Houston Airport’s Pods by Minute Suites + 5 Alternatives

With a sleep score rated ‘Good’, George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston provides slightly above-average sleeping conditions, earning a C grade. While the airport offers basic sleep amenities such as limited armrest-free chairs, it lacks designated rest zones but has installed Minute Suites sleep pods to make up for it.

In November 2022, IHA and Minute Suites announced the installation of 5 suites with bathroom and showers giving this airport a big boost in sleep quality rating.

However, it is important to note that more nap capsule pods options such those made by GoSleep or Restworks sleeping pods are not yet available at this airport.

Table of contents

Does Houston Airport Have Sleeping Pods?

Yes, Houston Airport has installed 5 sleeping pod solutions in the form of mini-suites operated by Minute Suites. The Minute Suites’ pods are not similar in design to the capsule-design sleep pods designed by brands such as RestWors and GoSleep.

Minute Suites are actually more comfortable and feature a standalone trundle bed and are operated by American owned company offering airport pay-per-use sleep services in airports such as Nashville, JFK, and Philadelphia. Check out details of Minute Suites in Philly Airport here.

As of April 2024, you can book a mini-suite offered by Minute Suites at IHA designed as innovative convertible beds that can also serve as couches, optimizing the limited space available at the airport while offering conducive sleeping conditions. These suites, equipped with a bathroom and a shower, are accessible 24 hours a day and are conveniently situated near Gate C14.

Despite IHA being the 31st busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic handling over 31 million passengers in 2023, it is fair to assume that the 5 suites by Minute Suites are a drop in the bucket and doesn’t really satify the demand for pay-per-use sleep facilities at this airport.

Minute Suites has also installed their compact bed solutions in different airports including Atlanta, DTW, BWI, DFW, JFK, Salt Lake City Airport, Nashville, PHL and Charlotte.

Can you sleep in Houston Airport?

Yes. Houston Airport (IAH) is open 24 hours and while access to airside may be limited for some hours, there are spots you can get yourself comfortable by putting chairs together or even on the floor at different locations listed below.

However, for a more comfortable stay, there are Suites operated by Minute Suites, massage chairs, and in-airport Marriott Hotel as well asl several hotels near the airport that offer day rates.

Since Houston Airport is open 24 hours a day, you will find locations to sleep both in the landside and in the airside and as per various flyer reviews, the best location to get some sleep is in Terminal D near various gates as they are relatively quiet for sleeping and is safe.

Minute Suites at IHA:

In November 2022, 15 months ago, Minute Suites introduced 5 suites at Houston Airport. These suites offer passengers the chance to reserve and use their sleeping facilities, showers, and bathrooms.

Location:

Minute Suites at Houston Airport are located in Terminal C, Level 2, at the Departures/Check-in Section between Gate C14 and C14. The 5 suites are conveniently located near Gate C14, close to Olio Panin Bar and CIBO Express Gourmet Market on the airside.

Below is a snapshot of the location I obtained from fly2houston.com map;

snapshot showing location of Minute Suites at IHA Airport
A snapshot showing location of Minute Suites at IHA Airport

Directions to Minute Suites at IHA:

To get to Minute Suites’ Terminal C, Level 2 location at Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH), follow these general steps. Note that specific directions might vary slightly depending on your starting point within the airport:

  1. From Inside the Airport (Airside):
    • If you’re already inside the secure area (airside) of the airport and in a different terminal, you can use the Skyway, an above-ground automated people mover. The Skyway connects all terminals airside and operates 24 hours a day. Look for Skyway signs and take it to Terminal C. Once you arrive in Terminal C, find an elevator or escalator to take you to Level 2.
  2. From Outside the Airport (Landside):
    • If you’re starting outside the airport or coming from the public side (landside), follow signs for Terminal C. You can access Terminal C by car, taxi, ride-share, or bus. Once you arrive at Terminal C, enter the building and look for elevators or escalators. These will take you up to Level 2. If you’re being dropped off, the drop-off area directly outside the terminal should have nearby access to elevators or escalators.
  3. From the Airport Hotel or Another Terminal (Landside):
    • If you’re coming from the Marriott Hotel located in between Terminals B and C or from another terminal, you can use the Subway, an underground people mover that connects all terminals landside. Take the Subway to Terminal C and then use elevators or escalators to go up to Level 2.
  4. Using Airport Maps and Signage:
    • IAH is well-signed, with digital and static maps located throughout the airport. Upon arriving in Terminal C, or if you’re already there but on a different level, look for airport maps or digital directories. These can provide directions to specific gates, amenities, and services on Level 2. Additionally, airport staff are available to provide directions and assistance.

