SFO Airport Sleep Pods/Nap Pods Guide

Fortunately, last year’s news that San Francisco’s tiny sleeping ‘pods,’ popular among tech workers, were not up to code did not affect the nap pods installed at San Francisco Airport. You can rest easy knowing that the sleep pods installed in San Francisco Airport are available for booking and can plan for a good rest.

This San Francisco Airport Sleeping Guide has extensive info on the nap rooms available on pay-per-use basis with finer details of the types of pods available, amenities, cost and booking. If you prefer not to pay for the nap pods or for hotels, we have also provides 8 spots available within the airport’s terminals to give you a wider range of choices for you to decide from.

From cozy nap rooms to padded benches and quiet corners, discover the best places to relax and unwind at one of the busiest airports in the United States. Let’s help you find the perfect spot to catch some z’s before your next flight.

This guide provides detailed information about the nap pods at SFO that you need to know. If you’re interested in a firsthand account from someone who spent two hours napping in these pods, you may want to read this review on Business Insider. I have, however, summarized the pros and cons below.

The Nap Pods at SFO Airport’s Freshen Up

Yes, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has installed sleep pods, known as Nap Pods, available for travelers seeking a restful escape during their journey. The Nap Pods at SFO are located in the International Terminal and offer two types of suites: Small Nap Room Suites and Large Nap Room Suites.

These suites are available from 6 AM to 7 PM with variable rates depending on the duration of stay—ranging from three to five hours, and there’s also an overnight option.

Details of the Nap Pods:

At San Francisco International Airport (SFO), the SFO Nap Pods present a unique and rejuvenating rest solution for travelers. Operated by the Airport Travel Group, a minority-owned local business, these facilities are part of a broader array of services that also include ‘Freshen Up‘ shower facilities and baggage services. Conveniently located in the International Terminal, the nap rooms offer travelers a private space to relax and refresh during their journeys.

Due to their placement, these nap pods can be somewhat difficult to locate without guidance, and they operate strictly on a first-come, first-served basis, meaning that reservations are not possible.

This makes it essential for travelers to plan their time accordingly and visit the pods early if they wish to secure a spot. Open 24 hours a day, the Freshen Up service ensures that whether you’ve missed a flight or are facing a long layover, there’s a comfortable and affordable option available to make your wait more pleasant.

The Pods are Located in the International Terminal:

The nap rooms provided by Freshen Up are located in the international terminal of San Francisco International Airport. Finding the nap rooms can initially be challenging but look out for maps of the airport, which list the facility’s location. Specifically, Freshen Up is situated before the security checkpoint, making it accessible before you go through security. This location is convenient if you know about it in advance but could potentially cause confusion or missed opportunities if you pass through security too early.

Below is an entire map of SFO Airport to give you an idea of where the International Terminal is:

Map showing International Terminal where Freshen Up is located
Map showing International Terminal where Freshen Up is located. Credit:fysfo.com

The map below points the exact location of Freshen-up location close to the middle of the International Terminal:

Map showing Location of SFO Airport Nap Pods
Map showing Location of SFO Airport Nap Pods

The Hourly and Overnight Cost:

The cost of sleep pods at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) depends on the type of suite and duration of stay. The Nap Pods offer two types of suites: Small Nap Room Suites and Large Nap Room Suites. For the Small Nap Room Suite, the costs are $150 for a minimum of three hours, $195 for four hours, and $245 for five hours, with an overnight rate of $275.

For the Large Nap Room Suite, the pricing starts at $175 for three hours, increases to $210 for four hours, and $255 for five hours, with an overnight option available for $290. These facilities operate on a first-come, first-served basis, and they are available from 6 AM to 7 PM for hourly rentals, with special rates for overnight stays from 7 PM to 7 AM.

Here is a table outlining the pricing and availability for the Small and Large Nap Room Suites at SFO:

Suite TypeTime Slot3 Hours4 Hours5 HoursOvernight (7 PM to 7 AM)
Small Nap Room Suite6 AM to 7 PM$150$195$245$275
Large Nap Room Suite6 AM to 7 PM$175$210$255$290
This table provides a clear view of the rates for different durations and times, helping travelers plan their rest periods effectively.

