You’re flying and you missed your connection. Mother Nature decided that your plane just didn’t need to go anywhere for the next nine hours. Whatever the reason, you’re stuck in an airport and it looks like you’re gonna have to spend the night.
The chairs are uncomfortable, the “food” is anything but edible. The lighting is equivalent to sleeping in grocery store and the ambiance is anything but soothing and relaxing. If there’s one thing I know, it’s how to sleep in an airport. Truth? When it comes to part-time living in airports, train and bus stations, I’m a pro. I have the curved spine and matted hair to prove it. But the times they are a changin’ kids!
I recently traveled to the U.S. to reset my visa and help a friend with a project. Due to the schedule differences between Oaxaca, Mexico City, and the U.S., it’s the usual practice to spend a lot of time waiting in Mexico City for the connection through Dallas or Miami. Sometimes you can wait 12 to 16 hours. I’ve done it and it’s not fun.
But on this recent trip I discovered something incredibly cool and I’m completely baffled why they don’t yet exist in America. People, meet the sleep pod!
The company is Izzzleep. You can rent by the hour if you just want a short nap and a shower before your connection, or by the day. The cost for the day is about $30 USD. Check in is after 1pm and check out is before 10am the next day. I chose to book for the entire day. My bus from Oaxaca arrived around 6pm and my flight to the states didn’t leave until the following morning at 6am.
When I checked in, I was given an electronic key-card, a new pair of socks (because shoes are not allowed once inside the main area), a pack of earplugs, and a bottle of water.
Each numbered pod has a corresponding locker where you can store your luggage and shoes. Inside that locker you’ll find a small blanket and a towel. There are shower stalls, sink basins, and separate toilets. The above photo of the locker room is accurate. It looks just like this when you arrive.
But once you pass through that brown door, the main “Pod Room” is futuristic and moody. It’s eerily quiet and looks more like this:
Inside each pod, you’ll find the same blue lighting and a few overhead reading lights. There’s a drop down TV if you want to watch Johnny Depp’s Spanish rendition of Secret Window. The wifi is strong, and the air-conditioning goes low enough to chill a side of beef if that’s your thing. A small fire extinguisher gave me the willies.
The ear plugs came in handy when something very large tested the structural integrity of the pod above me and began to growl, obviously not traveling with its sleep apnea machine. That seems to be the only real drawback to these things.
The noise travels through the thin plastic doors without much interference. While they appear all space-age and shit, they’re more akin to a plastic folding table from Walmart. Once I put my earplugs in, I worried that I’d miss my 4am alarm and the quality of my sleep quickly diminished.
But here’s the thing. All things considered, I wasn’t balled up on the floor in the terminal with a jacket over my face. I wasn’t curled up on a chair, sticky from a spilled Starbucks mocha. I was pretty damn comfortable and I actually got some rest.
I woke up before my alarm and after a hot shower, I turned in my key and walked right out into the terminal. It was storming outside and I didn’t have to deal with it. No morning traffic. No taxi communication snafus. Nada. I was through security by 4:30 and sitting at my gate with a coffee by 4:45.
And that is worth the price of admission.