Pods and 8 Places for Sleeping in Auckland Airport

For travelers with layovers or early morning flights wondering about sleep options at Auckland Airport, there is some good news: the airport now features relaxation pods. However, it’s important to note that these are not ‘true’ sleep pods due to their limited hours and lack of traditional pay-per-use flexibility.

This Auckland Airport(AKL) Sleeping Guide provides comprehensive details on these relaxation pods, including their limitations, reviews, pricing, location, and booking information.

Additionally, the guide covers alternative free spots to sleep in the terminals, reviews of the overall airport sleep quality, and nearby hotel options for those seeking a more comfortable rest.

Sleeping in Auckland Airport – Overview:

Sleeping at Auckland Airport presents a mixed experience based on traveler reviews. The international terminal remains open overnight and offers several viable sleeping spots, such as the arrivals lounge alcove and areas near the Air China office, which provide some degree of comfort and privacy.

However, these areas can be noisy and brightly lit, and amenities like power outlets are limited. The domestic terminal closes at 11 PM, requiring overnight travelers to relocate.

The newly revamped Strata Lounge offers a premium sleep option with private relaxation pods, luxury bathrooms, and gourmet food, but at a higher cost. While the airport does provide various sleeping options, travelers often face challenges like noise, lighting, and temperature, making it essential to plan ahead for a more restful experience.

Can you sleep in Auckland Airport?

Yes, sleeping at Auckland Airport is possible, but it largely depends on your timing and location. The domestic terminal is open for resting until it closes at 11 PM. After that, travelers need to relocate to the international terminal, which stays open overnight.

To move between terminals, you can take the free inter-terminal bus that runs every 15 minutes from 5 AM to 11 PM. Once at the international terminal, you can sleep without much disturbance, as staff will only wake travelers if there are security or safety concerns or if cleaning is necessary. According to reviews, while the airport isn’t specifically designed for sleeping, finding a quiet and relatively comfortable spot is feasible with a bit of planning.

Here are Details about Auckland Airport Hours for you to prepare accordingly:

Auckland Airport operates 24/7, but travelers should be aware of specific operational details regarding terminal hours and security checkpoints.

The domestic terminal closes nightly at 11 PM and reopens at 4:30 AM, requiring travelers needing overnight accommodation to relocate to the international terminal, which remains open throughout the night.

Security checkpoints at the international terminal also close during the night, typically around 11 PM, and reopen in the early morning hours, around 4 AM.

This means that travelers arriving late at night or early in the morning must stay landside until the security checkpoints reopen.

Fliers should plan their arrival time accordingly, ensuring they have sufficient time to clear security before their flight. It is advisable to take advantage of the airport’s amenities, such as the Strata Lounge, for a comfortable place to rest while waiting for the checkpoints to open.

You Can’t Sleep on the Domestic Terminal’s Landside or Airside Areas Overnight:

No, the landside areas of the domestic terminal at Auckland Airport are not accessible after it closes at 11 PM.

Once the domestic terminal closes, travelers must move to the international terminal, which remains open 24/7. During this time, they can take the free inter-terminal bus, which operates every 15 minutes from 5 AM to 11 PM, to relocate.

Travelers should plan accordingly and be aware that they will not be able to stay in the domestic terminal overnight. Instead, they should find a suitable spot in the international terminal or consider using the Strata Lounge for a more comfortable rest.

Good News: AKL Airport Now Has Sleeping Pods Called Relaxation Pods:

Auckland Airport has sleep pods installed in its International Terminal and is offered by Strata. Strata launched Relaxation Pods in the Strata Lounge, designed to improve the layover experience for travelers.

These pods function as mini-suites, similar to those offered by Minute Suites, providing a private and serene space for rest.

Each pod features modular sofas, calming lighting, and forest-themed murals, creating a tranquil environment. Travelers also have access to luxury bathrooms with large showers and high-quality toiletries.

The pods are available from 4:30 AM to 11 PM and can be booked in advance, including gourmet food and beverages. This initiative significantly enhances the comfort and convenience of layovers, offering travelers a much-needed respite from the typical airport hustle and bustle.

Limitations of Auckland Airport’s Sleep Pods

While Auckland Airport’s Relaxation Pods in the Strata Lounge offer a unique and premium rest experience, they do come with several limitations that might not meet the needs of all travelers. Here are some of the key drawbacks:

Limited Operating Hours

The Relaxation Pods are available only from 4:30 AM to 11 PM. This schedule means they are not available for overnight stays, which is a significant drawback for travelers with late-night arrivals or early-morning departures who need a place to rest during the night. Unlike other sleep pod options, such as those found in some international airports that operate 24/7, Auckland’s pods close before midnight, making them inaccessible during crucial overnight hours.