Cost of Freshen Up Showers:

Shower Service and OthersIncludesPrice
Deluxe Shower (30 minutes)Shampoo, soap, lotion, shower shoes, towel, hair dryer$30.00
Employee and Military ShowerShampoo, soap, lotion, shower shoes, towel, hair dryer$15.00
Shower with suite rental purchaseShampoo, soap, lotion, shower shoes, towel, hair dryer$25.00
Washer and DryerPer load$30.00
Use of hair dryer, iron and ironing board, or clothes steamer$5.00

You can read more of SFO’s pricing details on their website here.

Amenities You Can Expect

Here are the amenities included in the Small Nap Room Suite at SFO:

  • Bed
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Computer desk
  • Full-size mirror
  • Flight board (available on request)

The Small Nap Room Suite at SFO offers a private, amenity-rich space for travelers. Features include a comfortable bed, free Wi-Fi, a computer desk, a full-size mirror, and an optional flight board for tracking flight statuses. Special rates are available for employees and military personnel, with pricing from $150 for three hours during 6am to 7pm. Extended stays and overnight rates are also available, and additional options include a $25 shower add-on or accommodating a second person for an extra $25.

SFO-Sleep-Pods-Small.jpg
Small Nap Pod at SFO

The Large Nap Room Suite provides a more spacious environment with similar amenities, ideal for those requiring extra room. Prices start at $175 for a three-hour stay, with extended and overnight options available up to $290. This suite caters to diverse traveler needs, ensuring comfort and convenience during their stay at SFO.

Large Nap Sleep Pod at SFO
Large Nap Sleep Pod at SFO

Read other airports with sleeping pods.

Review of SFO Nap Pods:

Pros:

  1. Comfort and Convenience: The nap room provided a private space for rest and came equipped with a bed, full-length mirror, TV, computer desk, and Wi-Fi, although most amenities were not used.
  2. Comfortable Bed: The bed was comfortable, offering a good balance of firmness and softness, ideal for rest.
  3. Dark and Quiet Setting: Once settled, the room was dark enough for sleep, and a fan helped drown out some noise.
  4. Available Amenities: The room included essential amenities like a small bottle of water and access to private shower facilities.
  5. Toiletries Provided: The shower room was equipped with all necessary toiletries, making it convenient for freshening up.

Cons:

  1. Price Discrepancy: There was a significant difference between the online listed price and the actual charge at the facility, leading to unexpected costs.
  2. Minimum Booking Time: A two-hour minimum booking requirement was enforced, despite only needing the room for a shorter period.
  3. Noise Levels: Despite claims of being the quietest room, noise from the store’s entrance chime and other patrons was disruptive.
  4. Location and Accessibility: Finding the facility was challenging, and the nap rooms were located before the security checkpoint, which could affect ease of access.
  5. Additional Costs for Short Use: The cost didn’t feel justified, especially considering the short duration of use compared to the minimum booking time.
  6. Safety Concerns in Shower: The shower room’s design led to water pooling on the floor, creating a slip hazard not adequately addressed by the provided shower shoes.

Overall, while the nap room at Freshen Up offered a place to rest and refresh, the experience came with several drawbacks, primarily concerning cost and convenience, making the service questionable in terms of value for money.

8 Other Locations to Sleep in San Francisco Airport:

Here are descriptions of notable sleep locations at San Francisco International Airport (SFO):

Terminal 3 Upper Concourse Near Peet’s Coffee:

This area offers padded benches for sleeping near a coffee shop. It’s relatively quiet with minimal interruptions, and travelers appreciate the proximity to BART and decent WiFi. The area is generally undisturbed by security as long as one doesn’t attract attention.

International Terminal:

Known for its comfortable movable chairs and being relatively clean and safe, this terminal is suitable for overnight stays. The availability of eye masks and earplugs can help counter the consistent escalator noise and frequent announcements.

Terminal 2 Near Baggage Claim #4:

This spot features padded benches suitable for resting. However, it’s frequently used by homeless people overnight, which can raise concerns about cleanliness and safety.

