ZZZ Score: How We Rank Airports for Sleep Quality

There’s no denying the fact that airports can be hectic and exhausting places, especially when you have a connecting flight or a long layover. That’s why having access to quality sleep facilities at an airport can make all the difference in your travel experience.

With that in mind, Airport ZZZ has taken on the task of ranking different airports based on their sleep amenities and services, using various metrics to determine which airports come out on top. In this expert article, we’ll delve into how Airport ZZZ conducts these rankings and what travelers can expect when it comes to finding a good night’s rest at different airports around the world.

The Importance of Sleep Facilities in Airports

Sleep facilities in airports have become increasingly important in recent years, as air travel continues to rise and layovers become more common. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), airport amenities, including sleep facilities, are among the top priorities for travelers when choosing an airport. This is not surprising, considering that a good night’s rest can improve overall well-being and make the flying experience more comfortable.

Our 11 Metrics Used by Airport ZZZ to Rank Airports for Sleep Quality

AirportLLC uses a combination of metrics to determine the rankings of different airports when it comes to sleep facilities. These include:

  1. Availability of Innovative Sleep Technologies: Sleep pods, sleep suites or cabins are private, compact spaces where travelers can catch some rest in between flights. These are becoming increasingly popular in airports, and we take into account the number of sleep pods or cabins, pricing, period flexibility, and sleep amenities available at each airport.
  2. Access to Day Rooms: Similar to sleep pods or cabins, day rooms provide travelers with a private space to relax and rest during long layovers. However, day rooms are typically larger and offer amenities such as showers and comfortable seating areas. We look at the availability and quality of day rooms at each airport.
  3. Quality of Seating Areas: For travelers on a budget, having access to comfortable seating can make all the difference when it comes to getting some shut-eye in between flights. We take into account the number and comfort level of seating options available at each airport and whether the benches are sleep-friendly without armrests.
  4. Noise Level: A major factor that can disrupt sleep at airports is noise. AirportLLC considers the noise levels at different airports, taking into account factors such as announcements, construction, and proximity to runways.
  5. Complimentary Sleep Facilities: Free facilities suitable for resting such as reclining chairs or quiet rooms are greatly appreciated by travelers. AirportLLC looks at the availability and quality of complimentary sleep facilities at each airport. For example, Istanbul Airport has several reclining chairs while other Southern European counterparts have minimal reclining seats.
  6. Designated Rest Areas: In addition to free sleep facilities, some airports have designated rest areas with dim lighting, comfortable seating, and minimal noise. Airport ZZZ evaluates the number and quality of these designated rest areas at each airport.
  7. Location of Sleeping Spots: We take into account the location and accessibility of these spots, as well as whether they are comfortable and equipped with amenities such as charging ports.
  8. Airport Lighting: Bright lighting can make it difficult to fall asleep, especially for travelers with long layovers. Airport ZZZ looks at the lighting levels and takes into consideration any dimly lit areas or sleep pods available for travelers.
  9. Availability of Airport Hotels: Airports with hotels located right inside the terminals scored well compared to those without. In-airport hotels such as YotelAir make it easier for travelers to rest and avoid the hassle of leaving the airport.
  10. Safety: The safety of sleeping in an airport is also taken into consideration when scoring any particular airport for sleep quality. We look at factors such as security presence, CCTV surveillance, and overall crime rates in the area.
  11. Reviews from Travelers: Last but not least, we also aggregate and analyze hundreds of reviews from travelers regarding their experience with sleep facilities at different airports. These reviews provide valuable insights into the quality of sleep facilities, as well as any areas for improvement.

Introducing ZZZ/Sleep Score to Rank Airport Sleep Quality:

Earlier this year, we set out to spotlight airports that have seriously stepped up their game in making layovers, flight cancellations, or delays less of a hassle for travelers. It quickly became clear from our initial brainstorming that we needed a solid, unbiased way to rank these airports. This would clearly show the difference between, say, Singapore’s Changi Airport, which is decked out with ultra-comfy rest areas and sleep pods, and an airport like Dulles, which is pretty bare-bones when it comes to spots for catching some z’s.

And that’s how the Airport ZZZ Score concept came to life.

This got us started on a journey that led us to change our domain from the old airportllc.com to airportzzz.com in preparation of launching a signature scoring framework for airport sleep.

It’s a first-of-its-kind initiative! While Sleepinginairports.net is another site offering useful tips on catching some shut-eye at airports, they haven’t launched anything similar. We’re thrilled to take our platform a step further than their valuable insights, setting a new standard in travel comfort.

