JFK Sleep Pods For Actual Sleep & Escape of Noisy Terminals

JFK Sleeping pods and other innovative sleep technologies such as Minute Suites were long overdue as the airport’s terminals are constantly crowded, loud, and with uncomfortable chairs.

Having a long layover at JFK and deciding to stay within the airport can be a real snoozefest especially if you can’t access the fancy lounges or don’t know about the few latest sleep innovation technologies such as sleep pods or sleep suites that JFK recently installed.

What makes JFK one of the most uncomfortable airports to have a layover in isn’t the passenger traffic as it is the 6th highest in passenger volume(US) but ranks top for being the most disorganized and untidy.

The crowds are large and unruly and terminals seem smaller than they are in other airports. Its seating benches are hard benches with dividers making it hard for anyone to lie flat – the floor becomes your VIP lounge, especially during peak hours. I once endured four consecutive hours on the unforgiving benches, and on another occasion, I witnessed a woman faint while waiting in line to board her connecting flight.

Despite the horror stories of long wait lines and poor amenities during JFK layovers, there is some good news. New York’s JFK airport has now introduced sleep pods and sleep suites, providing a comfortable solution for passengers in need of rest.

These comfortable little cubbies have been popping up at different terminals around the airport over the past few years. They’re designed to offer weary travelers an opportunity to escape from their stressors while they wait for their flights.

In this article, I have put together all the latest sleep innovation tech that you can find at JFK, where they are located, sleep pods’ pricing how to access them, the fees to utilize them, and some tips to get sleep at JFK during your daytime or overnight layover.

Does JFK Have Sleep Pods?

JFK was among the first airports to install sleeping pods in 2016 when JetBlue launched MetroNaps in Terminal 5. Unfortunately, JetBlue discontinued the sleep pods in 2020 but 2 years later, Escape Pods introduced work booths that some travelers convert into nap pods.

The Escape pods at JFK are located at Terminal 8 between Gate 8 and 10 in Concourse B and also used to have the GoSleep pods at JetBlue’s Terminal 5 until they were discontinued in 22020. These pods are available for rent for few mins as low as 15 mins to a maximum of 2 hours.

It is worth noting that the 5 Escape Pods don’t have beds and only offer a bed and a desk which is fine if you are comfortable with table naps. However, if you want to sleep in a real bed, your best option is to book Minute Suites in JFK’s Terminal 4.

Over 2 years ago, in May 2021, British Airways announced its plan to introduce sleep pods at JFK’s Terminal 7, following its successful implementation in Heathrow. However, my search for information online did not yield any conclusive evidence on whether they eventually implemented this plan.

JFK isn’t the only airport to benefit from recent airport sleep innovations. In the US, at least 10 airports are now served by Minute Suites and GoSleep, Sleen n Fly, NapCity, NabCaps, and YotelAir serve several foreign airports such as Dubai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Beijing and Amsterdam. O’hare and Philadelphia Airports have installed Minute Suites. Some of the busiest airports in the US such as Seattle Tacoma, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Orlando Airport have not installed sleep pods but several news outlets have reported plans to have them installed shortly.

Image of GoSleep Pod that used to be installed at JFK

Does JFK Have Sleep Pods?

Yes! JFK Airport has sleep pods at Terminal 8 between Gate 8 and 10 in Concourse B and also used to have the GoSleep pods at JetBlue’s Terminal 5 until they were discontinued in 2020. These pods are available for rent for a few mins as low as 15 mins to a maximum of 2 hours.

While JFK’s Escape Pods are designed as tech-enabled workspace with no bed, beddings, or sleep-enhancing tech such as white noise, they provide comfortable quiet space for a quick nap. Unfortunately, JetBlue stopped offering their bed-design sleep pods designed by MetroNaps and GoSleep. Your only best solution for an actual bed to sleep on is to book Minute Suites.

Benefits of JFK Sleep Pods

  1. Sound masking system to reduce airport noise from entering the pods or suites.
  2. White noise machines equipped next to your bed to help you drift off
  3. Temperature control you can adjust to suit your personal preference for sleep
  4. High-speed wifi for browsing and streaming content.
  5. Complimentary clean pillows and blankets, so you don’t have to use the airline’s or resort to an uncomfortable sleeping bag
  6. FlexiBed consists of a reclining chair that converts into a bed in a fully flat position for comfortable sleep.