Cost of Minute Suites at IHA:

Minute Suites at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) offer various pricing options based on the duration of stay and membership benefits.

Day Pricing:

If you book during the day from 8 am the standard pricing starts at $55 for the first hour, with additional increments as follows: $68.75 for 1.25 hours, $82.50 for 1.5 hours, $96.25 for 1.75 hours, and $110 for two hours. The rates continue to increase in 15-minute increments up to eight hours, which costs $380.

Overnight pricing:

An overnight flat rate of $195 is available for bookings between 9 PM and midnight, extending up to 8 AM. You’ll need to book between 9 pm and midnight.

Priority Pass Pricing and Discounts:

Priority Pass members benefit from the first hour free, then $8.50 for each subsequent 15 minutes up to two hours, and $34 per hour thereafter, with an eight-hour stay priced at $238.

Military personnel and airline crew members receive a 20% discount, starting at $44 for the first hour, increasing in 15-minute increments, and reaching $286 for an eight-hour stay. This flexible pricing ensures that travelers can choose the duration and cost that best fit their needs.

Pricing Table for Minute Suites at IAH (0 to 8 Hours): Standard, Priority Pass and Military/Airline Discount Prices of Minute Suites:

Below is the standard pricing table for Minute Suites pricing from 1 hour to 8 hours including overnight rates, priority pass rates, military discount rates and airline discounted rates:

Duration (Hours)Standard PricingPriority Pass PricingMilitary/Airline Discount Pricing
0 – 1$55Free$44
1.25$68.75$8.50$52.70
1.5$82.50$17.00$61.40
1.75$96.25$25.50$70.10
2$110.00$34.00$78.80
2.25$121.25$42.50$87.50
2.5$132.50$51.00$96.20
2.75$143.75$59.50$104.90
3$155.00$68.00$113.60
3.25$166.25$76.50$122.30
3.5$177.50$85.00$131.00
3.75$188.75$93.50$139.70
4$200.00$102.00$148.40
4.25$211.25$110.50$157.10
4.5$222.50$119.00$165.80
4.75$233.75$127.50$174.50
5$245.00$136.00$183.20
5.25$256.25$144.50$191.90
5.5$267.50$153.00$200.60
5.75$278.75$161.50$209.30
6$290.00$170.00$218.00
7$335.00$204.00$252.00
8$380.00$238.00$286.00

Pricing Comparison: Minute Suites vs. Nearby Hotels

When comparing Minute Suites at IAH to nearby hotels, the cost disparity is striking. Minute Suites charge $195 for an overnight stay, with additional costs for showers and bedding.

In contrast, the average price of nearby hotels such as La Quinta Inn & Suites, Comfort Suites, Wingate by Wyndham, Ramada by Wyndham, and Best Western Plus is approximately $79 per night (excluding taxes). These hotels not only provide overnight accommodations but also offer free shuttle services, free breakfast, and other amenities.

See table below:

Hotel/ServiceOvernight PriceAmenities
Minute Suites at IAH$195Private suite, additional cost for bedding and showers, free Wi-Fi, Priority Pass benefits, 20% discount for military and airline personnel
La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Houston Bush IAH South$86Free airport shuttle, breakfast included, fitness center
Comfort Suites Houston I-45 North$79Free airport shuttle, breakfast included, free Wi-Fi, spacious suites
Wingate by Wyndham Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport$77Free airport shuttle, breakfast included, spacious suites, free Wi-Fi
Ramada by Wyndham Houston Intercontinental Airport South$77Free airport shuttle, breakfast included, outdoor pool
Best Western Plus Heritage Inn Houston$78Free airport shuttle, breakfast included, fitness center

On the other hand, the Marriott Hotel at IHA which is the closest hotel offers rates starting around $242 per day, nearly equal the price of Minute Suites’ extended overnight stay of $195 if you factor in $50 blanket, $25 pillow and $20 for showers.

It’s important to highlight that at Marriott, you can check in at 3pm and check out by 11am the next day, totaling 20 hours of stay. When you divide the $242 by the 20 hours, it comes to around $12.1/hr which is less than Minute Suites’ $24.3 hourly rate(for the overnight flat rate of $195)

Minute Suites hourly $24.3 pricing for the extended 8-hour stay is therefore 2 times higher than Marriott.

The reason why I prefer budget hotels above for longer layover durations over Minute Suite’s extended stay is that Marriott offers much more amenities compared to Minute Suites.