Terminal 1 Near Gates 50 to 60:

Offering a home-like environment with cozy couches, this area is safely positioned airside, making it secure for overnight stays. It’s essential to pass through TSA before they close if planning to sleep here.

Terminal C International:

Travelers can find soft couches here, providing a comfortable sleep environment. It’s positioned conveniently with amenities like WiFi and restrooms nearby, although occasional announcements can be a disturbance.

Landside Terminal 2 Baggage Claim 4:

While there are flat, padded sofas available, this area struggles with cleanliness issues and a high presence of homeless people, making it less ideal for a restful night.

Harvey Milk Terminal (Terminal 1):

This newer terminal offers a quiet atmosphere with plenty of clean and spacious couches at almost every gate. The environment is conducive to resting, particularly due to its overall quietness and cleanliness.

Terminal 3, Green Beans Coffee:

A well-lit and populated area offering several couches for comfortable sleeping. The vicinity to amenities like restrooms and eateries makes it a convenient spot for travelers.

Review of SFO Airport Sleep Quality:

Each location offers unique advantages depending on a traveler’s needs for comfort, accessibility, and privacy.

Pros:

Travelers appreciate several aspects of San Francisco International Airport (SFO), which enhance their experience:

  1. Comfortable Sleeping Areas: Many reviews highlight the availability of comfortable spots for sleeping, such as padded benches and couches in various terminals. This is particularly valued by those with long layovers or unexpected delays.
  2. Cleanliness: SFO is often praised for its cleanliness across terminals, making it a more pleasant environment for passengers spending extended periods at the airport.
  3. Amenities: The airport offers a range of amenities including good WiFi connectivity, various dining options, and services like showers (through the Freshen Up facility), which provide convenience and comfort.
  4. Art and Museum Exhibits: The presence of art displays and museum exhibits throughout the airport provides a unique cultural experience that distinguishes SFO from other airports.
  5. Safety: Reviews often mention feeling safe due to the airport’s security presence and well-lit areas, which is crucial for those staying overnight or traveling alone.
  6. Public Transit Access: The accessibility of BART and other public transportation options directly from the airport makes it easy for travelers to get to and from the city, adding to the convenience of traveling through SFO.
  7. Helpful Staff: Several passengers have noted the helpfulness and friendliness of airport staff, which can significantly enhance the travel experience, especially in stressful situations like delays or navigating through the terminals.

These features contribute to a positive perception of SFO, making it a preferred choice for both domestic and international travelers.

Cons:

Travelers have voiced several complaints about San Francisco International Airport (SFO), which include:

  1. Expensive Services: Many passengers find the cost of food and other services like the Freshen Up facility (which offers showers and sleeping spaces) to be quite high. The airport’s dining and shopping options are often perceived as overpriced compared to outside establishments.
  2. Noise and Announcements: A common issue mentioned is the frequent and loud announcements throughout the airport, which can disrupt sleep and generally make waiting areas less peaceful.
  3. Seating Discomfort: Despite some areas with comfortable seating, many chairs and benches throughout the airport have armrests that prevent lying down, making it difficult for passengers to rest comfortably during long layovers.
  4. Temperature Control: Complaints about the airport being too cold are frequent, with many suggesting that the air conditioning is overly aggressive, necessitating extra layers or blankets.
  5. Cleanliness and Maintenance: While many areas of the airport are clean, some passengers have reported cleanliness issues in specific terminals or complaints about the presence of bed bugs in some seating areas.
  6. Security and Staff Interactions: Negative interactions with security or staff can impact the passenger experience, with some reports of less-than-friendly encounters.
  7. Limited Late-Night Amenities: The lack of 24-hour food options and services is a drawback for those with late-night layovers or delayed flights.
  8. Navigational Challenges: Some travelers find the airport layout confusing, particularly when trying to locate specific gates or services, which can be stressful, especially for first-time visitors or in tight transfer scenarios.

These aspects can detract from the overall experience at SFO, especially for travelers who face long waits or overnight stays.

