T8), Chicago, Oakland, and Pittsburg.
Airport Sleep Suites/Cabins:
Similar to sleep pods are sleep cabins or suites, which offer a larger and more luxurious space for travelers to rest. These options may include additional amenities like TV, a work desk, and even a private bathroom.
US’s Minute Suites and Germany’s NabCabs emerged as industry leaders in providing these services. In the US Minute Suites is now operating in major airports such as JFK, Atlanta, DFW, and SFO while Nabcabs operates in the German cities of Munich, Frankfort, and Berlin. I have shared more details on Munich Nabcabs here.
NapCabs operates similarly to Yotel Air by offering self-check-in services and ensuring that the cabins are promptly cleaned and the sheets replaced after each use.
In design, NabCabs sleep cabins are similar to those of Jabbrrbox’s work booths but NabCabs are bigger as they have to fit the bed. NabCab measurements are 64.9″x99.6″x106″(W, L, H) as shown in the image below. On the other hand, Jabbrrbox measures 39.5″×39.5″x87″(W,L,H).
NapCabs features the following;
- Full bed (200 x 80 cm)
- Work desk (65 x 50 cm)
- Music and mood sounds on the multimedia touch screen (19″)
- Flight information screen
- Alarm clock
- Full mattress and fresh bed linen
Minute Suites provides private suites past TSA within airport terminals, offering a tranquil space to nap, relax, work, and more. Each suite is equipped with a daybed sofa that effortlessly transforms into a bed, a state-of-the-art sound masking system, and a personal thermostat for complete environmental control. Additionally, Minute Suites offers temporary office space to guests, along with complimentary WiFi and Smart TVs. Experience the utmost comfort and convenience during your travels with Minute Suites.
I couldn’t find information on Minute Suites’ room size but from the look of the pictures of their rooms, they are at least 10 ft by 10 ft(120 inches by 120 inches), (L,W). They resemble a small studio similar to those you find in US colleges.
Check out the image of Minute Suites’ room below to get an idea of their room size:
Minute Suites goes a step further than sleep pods and other airport suites such as NabCap. They offer shower facilities that are equipped with toilets as well. See the image below;
Sleep suites or sleep cabins are more spacious and offer more services compared to what you can expect in a sleep-pod service. For example, sleep pods don’t have shower facilities but select airport sleep suites and cabins have showers and even TV.
With pricing starting at $45 per hour, and an additional $11.25 for every 15-minute increment within the first two hours, Minute Suites is relatively more expensive when compared to Yotel Air. However, it proves to be a convenient option, particularly during short layovers, as it eliminates the need to leave the airport and endure the hassle of having to navigate security lines all over again.
You can access Minute Suites if you have a Priority Pass.
Below are some airports where you can find Minute Suites:
- Sleep Suites by Minute Suite at DFWs
- Minute Suites at Philadelphia Airport
- Charlotte Airport Minute Suites
- Atlanta Airport Minute Suites
Sleep n Fly:
In certain airports, such as Dubai International and Hamad International Airports, you can find another service called Sleep n Fly. These sleep suites, similar to Yotel Air, are known as FlexiSuites. With just a touch of a button, these suites effortlessly transform from a comfortable seat to a fully reclined bed.
Unlike regular beds, their design makes it super comfortable and easy to sleep and recharge when traveling. The design of Sleep n Fly can alleviate the stress that often accompanies fatigue after a long flight. Unlike Escape Pods with see-through doors, Sleep n Fly offers lockable doors that provide the privacy you need for a restful sleep.
Here is a guide on Sleep n Fly in Dubai Airport.
Their services have a minimum duration of 2 hours, with their Igloo Sleep pods’ 2 hours going for $95. You can check current rates and make a booking on Fly n Sleep website here.
Airport Cabin Hotels:
The third type of sleep innovation for airports is the exclusive airport mini-hotels. These hotels are located inside the airport terminal and offer a “contactless check-in, adjustable mood lighting, super fast WiFi and more” as per Yotel’s website. They are typically more expensive than sleep pods or suites, but provide a comfortable and private space for travelers to relax during layovers.
YotelAir is one of the leading airport cabin hotel chains with locations in major airports such as London Heathrow, New York JFK, and Paris Charles de Gaulle. Their rooms come equipped with a bed, bathroom, desk space, and TV.
Read the history of Yotel and its innovations over the years since 2002 here.
At Heathrow and Gatwick airports in the UK, you have the option to reserve a Yotel Air single Standard room for a minimum of 4 hours, priced at 80 Pounds. Each extra hour will then incur an additional charge of 10 Pounds.
Who is YotelAir suitable for?
YotelAir sleep options in airports are perfect for those with late arrivals, early departures, or long overnight layovers. These mini-hotels offer a tranquil oasis to rest and recharge, far from the chaos of bustling airport terminals. They save you the hassle of searching for a hotel outside the airport and dealing with transportation and security screening lines.