For example, you can utilize nearby hotels’ gym, airport shuttle, wake-up services, complimentary breakfast, a more comfortable sleeping bed, and more. This makes the hotel stay much more suitable for long layovers and Minute Suites more suitable for shorter layovers lasting less than 4 hours.

Minute Suites IHA Access with Priority Pass:

Priority Pass members enjoy a discount at Minute Suites, with the first hour complimentary. After that, each additional 30 minutes costs $17, a reduced rate compared to the standard $27.5 for non-Priority Pass holders.

Refer to the chart below from Minute Suites website for the rates applicable to Minute Suites customers with Priority Pass for the 2nd to the 8th hour, considering the initial hour is free:

Chart showing priority pass fees for Minute Suites at Houston Airport
Chart showing priority pass fees for Minute Suites at Houston Airport

Priority Pass members have the option to use their lounge visit entitlement for a 1-hour stay in a Minute Suite, counting as one lounge visit within their current allocation. Any additional time beyond the first hour incurs a charge of US$34 per hour at a discounted rate, payable directly to Minute Suites. Cardholders can bring up to 3 guests to share the suite without any extra fees.

Read more on Priority Pass’ website here.

Minute Suites Amenities at IHA:

  • A daybed sofa that transforms into a bed,
  • A sound masking system,
  • Personal thermostat allows for environmental control.
  • Temporary office space to guests
  • Complimentary Wifi
  • Bathrooms & toilets
  • Mothers requiring a space to breastfeed or pump can access a suite, with the initial 30 minutes provided free of charge.
  • Disabled access
  • AC
  • WiFi
  • No Smoking
  • Complimentary Smart TV
  • Flight information

Reviews of Minute Suites at IAH:

Here is an expert list of pros and cons of the Minute Suites at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) based on various reviews and sources:

Pros

  1. Privacy and Comfort: Minute Suites offer a private space equipped with a daybed sofa that doubles as a sleeping area. This provides a comfortable and quiet environment to rest away from the bustling airport terminal​.
  2. Amenities: Each suite includes power outlets, complimentary Wi-Fi, DirectTV, and Netflix, making it a convenient spot to relax or catch up on work. Showers are available for an additional fee, which is a significant perk for long-haul travelers​​.
  3. Accessibility: Located in Terminal C near Gate C14, the suites are easily accessible and open 24 hours a day, providing flexibility for travelers with varying schedules.
  4. Additional Services: Priority Pass members benefit from one hour of free use and discounted rates for subsequent hours. Guests can also bring additional people into their suite at no extra cost​​.
  5. Clean and Well-Maintained: Reviews often mention that the suites are clean and well-maintained, which is essential for travelers looking to rest in a hygienic environment​.

Cons

  1. Cost: The price can be quite high, especially for longer stays compared to traditional capsule hotel pricing which starts at $45. The cost starts at $55 per hour with a minimum stay of two hours. Overnight stays (8 hours) are $195, which some travelers find expensive compared to nearby cheap hotel options(under $100)​​.
  2. Limited Space: The suites, while private, are small. The sofa is not as comfortable as a traditional bed, and there are no sheets provided, which might affect sleep quality for some travelers​.
  3. Basic Amenities: While the suites are equipped with several amenities, some reviewers noted that the space is quite basic and lacks some of the luxuries found in full-service lounges or hotels, such as extensive food and drink options​.
  4. Availability: There are only five suites available at the IAH location, which can lead to limited availability during peak travel times​
  5. No Blanket or Pillow: The standard suite at Minute Suites does not include bedding, and you have to pay extra for these amenities. Specifically, a blanket costs $50 and a pillow costs $25 as noted in this review. This additional charge can be considered quite steep, considering that overnight stay is $195. Taking pillow, blanket, pillow and shower, the cost comes to $290 which is comparable to nearby hotels such as
    Wingate by Wyndham Houston which provides free shuttle from 6 am to 11 pm and cost less than $80. Holiday Inn Express & Suites also is also under $100 and has free shuttles running from 5:30 am to 10:30 pm.

