Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sleeping in Airports – Vancouver International

When it comes to sleeping in airports, Arlanda in Stockholm is a total Club Med. Quiet, plenty of soft seating without annoying armrests, and now that Rest and Fly is there – also with showers. At any given night, the whole place looks like a refugee camp with people sprawled on every available surface surrounded by mountains of luggage. Security guys on night duty always very thoughtfully step over them, careful not to disturb the sleepers.

In comparison, Vancouver looked like a total ghost airport the night I stayed there. Quiet, with plenty of soft seating (some with annoying armrests unfortunately), with vending machines (you don’t get that in Stockholm) and free internet (you don’t get that in Stockholm either). And no people. At all. Anywhere.

Yvr at night

My flight from Toronto was slightly late and when I finally got my luggage, it was already 1:30AM. I didn’t have a hotel booking, because I was hoping for a greater delay, but unfortunately, by airline standards we arrived practically on time (because really, one hour late is like nothing).

I loaded my stuff onto a baggage cart (free in Vancouver) and set on in search of a suitable sleeping place. I didn’t have to go very far. Found my perfect soft bench right in the domestic arrival hall. I checked my emails, went to the bathroom (nice big bathrooms where you can easily take your luggage cart too, not to the stall, but to the general space – not like at Arlanda where you have two sets of stupid doors), got a Coke from a vending machine and settled in for the night. A security guy asked me if I was waiting for the bus. I said that no, I was waiting for a flight. He wished me a pleasant night and left me alone.

In the morning, around 5AM, a chatty bunch of Filipinas turned on their noisy cleaning machines and did their best to wake me up. A few nasty words of Tagalog came in very handy and again I was left alone.

Still, even at 6AM when I finally got up from my bench, the airport was awfully quiet. The international terminal was dead. Even the newsstand was still closed. The domestic side was slowly waking up, and the only place that was buzzing was Tim Horton’s – of course...

All in all, a pleasant airport to spend the night at. The only drawback, or maybe I simply didn’t find them, was the lack of showers. That, and hard to find outlets – my laptop needed some serious recharging, and while there are plenty of places to do it after going through security, in the before-security areas, I couldn’t locate any conveniently placed electrical outlets. I finally ended up sitting on the floor in the middle of the international departures hall next to a pillar with a socket pissing off everybody in the process. Well, it’s not my problem they had idiots design their electrical wiring, OK?

Yvr art 1

Outlets might be hard to come by, but at least they have art. Or something that resembles art.

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