My Finnair flight from London arrived close to 2:00AM into Helsinki. I had no hotel reservation. So I decided to sleep on a chair in the terminal. Why? Because it just made sense. Truth be told, sleeping in Helsinki Airport is not a bad experience at all.
Sleeping in Helsinki Airport
I slept in airports all over the world in my youth, a common occurrence when I was a student trying to conserve money by minimizing hotel expenses. That bug has never quite left me.
I must admit, I derive a certain intangible satisfaction from being cheap. It’s the way I’m hardwired (you can blame the Depression-era mindset of my father and uncle for that, partially!) and I must admit I rather enjoyed it.
But some airports are far better designed for sleeping than others. Helsinki is one of those airports.
I arrived in the non-Schengen area and noticed couches without armrests and easy chairs. With my primary objective to review the Platinum Wing lounge which was also just a few paces away, it made little sense to book a hotel room, travel through immigration, take a taxi or shuttle to the hotel, then get back to the lounge in time for the 5:30AM opening (I wanted people-free pictures for my review).
So with a tad over three hours to kill, I selected a chair, leaned back, put my headphones on, draped my coat over me, and enjoyed a very nice nap. The heat was on, power ports were within reach, and no announcements or music blared over the loudspeaker. It was quiet.
At 5:15AM, my alarm rang and I proceeded over to the lounge and was the first passenger in. I got the pictures I wanted, I got a solid nap, and I didn’t have to waste 100EUR on a hotel for a few hours.
While I no longer make a habit out of sleeping in airports, I enjoyed this “blast from the past” in Helsinki. In my situation, it made no sense to seek out a hotel for less than three hours. If you do find yourself stuck in HEL overnight, there’s a bit of comfort at least in the chairs…
Finally, note that if you are in the Schengen Area, sleep pods are available for 5EUR/hour.
Have you slept in Helsinki Airport?
How did you secure your carry ons while snoozing? That is always a nap-killer in these situations!
I was traveling only with my duffel bag and placed the shoulder strap around my leg as I slept. But I left my cell phone charging next to me so I was somewhat vulnerable…That said, I wasn’t worried. I feel very safe in Nordic countries.
Helsinki isn’t a high-crime city. Pretty close to Japan.
It’s not well-served by hotels, unless there are new ones in the past couple of years. It would be a perfect place for a MOXY like the one at VIE. I recall staying at a HI , but it’s a good 20 minutes away, barely deserving of being described as an airport hotel.
Quite a few years ago, I slept in Brussels Airport due to being too economical and an having an early flight that required check in before the first train arrived from the town I was leaving from (not leaving from Brussels city or any of the big Belgian cities). I slept on a chair not far from the check in area. Got some low quality sleep.
I would not recommend it. For work purposes, like early pictures of a lounge, maybe, but I am not a writer like Matthew.
There is now GLO Hotel Airport within the airport itself, and both Scandic and Hilton Helsinki Airport hotels just next door in a short walking distance (next to the terminal building).
I’m a little confused. Why not try out their famous GoSleep pods that convert into a private and secure bed for 5 euros/hour? Seems like a more comfortable rest and a good opportunity for a review, or is there a thrill sleeping in public spaces?
No thrill and this would have been an interesting review, but the pods were in the Schengen area and I did not want to risk not being first in the lounge…
There are two hotels on site at HEL, both just a short walk from the terminal, a Scandic and a Hilton both of which are very good.