Booking;

Here are contacts and booking link if you need to make a booking;

Where to Sleep at Houston IAH Airport – 5 Alternatives to Sleep Pods:

If Minute Suites sleep pods and nearby budget hotels with shuttles(under $100) are not your most suitable options, we have reviewed hundreds of IAH sleep reviews from different sites including sleepinginairports.net and below are the most recommended locations to sleep at IAH’s terminals;

Terminal D, Gates D1-D3, D5, D6, and Gate E24 Airside; and near the Subway on the Landside

  • Location: Beside a large plant closest to Gate D6 in Terminal D. Also area between Gate D1 and D3 has little floor traffic and is quieter. Near Gate D5 with international departures, you may also find quiet spots to sleep in as most international flights depart in the evening.
  • Pros: Relatively quiet, not busy, and feels safe even when sleeping alone.
  • Cons: Can get very cold.
  • Pro Tip: Bring an eye mask and earplugs to block out light and muffle sounds. Extra clothing or a blanket is advisable due to the cold.

Terminal D, Gate D9, Airside

  • Location: Top left corner near Gate D9 in Terminal D.
  • Pros: Quiet location for sleeping.
  • Cons: Could be cold and bothered by music and announcements all night.
  • Pro Tip: The chapel in Terminal D is also mentioned as a quiet place where you can lie down and even turn off the lights.

Terminal E, Tanglewood Grille at Gate E22, Airside

  • Location: Booth seats at Tanglewood Grille right at Gate E22 in Terminal E.
  • Pros: Allows for full-length sleeping on padded booth seats.
  • Cons: Affected by cold, light, and occasional announcements.
  • Pro Tip: Use jackets or sweaters as blankets. Eye covers can help mitigate the light issue.

Terminal A, Airside

  • Location: Reclining chairs and small couches are found in the long hallway between the two sides of Terminal A, close to the escalators for the SkyTrain.
  • Airside/Landside: Airside.
  • Pros: Offers both small couches (without armrests) and reclining chairs.
  • Cons: The area is air-conditioned, which can get pretty chilly.
  • Pro Tip: A blanket is nice to have due to the AC, and these spots offer a reasonable level of comfort without any sleeping gear.

Terminal C(Airside), Near Gate C5 and near Baggage Claim(Landside)

  • Location: On the airside, you can find a quiet side spot in Terminal C at Gate C5. On the landside, the baggage claim area of Terminal C is also quiet. You can find some cozy seating options near carousel C7.
  • Pros: Quiet and secluded, suitable for those prepared with blankets.
  • Cons: May get chilly; Frequent loud announcements; starts getting busy early in the morning
  • Pro Tip: Being prepared with blankets or extra layers can make this spot more comfortable.

Reviews of Houston Airport Sleep Quality:

Pros:

  1. Improved Seating Areas: Terminal D renovations have introduced better seating arrangements, including couches and cushioned benches, making it easier for passengers to rest.
  2. Quiet Zones: Certain areas, especially near some terminals and lounges, are quieter, with fewer announcements and less foot traffic.
  3. No Music in Certain Areas: Some parts of the airport have reduced or eliminated background music, which previously was a common complaint among sleepers.
  4. Availability of Food and Snacks: Several terminals have 24/7 access to snacks and food options, with self-checkout facilities making it convenient for late-night or early morning needs.
  5. Safety: Many reviewers felt safe due to the presence of airport security and staff, making it less likely for theft or disturbances during sleep.
  6. Temperature Control in Some Areas: Specific areas like terminal C33 are recommended for warmer conditions, especially useful during cold nights.

Cons:

  1. Ongoing Construction: Continuous construction in several terminals leads to noise disruptions and general discomfort, making it difficult to sleep.
  2. Cold Temperatures: Many areas within the airport are reported to be excessively cold, often requiring passengers to wear multiple layers or move to different terminals for warmth.
  3. Noise Issues: Despite some quiet zones, other areas suffer from constant announcements, music, and general airport hustle, disrupting sleep.
  4. Inadequate Facilities for Overnight Stays: Some terminals lack sufficient sleeping arrangements like reclining chairs or padded areas, and many seating options have armrests that prevent lying down.
  5. Lighting: Bright lights in several terminals make it difficult to sleep, with few areas offering dimmer lighting options.
  6. Poor Customer Service: Negative interactions with security and airport staff can affect the overall experience, as noted in some reviews.

