There are types and tricks to sleeping in an airport. My wife and I know this, having spent many nights stuck in an airport.
Airlines usually do offer hotel vouchers when your flight is cancelled. But the song and dance is a familiar show: it’s midnight to two or three in the morning. They tell you that they have you on the first flight out, which will be six or seven in the morning. By the time you leave for the hotel, get checked in, and arrive in your room, your chance for sleeping is limited to a few hours before you need to get up and come back to the airport, because you need to process through security and get to the gate an hour before the boarding time.
So, when sleeping in an airport, don’t just settle for a chair. Walk around and look around. Many airports have conversation lounges or pits. You want to be able to stretch out.
Which leads me to the overlooked opportunity. Airports should be building sleeping lounges. These need not be fancy, just spaces where you can rent a daybed or cot and sack out for a few hours. You’ll rent it, of course. It’s not practical for airports to give things away for free. They get nothing for free. Taxpayers, businesses, airlines, and customers must tote the bill for everything in an airport. Why should you get anything for free?
Yes, there would be some administrative, bureaucratic, security, and cleaning maintenance overhead. Yes, no doubt, but we’d be willing to accept quite a bit, we exhausted, worn out, stranded travelers. Look what we’re already enduring, how we curl up in corners on the floor, or hunker like twisted metal hangers in chairs. Don’t you think we’d pony up a little money to stretch our backs, close our eyes and sigh into sleep?
By having these temporary beds available, airlines could look like heroes. They’d be off the hook for offering hotel vouchers. Instead, they could give you a bed voucher, so you should shuffle off for a sweet nappy nap before trudging back over and resuming your place in the queues.
You know the opportunity is here. We need them now. Walk through airports at night and count the sleeping denizens. Don’t tell me the need doesn’t exist. That need will only get worse in the coming years. The prices for tickets will climb. The airlines aren’t going to suddenly awaken to their ways and stop overbooking. No, they’re addicted to that profit model, and profit must be had. And aircraft break. We need a space to shovel these people so they stretch out when they’re left without the chance to leave.
Come on, some airport out there must step up and make it happen. The people are counting on you.