Drawbacks of JFK Sleeping Pods

  1. The cost of using the pods might be a deterrent for some travelers.
  2. Limited availability as there are only a few pods and suites at JFK Airport.
  3. Sleeping in public spaces is not always the most comfortable option
  4. Some pods do not have a bathroom, so you will need to leave the pod to use one.
  5. Pods are only available in specific terminals, so if your flight is in another terminal, you may not have access to them.
  6. Some travelers may prefer traditional hotel rooms for longer layovers instead of spending money on a short stay at the airport.

Escape Pods at JFK Terminal 8:

If you feel at ease dozing off at a desk or taking a quick nap in a serene, compact room measuring approximately 3.25 ft by 3.25 ft, Escape Pods is the perfect solution for you. Though not strictly a sleep pod as it doesn’t have a bed, it provides a tranquil and cozy environment to give your eyes some well-deserved rest from the busy JFK terminals.

Escape Pods is the newest player in JFK’s innovative sleep tech space, launching with a total of 5 sleep pods distributed between Terminal 4 and 8. Escape Pods’ website indicates that bookings for pods are available at both Terminal 4 and 8. However, when I attempted to make a booking, only slots at Terminal 8 were accessible. I am uncertain whether slots for Terminal 4 are typically reserved in advance or if they have not yet opened bookings for Terminal 4 pods.

Escape Pods have a unique design that distinguishes them from Minute Suites and GoSleep Pods. Unlike their counterparts, Escape Pods do not include a bed or sleep-enhancing amenities like sound masking technology, thermostat control, or opaque walls and doors. Featuring a transparent door that mimics an office setting, it truly puzzles me how some individuals consider this to be an ideal choice for sleep.

On its website, it defines itself as “A technology-equipped workspace that is plush, and quiet” and that its pods are “designed for the mobile workers of the world who need a better work environment on the go!”

In my opinion, Escape Pods are the perfect compact workspace for individuals who want a quiet room for a short time to accomplish some work-related tasks. Whether it’s computer work, phone calls, or online video/conferencing calls, this functional design offers a productivity haven with seamless communication.

Location of Escape Pods:

I was unable to locate the precise whereabouts of the Escape Pods in Terminal 4. However, I was fortunate enough to obtain information regarding the location of the Escape Pods in Terminal 8. In Terminal 8, you will find the Escape Pods situated at the Departures Level Concourse B, more specifically at B2 and B3, nestled between Gate 8 and 10.

It is next to the recently opened Greenwich Bar and opposite British Airways Lounge. Here is the exact Google Map location.

Escape Pods Amenities:

Here is a list of all the amenities you can find from Escape Pods;

  • Encrypted Wi-Fi
  • Power Outlets
  • Adjustable Fan
  • Built-In Microphone
  • Built-In Speaker
  • Bluetooth Capabilities
  • USB Ports
  • Adjustable Lights
  • Digital Lock
  • Web Camera

Escape Pod Pricing and Booking

Escape Pods can be reserved for various durations at affordable rates. Starting from just 15 minutes for $10, you can also choose 30 minutes for $15, 45 minutes for $25, 60 minutes for $30, 90 minutes for $45, and 120 minutes for $60. Below is a snapshot of the booking page, providing a clear overview of the options available to you.

Snapshot showing Escape Pods Booking at JFK Terminal 8
Snapshot showing Escape Pods Booking at JFK Terminal 8

Here is a link to book Escape Pods at Terminal 4 and this link is for booking Escape Pods at Terminal 8. From the information I found online, Priority Pass currently does not have a formal agreement in place to facilitate their members’ access to Escape Pods.

JetBlue Sleep Pods in Terminal 5:

JetBlue took the lead in 2016 by introducing the revolutionary sleep modules, designed by MetroNaps and branded ‘JetNap EnergyPods’. According to press releases dating back to 2016, JetBlue initially introduced these pods for their Business Lounge Guests.