5 Areas to Avoid Sleeping at IHA:

At Houston Airport, several locations were specifically mentioned by fliers as lacking adequate spots for sleeping or having certain deficiencies. Here are the key areas highlighted:

  1. Terminal B near B12 to B20: This terminal is often criticized for its uncomfortable seating arrangements for sleeping. Most seats include armrests, making it difficult to lie down. The general gate areas, especially around gates B12 to B20, have limited options for comfortable rest due to seating design and overall layout.
  2. Terminal A near A17 to A24: Known for its brightly lit environment and noisy conditions, Terminal A offers limited sleep-friendly seating. The seating near the gate areas, particularly around gates A17 to A24, is equipped with armrests that prevent lying down. This area is also busy with passenger traffic and frequent announcements.
  3. Pre-security Areas: Across various terminals, the pre-security areas lack suitable spots for sleeping. These zones, especially near the main entrance and check-in counters, do not provide reclining chairs or padded areas, making it challenging for travelers to find a comfortable spot to rest before passing through security.
  4. Post-security in Terminal C around Gate C33: While there are some seating options available post-security in Terminal C, they fill up quickly. The areas around gates C33 and adjacent gates are frequently crowded and are subject to noise disruptions from overhead announcements, making them less ideal for resting.
  5. General Gate Areas such as D5 in TD: In terminals like Terminal D, seating near gates such as D5 and upwards towards D12 features chairs with fixed armrests, limiting the ability to stretch out for a sleep. These areas are also not conducive to rest due to constant lighting and ambient noise from airport operations.

Is there a hotel inside IAH Airport?

There is no traditional hotel or transit hotel inside Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) except for the Minute Suites sleeping pods. For those seeking a traditional hotel experience, the Houston Airport Marriott at George Bush Intercontinental is the closest option.

Although not located inside the airport, it is situated about 0.3 miles away and is easily accessible from all terminals via a free underground tram service. This makes it a convenient choice for travelers needing overnight accommodation without the need to leave the airport complex.

This hotel is conveniently located between Terminals B and C and is directly connected to the airport, making it easily accessible for those with long layovers, early morning flights, late arrivals, or overnight stays.

Marriott Hotel at IAH

  • Location: Between Terminals B and C, connected to the airport.
  • Accessibility:
    • Inter-Terminal Train (ITT): You can use the above-ground Inter-Terminal Train (ITT), also known as the Subway, which connects all terminals at the airport. The Subway stops near the hotel, allowing passengers to easily access the Marriott without needing to leave the airport complex.
    • Walking: Depending on your terminal, the hotel may be within walking distance, especially from Terminals B and C. There are marked walkways and signs directing passengers to the hotel.
Marriott Hotel at IAH
Marriott Hotel at IAH. Check Price on Booking.com

This setup provides convenient accommodation for travelers without needing to leave the airport complex, although it lacks a transit hotel that is typically found airside.

For more information, you can refer to the map and details provided by Fly2houston.com.

Below is a snapshot from Fly2houston.com map showing location of Marriott;

Snapshot showing location of Marriott Hotel in Houston Airport
Snapshot showing the location of Marriott Hotel in Houston Airport. See full map here.

Check Marriott’s rates on booking.com here

Hotels as Sleep Pods Alternatives at Houston Airport(Under $100).

The pricing for Minute Suites at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is notably high, with an overnight stay costing $195. Additional charges for amenities like a blanket ($50) and a pillow ($25), along with a separate shower fee($20), further increase the expense.

This makes the total cost almost double that of nearby hotels, which offer comprehensive amenities and free shuttle services at significantly lower rates. Such high costs for basic comforts can make Minute Suites an expensive choice for travelers compared to more affordable and these equally convenient hotel options nearby​:

La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Houston Bush IAH South

  • Shuttle Service: Free airport shuttle available 24/7.
  • Distance to Airport: 3 miles
  • Suitability: Ideal for travelers needing a convenient, budget-friendly option with reliable shuttle service.
  • Additional Features: Offers comfortable accommodations, complimentary breakfast, and a fitness center.
  • Price: $86 per night. Check rates today

Comfort Suites Houston I-45 North

  • Shuttle Service: Free airport shuttle service provided.
  • Distance to Airport: 7 miles
  • Suitability: Perfect for budget-conscious travelers looking for easy access to IAH.
  • Additional Features: Includes spacious suite accommodations, complimentary breakfast, and free Wi-Fi.
  • Price: $79 per night. Check rates today

Wingate by Wyndham Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport

  • Shuttle Service: Free airport shuttle available from 5:30 AM to 11:00 PM.
  • Distance to Airport: 2 miles
  • Suitability: Ideal for travelers looking for a comfortable stay with convenient shuttle times.
  • Additional Features: Offers spacious suite accommodations, complimentary breakfast, and free Wi-Fi.
  • Price: $77 per night. Check rates today

Ramada by Wyndham Houston Intercontinental Airport South

  • Shuttle Service: Free airport shuttle available 24/7.
  • Distance to Airport: 2.5 miles
  • Suitability: Suitable for travelers needing a reliable shuttle service and budget-friendly accommodations.
  • Additional Features: Provides comfortable rooms, complimentary breakfast, and an outdoor pool.
  • Price: $77 per night. Check rates today

