No Honolulu Airport Sleeping Pods – Try These

Honolulu Airport in Hawaii, despite over $1 billion in state funding for modernization, lacks high-quality sleep facilities including sleeping pods. If you’re facing a layover, flight delay, or have an early morning departure, you might find the sleeping conditions less than ideal, especially given the absence of state-of-the-art rest areas or sleep pods.

However, this Daniel K. Inouye International Airport(HNL) Sleeping Guide will help you find comfortable spots to rest within the airport and recommend nearby hotels for a good night’s sleep.

Snapshot Showing Honolulu Airport Poor Ranking

In the most recent customer satisfaction index for large airports, Honolulu International Airport ranked second to last, with only Philadelphia Airport scoring lower.

The report highlights several issues contributing to this ranking, including a reduced number of flights, overcrowded terminals, and steep food and beverage prices.

Additionally, the study points to a general decline in satisfaction scores across various categories, such as parking difficulties, affecting travelers’ experiences at HNL. Read more from the J.D Power Report Here.

Check out the list of busiest airports in the world

Does Honolulu Airport Have Sleep Pods?

Honolulu International Airport (HNL) does not currently have sleep pods available for passengers, and there have been no announcements from sleep pod operators like Minute Suites or Yotel regarding plans to expand to this location.

Additionally, the airport’s short-term and long-term Modernization development plans do not include the introduction of a transit hotel or in-terminal rest areas equipped with modern sleep facilities such as sleep pods.

This means that travelers looking for places to rest within the airport are limited to traditional seating areas and may need to look outside the airport for hotels if they require more comfortable sleeping arrangements.

Check out Airports with Sleep Pods such as Mexico City and Beijing Airports.

Best Locations to Get Sleep in HNL Airport:

Here’s a list of various airport locations where fliers found it feasible to sleep, based on their reviews:

  1. Terminal 2, Honolulu Airport: Fliers found sleeping on comfortable benches despite loud music and ongoing construction. The area was noted to be warm, secure, and well-equipped with charge ports and bathrooms.
  2. International Terminal, Honolulu Airport: This terminal offered flat benches, security, charge ports, bathrooms, and free wifi, although it was outdoors and could get cool at night.
  3. Group Tour Bus Area, Near Lobby 4: After being redirected from Lobby 4 by security, fliers found wood and concrete benches for sleeping. This area was breezy and exposed, with nearby restrooms.
  4. Special Overnight Area: This area was designated for overnight sleepers with flight tickets for early departures. It featured amenities like sockets, toilets, and a security guard monitoring the area all night.
  5. Outdoor Area Near Lobby 4: This outdoor area under pergola shade was noted as available but uncomfortable due to weather conditions and limited electrical outlets.
  6. Outside of Lobby 4: A specified outdoor area between terminals, offering concrete benches for sleeping. It was not very comfortable and exposed to elements like construction noise.
  7. Near Gate D2, Honolulu Airport: A soft bench located between gate intersections provided a somewhat quieter sleeping spot, though it was bright and occasionally loud.
  8. E Gates Garden, Honolulu Airport: The garden provided a fresh outdoor environment for resting, though it was dark at night and had limited restroom facilities.

These locations varied in terms of comfort and amenities, with some being more conducive to sleep than others. The availability of flat benches, security, and proximity to bathrooms were commonly appreciated features, whereas outdoor conditions and noise levels were frequent cons.

Challenges Sleeping at Honolulu Airport:

Fliers faced several challenges when trying to sleep overnight at Honolulu Airport. These included issues with noise, lighting, comfort, security, and environmental conditions:

