I did something I have not done in many years: slept on a bench at the airport. My overnight at Washington Dulles reminded me of the days of my youth and how I used to stretch my travel budget by sleeping in airports. How was it? Honestly, not so bad.
Sleeping At Dulles Airport
For the first leg of my trip to Bangkok, I flew on United Airlines from Los Angeles to Washington Dulles, arriving at 12:47am. My connecting flight on EgyptAir was departing at 12:00pm, giving me just over 11 hours at IAD.
Certainly, for most people it would have made sense to get a hotel room for the layover. But not me. A few thoughts went through my mind:
- I had work to do and could not count upon the wi-fi working on eEgyptAir
- The new IAD Polaris Lounge opened at 5:00am, cutting my “terminal time” to effectively four hours
- The Polaris Lounge not only had shower suites, but sleeping pods, fast wi-fi, and a full-service dining room
- I hate waiting for an Uber or hotel shuttle at Washington Dulles and arriving at 1:00am during the pandemic meant I’d likely be on my own to get to the Hyatt Regency or another airport hotel
- If I was going to review the Polaris Lounge, I’d have to get back to the airport very early anyway
So I stayed. In fact, I did not even intend to sleep…that was the goal at least. But I had worked during the flight to Washington and I was quite tired. With fatigue setting in, I figured I’d take a quick power nap and then get back to work.
As I made myself comfortable, a kind United agent noticed me and brought me over a blanket…what a kind gesture (even though I had come prepared with a duvet in my carry-on bag). Thankfully, the benches at Dulles do not have immovable armrests that would have made sleeping impossible.
My one-hour nap turned into a three-hour nap…so it goes. During the night, the lights were out but announcements continued to be played and CNN was playing loudly in a nearby gate area. But I was able to shut it out…and I slept well.
By 4:00am I woke up refreshed and got back to work. The Polaris Lounge opened an hour later and I had a great morning there before proceeding over to the B Gates for my flight to Cairo.
There’s something pathetic about sleeping on airport bench…especially now that I’m no longer a kid. Yet it just made sense for me. With the Polaris Lounge opening at 5:00am, I felt going to a hotel and getting back early would have been too much of a hassle.
What would you have done if you were in my shoes?