Say you're trapped in an airport during a long layover or after a cancelled flight. Trying to catch some zzzz's no longer means having to bend yourself like a pretzel, while trying to wedge yourself into the seats at the gate waiting area; or worse, stretching out on a corner of dirty terminal floor.
That's because more airports worldwide offer mini sleep spaces that can be rented for as little as 30 minutes. They have clever names like SnoozeCube, SleepBox and NapCab and offer a bed, desk and a little respite from the chaos of the airport terminal. Sizes range from very small capsules requiring you to crawl in, to compartments equivalent in size of a small bedroom.
Here are some airports that feature these pod hotels, sometimes called micro hotels. Plus, some feedback on what road warriors think of them (Dollar values are estimates, which have been converted from local currency).
Dubai: Weary travelers can avail themselves of one of the 10 SnoozeCubes located at Terminal 1 (passengers from Terminals 2 and 3 are welcome, too). Each of the soundproof rooms has a twin bed, a touch-screen TV with a variety of entertainment and music options, and hi-speed wireless Internet access. Prices start at $16 per hour. The verdict, according to one user: "Much better sleep than the lounge, because it's so quiet and dark."
Atlanta, Philadelphia: The sleep pods at these two airports are called Minute Suites. There are five pods in Atlanta on Delta's Concourse B, and 13 at Philly. A minimum one-hour stay will set you back about $30. Every 15 minutes thereafter costs $7.50. This adds up pretty fast. But rate reductions are offered after four hours, and there's a flat overnight rate of $120. In addition to a daybed sofa, pillows, blankets and HDTV, the rooms also have a sound-masking system in each suite that neutralizes noise.
Munich: The six NapCabs in Terminal 2 at Munich's airport are spread over the fourth and fifth floors. They are self-contained, self-service units which simply require you to swipe a credit card to rent. The interiors feature a bed and small workspace with adjustable ambient lighting. The rates vary from $12.50 to $19 per hour, with a minimum charge of $37.50.
London, Amsterdam:Yoteloperates 32 sleep cabins at Heathrow Terminal 4, 46 at Gatwick's South Terminal and 57 in Lounge 2 of the main terminal at Schiphol. Rooms are tricked out with luxury sheets, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, workstations with lots of power outlets and a monsoon power shower stall with towels and body wash. There are three room sizes: the standard bunk style single cabin; the premium double cabin; and the premium twin cabin, with prices hovering around $39 for four hours and $93 overnight. The company also operates a pod hotel in New York City's Times Square. "For one night it is a good place to overnight. The room was small — very small ... but it was well planned out," said one forum commenter.
Tokyo: Japan originated the concept of the capsule hotel, literally a plastic or fiberglass pod just long, wide and tall enough for a person to climb in and lie down. However, the ones at domestic Terminal 1 inside Tokyo's Haneda Airport are a little bigger and nicer than the traditional capsule hotels elsewhere in the city. You can walk in while standing up, instead of climbing in, and there are two classes of rooms. There are common areas for lounging, eating and bathing. Prices start at $20 for an hourfor day use (2 hour min), and $60 for an overnight stay. Flier feedback: The hourly fee "isn't a bad deal for a nap between planes."
Beijing: Terminal 3 at Beijing airport has sleep pods that can be rented by the hour. It costs about $47 for a standard room with private bath for 4–6 hours, and less for shorter periods or for a room without a bathroom. Be aware that at this particular airport, pods are outside the security/immigration screening checkpoint, so you either need a Chinese visa or an onward international ticket for departure within 24 hours to leave the secure area.
Moscow: There is currently one SleepBox at Sheremetyevo Airport and 60 more will soon be installed all around downtown Moscow.
Delhi: Inside Terminal 3 at Indira Gandhi International Airport you can lay your head at the colorfully-named Sam's Snooze at My Space. The spaces can be rented to sleep, work, or just lounge around, starting at $10 per hour ($14 for two people sharing).