  1. Noise:
    • Loud Music and Construction: Some fliers reported loud music playing throughout the night, along with the noise from ongoing construction activities, which made it difficult to sleep. Loud music playing throughout the night was mentioned in relation to Terminal 2 and several other general areas within the airport. Construction noise were noted in area near Lobby 4.
    • General Ambient Noise: The regular airport operations and announcements also contributed to a noisy environment.
  2. Lighting:
    • Bright Lights: Many areas within the airport were very brightly lit, which disturbed fliers trying to sleep. For instance, one area was described as being “lit up like a baseball field.” This level of brightness could make it difficult for passengers to sleep comfortably.
    • Inconsistent Lighting in Outdoor Areas: Outdoor sleeping areas could be unpredictably dark or brightly lit, depending on the location and time of night.
  3. Comfort and Facilities:
    • Hard and Uncomfortable Seating: Many seating areas had armrests or were made of hard materials like concrete, making it difficult to lie down comfortably.
    • Lack of Amenities: In some designated areas, the lack of power outlets, insufficient seating, and inadequate protection from weather conditions were significant discomforts.
  4. Security and Privacy Concerns:
    • Frequent Security Checks: Some fliers felt uncomfortable with the constant presence and checks by security personnel, although this was also seen as a safety measure by others.
    • Privacy Issues: The open nature of sleeping areas meant there was little to no privacy for those trying to rest.
  5. Environmental Conditions:
    • Exposure to Elements: Several reviews mentioned that outdoor sleeping areas such as the outdoor area near Lobby 4 were exposed to wind, rain, and varying temperatures, which could lead to a very uncomfortable rest.
    • Temperature Fluctuations: Some indoor areas were noted to be too cold, and the lack of blankets or suitable sleeping gear exacerbated this issue.
  6. Accessibility and Location Issues:
    • Difficult Navigation: Poor signage and the spread-out nature of suitable sleeping spots made it difficult for travelers to find a good place to rest.
    • Moving for Cleaning or Operational Reasons: On several occasions, fliers were asked to move from their spots due to cleaning schedules or other operational needs, disrupting their sleep.

These conditions combined to create a challenging environment for those needing to stay overnight at Honolulu Airport, often leading to a lack of restful sleep and a less than satisfactory overall experience.

Review of Honolulu Airport Sleep Quality:

Pros:

  1. Security Presence: Many travelers felt secure due to the vigilant security patrols, which can provide a sense of safety when sleeping in public areas.
  2. Warmth: In some terminals, the environment is kept comfortably warm, which is appreciated during nighttime.
  3. Availability of Amenities: Some areas have access to charging ports, bathrooms, and occasionally, free WiFi, although it might come with limitations such as ad interruptions.
  4. Flat Benches: Some terminals offer flat benches without armrests, making it somewhat easier to lie down.
  5. Formal Registration: Certain areas provide a structured check-in with security, which formalizes the stay and ensures only travelers are present.

Cons:

  1. Noise: Loud music and general airport noises (like construction and announcements) are common complaints that make it difficult to sleep soundly.
  2. Hard Surfaces and Uncomfortable Seating: Many areas have hard surfaces, and the seating often includes armrests, which makes it uncomfortable for resting.
  3. Outdoor Exposure: Some sleeping areas are outside, exposing sleepers to weather elements like wind and rain, and temperature fluctuations.
  4. Limited Access and Restrictions: Overnight stays are restricted in terms of area, timing, and access, with some needing to show proof of travel.
  5. Poor Conditions for Extended Stays: Those stuck due to transit issues or flight delays often find the environment challenging, especially with limited food options and general discomfort.
  6. Inadequate Infrastructure: Complaints about the overall cleanliness, outdated facilities, and lack of comfortable resting areas highlight a lack of investment in passenger comfort.
  7. Uncertainty and Variability: Different terminals and different nights can offer wildly different experiences, from relatively pleasant to extremely uncomfortable, making it hard to plan for a good night’s rest.
  8. Lack of Privacy: Most areas are open and public, offering little to no privacy for individuals or groups trying to rest.
  9. Cost of Amenities: While some amenities are available, they often come at a cost, including paid WiFi and expensive food options, which can add to the inconvenience.
  10. Cultural and Operational Indifference: Some feedback suggests a lack of care or consideration for the comfort and needs of passengers, reflecting a broader attitude that may affect overall airport service quality.

Overall, sleeping at Honolulu International Airport is feasible but often fraught with challenges that can significantly impact the comfort and quality of rest. Preparation and awareness of specific terminal conditions can help mitigate some issues, but travelers should manage their expectations and consider alternative accommodations if comfort is a priority.


