Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sleeping in Airports

One of the funnier, and occasionally useful, Web sites out there is, which is about exactly what the name promises: A running log of reader experiences about sleeping in chairs, on couches but mostly on the floor in airports around the globe.

The site is a novelty, of course, but an entertaining one that includes readers' photos, accounts of personal experiences and cartoons about airports. As with most collectively produced products, the results are uneven but if you are, say, stuck in an airport due to flight delays, security issues or missed connections, finding tips, commiseration from fellow travelers and dark humor can be a hoot. The site describes itself as "The budget traveler's guide to sleeping in airports'' and claims, rather implausibly, that "Airport sleeping is no longer just for the poor young backpacker. Nowadays, you'l find travelers of all ages and income brackets stretched out on airport floors around the world.''

Not because they want to, however. Only because disruptive thunderstorms and blizzards, mechanical problems with aircraft and late arrival to the airport have stranded these frustrated and angry people. The number of travelers with money who choose to sleep on the floor of an airport is perishingly small.

The site is nice to look at and smartly run in the sense that its originators have figured out how to attract attention on the Net: let unpaid readers do most of the work, post a lot of surveys and votes and make lists, lists and more lists.

The latest lists show what readers think are the 10 best and 10 worst airports to sleep in: The two best being Singapore Changi and Seoul/Incheon and the two worst Paris Charles de Gaulle and Moscow Sheremetyevo. Cleanliness, safety, physical comfort amenities like good food and the courtesy of airport staff are the leading criteria for selection, pretty much as you would imagine.

Some parts of the site are helpful. A reader suggests finding a place to rack out at no. 10-best Denver International by wandering up to the the relatively quiet mezzanine in the main terminal, for example.

Anyway, should you find yourself stuck and have oodles of time on your hands, you might fire-up the laptop and check it out: The only catch: getting from one of the terrible airports to one of the good ones means you'll have to fly.

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