Maximum Rest Time of Three Hours

The pods offer a maximum of only three hours of rest. This restriction may not be sufficient for travelers with longer layovers who need more extended rest periods. In contrast, facilities like Minute Suites or Yotel allow for more flexible booking durations, often accommodating stays of several hours up to overnight, providing greater flexibility and convenience for travelers with varied schedules.

Lack of Flexible Booking Hours

Auckland’s Relaxation Pods require advance booking and have set time slots, limiting spontaneous use. Travelers who may have unexpected delays or changes in their travel plans might find it challenging to secure a pod at short notice. Other sleep pod services, like those provided by Capsule Hotels, often allow for walk-in bookings, offering greater flexibility to meet travelers’ immediate needs.

High Cost for Short Duration

The cost of the Relaxation Pods is relatively high, with prices starting at $168 for a three-hour stay. For this price, travelers get access to luxury amenities and gourmet food, but the cost can be prohibitive for those simply looking for a place to nap. Comparatively, other sleep pod services, such as those at Minute Suites, provide a more cost-effective solution with hourly rates that decrease for longer stays.

Where Else to Sleep at Auckland Airport – 8 Best Spots for Sleep:

Arrivals Lounge Alcove (Terminal 1, Near Gate 2)

Description: Located just past the arrivals area upstairs in Terminal 1, near Gate 2, this spot features banks of seats along three walls without armrests, allowing you to lie down. The area is quiet with minimal traffic between 10:30 PM and 4:30 AM and has convenient access to toilets and free showers.


International Departures Floor 2 (Terminal 1, Near Gate 5)

Description: Near the ‘Rice and Noodles’ eatery in Terminal 1, Floor 2, close to Gate 5, you’ll find six four-seater benches without armrests. If these are occupied, a nearby carpeted area is an option. This spot is quiet until 4:00 AM when it becomes busier with people checking into flights and shops opening.


Ground Floor Massage Chairs (Terminal 1, Near Gate 10)

Description: On the ground floor of Terminal 1, near Gate 10, four massage chairs offer a unique sleeping spot. These chairs have knobby bits, but a folded coat can provide cushioning. There’s a multipoint plug available for charging your phone. Chairs facing away from the door are more sheltered and private.


Air China Office on Level 2 (Terminal 1, Near Gate 12)

Description: A bit tricky to find, but worth it for a secluded spot in Terminal 1, Level 2, near Gate 12. Located in a hallway with offices, this spot has a leather bench with a power plug. It’s quiet, warm, and free from foot traffic. This area is not officially designated for passengers but is generally undisturbed by staff.


Viewing Deck Area (Terminal 1, Near Gate 20)

Description: While the official viewing deck near Gate 20 in Terminal 1 may be closed, the area around it remains a good spot for sleep. Near the top of the escalator, this quiet and relatively dark space offers some degree of privacy. A carpeted corridor with a dark nook near a meeting room can also be a good spot.


Regional Departures Gate 34-50 (Terminal 2, Near Gate 34)

Description: This area in Terminal 2 near Gate 34 offers many benches, free Wi-Fi from the nearby Air New Zealand lounge, clean toilets, and showers. The lighting is dimmed at midnight, creating a warm environment suitable for sleeping without the need for a sleeping bag.


McDonald’s Food Court Area (Terminal 1, Near Gate 15)

Description: Situated on the first floor of Terminal 1 next to McDonald’s near Gate 15, this area provides access to a mobile charging station with multiple power points and a USB port per stool. The stools are high and uncomfortable, but the charging facility is handy for overnight stays.


Behind International Arrivals Showers (Terminal 1, Near Gate 1)

Description: This spot, hidden behind the showers near International Arrivals in Terminal 1, close to Gate 1, offers benches for sleeping. It is usually quiet and secluded but can get chilly, so a sleeping bag is recommended. The area can get busier during renovations and with staff movement.

Two Best Spots for Sleeping in Auckland Airport

Two of the best spots for sleeping at Auckland Airport are the arrivals lounge alcove in Terminal 1 near Gate 2 and the area around the Air China office on Level 2 near Gate 12.

The arrivals lounge alcove features banks of seats along three walls without armrests, allowing travelers to lie down comfortably. This spot is quiet from 10:30 PM to 4:30 AM, with convenient access to toilets and free showers nearby, making it a favored choice for many fliers.

The area near the Air China office offers a secluded leather bench with a power plug in a quiet hallway with minimal foot traffic. This spot is known for its warmth and privacy, providing an undisturbed sleep environment. Both locations offer practical amenities and a degree of comfort that makes overnight stays at Auckland Airport more manageable.