What to Note about Sleeping Here:


When planning to sleep at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), travelers should consider the following specific details for a more comfortable stay:

  1. Seating Arrangements: Many of the seats, particularly in the International Terminal and Terminal 3, have armrests that prevent full reclining. However, some better options without armrests can be found in Terminal 1 near the yoga room, which offers couches in a cozy setting.
  2. Noise Levels: The airport experiences continuous noise from announcements, particularly notable in Terminal 2 and the International Terminal. Earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones are essential to block out this disruptive noise.
  3. Temperature: SFO is often cool, especially during the night. It is advisable to bring a blanket or wear additional layers. Terminal 2 is specifically noted for being very cold.
  4. Lighting: The airport is generally well-lit, which can interfere with sleep. Terminals such as Terminal 3 and the International Terminal are highlighted for their bright lighting. An eye mask can be useful in these areas.
  5. Safety and Security: While SFO is considered safe, securing your belongings is crucial. Sleeping areas like those in Terminal 1 offer a bit more privacy and security due to less foot traffic.
  6. Cleanliness: Certain areas, particularly those frequented at night like the landside of Terminal 2, have reported issues with cleanliness and even bed bugs. Always inspect your chosen spot before settling in.
  7. Early Arrivals: Prime sleeping spots, especially in quieter sections such as near the yoga room in Terminal 1, can fill up quickly. Arriving early can help secure a more comfortable location.
  8. Accessibility: Some sections of the airport close at night due to security measures, particularly post-security areas. Plan according to the operational hours and your flight schedule to ensure access to your sleeping spot.
  9. Food and Amenities: Overnight dining options are limited. If your layover is late, it’s wise to eat beforehand or bring snacks as stores may close early, particularly in Terminal 1 and the International Terminal.
  10. Alternative Options: For those seeking more comfort, the Freshen Up facility in the International Terminal offers paid services like showers and sleeping spaces. Lounges, although sometimes requiring membership, provide quieter environments with amenities.

By being mindful of these specific conditions and planning accordingly, travelers can enhance their rest experience during layovers or overnight stays at SFO.

Airport Hours:

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) operates 24 hours a day. However, some specific facilities within the airport, like restaurants and lounges, have limited operating hours.

For instance, eateries generally close by midnight, and lounges may have specific access times depending on membership or ticket class. Additionally, security checkpoints may have restricted hours, influencing when travelers can access certain post-security areas. Always check the specific terminal and facility hours if planning to stay overnight or arrive very early for a flight.

TSA Hours and SFO Airport Opening Hours:

At San Francisco International Airport (SFO), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) operates several security checkpoints with varying hours to accommodate the flow of passengers. Checkpoint A and G are open the longest, from 4:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., allowing access to multiple gates including the A, B, C, D, E, F, and G gates.

For slightly shorter hours, from 3:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., passengers can go through Checkpoints B, D, and F1, which also provide access to a wide range of gates across multiple terminals.

SFO Airport checkpoints

Checkpoint F3 operates with more restricted hours, from 6:45 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., still covering multiple gate accesses. These varied hours help ensure that passengers can reach their gates in a timely manner while allowing for security operations to manage and maintain safety protocols efficiently.

Here is a table displaying the operational hours for each TSA security checkpoint at San Francisco International Airport (SFO):

Security CheckpointGates AccessibleOperational Hours
Security Checkpoint A“A” Gates, “B” Gates4:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
Security Checkpoint B“B” Gates, “A” Gates3:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Security Checkpoint D“C” and “D” Gates, “E”, “F”, “G” Gates3:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Security Checkpoint F1“E” and “F” Gates, “C”, “D”, “G” Gates3:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Security Checkpoint F3“E” and “F” Gates, “C”, “D”, “G” Gates6:45 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Security Checkpoint G“G” Gates, “C”, “D”, “E”, “F” Gates4:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m.
This table summarizes the accessibility and operating hours of the security checkpoints at SFO, helping passengers plan their arrival and transit through the airport effectively.