Airport ZZZ Score Categories:

The Airport ZZZ Score for Sleep quality in airports help us objectively rate and rank different airports based on various metrics. There are five big parts to the scores:

  1. Sleep Accommodations (37.5 Points): If airports have cool sleep pods or hotels right inside, they get up to 37.5 points. No sleep spots? Zero points.
  2. Seating and Space Availability (10 Points): Airports with lots of comfy chairs without armrests for lying down can get up to 10 points. Not enough seats or not wheel-chair accessible? Zero points.
  3. Ambient Environment for Sleep(20 Points): Airports that keep things quiet, dim and controls temperature for sleeping can earn up to 20 points. Too bright or loud? Zero points.
  4. Operating Hours and Accessibility (10 Points): Airports open all the time get more points, up to 12.5. Closed at night? Zero points.
  5. Amenities (22.5 Points): Clean places with good security, Wi-Fi, food, showers, lounges, and spots to store bags can get up to 22.5 points. Missing these? Zero points.

In total, airports can score up to 100 points based on how good they are for sleeping.

In summary, our beta scoring framework has 5 main categories;

  • Sleep Accommodations in Airport (37.5 points)
  • Seating and Space Availability for Rest (10 points)
  • Ambient Environment for Restful Sleep (20 points)
  • Operating Hours and Accessibility (10 points)
  • Amenities (22.5 points)
  • Total Points: 100

Let’s look at each scoring category in detail:

Sleep Accommodations (37.5 Points)

Innovative Sleep Technology (Pods/Suites): Sleep technology such as pods, suites, capsule hotels, or cabins significantly enhances the comfort and privacy of airport stays. Airports without any of these facilities are awarded 0 points. In contrast, those equipped with such modern sleep solutions, ensuring travelers can rest in a secluded and comfortable environment, receive 8 points.

In-Airport Hotel: The presence of an in-airport hotel offers travelers the convenience of a full-service stay right within the terminal. Airports lacking an in-airport hotel score 0 points, while those with a hotel that is easily accessible by foot from the terminals are awarded 7 points, reflecting the value of having immediate access to traditional hotel accommodations.

Hotels with Free Shuttle Service: Nearby hotels that offer free shuttle services to and from the airport and within 2-mile radius of the airport reduce the stress and inconvenience for travelers with longer layovers or unexpected stays. Airports without nearby hotels providing this service receive 0 points, whereas airports facilitating this connection are given 5 points, acknowledging the importance of easy transitions between the airport and temporary accommodations.

Designated Rest Zones: Designated rest zones with reclining chairs or with any comfortable spaces to lie down away from the hustle and bustle of the main terminal activities. Airports that do not offer these quiet, comfortable spaces for rest receive 0 points. Those that do provide such areas, ensuring travelers have a space to unwind and recharge, are allocated 5 points.

At Least One Identified Sleeping Spot in Each Terminal: The availability of at least one identified sleeping spot in each terminal guarantees that travelers can find a place to rest, regardless of where they are in the airport. Airports with no designated sleeping spots in every terminal score 0 points, while those ensuring at least one such spot in each terminal receive 5 points, emphasizing the importance of accessible rest areas across the airport.

Ease of Access to Free Sleeping Spots: Easy access to free sleeping spots within the airport is crucial for travelers looking for a quick nap without extra costs. Airports that lack accessible, complimentary sleeping areas are given 0 points, whereas airports that provide these facilities in a way that is easy for all travelers to access score 5 points, recognizing the importance of inclusive rest options.

Access to Day-rooms in Airport Hotels or by Nearby Hotels: Airports that have hotels within its terminals or at hotels near the airport score 2.5 points with those lacking scoring 0.

Seating and Space Availability (10 Points)

Armrest-Free Chairs: The availability of armrest-free chairs allows travelers to lie down comfortably without the obstruction of armrests. Airports without these seating options score 0 points. Those that provide ample armrest-free seating areas, facilitating easier rest for passengers, receive 5 points.

Availability of Seating Spaces: The quantity and diversity of seating options can greatly impact a traveler’s comfort, especially during busy hours. Airports that fail to offer a sufficient number and variety of seating spaces score 0 points, while those with extensive seating arrangements designed to prevent overcrowding are awarded 5 points.