However, negative customer feedback has prompted the gradual disassociation of the JetBlue brand from this service, and in 2020 right when COVID-19 hit the travel industry badly, the glaring issue of poor sanitation of the pods led to JetBlue removing them entirely. As of December 2023, JetBlue has not re-introduced the pods and are currently unavailable. While COVID-19 gave JetBlue the last morale to abolish the pods, customer feedback from back in 2016 – barely months after its introduction led JetBlue to slowly rethink these technologies.

I will provide more explanation below.

However, let me first share some details about the MetroNaps, which were initially introduced by JetBlue in 2016, and the GoSleep pods that were introduced between 2017 and 2019 following privacy-related concerns with Metronaps. Unfortunately, these pods were completely phased out in early 2020.

The EnergyPods played soothing rhythms, promoting a sense of calm and minimizing distractions. Upon completion of the nap, the chair gently awakened the user with a harmonious combination of lights, music, and vibrations.

Below are images of two Metronap Energypods at JetBlue’s Terminal 5;

jetnaps energy pods at terminal 5 jfk
JetNaps at Terminal 5, JFK Airport; Photo courtesy of Metronaps

While the Metronaps above have a great design with leather reclining bed for power naps, the main concern clients had right after its unveiling was its lack of privacy for the entire lower end of the body. See the image below of a person taking a nap on the pod with his half of the body exposed;

Image showing JetBlue's Metronaps lacking privacy
Image showing JetBlue’s Metronaps lacking privacy

To demonstrate JetBlue’s commitment to adopt this innovative airport sleep technology, they went ahead to procure GoSleep pods developed by a Finnish company called Gosleep.fi with a similar capsule-like design as Metronaps but which offered more privacy to satisfy customers who had complained of Metronap’s lack of privacy.

Image showing JetBlue GoSleep Pod by GoSleep and a JetNap EnergyPod by MetroNaps
Image showing JetBlue GoSleep Pod by GoSleep and a JetNap EnergyPod by MetroNaps

Below is an image of the latest GoSleep Pods with fully-closing opaque doors with beds that recline fully from a chair to give you a fully flat bed position.

Watch the short video below to get an idea of the sleep pod design;

Below is another video demonstrating GoSleep pods;

The pod designs were truly futuristic, reminiscent of the nine hours sleeping capsules found in Japan’s Narita Airport. However, unlike Narita Airport sleep capsules organized in rows with an upper and lower level, the GoSleep pods in JFK’s Terminal 5 are individual modules, each equipped with a comfortable leather mattress and a lockable sliding screen.

Does JetBlue still offer the Sleep Pods in Terminal 5?

Unfortunately, I was able to confirm that as of December 2023, JetBlue no longer offers their pioneer sleep pods which featured futuristic reclining chairs, designed by New York-based MetroNaps or by the Finnish Company GoSleep(also called RestWorks). If you try finding information about JetBlue’s sleep pods on its website, you’ll note that the activities of things to do in JFK’s Terminal 5 website do not list the availability of sleeping pods.

Below is a snapshot of JetBlue’s website page listing the amenities available at JFK’s Terminal 5 and conveniently fails to mention the existence of sleeping pods.

Snapshot showing Gosleep locations excluding JFK. Credit: Gosleep Website
Snapshot showing Gosleep locations excluding JFK. Credit: Gosleep Website

Here is a link to JetBlue’s webpage with the amenities at T5.

The only thing closest to a GoSleep sleeping pod listed by JetBlue in the webpage above is Mamava Lactation Pods which they describe as a “private, peaceful, practical room for on-the-go nursing moms who need to pump or breastfeed.” They are located at Gates 1, 12 & 28.

While the USO Lounge at JFK doesn’t have sleep facilities, you can get nice seating spaces compared to what is available in this terminal(T5). Read more about USO Lounge at JFK’s T5 here.

So, what led to JetBlue stopping the Sleep Pods Services at JFK?

JetBlue has thoughtfully designed the pods to ensure that customers can conveniently access them on a first-come, first-served basis. Additionally, customers are entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining the cleanliness of the pods using the cleaning materials provided by JetBlue.

