How to Overnight at the Airport

Airports are fun, aren’t they? They cater to millions of people about to embark on exciting travel adventures, interesting business seminar trips, and highly anticipated family reunions. The airport is a maze of terminals, gates, lounges, and security checkpoints designed to shuttle people from place to place in the most effective and efficient way…right?

Well, sometimes plans change. Flights get delayed, cancelled, rerouted, and missed. Airlines overbook and people get bumped, or pulled off a flight. Passengers on standby live in limbo of whether they’ll be picked for a flight. So what happens if they’re not? What happens if there’s no flight out, no available hotel room, and no house to go back to? What happens if your only choice is to spend the night at the airport?

Getting Comfy at the Airport

First of all, you have to reconsider your definition of comfort. When your choices of sleeping arrangements include a hard, heavily travelled floor, plastic arm chairs, and a booth at the only open airport café, you go for the one you can tolerate for an extended period. Using what you have in your carry on, set up your sleeping station with your bag as a pillow and curl up for a night of constantly interrupted sleep.

Creature Comforts

Luckily there was a place serving food and drink all night long. Some don’t have that luxury. It’s nice to have the option of a midnight snack, 2am cup of tea, and sunrise coffee. If there’s no café, hopefully there’s at least a vending machine for sustenance.

The bathroom is a haven for a morning refresher. A handful of water to the face is a way to wake up. Don’t scrutinize the reflection in the mirror too much. What you see is understandable under the circumstances. But it’s amazing what a hairbrush, some baby wipes, and a fistful of breath mints can do to bring a person back to life.

Airport Security

Also, this particular night at the airport happened during a time after a natural disaster, so the place was packed with various government officials. Every few minutes, a new group of uniformed officers would pass—army, navy, homeland security, etc.—with various levels of weaponry, and the sense of security increased.

While having to sleep in the airport is certainly not a first choice, when it’s the only choice you must make the most of it. Hopefully you’ll find yourself on a plane the next day, heading toward your destination, and you won’t have to spend another night trying to find that perfect position to magically bring you some sleep.

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