When living in more or less civilized countries, I never had to think about the lowly concept of sleeping in airports. There were always hotels around, some with airport pick-up, some without, some expensive, and some cheap. And with a bit of searching, I always managed to find a place for the night.
Even in one of the most expensive (supposedly) countries in the world - Japan, at the Narita Airport Washington Hotel a double room for one night set me back all of US$80. With a pick up at the JR station in Narita and a drop off at my terminal the next morning. And complimentary drinks, alcoholic even! Ha! 80 bucks at last year’s exchange rates, is what? SEK 560, and I’m being really generous here.
CDG, Paris? A slew of cheap options nearby. Heathrow, London? There’s a Travelodge right there under your nose, I mean the ill-fated Terminal 5. And if you’re willing to go a bit further inland, there’s no shortage of affordable places.
Enter Arlanda, Stockholm. Where affordable means a coffin-like room at Rest&Fly and communal showers at the end of the hall. And not just any old room, it’s a “night room” where your stay is calculated by the hour, and where 10 hours will cost you SEK 540. And dude! They have bunk beds!
Rest&Fly proudly proclaims on their webpage that 70,000 happy guests can’t be wrong, R&F is fab. Well, sure it is! It’s the ONLY budget option available.
Every time I attempted to book a coffin at R&F, the place was full. And just as well. Sleeping in the airport itself is not a problem at Arlanda, it’s a silent airport (the announcements are limited to the absolute minimum), most seats are padded and don’t have arm rests, and the security lets you be… And you save SEK540 in the process.
It’s a no-brainer to me. I’d rather sleep in the terminal. My favorite spots are:
- in Sky City by the hairdresser's (comfortable and close to the bathroom)
- downstairs in Terminal 5 in the left/lost luggage area (quiet).
Because seemingly, everyone else overnighting at Arlanda has the same brilliant idea, be sure to claim your spot early. Come 2AM Sky City will look like a refugee camp, or a homeless shelter. People on the floor everywhere, people under the tables everywhere. People on the tables, if all other space is taken.
And if you don’t feel like sleeping? There’s Sidewalk Café internet for your pleasure. Nothing like playing mahjong on-line all night long.
So, while Arlanda gets a big fat zero for its shopping options, it feels like a freaking Club Med when it comes to airport sleeping. I consider it my puny contribution towards reducing my carbon footprint. It’s economical and environmentally friendly, because hey, the bloody airport is always open, anyway…