Relaxation Pods in Auckland Airport’s Strata Lounge:

Auckland Airport’s Strata Lounge offers a premium sleeping experience with its newly introduced wellness pods. These private relaxation spaces are designed to provide a calm and restful environment for travelers, particularly beneficial for those between long-haul flights or with extended layovers.

Amenities and Features

Private Relaxation Spaces: The wellness pods in Strata Lounge are designed with calming lighting, modular-style sofas long enough for lying down, and soothing forest-themed murals that create a tranquil atmosphere, helping travelers to relax and recharge.

Full Bathrooms: The lounge features five full-size luxury bathrooms, including two fully accessible ones. These bathrooms are equipped with large showers, modern vanities, and high-quality Ashley & Co toiletries, ensuring a refreshing experience similar to a high-end hotel.

Booking and Pricing: Access to the lounge and its amenities requires booking in advance. Basic lounge access for up to three hours costs around $66. For a more exclusive experience, including the relaxation pods, the cost is $168 for a single room and $248 for a twin room for a three-hour stay.

Food and Beverage: The Strata Lounge offers a gourmet dining experience with a menu curated by executive chef and MasterChef NZ 2010 winner Brett McGregor. Travelers can enjoy fresh seasonal produce, artisanal foods, and a selection of local wines. The lounge provides a variety of dishes and beverages, including Moroccan steamed prawn baos, teriyaki salmon, seared beef, and an excellent Bloody Mary.

Work and Conference Spaces: For travelers who need to stay productive, the lounge offers plenty of working spaces, free Wi-Fi, and a conference room available for booking.

Location and Access: The Strata Lounge overlooks the international departures shopping area and is accessible via an escalator just after Duty Free. Travelers are advised to keep track of their boarding gate to avoid last-minute rushes.

Additional Information

The Strata Lounge at Auckland Airport provides an excellent opportunity for travelers to relax and refresh in a luxurious setting, making it an ideal choice for those looking to enhance their airport experience.

Sleep Pod Features of Auckland Airport’s Relaxation Pods:

The relaxation pods in Auckland Airport’s Strata Lounge can be considered sleep pods due to several key features that enhance their suitability for sleeping:

  1. Private and Enclosed Spaces: Each pod is a private area, ensuring minimal disturbances and a quiet environment conducive to sleep.
  2. Comfortable Sleeping Arrangements: The pods are equipped with modular-style sofas that are long enough to lie down on comfortably, similar to a bed.
  3. Calming Environment: The pods feature calming lighting and forest-themed murals, creating a serene atmosphere that promotes relaxation and rest.
  4. Accessibility to Full Bathrooms: Guests have access to luxurious full-size bathrooms with large showers and high-quality toiletries, allowing them to freshen up before or after rest.
  5. Quiet and Undisturbed: The design and location of the pods ensure that travelers are not disturbed by airport noise, making them ideal for a restful sleep.

These features collectively create a conducive environment for sleep, justifying the designation of these relaxation pods as sleep pods.

Sleep Challenges the AKL Relaxation Pods are Solving:

Fliers face several sleep challenges in airport terminals that the sleep pods in Auckland Airport’s Strata Lounge effectively address:

  1. Noise and Disturbances: Terminals are often noisy with announcements, cleaning activities, and passenger movements. The sleep pods provide a quiet, enclosed space that minimizes these disturbances.
  2. Lack of Privacy: Finding a private place to sleep in a busy terminal is difficult. The pods offer personal, lockable areas where travelers can rest without being in public view.
  3. Comfort: Airport seating is typically not designed for long periods of rest, often featuring armrests and hard surfaces. The pods come with comfortable, modular-style sofas that allow travelers to lie down fully.
  4. Lighting: Terminals are brightly lit 24/7, making it hard to sleep. The sleep pods have calming lighting and forest-themed murals that create a more sleep-friendly environment.
  5. Access to Amenities: Travelers often struggle with the lack of convenient facilities for freshening up. The Strata Lounge pods provide access to full-size luxury bathrooms with showers and high-quality toiletries.
  6. Security Concerns: Sleeping in public areas can make travelers feel vulnerable. The pods offer secure, private spaces where travelers can rest without worrying about their belongings.

By addressing these common sleep challenges, the Strata Lounge sleep pods provide a much-needed solution for weary travelers looking for rest and rejuvenation during their time at the airport.