Similar to Minute Suites, YotelAir is located past security and passport control and you can only sleep here if you have a valid boarding pass.
Some popular airport mini hotels include YotelAir at London Heathrow and Changi Airport in Singapore, and Aerotel at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Below are all YotelAir locations:
- Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
- Istanbul Airport (Airside)
- London Gatwick Airport
- Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
- Singapore Changi Airport
With a size of approximately 152 square feet or 14 square meters, a typical YotelAir room offers a range of amenities to enhance your stay. Below is a list of all YotelAir amenities to expect:
- Work desk
- Multiple USB ports
- Mood lighting
- YOTEL’s signature fully adjustable SmartBed™,
- Luxurious shampoo, conditioner, shower gel
- Hand and body lotion
- Accessible rooms available
- Super-fast WiFi
- Laptop-size safe
- Iron and Ironing board
Below is an image of a Premium Queen Bed at YotelAir in Boston’s Logan Airport;
Airport Capsule Hotels:
Nine Hours Sleep Capsule Hotel(Japan):
Another innovative concept for sleeping in airports is the capsule hotel. Originating in Japan, these hotels offer small, individual pods or capsules for travelers to sleep in at an affordable price.
Located inside Narita Airport’s Terminal 2 building, the ‘nine hours sleep capsule hotel’ in Tokyo offers modern capsule rooms and a 24-hour reception. With its convenient location before check-in, this unique hotel is perfect for travelers seeking a short stopover rest right at the airport. These pods are similar to BangKok Airport’s sleep pods operated by Avagrand Hotel.
What caught my eye when researching this sleep capsule hotel is the design of the capsules. They look like futuristic spaceships, with sleek and modern features. Each capsule is equipped with a comfortable mattress, pillow, and blanket to ensure a good night’s sleep. The hotel also offers shower facilities and luggage storage services for your convenience.
Nothing really special about the toilets and showers below which are shared. Fyi, these showers and toilets are available for free if you book to sleep here during the day or overnight.
The pricing for this Capsule hotel is 1,500 yen($10.55) for the first hour, and an additional 500 yen($3.52) per hour thereafter, and can use the showers at a fee of 1000 yen($7.04). Overnight customers can enjoy complimentary use of the showers.
Compared to YotelAir, this Capsule Hotel is significantly cheaper. However, the space and amenities offered in each room may not be as luxurious as YotelAir’s sleep pods. But for travelers on a budget or with short layovers, this could be a viable option for getting some rest in between flights.
For travelers passing through Mexico City, there is another excellent sleep innovation option available – IZZZLEEP at Mexico City International Airport. This sleep suite service bears resemblance to Narita’s 9 hours sleep capsule hotel, providing small stacked capsules arranged in rows.
Each capsule provides ample space for comfortable lying down, and disposable sheets are available for your convenience. Complimentary internet and television are included with each capsule, so you can indulge in your favorite music while enjoying your stay.
I like the reading lamps in each capsule which ensures that you have adequate lighting. Similar to 9 hours Sleep capsule hotel above, this Izzzleep has a shared bathroom with hot water, making it easy to prepare for bed or freshen up in the morning.
Innovative Flexible Day-use Hotels:
Regular hotels are not being left out by the new companies innovating in the space.
If the above options don’t suit your preferences or don’t have them at your airport, there are also regular hotels located within or near airports that offer day-use rooms for travelers in transit. These rooms can be booked for a few hours at a discounted rate, allowing you to have a private space to rest and freshen up before continuing with your journey.
A prime example is the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport hotel in Singapore, which caters to travelers with lengthy layovers by offering a day-use room package. Guests can unwind in the comfort of their well-appointed rooms and indulge in the hotel’s facilities from 8 am, for a maximum of 8 hours. The Day Use Room option is available between 8 am to 8pm, with a minimum requirement of 4, 6, or 8 hours of usage. I found that overnight stays are not included in this day-use offer. Read more here.
Another option is the Regal Airport Hotel in Hong Kong, which has a similar day-use room package that also includes access to the hotel’s amenities like sauna and steam rooms, fitness center, and swimming pool. The Day Use Room Package is priced at HK$600 ($76) per room and allows usage for up to 16 hours between 07:00 and 23:00. They also offer free shuttles to the Airport.
If you prefer the convenience of not leaving the airport, some hotels such as JFK’s TWA are located within the airport terminal itself. This retro-inspired hotel offers “Micro” rooms for travelers who just need a place to rest and recharge during long layovers. Rooms can be reserved on an hourly basis, starting from 6 AM to 8 PM ET, with a minimum booking duration of four hours and a maximum of 12 hours. Get more details from TWA Hotel here.