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  • Writer's pictureAlta's Oyster

First Experience in an Airport Sleeping Pod

I'm no stranger to sleeping on airplanes. While the anxiety of levitating in a composite tube thousands of miles off the ground is enough to keep certain people up, I'm liable to knock out as soon as we reach cruising altitude. It's not that I'm unphased by the scary absurdity of this mode of transportation. Quite the opposite: sleeping helps me deal with it! My mind can't start thinking, "The people on the flights who went down or disappeared probably felt just as normal as me before everything went wrong" if I'm unconscious.

Yeah. The longer the flight, the darker my thoughts are liable to get. So I sleep!

However, I can't recall ever sleeping in an airport. My brain is trying to tell me I slept in the airport in 2010, when I studied in France for a semester during college, but I can't recall details. But I've walked through airports enough time to imagine what sleeping in one would be like. The unforgiving floor. Having to make a pillow out of your poor arm, or using some misshapen backpack, or a too-low neck pillow; contorting your body to sleep in a chair; the unforgiving fluorescent lights (I can't sleep without total darkness).

After traveling to Thailand in January for my birthday, I now have a clear memory of sleeping in an airport, but the experience wasn't like the above at all!

That's because Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok (henceforth referred to by its airport code BKK) has sleeping pods! I'd never heard of such a thing prior to this trip. My flight from Bangkok was to take off at 8:00 AM. My friend Rebecca and I flew from Phuket to Bangkok the afternoon before. Her flight back to the U.S. left the same night, at about 10:30 PM, but I had quite the wait ahead of me.

When we were planning the trip, I figured I'd rent a hotel room for one night or stay in a cheaper option, like a hostel. Then Rebecca shared something she'd come across on YouTube: sleeping pods and capsules in BKK.

I was floored. I wouldn't have to wake up extra early and pay a Grab to get to the airport? I could just wake up and head to the Check-In Counter? Sign me up!

BKK has these cool-looking sleep capsules, but those were sold out by the time I was ready to book. I reserved a private room with Boxtel @ Suvarnabhumi Airport instead, and I think I lucked out with a better choice.

Similar to the capsules, Boxtel is located in the basement of the airport. Don't let the location fool you. The basement is just the lowest level, not dingy at all. The room was spacious enough to hold my big suitcase and my backpack. The full-sized bed and pillow were very comfortable, and the light comforter kept me warm. The room had WiFi, an outlet and USB ports, temperature control, and it was soundproof! As soon as the door closed, I couldn't hear a thing happening outside.

Not even the construction that started sometime in the night. Noise like that would've been more than enough to wake me up in a penetrable room. I mean, they were literally drilling. But I didn't hear it until I stirred awake to use the restroom. After using the restroom, I put my earplugs in, because the room wasn't quite built to completely block out that level of noise, and I knew my ears would search for the sound now that I was awake.

I highly recommend using Boxtel if you have a long overnight layover in BKK. I reserved the room on Booking (linked above). The reservations are for four hours at a time, but I needed about a nine-hour stay, so I called Boxtel from the U.S. to share my predicament, and they told me to book it for the time I needed to start, put my circumstances in the notes, and talk to the staff when I check in. She also told me they were running a special for longer stays and to ask the receptionists.

Everything went smoothly at check in. They had the note in my reservation and extended my time. I don't remember the original price at the time, but, with the special, I paid 2,450 baht ($72.74) for nine hours. I also paid a 500 baht ($14.50) deposit for the room card, which I retrieved when I returned the key at check out. They also gave me a tall complimentary water bottle at check in.

Boxtel allows one guest per room, same as the sleep capsules. I imagine this is to deter any hanky panky. You're pretty much in public, after all. However, Rebecca kept her luggage in my room until it was time for her to go, and no one rushed to kick her out despite not knowing she was planning to leave (there are cameras outside of the rooms).

There are restaurants, massage stations, a currency exchange desk, a station to purchase sim cards, and one to look after your luggage (for a fee) in this area. The only downside to Boxtel is that there are no bathrooms in the basement. They're located two floors up, so be ready for a bleary-eyed trek if you have to go in the middle of the night.

I think every international airport should have sleeping pods, and they shouldn't cost an arm and a leg. I know y'all see them people sleeping on the floor! If you want to know what airports around the world have sleeping pods, check out this list!

My first experience in an airport sleeping pod was a success, so I'll definitely be on the lookout for one the next time I have an overnight layover. Have you ever stayed in one? Have you stayed in multiple? Share your experience in the comments! And checkout Boxtel in motion below!

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