Can You Sleep in an Airport?


A good night’s sleep is key to health and wellness when traveling, especially long distances. But delayed flights, strangely timed layovers and expensive airport hotels can mean sleeping in an airport is the only option.

For some international travelers who need a visa to enter certain countries, a long layover could leave you with no choice but to stay overnight at an airport. Before huddling in a corner with a pillow, you need to know what you’re getting into.

Can you sleep in an airport? The answer: it depends.

Each airport has rules for whether you can sleep in a terminal building. Some airports prohibit it. Others allow it in certain areas. Some airports close for the night, and others do not.

Sleeping in an airport is more common at busy international airports that operate flights at all hours. For example, Dubai International Airport and Abu Dhabi International Airport in the United Arab Emirates, and Doha International Airport in nearby Qatar, have flights that leave 24 hours a day. And anywhere in the world, flight delays and cancellations can leave travelers with no choice but to stay overnight in the airport.

Here are some important tips for a snooze at an airport.

Where in an airport can you typically sleep?

Many airports have various facilities to support travelers who need to sleep.

  • In-terminal airport hotels. Airport hotels in Doha, Qatar, and Istanbul, don’t require travelers to leave the secure area or go through immigration. Alternatively, at some places, there are airport hotels connected or nearby, but these require leaving security and, in some cases, passing through immigration.

  • Minute Suites. Another comfortable option is Minute Suites, which sells access to rooms with a bed and TV and prices them based on the length of stay. Travelers with Priority Pass can use these rooms free for one hour and pay for additional hours. This is a great alternative to a lounge, especially if you need some quick shut-eye. Note, that these suites are located in the U.S. only.

  • Recliners. Some airports provide reclining chairs where travelers can rest. These include SkyTeam hubs in Amsterdam and Paris, plus terminals in Istanbul and Dubai. Singapore has free-to-use snooze zones in each of its terminals.

  • Nap pods. Sleeping pods that look more like massage chairs with a cover are appearing in terminals. They require less real estate, which makes them easier for airports to add. You pay at the pod, then close the cover for a nap (paying by the hour or minute interval). Airports with pods include Helsinki Airport in Finland, Doha and Munich International Airport in Germany.

  • Onsite capsule hotels. Another option is the airport capsule hotel concept, where customers pay for a set number of hours to sleep in bunk bed-style beds. Luggage is stored in a separate area or a side shelf, and a screen is drawn for privacy. Airports in Taipei, Taiwan, and Mexico City have these, among others.

Tips for sleeping overnight

If you intend on sleeping overnight in an airport, keep this advice in mind before you pull on an eye mask.

You might get the boot

If there are no comfortable private facilities, some travelers take to sleeping on the floor or stretching out on benches. Others use their luggage as a footrest and snooze from an upright chair.

No matter which you choose, remember that not all airports will allow people to stay after the last flight of the day has left. Security may ask you to leave, but if you have a valid boarding pass, your chances of being allowed to stay are better.

It’s noisy

Another consideration is that airports aren’t quiet places. There are cleaning crews, overhead announcements (some prerecorded ones can become quite repetitive and annoying) and constant light.

If the airport is busy and passengers are scrambling to find a seat, it is bad form to take up multiple seats for an impromptu nap and leave other people standing.

Your property may be at risk

Sleeping in airports comes with risk, too. If you are sleeping soundly and are alone, your luggage could be stolen. Put an arm or leg through a strap on your bag, so you’ll be woken up if someone tries to move it.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If you plan to sleep in an airport overnight, bring essentials such as a blanket, eye shades, ear plugs and a pillow (or use some of your clothes for a makeshift one).

Consult online resources

Knowing what to look for at different airports can prove fruitful for getting maximum rest. Websites like SleepingInAirports.net describe the best spots at airports around the world (whether free, paid or hidden away from the crowds) to snag some shut-eye.

If you visit an airline lounge that stays open for 24 hours, and your connection lasts overnight, this is another option to get some sleep.

Some airlines sell long connections that require many hours in the hub airport. Having lounge access means a quieter place to rest with fewer airport announcements. It may not be as comfortable as a real bed (although some lounges like Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Lounge in Doha and Turkish Airlines Lounge in Istanbul offer private rooms), but some 24-hour lounges allow you to sleep there.

Other lounges with specific operating hours don’t allow you to stay past a certain hour, and some, like American Express Centurion Lounges, prohibit sleeping at any hour.

The right travel credit card can help

Booking your flight with the right credit card could keep you from sleeping at the airport in the first place. That’s because many travel cards come with travel protections that will cover hotel and meal expenses if you need to spend the night en route to your destination due to an airline delay or cancellation.

Top cards with travel insurance

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

NerdWallet Rating
Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

NerdWallet Rating
The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

NerdWallet Rating

on American Express’ website

Rates & Fees

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

NerdWallet Rating

Travel protections (not a comprehensive list)


• Trip delay: Up to $500 per ticket for delays more than 12 hours.

• Trip cancellation: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $40,000 per 12-month period.

• Trip interruption: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $40,000 per 12-month period.

• Baggage delay: Up to $100 per day for five days.

• Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.

• Trip delay: Up to $500 per ticket for delays more than 6 hours.

• Trip cancellation: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $40,000 per 12-month period.

• Trip interruption: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $40,000 per 12-month period.

• Baggage delay: Up to $100 per day for five days.

• Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.

• Trip delay: Up to $500 per trip for delays more than 6 hours.

Trip cancellation: Up to $10,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $20,000 per 12-month period.

• Trip interruption: Up to $10,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $20,000 per 12-month period.

• Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.

• Trip delay: Up to $500 per ticket for delays more than 12 hours.

• Trip cancellation: Up to $10,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $20,000 per 12-month period.

• Trip interruption: Up to $10,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $20,000 per 12-month period.

• Baggage delay: Up to $100 per day for five days.

• Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.

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Understanding the cards in your wallet — or adding one with travel insurance strategically — can unlock doors, literally, if you are forced into staying the night due to qualifying trip disruptions by an airline.

Sleeping at airports recapped

There are various options for staying in an airport overnight, but some are bound to be more comfortable than others. Larger, busier airports with 24-hour operations are more likely to have facilities that make sleeping overnight in the airport comfortable.

If an airport doesn’t operate around the clock, security may ask people to leave the airside area after the last flight departs. Keep in mind that not every airport has the same rules.

Can you sleep at the airport? Yes, many times, but don’t count on getting the best rest.

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

Insurance Benefit: Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance

  • The maximum benefit amount for Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance is $10,000 per Covered Trip and $20,000 per Eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period.

  • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.

  • Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

Insurance Benefit: Trip Delay Insurance

  • Up to $500 per Covered Trip that is delayed for more than 6 hours; and 2 claims per Eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period.

  • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.

  • Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

Insurance Benefit: Baggage Insurance Plan

  • Baggage Insurance Plan coverage can be in effect for Covered Persons for eligible lost, damaged, or stolen Baggage during their travel on a Common Carrier Vehicle (e.g., plane, train, ship, or bus) when the Entire Fare for a ticket for the trip (one-way or round-trip) is charged to an Eligible Card. Coverage can be provided for up to $2,000 for checked Baggage and up to a combined maximum of $3,000 for checked and carry-on Baggage, in excess of coverage provided by the Common Carrier. The coverage is also subject to a $3,000 aggregate limit per Covered Trip. For New York State residents, there is a $2,000 per bag/suitcase limit for each Covered Person with a $10,000 aggregate maximum for all Covered Persons per Covered Trip.

  • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.

  • Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

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