Best Western Plus Heritage Inn Houston

  • Shuttle Service: Free airport shuttle provided.
  • Distance to Airport: 7 miles
  • Suitability: Ideal for travelers seeking budget accommodations with convenient airport access.
  • Additional Features: Includes comfortable rooms, free breakfast, and a fitness center.
  • Price: $78 per night. Check rates today

If you find the free sleep suggestions listed above too uncomfortable or inconvenient, you can always opt for a hotel room at the George W. Bush Intercontinental Airport’s Terminal or at locations close to the airport.

Other Hotels to Consider:

For travelers looking for accommodation near Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) during a layover, several hotels in the vicinity offer convenient, comfortable stays with various amenities. Here’s a summary of the mentioned hotels:

1. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel

The DoubleTree by Hilton provides a more upscale lodging experience, known for its warm cookies at check-in. The hotel features spacious rooms, a fitness center, on-site dining options, and a shuttle service to IAH. It’s ideal for those seeking a bit more luxury and excellent service during their layover. Check Rates

2. SpringHill Suites by Marriott

SpringHill Suites offers spacious, suite-style rooms equipped with separate living and sleeping areas. The hotel provides free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast, a fitness center, and pool access, making it perfect for travelers who need more space or are staying with family. Check Rates

3. Hampton Inn & Suites

Hampton Inn & Suites is known for its comfortable beds, free hot breakfast, and complimentary Wi-Fi. With a business center, fitness center, and shuttle service to IAH, it’s a solid choice for both business travelers and vacationers. Check Rates

4. Courtyard by Marriott

Courtyard offers a modern, comfortable stay with spacious rooms, free Wi-Fi, and on-site dining options. The hotel caters to business travelers with meeting spaces and a business center but is equally suitable for leisure travelers thanks to its fitness center and pool.

5. Holiday Inn Houston NE – Bush Airport Area, an IHG Hotel

This Holiday Inn offers a comfortable stay with a touch of luxury, including on-site dining, a fitness center, and a swimming pool. Guests can take advantage of the free airport shuttle service, making it a convenient option for those on a layover.

Other Houston Airport sleeping rooms/zones?

Houston Airport offers several sleeping rooms/zones beyond Minute Suites, as detailed on the Fly2houston.com website. Notable among these are the Airport Interfaith Chapels, peaceful areas designated for prayer, meditation, and worship, accessible round the clock to both passengers and airport staff.

Airport Interfaith Chapels at IHA
Airport Interfaith Chapels at IHA

Situated in Terminal C near Gates C29 – C33 and in Terminal D near Gate D8, these chapels provide a peaceful escape.

Furthermore, the airport is equipped with massage chairs spread across various terminals, aimed at revitalizing travelers with a five-minute, deep tissue massage, for a fee.

These chairs are located in Terminal A near Gates A1, A8, A12, A28, and within the Food Court near Gates A17 – A24, specifically by Gate A24.

chair massage at IHA
A chair massage at IHA

In Terminal B, massage chairs are available near Gates B76 – B83 and B85 – B88. Terminal C features a massage chair near Gate C33A, and Terminal D includes one near Gate D7.

For those arriving or departing from Terminal E, massage chairs are positioned near the Security Checkpoint and Gate E10, accommodating international travelers and offering several spots for those in need of rest and relaxation.

FAQs

Is Houston Airport open 24 hours?

Yes, Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is open 24 hours. However, it’s important to note that while the airport itself remains open around the clock, individual terminal operations, including check-in services, security checkpoints, and concessions (restaurants, shops, etc.), may have specific operating hours.

I was able to find some data from this blog with specific hours when TSA remains closed at the different terminals in IHA;

  • Terminal A North: 3:30AM – 7:30PM
  • Terminal A South: 3:30AM – 12:30AM
  • Terminal B: 5:00AM – 9:05PM
  • Terminal C North: 4:00AM – 12:00AM
  • Terminal C South: 5:00AM – 7:30PM
  • Terminal D: 4:30AM – 12:30AM
  • Terminal E: (Temporarily closed) 4:00AM – 12:00AM
  • Federal Inspection Services: 5:00AM – 9:00AM

Overnight travelers should plan accordingly, as some services might not be available during late-night or early-morning hours.

How many terminals in Houston Airport?

Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) has five terminals: Terminals A, B, C, D, and E. These terminals serve both domestic and international flights, with Terminal D being the main international arrivals and departures hub. The airport is designed to facilitate easy transfers between terminals via the Skyway and Subway train services.

What is the best place to sleep in Houston Airport?

Based on flier reviews, Terminal D at Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH) emerges as the top recommendation for a restful sleep during layovers or waiting times. Travelers favor Terminal D for its relatively quiet and peaceful ambiance, especially notable until mid-morning, and it’s characterized by fewer public announcements that could disrupt sleep, making it especially suitable for rest.

Additionally, the lighting in Terminal D is dimmer than in other areas of the airport, creating an environment more conducive to sleep. Specific spots within Terminal D, such as areas around Gate D6 and the airport chapel, are particularly highlighted for their tranquility. The chapel, primarily intended for prayer, offers a serene space with the option to turn off lights, allowing for undisturbed rest.

Although the terminal floors are carpeted for some comfort, travelers suggest bringing an eye mask and earplugs to further mitigate the effects of light and noise. Moreover, considering the airport’s air conditioning, carrying extra clothing or a blanket is advised for warmth.

Terminal D’s overall environment, coupled with the quiet spots near gates like D6 and D9 and the serene chapel, positions it as the most endorsed sleeping location at Houston Airport by the flying community.

IAH Airport Sleep Score: 63.5/100

Sleep Accommodations (27/37.5 Points)

  • Innovative Sleep Technology (Pods/Suites): 8/8. Houston Airport has installed sleep pods in the form of mini-suites or cubiles and is operated by Minute Suites.
  • In-Airport Hotel: 5/7. Although not within Houston’s terminals, Houston Airport benefits from having Marriott Hotel at Houston Airport very close to the airport providing seamless access for passengers to catch some rest without leaving the premises.
  • Hotels with Free Shuttle Service: 5/5. Several hotels around Houston Airport offer complimentary shuttle services, ensuring convenient transitions from the airport to a bed.
  • Designated Rest Zones: 0/5. Despite having quiet areas like those near Gate D6 and the airport chapel, Houston Airport does not have designated rest zones with sleep amenities such as lie-flat benches or reclining seats.
  • At Least One Identified Sleeping Spot in Each Terminal: 3/5. There are barely any spots to sleep in Terminal B and E with Terminal D and C being most recommended followed by Terminal A.
  • Ease of Access to Free Sleeping Spots: 2/3. The availability of carpeted floors and quiet sections within Terminal D enhance the accessibility to comfortable, free sleeping spots. Despite all terminals having carpeted flooring, not all terminals have comfortable sleep spots.
  • Access to Day-rooms in Airport Hotels or by Nearby Hotels: 2/2.5. While there’s an in-airport hotel for comprehensive access, day rooms hotels such as Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn, Palace Inn Blue IAH East, and Hilton Garden Inn further augment rest options during layovers. These day rooms are perfect for daytime layovers.

Seating and Space Availability (6/10 Points)

  • Armrest-Free Chairs: 2/5. Despite most seating options having armrests, points are given for certain areas with more comfortable seating arrangements. Even few couches in Terminal C without armrests were replaced with those with armrests. Fortunately, a few of the armrest chairs in Terminal C (Gate C11) have arms that fold up and can combine 3 to make a good flat resting spot.
  • Availability of Seating Spaces: 4/5. Houston Airport provides ample seating although there is lack of comfortable seating spaces.

Ambient Environment for Sleep (10/20 Points)

  • Lighting: 5/8. The dimmer lighting in Terminal D, especially, helps create a more conducive environment for sleep compared to brighter areas. Most other areas have bright lights.
  • Sound Level at Night: 3/7. There are a handful of serene havens like the Chapel in Terminal C, the space between Gate B20 and B21 in Terminal C, a secluded corner in Terminal E, among others. Beyond these tranquil spots, the majority of the airport is filled with persistent loud noises. Finding these quiet retreats requires some effort. Complaints include loud music from restaurants early in the morning and tunes that play throughout the night, contributing to the overall noise level at the airport. One review noted that noise-cancelling headphones wouldn’t do. You need white noise devices.
  • Overnight Temperatures: 2/5. Although Terminal D is notably comfortable, carrying an extra blanket is recommended for optimal warmth, given the air conditioning.In a review, a traveler shared that an airport employee had advised about the area being exceptionally cold between 2-4 am, suggesting gate C33 as the warmest spot. This turned out to be accurate. While it was not ideal for sleeping, the temperature did seem to reach the high 50s by 4:30 am on the morning. Another passenger noted that it was freezing despite several layers of clothes.