Tips for Good Sleep in HNL Airport:

Based on the various reviews and experiences shared by travelers who attempted to sleep at Honolulu Airport, here are some detailed tips for anyone planning to spend the night there

  1. Choose Your Spot Wisely:
    • Select Flat Benches: Look for flat benches without armrests for a more comfortable sleeping position. Some travelers specifically mentioned finding soft or flat benches in quieter areas.
    • Find Quiet Areas: Gates or terminals that are less busy at night are preferable. Some reviews mentioned areas like gates 6-11 and gates 12 and 13 as being quieter spots with less foot traffic and dim lighting.
  2. Prepare for Environmental Conditions:
    • Dress Appropriately: Bring layers of clothing, including a warm jacket or a blanket, as some areas can be breezy or colder, especially if they are open to the outside.
    • Use an Air Sleeping Pad: For hard surfaces, consider bringing a portable sleeping pad to provide some cushioning against hard benches or the floor.
  3. Manage Noise and Light:
    • Earplugs and Eye Masks: To block out ambient noise and bright lights, use earplugs and an eye mask. These can be particularly helpful in areas with ongoing construction or loud music.
  4. Stay Safe and Secure:
    • Keep Documents Handy: Have your boarding pass and ID easily accessible as security may check them, especially if you are in designated sleeping areas.
    • Stay Informed About Policies: Be aware of the airport’s rules regarding where you can sleep, as some areas may be off-limits at certain times.
  5. Access to Amenities:
    • Locate Bathrooms and Charging Stations: Before settling in for the night, identify nearby bathrooms and electrical outlets for charging devices. Some travelers noted that these amenities could be sparse and not conveniently located.
  6. Food and Water:
    • Bring Snacks and Water: Since food services may be closed overnight, it’s advisable to bring your own snacks and water. One reviewer suggested snagging an airplane blanket and snacks from your flight.
  7. Arrive Prepared:
    • Bring a Hoodie and Comfort Items: Packing a hoodie, extra socks, and a small travel pillow can make sleeping in the airport more bearable.
    • Security and Safety Measures: Always secure your luggage to yourself or make it tamper-evident, and stay alert to your surroundings, especially if sleeping in more isolated or open areas.
  8. Plan for Early Wake-ups:
    • Be Prepared to Move: Due to early morning cleanings or security checks, be ready to wake up early or move locations. Some areas may start getting busy before 5 AM.

These tips reflect the collective advice of past travelers and aim to help future visitors manage the challenges of spending a night at Honolulu Airport more comfortably.

Check out our Guide on Airport Sleep Essentials.

Showers at HNL:

Unfortunately, HNL Airport does not have or offer public shower facilities. The only nearby options for showers are at local hotels or day-use hotels, which offer rates starting at $85 as USO shower facilities have been closed. The showers that were previously available to U.S. military members and their families in the USO Military Lounge located in Terminal 2 are closed until further notice, as announced on HNL’s official website.

Pacific Marina Inn offers the lowest rates for day-use rooms at $85 and is available from 7 am to 2 pm and offers free shuttles. Holiday Inn by IHG is open for longer with day-use rooms available from 7 am to 7 pm.

Hotels Near Honolulu Airport as Alternatives to Sleep Pods

For travelers seeking a more comfortable and restful option than sleeping at Honolulu Airport, which lacks sleep pods or in-airport hotels, here are three nearby hotels that provide viable alternatives:

