Sleeping at Stansted Airport
A large number of budget flights depart from Stansted as early as 6AM (when the lowest fares are available). However, this presents travellers with a problem, as the airport’s location is a long way outside London, and transport to the airport is sporadic before 5:30AM. Due to the high price of accommodation in the city and near the airport, and the fact that many budget airlines don’t pay for accommodation in the event of cancellation, an increasing number of travellers choose to spend the night in the airport prior to their flight. A crowd of around 100 travellers (up to 400 in summer) camp in the main departure/arrivals hall every night, effectively turning it into a giant dormitory. Tips for sleeping at Stansted Airport:
- Arrive early, preferably around 10PM, and stake your territory immediately. Benches without armrests are in limited supply and fill up quickly.
- If you arrive later take a floor mat and sleeping bag. Sleeping on the floor is tolerated by the staff, but avoid pitching your bed in front of shops and counters.
- A sleeping bag is generally recommended as the automatic doors constantly open and close as passengers arrive, and it can get chilly in winter.
- Safety is not a problem. The airport is miles away from any settlement and security guards overlook the open-plan building 24/7.
- Ear plugs and eye covers are a must, as the cleaning staff are noisy and shop assistants start arriving at 4AM to open shutters.
- At least one cafe is open all night, offering snacks and hot drinks.
- Toilets remain open and are normally in good condition. When you come to depart, there is a drinking fountain after you pass through security, near the entrance to the departure hall, next to the Airline Information office.
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