First off, I would like to apologize for the long delay in between my last update and this one. I have been traveling a lot, and I am also a bit lazy.
Second, I have to confess, the title of this post is a bit misleading. While I did sleep IN the airport, I was still in a bed, not lying on some chairs by the gate. Anyway…
With Egypt in the rearview mirror, our A340-300 pulled up to the gate at ZRH, and it was time for the mad dash to customs. I was not at the head of the pack, and I endured a pretty decent wait to get stamped into the EU.
Once through the border, I headed in the direction of my next flight (ZRH-BCN) and found the closest LX lounge. I forget exactly which lettered set of gates this lounge was closest to, but I was surprised both by how spacious it was, and the amount of food & beverage on offer.
Since Swiss has fed me on the way in from CAI, and would likely feed me again on the way out to BCN, I opted to just grab some water, mess around on my laptop trying stay awake until it was time to fly again.
Boarding was efficient and painless (as usual with Swiss). Not only is LX a great airline, but ZRH is probably my favorite or second favorite in Europe (along with MUC) to transit. Everything is easy, and when you can take the hassle out of air travel, it goes a long way.
It had been a long day of travel, and by the time we landed in Barcelona, it was after 10pm…and I still had checked luggage to collect from the carousel. Normally, I would embrace a short stop, grab my gear, head into town, and try to have a fun night before leaving again the next day. However, my Singapore flight to Sao Paulo was leaving at 9am, which meant I should check-in and be at the airport by 7am. It takes 30+ minutes to drive from the core of Barcelona out to the airport, and waking up at 6am, on 2-3 hours of sleep with a hangover did not sound like the ideal plan to allow for proper enjoyment of 12 hours with SQ. On top of that, I have been to Barcelona a number of times in the past, and contrary to how every other person on the planet feels, I don’t really care for it. The solution of course, sleep at the airport.
At BCN (within the terminal) is a “hotel” of sorts called Air Rooms. I think these are primarily used by weary travelers who want a day room to catch a few hours of sleep in between longhaul flights, but they do allow overnight bookings.
Once I had my luggage, I tossed all the bags onto a trolley and set off in search of Air Rooms. There aren’t exactly any signs, so it’s a bit tough to find. You walk towards the exit as if you are going to exit the airport, then while facing the exit, turn right, go down the long corridor (there will be a parking garage on your left), and when you can’t go forward anymore (and see some restaurants), turn right again and eventually you will run into the Air Rooms, near some bookable conference rooms.
There were some people paying to use the lobby wifi at Air Rooms when I arrived (wifi only works in the lobby sadly), and I seemed to be the only person checking in.
The guy behind the desk showed me around the corner to my room, and I was able to wheel my luggage trolley right from baggage claim into my room…a first.
As I mentioned, the wifi only works in the lobby, so once you’re in your room, you are SOL. They HAVE hard wired internet, but if you don’t have your own ethernet cord (and really, who travels with one anymore?) you most likely won’t be successful. The guy behind the desk offered to provide me with a cord to try and connect, but the cords they stock are under 2 ft in length, and the input is in the wall, behind a desk in the corner. So, unless you want to sit on the floor, nearly under a desk, no internet.
The rooms were small, but clean and fairly modern. I can’t say I have ever enjoyed an airport hotel, or even not instantly regretted not going into town and staying in a real hotel, but sometimes you have no choice. If you can’t stray from the airport, Air Rooms beats sleeping on a chair.
Air Rooms Report Card
Pros: In the terminal, the only way to sleep closer to your future departure would be to sleep at the gate itself, clean.
Cons: Effectively no internet, lovely views of the parking garage.
Verdict: It’s certainly overpriced for what it delivers, but Air Rooms is a clean, decent option in the terminal. I guess they know that if you’re choosing to sleep at the airport instead of in town, then you don’t have much of a choice, and they price gouge accordingly. If I was in a similar jam in the future and needed to sleep at the airport, then yes, I would stay at Air Rooms again. However, if I could go back and re-plan this trip, I would have just moved my SQ flight back a day and gone into Barcelona for the night, thus avoiding Air Rooms.