Imagine the scene; your flight has been delayed for several hours and you are stuck in a busy airport with several hours to kill and no access to the business lounge. In the past choices were limited; book into an expensive airport hotel or find a quiet area and a seat to curl up to try and rest. In the last few years, however, we have seen a rise in “capsule hotels” which are proving to be more cost effective and flexible for passengers looking to relax during a flight delay or whilst in transit.
The concept started back in 2007 with the opening of Yotel at Gatwick and Heathrow Airports. Instead of pre-booking a traditional airport hotel you could arrive and book a “cabin” by the hour with complete flexibility. Yotel is also located at Europe’s second busiest airport; Amsterdam Schiphol
2012 saw the appearance of the “Napcab” at Munich Airport; looking somewhat like an ATM these are designed as the ultimate hideaway for passengers looking to escape the airport bustle. Set up over 4sqm with ambient lighting, these self-service cabins have multimedia screens allowing passengers to select mood sounds, flight information and entertainment.
Just last year a capsule hotel called Nine Hours, opened at Narita International Airport in Japan. Similar to the Yotel model, guests can book by the hour, however instead of a cabin guests will be in sleeping pods that are approximately a metre wide, a metre high and just 2 metres long! There is also the option to book a shower stall which is useful for passengers in transit in need of refreshing. The hotel opened after a gap in the market was spotted for those catching early flights as train and bus access to the airport is severely limited which resulted in passengers arriving the night before and sleeping in the terminal.
So the next time you are delayed or have a long transit take a look around and see if you can book a cabin or a sleeping pod!