Operating Hours and Accessibility (9/10 Points)

  • 24/7 Operation: 3/5. Houston Airport operates round the clock, welcoming overnight passengers. While the airport is open 24 hours, it only remains open to ticketed passengers already within the terminal. If you are in the public area of the terminal (landside) you will not be able to get through to the secure area of the terminal (airside) until the morning. TSA security screening checkpoint hours vary by terminal: Terminal A North from 3:30AM to 7:30PM, Terminal A South from 3:30AM to 12:30AM, Terminal B from 5:00AM to 9:05PM, Terminal C North from 4:00AM to 12:00AM, Terminal C South from 5:00AM to 7:30PM, Terminal D from 4:30AM to 12:30AM, Terminal E from 4:00AM to 12:00AM, and Federal Inspection Services from 5:00AM to 9:00AM.
  • Ease of Overnight Stay: 3/5. The tranquil areas within Terminal D offer a fairly comfortable overnight stay, albeit suggestions to bring extra comfort items like an eye mask or blanket. The ongoing construction within the terminal has been a significant drawback for many. This construction not only introduces noise but also disrupts the overall tranquility that the improvements aim to foster. According to the official website, the construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2024.

Amenities (11.5/22.5 Points)

  • Cleanliness: 2.5/3. Terminal D’s clean environment fosters a pleasant experience for resting passengers. Also Terminal B, close to Gate B 20 are noted to be super clean but there are complains about bathrooms in other terminals being unclean
  • Security: 3/3. A visible security presence across the airport, including the rest areas, provides a sense of safety.
  • Wi-Fi and Charging Stations: 3/3. Reliable Wi-Fi and ample charging spots ensure passengers can relax without worrying about their electronic devices. There is a “Fuelrod” charger exchange area in Terminal A. WiFi is also free. Connect to the “Free Airport WIFI” network to enjoy unlimited internet.
  • Food and Beverage: 0/3. No food concessions operate overnight.
  • Shower Amenities: 1/3. Similar to Midway, IAH does not provide shower facilities. Your best shower options are paid lounges; Centurion Lounge (Terminal D) and United Polaris Lounge (Terminal E) or Minute Suites (Terminal C). Minute Suite charges $30 for shower facilities.
  • Pay-Per-Use Lounge: 1/2.5. United Club($59) in Terminal A, Terminal B, Terminal C and (1) Terminal E and Admirals Club($79) in erminal A, Airside, near Gate A25. To access Admirals, you must present evidence of travel on the same day, either for departing or arriving flights by American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, or any oneworld® airline.
  • Luggage Storage Facilities: 0/2.5. The lack of luggage storage facilities at Houston Airport mirrors the situation at Midway.
  • Access to Smoking Areas: 1/2.5. Designated smoking areas outside the terminals provide some convenience but could be more accessible.  Smoking indoors is strictly prohibited at IAH. Smoking is permitted exclusively in designated outdoor areas that are at least 25 ft away from Terminal entrances. In Terminal A, a smoking area is available near Door A113. Terminal B offers a smoking zone close to the Taxi pick-up area. For Terminal C, smokers can find a designated spot near Door C105. Lastly, in Terminal E, a smoking area is situated by Door E101.

Total ZZZ/Sleep Score for George Bush Intercontinental Airport: 63.5/100

Concluding Remark:

The overall sleep quality at Houston Airport (IAH) earns a moderate score of 63.5 out of 100. The airport features commendable sleep accommodations, including the installation of sleep pods and an in-airport Marriott Hotel, alongside several hotels offering free shuttle services.

However, it lacks designated rest zones and sufficient comfortable, free sleeping spots. Although certain terminals like D and C provide better sleep conditions and quieter areas, the lack of armrest-free chairs and the persistent noise pollution in most areas pose significant challenges.

Moreover, while the airport operates 24/7, access restrictions apply overnight, affecting the ease of stay. Ambient conditions such as lighting and temperature vary, with some spots being notably more conducive to rest than others.

Lastly, while security and cleanliness are generally good and digital amenities like Wi-Fi and charging stations are adequate, the absence of food services overnight and limited shower facilities detract from the overall experience, reflecting a need for further improvements to enhance passenger comfort during overnight stays.

Image of Nathan Kip Rotich

Nathan helps travelers find the most comfortable sleep setups during layovers, from cozy airport hotels to futuristic sleep pods. His insights aim to transform layovers into rejuvenating sleepcations, offering travelers an alternative to costly hotels and uncomfortable benches.