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How to Sleep Comfortably in an Airport Terminal

air travel airport sleep capsule

Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport is experimenting with an innovation that air travelers have fitfully dreamt of for years:  a safe and clean place to grab a few hours’ sleep.

Installed a month ago in the AeroExpress terminal, the prototype Sleepbox shows travelers a small, private oasis in which to spend layovers.  The 13-sq.-ft. box, covered with an attractive pale ash veneer, is efficiently kitted out with two bunks, LED reading lamps, electrical outlets for laptops or phone charging, WiFi, ventilation and sound systems, under-bunk space to stow luggage, and motor-controlled blinds.  Apparently, there is even an automated process to change the linens between guests.

air travel airport

Besides this demonstration model (you can’t sleep here yet!), Arch Group, the Moscow design firm behind Sleepbox, has plans for 1-, 2-, and 3-person units, and offers customizable options like entertainment centers, as well as a variety of finishes and window coverings.  Five functional Sleepboxes will be installed over the next five months in Sheremetyevo Airport near boarding areas where passengers often find themselves stranded between flights.  The expected cost will be around $15/hour.

When the Sleepbox concept was first reported on design blog Dezeen two years ago, commenters speculated that the Sleepbox would become the site of airport trysts, a kind of mobile hot sheet hotel and easy transmission site for bedbugs. However similar individual sleep pods in airports have found positive reviews (though there’s some message board confessions of sleeping off the effects of airport bar excesses).  Until the Sleepboxes are actually in use, the likelihood of another commenter’s concern about other travelers noisily investigating (or banging on) the free-standing pod won’t be known.

The growing list of airports with in-terminal sleep facilities include the Yotel units at London’s Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport, and Amsterdam’s Schiphol (all Yotel units includes a tiny bathroom and shower); and other sleep capsules at Munich airport, Tokyo Narita Airport, Osaka Kansai Airport, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson, and Philadelphia Internationa.

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photos courtesy of the Arch Group.

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