  1. Airport Honolulu Hotel:
    • Convenience: Offers a free airport shuttle service operating from 5:00 AM to 1:00 AM. Travelers can easily reach the hotel by using the courtesy phone in baggage claim to arrange pick-up.
    • Amenities: This hotel is likely to provide standard amenities suitable for both short stays and longer layovers, enhancing comfort compared to the airport environment.
    • Service: Known for good service, it could be an ideal choice for those who want minimal disruption in their travel plans.
    • Check Rates.
  2. Best Western Plaza Hotel:
    • Shuttle Service: Provides a complimentary airport shuttle, making it easily accessible for tired travelers.
    • Day Rooms: Offers the flexibility of day room rentals, which is a great option for travelers who need a few hours to rest without booking a full night’s stay.
    • Facilities: Likely to offer comfortable rooms and essential services that would cater to business and leisure travelers alike.
    • Check Rates for Best Western Plaza Hotel:
  3. Pacific Marina Inn:
    • 24-hour Shuttle: Features a free 24-hour airport shuttle service, perfect for guests arriving or departing at odd hours.
    • Budget-Friendly: Generally considered a more budget-conscious option, this inn provides basic accommodations that are still a significant upgrade over airport benches or floors.
    • Location: It is located 2.2 Miles from HNL. While it offers fewer luxuries, its proximity to the airport and the convenience of round-the-clock transfers make it a practical choice.
    • Check Rates for Pacific Marina Inn here.
    • Other comparable budget hotels with better ratings are White Sands Hotel and Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Waikiki
  4. Price Waikiki
    • Prince Waikiki is a highly acclaimed luxury hotel, boasting an impeccable 5/5 rating from over 3,800 customers, which speaks volumes about its quality and guest satisfaction.
    • Situated just 6.5 miles from Honolulu Airport, it offers convenient access for travelers, along with breathtaking oceanfront views, positioning it as an exceptional choice for those seeking a serene retreat close to the airport.
    • The hotel is renowned for its elegant and contemporary design, spacious guest rooms, and suites that feature floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding landscape. Guests can indulge in a variety of amenities including a modern fitness center, a lavish spa, and an infinity pool that seems to blend seamlessly with the ocean horizon.
    • Dining at Prince Waikiki is an exquisite experience, with multiple on-site restaurants offering a range of gourmet options that showcase the best of local and international cuisine. The hotel also boasts exceptional service, with a staff committed to providing a personalized and memorable stay for every guest.
    • For business travelers, Prince Waikiki offers well-equipped meeting spaces and convenient business services, making it an ideal venue for corporate events. Leisure travelers will appreciate the hotel’s proximity to major attractions, including Waikiki Beach, luxury shopping centers, and vibrant nightlife spots.
    • Overall, Prince Waikiki stands out as a top-tier hospitality destination, combining luxury, comfort, and a prime location to deliver an unmatched hotel experience near Honolulu Airport.
    • Check Rates

Below is a table with a list of all hotels close to Honolulu Airport:

Here’s a table of the 15 hotels closest to Honolulu Airport, including their names, addresses, distances to the airport, and booking prices:

#Hotel NameAddressDistance to AirportPrice on Booking.com One Month to the Day(subject to change)Average Rating
1Prince Waikiki100 Holomoana Street, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815-14366.5 miles$2715/5
2The Equus1696 Ala Moana Boulevard, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 968156.5 miles(no shuttle)$1794.5/5
3Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Waikiki1830 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815-16026.7 miles(no shuttle)$1784/5
4Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort2169 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815-19367.1 miles(no hotel shuttle)$3344.5/5
5Ka La’i Waikiki Beach, LXR Hotels & Resorts223 Saratoga Road, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 968157.1 miles$4424.5/5
6Ilikai Hotel and Luxury Suites1777 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 968156.6 miles$3594/5
7Best Western The Plaza Hotel3253 N Nimitz Hwy, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 968191.6 miles$2393.5/5
8Luana Waikiki Hotel & Suites2045 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 968157.0 miles$2154.5/5
9Aston at the Executive Centre Hotel1088 Bishop Street, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 968134.7 miles$2294/5
10Hotel La Croix2070 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815-20487.1 miles$3604.5/5
11Embassy Suites by Hilton Waikiki Beach Walk201 Beachwalk Street, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 968157.2 miles$3604.5/5
12Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort2005 Kalia Road, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 968156.7 miles$315(All-inclusive: Currently the best-seller)4/5 from about 20k clients
13Aqua Palms Waikiki1850 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815-16026.7 miles$2544/5
14Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani2233 Helumoa Road, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815-19627.2 miles$3174.5/5
15Renaissance Honolulu Hotel & Spa1390 Kapiolani Boulevard, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 968146.0 miles$2685/5
These hotels offer a range of prices and are located at varying distances from Honolulu Airport, providing options for every traveler’s needs and preferences.

Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) in Honolulu serves as the main gateway to the Hawaiian islands and is located near the western edge of the city. The proximity of the airport to downtown Honolulu and the famous Waikiki Beach area makes it conveniently positioned for visitors looking to explore the city or head directly to resort areas.

Here’s an overview of how the airport is situated relative to the listed hotels and their respective suburbs:

  1. Waikiki: This is Honolulu’s main hotel and resort area, famous for its iconic beaches, shopping, and entertainment options. Most of the listed hotels, such as Prince Waikiki, Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, and Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, are located approximately 6.5 to 7.2 miles from the airport. Travel time typically ranges from 15 to 20 minutes by car, depending on traffic. This area is known for its high-rise hotels, lively atmosphere, and beautiful oceanfront views.
  2. Ala Moana: Close to both Waikiki and downtown Honolulu, this area is known for the Ala Moana Center, the largest open-air shopping center in the world. Hotels like The Equus and Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Waikiki are also about 6.5 miles from the airport. Ala Moana offers a slightly more relaxed pace compared to Waikiki and is preferred by those looking for proximity to both shopping and the beach.
  3. Downtown Honolulu: This is the historic and commercial center of the city. Hotels such as Aston at the Executive Centre Hotel are located here, approximately 4.7 miles from the airport. Downtown is ideal for those interested in business affairs, historical sites, and less touristy surroundings.
  4. Near the Airport: For utmost convenience, especially for those with early flights or late arrivals, hotels like Best Western The Plaza Hotel and Pacific Marina Inn are located very close to the airport (1.6 and 2.2 miles away, respectively). These offer basic amenities and free shuttles to the airport, making them practical choices for short stays.

Overall, the hotels near Honolulu Airport provide a range of options from luxury to budget-friendly, catering to tourists, business travelers, and transit passengers, all within a relatively short drive from the airport.

FAQs

Is HNL Airport Open 24 Hours?

Honolulu Airport is not open 24 hours a day. It closes nightly from 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM. However, if you already have your boarding pass, you can stay within a designated area of the airport during these closed hours.

This area is patrolled by security until the security checkpoints reopen in the morning. This arrangement is particularly useful for travelers who have early morning flights and choose to arrive at the airport before the general opening hours.

Here’s a detailed table showing the operating hours and available lanes for each checkpoint at the airport:

CheckpointHours of OperationDetails
Checkpoint 1A6:15 AM – 2:15 PM daily1-6 lanes, Standard passengers only
Checkpoint 1B4:15 AM – 10:15 PM daily1-4 lanes, TSA Precheck (1-2 lanes)
Checkpoint 210:15 AM – 1:00 PM daily1-2 lanes, based on throughput
Checkpoint 34:00 AM – 4:30 AM daily (employees only)
4:30 AM – 11:30 PM daily1-6 lanes, TSA Precheck as needed
Checkpoint 45:15 AM – 9:00 PM daily1-2 lanes, Dedicated TSA Precheck
Checkpoint 510:15 AM – 2:00 PM daily (as needed)Open to public based on passenger volume
These times reflect the general availability of each checkpoint, with variations for TSA Precheck and standard processing to accommodate varying passenger volumes and specific needs such as airport employee access.
Map Showing Honolulu Airport Map and Checkpoints
Map Showing Honolulu Airport Map and Checkpoints

Can I Sleep at HNL Airport Overnight?

Yes, you can sleep at Honolulu International Airport (HNL), but it might not be the most comfortable experience. Most of the seating throughout the airport, both landside and airside, is hard with armrests, making it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position.

There is a designated overnight area landside where you might find one of the few benches available, but these are typically snagged early. If you miss out on a bench, you’ll likely end up in a regular seat, which will require you to sleep sitting upright unless you opt for the floor.

If you plan to sleep on the floor, it’s advisable to bring extra layers or a travel mat for cushioning and warmth, as the ground can be quite cold.

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.