Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Snoozing at the terminal - Singapore's Changi ranked 1st for 10 years in a row

Airports range widely in what they offer overnight guests. The top-ranked airport at the Guide to Sleeping in Airports Web site for the last 10 years is Singapore's Changi Airport. It has dimly lighted napping areas, where comfortable leather chairs have leg rests and headrests. Some are even fitted with alarm clocks. There are also cheap sleeping cubicles available for travelers.

Sleeping at an airport overnight, once almost a sport for the young and short of cash, has become a lot more common lately, affecting even older and professional travelers. And a big reason is that airlines are no longer as free with complimentary hotel vouchers as they once were.

"Belt tightening by airlines over the last 18 months, and more so this year," is how Randy Petersen, editor of the online magazine InsideFlyer and the frequent-flier Web site FlyerTalk.com, explains it.

"They have to look at everything they spend a penny on," Petersen said. And because flights are fuller, he added, "they're not just dealing with a few passengers."

Bob Harrell, founder of Harrell Associates, an airline consultant, agreed. "If they're charging for extra bags, food and water, then the flip side is the airlines are going to go out of their way to minimize expenses on one side, while maximizing on the other," he said.

An unscheduled overnight stay at a German airport inspired one business traveler, Frank Giotto, the president of Fiber Instrument Sales in Oriskany, New York, to create the Mini Motel, a one-person tent complete with air mattress, pillow, reading light, alarm clock and pillow (which he now sells for $39.95).

Asked what airports would think of a tent city of his Mini Motels, Giotto expressed confidence.

"People sleeping in chairs don't seem to bother them," he said. "We could be forcing the airports to come up with a solution to respond to the tremendous need."

And there is even a Web site, the Budget Traveller's Guide to Sleeping in Airports (www.sleepinginairports.com), which lists the best and worst airports to spend the night in.

--International Herald Tribune, 15 July

So, thats another addition to our Number Ones list!


howshouse said...

i've always fancied changi. despite being old, it's always been relevant to passengers needs.

klia on the other hand has great structural beauty but pales in comparison when it comes to functionality.

there's always something to do at changi. nothing to do at klia.

royzjeff said...

Maybe we care to much on the aesthetic value. Running an airport that serves as a major entry to our country should include practicing excellent CSR.