I believe JetBlue may have considered that implementing a self-cleaning service would be comparable to the efficient self-check-in services offered by Yotel at Heathrow and similar sleep suites like NabCaps in Germany.

I seriously doubt that trusting a random person to clean up after their nap in the pod was a wise decision on the part of the JetBlue team that introduced these pods. Who knows what kind of germs or, God forbid, some new foreign virus might be lurking around? I don’t want to be labeled as patient number 1 in the US because I was dying for a 1-hour nap in some unsanitary pod.

Some customers were quite pleased with the service. Take a look at this tweet by Paul Brown from 2017, where he gave a thumbs up (with an emoji) to the JetBlue sleep pods, praising them for making canceled flights and long layovers more bearable. He also mentioned that the pods were always in use for the first time.

The majority didn’t like or appreciate the pods:

I looked online to get a feel of what other customers had to say and found several unsatisfied customers who complained of dirty pods, lack of privacy, and lots of noise in the terminals while others had issues with booking them as there was little information about them online.

One Reddit user named ShipWRX pointed out that the lack of privacy was a big turn-off explaining how he got a weird feeling sleeping in the pods knowing that several eyes were likely fixated on his lower half, yet he remained oblivious to them. Eventually, the time comes to unveil himself, which, once again, feels rather weird. His analogy gives some clarity. He said that it’s almost like being a spaceman opening your ship on a bustling/crowded alien planet. Talk about an out-of-this-world experience!

You can read SHIPWRX’s full comment and other reactions to the JetBlue Pods on Reddit by clicking here.

Below is a comprehensive 2016 article from The New Yorker that captures the collective criticism customers expressed regarding these pods.

The New Yorker’s Article Reviewing the Pod: “Loaded with Germs”

In 2016, the New Yorker ran a story titled With Elizabeth Rosner, the writer claiming that the “JetNap EnergyPod is ‘more like an uncomfortable, $12,985 lounge chair loaded with germs.” Ouch!

She proceeded to assert that despite JetBlue’s assurance of privacy in the pods, she encountered a medley of airport scents, lights, and sounds that were not effectively blocked out by the promised privacy visor. Furthermore, she lamented the fact that she was compelled to leave her belongings in an inconspicuous storage compartment(out of her sight), which gave rise to concerns about potential accessibility while she peacefully dozed off for a mere 20 minutes.

However, what caught my attention in the article about the Pods was the unsanitary condition they were in.  Brian Skelly, a Long Island resident interviewed by New Yorker, expressed his concern by stating, “I’d be a little skeeved out about how dirty it is.”

Below is a snapshot of a New Yorker article reviewing the pods and you can read the entire article here.

Snapshot showing Escape Pods Booking at JFK Terminal 8.JPG the

How JetBlue Had Priced the Pods Service:

During the initial 20 minutes, these pods were available free of charge, but an additional $15 fee applies for each additional hour. Offering essential amenities such as a blanket, pillow, light, and power outlets, the fee is quite reasonable when considering that Escape Pods’ work booths cost $60 for the first 2 hours. In comparison, JetNaps could cost you $30 for a 2-hour sleep session if they were still available.

Although JetNap Pods were smaller than Minute Suites or Escape Pods, they featured a convenient storage space beneath the mattress. What sets GoSleep Pods apart is that guests are responsible for cleaning the sleep surface using the cleaning supplies provided when you show up after making a booking.

Sleep Pods and Suites’ Prices: Comparison:

Minute Suites offers flexible pricing options to suit your needs. For the first hour, it’s $48, with an additional $12 for every 15-minute increment. Alternatively, you can opt for a convenient 8-hour block at just $175, saving you over $200 compared to booking multiple 15-minute slots. The long-period sleep option of 8 hours makes Minute Suites attractive for overnight layover travelers.

Read more about Minute Suites here.

Escape Pods offers a slightly lower price to access their pods with a maximum duration of 2 hours. You can get a 15-minute napping session for just $10, or choose from longer durations like 30 minutes for $15, 45 minutes for $25, 60 minutes for $30, 90 minutes for $45, and 120 minutes for $60. Escape Pods doesn’t offer periods of over 2 hours.