Hotels Close to SFO as Sleep Alternatives:

Hotel NameAddressDistance from SFO Intl AirportRates
Grand Hyatt at SFO55 South McDonnell Rd, San Francisco, CA 94128-3104Connected t SFO Terminas via AirTrainCheck Rates
The Westin San Francisco Airport1 Old Bayshore Highway, Millbrae, CA 940301.3 milesCheck Rates
La Quinta by Wyndham San Francisco Airport West1390 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030-14111.2 milesCheck Rates
Fairfield Inn & Suites San Francisco Airport/Millbrae250 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 940301.4 milesCheck Rates
Hotel Aura190 El Camino Real, San Bruno, CA 94066-55521.4 milesCheck Rates
Aloft San Francisco Airport401 E Millbrae Ave, Millbrae, CA 94030-31111.3 milesCheck Rates
The Millwood – A Boutique Hotel1375 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030-14101.3 milesCheck Rates
The Dylan Hotel at SFO110 S El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030-31211.6 milesCheck Rates
Sfo El Rancho Inn, SureStay Collection By Best Western1100 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030-20151.2 milesCheck Rates
Bay Landing Hotel1550 Bayshore Hwy, Burlingame, CA 94010-16011.8 milesCheck Rates
San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront1800 Old Bayshore Highway, Burlingame, CA 940101.4 milesCheck Rates
Hampton Inn & Suites San Francisco-Burlingame-Airport South1755 Bayshore Highway, Burlingame, CA 940101.5 milesCheck Rates
Residence Inn San Francisco Airport Millbrae Station161 North Rollins Rd, Millbrae, CA 94030-31141.4 milesCheck Rates
Villa Montes Hotel620 El Camino Real, San Bruno, CA 94066-35301.8 milesCheck Rates
Best Western Plus Grosvenor Airport Hotel380 S Airport Blvd, South San Francisco, CA 940801.9 milesCheck Rates
Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport1333 Bayshore Hwy, Burlingame, CA 94010-18042.1 milesCheck Rates
Vagabond Inn Executive SFO Airport1640 Bayshore Hwy, Burlingame, CA 94010-15041.7 milesCheck Rates
Hotel 15501550 El Camino Real, San Bruno, CA 940661.3 milesCheck Rates
Hotel Nova SFO by FairBridge410 S Airport Blvd, South San Francisco, CA 94080-69081.8 milesCheck Rates
Hotel Skye421 El Camino Real, San Bruno, CA 94066-42461.6 milesCheck Rates
Courtyard by Marriott San Francisco Airport1050 Bayhill Dr, San Bruno, CA 94066-30112.1 milesCheck Rates
The Atrium Hotel611 San Bruno Ave E, San Bruno, CA 94066-32331.5 milesCheck Rates
Holiday Inn Express San Francisco-Airport South, an IHG Hotel1250 Bayshore Hwy, Burlingame, CA 940102.3 milesCheck Rates
Holiday Inn Express San Francisco-Airport North, an IHG Hotel373 South Airport Blvd., South San Francisco, CA 940802.0 milesCheck Rates
Gateway Inn and Suites Hotel San Francisco Airport516 El Camino Real, San Bruno, CA 94066-43471.7 milesCheck Rates

FAQs

What are SFO's Airport Hours of Operations

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) operates 24 hours a day, but the availability of certain services, including security checkpoints, varies depending on the time of day. Here’s an expert overview to help fliers navigate the airport’s hours and access airside areas:

Airport Hours

  • Overall Operations: SFO is open 24/7. However, various amenities and services, such as restaurants and shops, have specific operating hours that generally range from early morning to late evening.
  • Airside vs. Landside: While the airport remains accessible, there is a distinction between landside (pre-security) and airside (post-security) areas. Access to airside is dependent on the operating hours of security checkpoints.

Security Checkpoints

  • Closing Times: TSA Security checkpoints do not remain open 24 hours. Most security checkpoints close around midnight or shortly after the last scheduled flight departs.
  • Reopening Times: Security checkpoints typically reopen early in the morning, around 4:00 AM. This timing allows passengers to process through security for the first flights of the day.
  • Impact on Access: During the hours when security checkpoints are closed, passengers cannot access the airside areas. If you arrive during these off-hours, you must wait landside until the checkpoints reopen.