Review of Auckland Airport’s Sleep Quality:

Pros

  1. Strata Lounge Wellness Pods:
    • Comfortable and Private: The newly revamped Strata Lounge offers private relaxation spaces with modular sofas, calming lighting, and soothing forest-themed murals, providing a tranquil and comfortable environment for rest.
    • Luxury Amenities: The lounge features five full bathrooms, including two that are fully accessible, equipped with large showers and high-quality toiletries, ensuring a refreshing experience.
    • Gourmet Dining: Travelers have access to a menu curated by a MasterChef NZ winner, offering a range of gourmet dishes and beverages, enhancing the overall experience.
  2. Accessibility:
    • Inter-Terminal Bus: A free inter-terminal bus runs every 15 minutes from 5 AM to 11 PM, making it easy to move between the domestic and international terminals if needed.
    • 24/7 Availability: The international terminal remains open overnight, allowing travelers to find a spot to sleep without being forced to leave the airport.
  3. Amenities:
    • Showers and Toilets: Free shower facilities and accessible toilets are available, making it convenient for travelers to freshen up.
    • Power Outlets: Various spots in the international terminal, such as near the Air China office, offer power outlets for charging electronic devices.
    • Food Options: 24-hour food options, including McDonald’s, are available to satisfy late-night or early-morning hunger.
  4. Quiet Spots:
    • Secluded Areas: Several quiet and secluded spots, such as the arrivals lounge alcove and near the Air China office, provide comfortable places for undisturbed sleep.

Cons

  1. Limited Options in Domestic Terminal:
    • Closes at 11 PM: The domestic terminal closes at 11 PM, requiring travelers to move to the international terminal if they need to stay overnight.
    • Limited Sleeping Areas: The domestic terminal offers fewer suitable sleeping spots compared to the international terminal.
  2. Noise and Light:
    • Busy Periods: Some areas can become noisy and busy, especially early in the morning when flights are checking in, which can disturb sleep.
    • Lighting: Certain spots have 24-hour lighting, which might make it difficult to sleep without an eye mask.
  3. Cost:
    • Lounge Access: Access to the Strata Lounge and its wellness pods comes at a cost, which might not be affordable for all travelers. Basic access is $66, and access to the relaxation pods costs $168 or more for a three-hour stay.
  4. Wi-Fi Limitations:
    • Limited Free Wi-Fi: The airport offers limited free Wi-Fi, which might not be sufficient for travelers needing extended internet access.
  5. Temperature:
    • Chilly Areas: Some sleeping spots can get chilly, so travelers may need to bring extra layers or a sleeping bag to stay warm.
  6. Lack of 24-hour food options

Overall, while Auckland Airport offers several amenities and comfortable spots for sleeping, especially in the international terminal, travelers should be prepared for some potential inconveniences and costs associated with accessing premium services.

Other sleep arrangements at AKL Airport:

Hotels are alternative sleep options:

Here is the table with the 10 closest hotels near Auckland Airport, including their names, addresses, prices, average ratings, and distances from the airport:

Name of HotelAddressPrice (per night)Average RatingDistance from Airport
Novotel Auckland Airport Hotel35 Tom Pearce Drive, Auckland 2022$1504.51.0 miles
Jet Park Hotel Auckland Airport63 Westney Road, Mangere, Auckland 2022$1174.52.3 miles
Ibis budget Auckland Airport2 Leonard Isitt Drive, Auckland 2150$823.51.0 miles
Heartland Hotel Auckland Airport14 Airpark Drive, Mangere, Auckland 2022$1154.02.1 miles
Sudima Auckland Airport Hotel18 Airpark Drive, Airport Oaks, Auckland 2022$1154.02.0 miles
Naumi Hotel Auckland Airport153 Kirkbride Road, Mangere, Auckland 2022$884.02.8 miles
Manha Hotel36 Pavilion Drive, Auckland 2022$1104.02.2 miles
Holiday Inn Auckland Airport2 Ascot Road, Airport Oaks, Auckland 2022$854.02.7 miles
Oakwood Manor610 Massey Road, Mangere, Auckland 2022$663.52.3 miles
Pullman Auckland Airport37 Tom Pearce Drive, Auckland 2022$1584.01.1 miles
This table includes the key details travelers need to compare and choose accommodations close to Auckland Airport.

Hotels vs Relaxation Pods Pricing:

The relaxation pods at Auckland Airport’s Strata Lounge cost $168 for a three-hour stay, offering premium amenities like luxury bathrooms and gourmet food. In contrast, nearby hotels provide more traditional lodging with prices ranging from $66 per night at Oakwood Manor to $150 per night at Novotel Auckland Airport Hotel. While hotels offer longer stays with standard amenities, the relaxation pods provide a high-comfort, short-term rest option ideal for travelers needing a brief, luxurious break.

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.