I also like that I can access Minute Suites as a Priority Pass Cardholder with complimentary 1-hour access. You should, however, note that you have to pay for any additional period at a discounted price of $34 instead of the regular $48/hr pricing. To top it up, Minute Suites allows Priority Pass Cardholders to bring up to 3 guests.

When comparing the two options, Minute Suites nap suites offer great value if you prefer sleeping in a proper bed. Other in-terminal or nearby hotels charge at least $200 for a similar one-hour period. Additionally, when you book a Minute Suites nap suite, you get a discounted fee of $30 to access their showers with toilets. Considering these factors, I believe Minute Suites offers better value for your money over Escape Pods.

I also value the fact that Minute Suites offers a wider range of amenities, perfect for those who are exhausted and seek a comfortable place to rest. On the other hand, Escape Pods are a budget-friendly option for shorter periods of rest, but their pricing seems high considering the absence of beds or shower facilities.

Alternatives to Sleep Suites & Pods – Book a Hotel

In addition to GoSleep pods, passengers can also choose to book a room at the TWA Hotel located inside JFK Airport. Opened in 2019, the hotel boasts soundproof windows and blackout curtains for those needing complete rest while waiting for their flight.

The TWA Hotel day packages are available daily from 6 AM to 8 PM ET for a minimum of four hours and a maximum of 12 hours. Their cheapest rate is $149 for a max of 4 hours. You can check prices on its website here for all options here or on Booking.com. When you add the tax, it costs almost $200 as shown in the snapshot I took below;

Alternatively, I found 3 budget-friendly hotel options located within a mile of JFK Airport. With rates less than half of what the TWA Hotel offers, you can enjoy 24/7 complimentary shuttle service.

Below are some others close to JFK

Check out these hotels with free shuttles to and from JFK Airport

Free Alternatives to Sleep Pods at JFK

If you’d rather not spend money on airport sleep technologies like Escape Pods and Minute Suites, or the in-airport TWA Hotel for some rest, there is an alternative option of free sleeping arrangements at the airport. Although this airport doesn’t have designated rest areas, you might come across benches or even floor space that can be used as a makeshift bed.

A helpful tip for getting sleep at J. Kennedy Airport Terminals is to head to food courts with ample seating, and Terminal 4 is an excellent choice for finding a suitable spot to sleep. Unlike Terminal 1, which closes at 2 am, Terminal 4 operates 24 hours a day and offers several comfortable couches. Additionally, Terminal 4 features several benches with dividers that provide a decent 5-foot sleeping space.

Let’s now look at sleeping in different JFK Terminals;

Terminal 1:

For a restful sleep in T1 at JFK, head beyond the rows of registration desks. There, you’ll find a food court that unfortunately closes at night. Accessible by stairs or escalators, this area offers several chairs and tables to use to get some sleep.

Grab a few chairs or a table from the food court and arrange them together to create a makeshift bed. If you don’t find any seats in the middle of terminal 1, there are more available behind the Lufthansa counter. I’ve noticed a few people there a couple of times.

Please note that Terminal 1 closes at 2 am and you will need to leave the Terminal, perhaps take the train to T8.

Free sleeping spots in Terminal 1 -sleep benches in JFK
Terminal 1 sleep benches in JFK

Terminal 2:

To find a peaceful spot for some rest in Terminal 2, simply make your way upstairs from the café and eateries. Once you reach the upper level, follow the stairs located near the railing, directly above the café and eateries. There, you’ll discover a space with carpeted flooring and a selection of comfortable, full-length cushioned seats. Take a moment to unwind and relax in this tranquil oasis. This seating area is nestled between the main galley and a newsstand, providing a cozy and convenient space for visitors.

Terminal 4

Terminal 4 at JFK is the sole terminal that operates 24 hours a day and is the best terminal for free sleep at JFK. Fliers with layovers try to make their way and grab spots in this Terminalso it’s important to keep in mind that availability can be limited during busy travel periods.

However, it’s important to give full disclosure that getting a good night’s sleep might be challenging due to the noise, bright lights, and uncomfortable seating with armrests. Near the check-in counters for Norwegian Air, there is a metal mesh bench with dividers, allowing for a reasonably spacious five-foot section in the middle, which is perfect for stretching out and finding some comfort.