What Fliers Should Know

  1. Planning Arrivals and Layovers:
    • If your flight arrives late at night or you have an overnight layover, be prepared to spend time landside if you cannot pass through security. This means planning for comfort and safety in the public areas of the terminals.
  2. Securing Airside Access:
    • To ensure you have access to airside amenities, plan to pass through security before the checkpoints close. For early morning flights, arrive early to go through security as soon as it opens.
  3. Amenities and Services:
    • Landside: While waiting landside, you can access basic amenities such as restrooms, seating areas, and limited dining options. Some areas landside are less comfortable for overnight stays.
    • Airside: Once airside, you’ll have access to a wider range of amenities, including more comfortable seating, charging stations, and dining options that open early in the morning.
  4. Sleeping at the Airport:
    • Landside: There are a few designated sleeping areas and benches. Terminal 2 near baggage claim and the food court in Terminal 3 are popular spots but may be less clean and have more foot traffic.
    • Airside: More secure and generally quieter, with access to amenities such as lounges and comfortable seating. Ensure to pass security before it closes to access these areas for an overnight stay.
  5. Tips for Comfort:
    • Earplugs and Eye Masks: Announcements can be loud and frequent, so bring earplugs and an eye mask to block out noise and light.
    • Blankets and Layers: The airport can be cold at night, so have a blanket or extra layers of clothing to stay warm.
    • Electronics: Charge your devices before security closes or use the available charging stations in landside areas.

In summary, while SFO operates around the clock, the closure of security checkpoints overnight requires passengers to plan accordingly for accessing airside areas and utilizing airport amenities. Preparing for the wait landside with comfort items and understanding the checkpoint schedules can ensure a smoother travel experience.

Can you sleep in SFO Airport overnight?

Yes, you can sleep overnight at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). While the airport operates 24/7, security checkpoints typically close around midnight and reopen at 4:00 AM, so overnight sleepers will need to stay landside until security reopens.

Comfortable sleeping spots include the padded benches near Peet’s Coffee in Terminal 3 and various areas in Terminal 2 and 3, though some spots may have more foot traffic and noise.

It’s recommended to bring earplugs, an eye mask, and warm clothing as the airport can get cold and announcements can be frequent. Amenities like restrooms and charging stations are available landside, but for a quieter, more comfortable sleep, passing through security before it closes is advisable.

Does SFO Airport Have Sleeping Pods?

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) does offer sleeping pods through the “Freshen Up” service located in the International Terminal.

These pods called Nap Pods provide a quiet, private space for travelers to rest, featuring amenities such as fold-down futon-like beds, desks, and shared bathroom facilities.

The service operates on a pay-per-use basis, with options for hourly rentals or longer stays. While these pods offer a convenient solution for travelers seeking rest, they are relatively expensive compared to other airport sleeping options.

For a more budget-friendly rest, travelers can find comfortable seating areas and lounges throughout the airport, though these may lack the privacy and quiet of the sleeping pods. Read more about the SFO Nap Pods here.

Does this airport have equipped designated rest zones?

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) does not have specifically designated rest zones or sleeping areas like some other major airports. However, there are several areas within the terminals that are conducive to rest and sleep:

  1. Terminal 3: The upper concourse near Peet’s Coffee has padded benches that are suitable for sleeping. This area tends to be quieter and more comfortable.
  2. Terminal 1 (Harvey Milk Terminal): This terminal features cozy seating areas resembling living room furniture, particularly near the yoga room and gates 50-60. These areas are generally safe and relatively quiet.
  3. International Terminal: The pre-security area has some comfortable seating near the food court and restrooms. However, noise from announcements can be a disturbance.
  4. Terminal 2: Near baggage claim #4 and certain post-security areas, travelers can find padded benches. While these spots are not officially designated as rest zones, they provide a relatively comfortable place to rest.

Although SFO lacks official rest zones, travelers can still find various spots with comfortable seating and quieter environments suitable for resting or sleeping overnight. It is advisable to bring items such as earplugs, eye masks, and blankets to improve comfort, as the airport can get cold and noisy.

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.