Ambient Environment for Sleep(15 Points)

Lighting: Proper lighting, especially dimmed or designated dark areas, is essential for a restful sleep experience. Airports that do not offer areas with appropriate lighting for sleep score 0 points. In contrast, those providing well-thought-out lighting conditions that support sleep, including the availability of dimmed or dark sleeping areas, receive 8 points.

Sound Level at Night: Minimizing noise levels is crucial for uninterrupted sleep. Airports with high levels of noise pollution or frequent loud announcements during night hours score 0 points. Those that implement measures to reduce noise pollution, such as limiting announcements and providing quiet zones during rest hours, are allocated 7 points.

Overnight Temperatures: 5/5: Maintaining a comfortable temperature is essential for a good sleep experience. Airports that turn off temperature controls and get extreme temperatures, whether too hot or too cold, are not conducive to rest and score 0 points. Those that regulate the temperature to ensure a comfortable environment for sleeping passengers receive 5 points.

Operating Hours and Accessibility (15 Points)

24/7 Operation: Airport that remains open and accessible to passengers 24 hours a day both in the airside and in the landside, give fliers more access to amenities and locations to find sleep. Airports operating 24/7, 7-days a week, 365 days get awarded 5 points with those that close overnight getting 0 points. Airports that close overnight and do not allow for 24/7 access score 0 points, while those operating round the clock, thus permitting overnight stays, are given 5 points.

Ease of Overnight Stay: Policies that facilitate or allow for overnight stays without significant restrictions are crucial for travelers caught in layovers or delays. Airports with restrictive policies or those that make overnight stays challenging score 0 points. In contrast, airports that welcome overnight guests with open policies receive 5 points.

Wheelchair Access: Airports with ramps that makes it easy for passengers using wheelchairs to navigate and get to sleep locations scored 5 while those without scored 0.

Amenities (22.5 Points)

Cleanliness: The overall cleanliness of rest areas, including washrooms, directly impacts a traveler’s comfort and health. Airports that neglect the cleanliness of these areas score 0 points, while those maintaining high standards of hygiene across rest areas are awarded 3 points.

Security: Providing a safe environment, including secure luggage storage options, is essential for peace of mind while resting. Airports lacking secure areas and facilities for luggage storage score 0 points. Those that ensure the safety of travelers and their belongings through secure storage solutions receive 3 points.

Wi-Fi and Charging Stations: Access to free Wi-Fi and sufficient charging stations is increasingly important for travelers. Airports that do not offer these services score 0 points. Those providing comprehensive Wi-Fi coverage and ample charging stations for devices are awarded 3 points.

Food and Beverage: The availability of food and beverage options around the clock is crucial for travelers, especially during overnight stays. Airports without 24/7 food services score 0 points, while those offering a range of dining options at all hours receive 3 points.

Shower Amenities: Access to shower facilities allows travelers to refresh and rejuvenate. Airports that lack shower facilities score 0 points. Those with accessible, clean, and well-maintained shower amenities are given 3 points.

Pay-Per-Use Lounge: Lounges that offer day passes provide a comfortable space for travelers not flying first or business class. Airports without this option score 0 points, while those offering pay-per-use lounge access are awarded 2.5 points.

Luggage Storage Facilities: Secure and affordable luggage storage services offer travelers flexibility and peace of mind. Airports lacking these services score 0 points, whereas those providing secure luggage storage options are awarded 2.5 points.

Access to Smoking Areas: For smokers, having access to designated smoking areas within the airport is a convenience. Airports without designated smoking areas score 0 points, while those with well-ventilated and conveniently located smoking zones are awarded 2.5 points. This ensures all travelers’ needs are considered, while also maintaining a clean and comfortable environment for everyone.

We started our evaluation with Dulles Airport ZZZ Score. Check back soon as we add ZZZ scores for other airports starting with US airports and later scaling to airports abroad.

Updates

April, 11: Removed Wheelchair Accessibility as one of the ranking factor since all U.S. airports now uniformly comply with federal laws ensuring disability access. Enforced by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) of 1986, these regulations mandate that airports accommodate travelers with mobility impairments through accessible facilities, including restrooms, counters, and pathways, alongside providing wheelchairs and staff assistance for boarding or disembarking. The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration oversee adherence to these standards, ensuring equitable air travel access for passengers needing wheelchair assistance.

April 11: Added temperature conditions within airport terminals as a criterion for ranking, combining it with noise levels and nighttime lighting to evaluate the overall ambiance for overnight sleep.