Despite the noises and the uncomfortable seating with armrests, many fliers through JFK note that this terminal offers the best sleep positions. You can mitigate noise concerns with noise-canceling headphones or active noise-control earplugs. While it doesn’t have good WiFi, some travelers mentioned how they’d just hop on the free AirTrain to T5 for WiFi and back to T4 for sleep.

One aspect worth mentioning regarding the round-the-clock operations in T4 is that due to flights departing from this terminal at unconventional hours, such as 2 or 3 am, there is always a presence of individuals, including airline crew and a handful of food establishments that remain open within the terminal.

terminal 4 sleeping couches to use at JFK
Terminal 4 sleeping couches to use at JFK for free

Terminal 5:

Finding suitable places to sleep in Terminal 5 is extremely challenging, especially in the Airside. The limited seating options are equipped with armrests and the Terminal is excessively noisy. The constant presence of the cleaning crew, frequent announcements, and the overall cramped space make it exceedingly difficult to get any restful sleep. If you have a sleeping bag and don’t mind spreading it on the concrete floors, you can get some sleep. See the image below of a flier who opted to sleep on the floor with his legs on his luggage for safety- no chairs;

image showing someone sleeping in terminal 5

British Airways offers two full-size couches exclusively available for passengers with access to the British Airways Lounge. However, please note that the lounge can only be accessed airside and is restricted to passengers whose flights are departing within the next 3 hours.

Terminal 7:

The terminal features tall, high-back chairs that offer superior comfort compared to other seating areas in the airport. However, it’s important to note that these chairs may not be ideal for sleeping due to the presence of armrests.

Another reason why T7 is not ideal for sleeping is the limited number of food establishments. Food courts such as those in T4 have ample seating, making them convenient for resting when the restaurants close at night.

Terminal 7 chairs with armrests you can sleep on while seated
Terminal 7 chairs with armrests you can sleep on while seated

Terminal 8

While T8 offers a place to rest, it may not provide the utmost comfort. Once you step off the AirTrain, you’ll find a few secluded steel benches that offer privacy for those who prefer to stretch out on the floor. This hidden gem also boasts a quiet space, thanks to its secluded location.

FAQs

Q: Can you sleep at JFK during layovers?

A: Yes, you can sleep at JFK during layovers. In fact, JFK and a number of airports offer sleep pods for travelers but also have nearby hotels.

Q: How much do the sleep pods cost?

A: The JFK sleep pods are free to use.

Q: How long can I use the sleep pod for?

A: You can use the sleep pod for up to two hours.

Q: How do I book a sleep pod at JFK?

A: The sleep pods are available on a first-come, first-served basis so there is no need to book in advance. Just head over to the airport and look for the nearest sleep pod.

Q: Does JetBlue have a lounge at JFK?

A: Yes, JetBlue has a lounge at JFK. The lounge is located in Terminal 5 and offers a variety of amenities such as Wi-Fi, charging stations, food and drinks, and more.

Q: What are the hours of the JetBlue lounge?

A: The hours of the JetBlue Lounge vary depending on the day. However, the lounge is typically open from early morning to late evening.

Q: What is the cost of the JetBlue lounge?

A: The cost of the JetBlue Lounge varies depending on the day. However, it typically costs between $35 and $50 to enter or can book one of the hotels close to JFK

Q: Can I leave JFK Airport during a layover?

A: Yes, you can leave JFK Airport during a layover. In fact, there are a number of things to do in the city of New York and the surrounding areas.

Q: What is the best way to get from JFK Airport to Manhattan?

A: The best way to get from JFK Airport to Manhattan is by metro train, taxi or Uber.

Q: What is the cost of a taxi from JFK Airport to Manhattan?

A: The cost of a taxi from JFK Airport to Manhattan typically costs between $55 and $75 depending on the time of day. There are also other places or things to do around JFK.

Q: Are there sleep pods at JFK terminal 4

A: In early 2022, we just checked and it is still under planning to be launched in the future.

Related: