Heathrow now has 12 airside bedrooms so transit passengers can sleep comfortably


Pay to sleep in an airport? Now that’s a departure

by Miranda Bryant

19.10.2011 (Evening Standard)

Overcrowded departure lounges, hard chairs and sleeping bags are enough to make
even the hardiest of long haul travellers despair.

But now passengers at Heathrow can enjoy their hours in transit in comfort under
a duvet and away from the crowds in a soundproof cabin – complete with bed, shower,
television and even a mini-bar. The rooms, which also have free wi-fi, are the
first airside bedrooms in Britain.

Airports across Europe, such as Schiphol in Amsterdam, have airside hotels available
to passengers. But despite about three million transfer passengers passing through
Terminal 3 alone every year, the new airside bedrooms are the first in Britain.
The company behind the idea, No1 Traveller – which runs six airport lounges across
Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and JFK in New York – hopes the trend will catch on
and hopes to expand the service across Heathrow and to other UK airports.

The 12 airside bedrooms are available to anyone flying from Terminal 3 who is
willing to pay. Passengers can book ahead or turn up on the day.

Rooms are available for a minimum of two hours between 4.30am and 10.30pm, and
cost £20 an hour for a single and £30 an hour for a twin – which covers everything
except room service and the mini-bar.

No1 Traveller founder and chief executive Phil Cameron said there had been a
positive response since the rooms opened this month, with a 100 per cent satisfaction
rating from guests.

He said: “It’s clear there’s a demand for it. These are the first airside bedrooms
in the UK but in Schiphol they have several airside hotels which are very successful.
You’re talking hundreds of rooms there, so there’s definitely a demand for it
at Heathrow and we want to expand once we understand how it works for Heathrow’s

“People are making their own packages now. What they haven’t shopped around for
before is their experience passing through the airport and the bedrooms are just
another aspect of us trying to make a full range of services available that help
to make the passenger have a better journey.”

Compact… But comfortable

As I walk through the departure lounge of Heathrow Terminal 3 it is difficult
to look at the other passengers without feeling a little sorry for them.

Although I am not going on an exciting holiday, while they’re either uncomfortably
slumped on seats trying to get some sleep or wandering round the shops, I am about
to be taken to my very own cabin.

At the No1 Traveller Lounge I am handed my keycard and directed to my room. Although
compact – there is definitely not much room for manoeuvre unless you get inside
the shower – it is clean, comfortable and has everything a weary traveller might
need. It would certainly add to the overall cost of your trip.

But in the right circumstances it could definitely be worth it for a little bit
of extra comfort and, in my case at least, time spent asleep is money saved on
overpriced coffees and unwanted purchases from the shops.