Guide to Sleeping in Midway Airport

Chicago’s Midway Airport(MDW)scores poorly in terms of sleep quality scoring below average with a score of 39 out of 100. Few factors contribute to poor sleep quality including lack of innovative sleep technologies such as sleep pods, lack of designated rest areas, lack of in-airport hotel and chairs that are not sleep friendly.

That said, it is possible to sleep at Midway Airport with some prior planning and helpful tips that I have shared in this Midway Airport Sleep Guide.

Unfortunately, Midway Airport Lacks Sleep Pods

Unfortunately, Midway Airport has not installed sleep pods to give its layover fliers convenient sleeping spots within its terminals. I went through the Midway Modernization Program as well as plans reported by major sleep pod operators in the US such as Minute Suites and found no plans existing to introduce sleep pods at MDW shortly.

Snapshot Showing MDW Plans but leave out sleep pod installation plans
Snapshot Showing MDW Plans but leave out sleep pod installation plans. Read more about MDW Plans here.

I reviewed the recent $75 million concession upgrades at Midway, the first significant renovation in nearly 20 years, which spans an impressive 70,000 square feet.

I was particularly interested in whether any plans included compact rest solutions, such as pay-per-sleep models. Unfortunately, the Midway Modernization Program does not mention any innovative sleep solutions. Despite over 20 operators taking up space under this program, none of them is a transit hotel or sleep pod operator.

A mentioned above, none of the major sleep pod brands such as Minute Suites, Yotel, or GoSleep have expanded or announced plans to expand to Chicago’s Midway Airport in the near future. The Minute Suites website does not mention Midway Airport as a location, nor does its blog hint at any plans to introduce its compact suites there.

Given that Minute Suites has ended its sleep pod services at O’Hare, it appears improbable that they will be introduced at Midway Airport anytime soon. Additionally, it’s worth noting that GoSleep or RestWork’s Energypods are not available at Midway Airport either.

Sleen n’ Fly, YotelAir and Aerotel are some sleep pod operators that I confirmed to not be operating at MDW.

None of its MDW Modernization Projects involve making the airport more sleep-friendly.

You Can Still Sleep at this Airport Though

Yes, you can sleep at Midway Airport as it operates 24 hours but as mentioned above, MWD does not have sleep-friendly amenities.

Unlike some airports that offer sleep pods or designated rest areas, Midway presents a challenge for those looking to catch some shut-eye. The absence of sleep-friendly chairs—most having armrests—necessitates finding alternative spots, such as the few couches available near the food court in the A concourse, popular among travelers looking to rest. Nonetheless, the floor often becomes a viable option for many, given the limitations.

Be aware that the airport environment may not be conducive to restful sleep; the consistent activity, including a cleaning crew that can be quite audible, and frequent beeps from machinery, may disrupt your sleep. Additionally, the bright lighting and cool temperatures due to the air conditioning can make it difficult to relax without proper preparations.

A heavy pair of socks, a hoodie, and a blanket can be indispensable in creating a cozy setup. To ensure safety and perhaps a sense of community, seek out areas where other travelers are resting. Lastly, plan your essentials in advance; with most stores closing by midnight, gathering any snacks, water, or amenities beforehand is crucial. Adjusting expectations and coming prepared can make an overnight layover at Midway more bearable.

Here are the 4 Best Locations to Sleep at Midway Airport

Concourse A Near the Food Court

  • Features: A few couches are available near the food court. These couches are favored by travelers as they allow for a more comfortable sleeping option compared to standard airport seating.
  • Review Mention: Travelers taking advantage of these couches for sleeping, indicating a relatively better sleep quality in this area.

Airside Areas (General)

  • Features: Generally more comfortable than the landside/public zones, though the seating mainly has armrests, which can make sleeping difficult.
  • Review Mention: Described as quieter and cleaner, particularly at night when there are fewer passengers.

Concourse C

  • Features: Considered the quietest and cleanest concourse. Limited to no benches for stretching out, which often means sleeping on the floor.
  • Review Mention: Fliers found this concourse to be peaceful and suitable for sleeping, particularly if one is prepared with a sleep mat or sleeping bag.

Metal Benches Behind TSA Security Checkpoint

  • Features: A few metal benches located at the midpoint of the three concourses behind the TSA security checkpoint.
  • Review Mention: These benches can be used for lying down at night once security operations are reduced, offering a flat surface compared to other seating.

These locations offer varying degrees of comfort, mostly hindered by factors like permanent armrests and general airport noise. However, the mentioned spots provide some level of suitability for travelers needing to rest during extended waits or overnight stays.

Review of MDW’s Sleep Quality:

Pros:

  1. 24/7 Operation: The airport is open 24 hours, which accommodates passengers who must stay overnight due to delayed flights or long layovers.
  2. Security Presence: A strong security presence provides a sense of safety, which is crucial for those staying overnight.
  3. Availability of Charging Stations and WiFi: Free unlimited WiFi and numerous charging stations throughout the airport help passengers stay connected and keep their devices charged.
  4. Some Comfortable Seating Options: While limited, there are a few areas with more comfortable seating options, such as couches near the food court in Concourse A and some quieter spots in Concourse C.
  5. Cleanliness: Generally, the airport maintains a clean environment, which is important for a more pleasant overnight stay.

Cons:

  1. Lack of Comfortable Sleep Options: Most seating in the airport has armrests, making it difficult to lie down comfortably. There are no designated sleeping pods or in-airport hotels, and no day rooms within the airport.
  2. Noise Levels: The airport can be noisy, particularly where operational activities and cleaning occur, with reports of high-pitched beeping noises and other disruptions.
  3. Bright Lighting: The airport remains brightly lit throughout the night, which can make it hard to sleep, especially for those sensitive to light.
  4. Temperature Control: The airport can become quite cold at night, particularly with the air conditioning running, which may be uncomfortable without proper clothing or blankets.
  5. Limited Food and Beverage Options Overnight: Most food concessions close by 10 PM, leaving limited options for late-night dining or early morning breakfast, though some vending machines are available.
  6. No Shower Facilities: There are no shower facilities available for passengers, which can be a drawback for those looking to freshen up during a long layover or after an overnight stay. The presence of a yoga room is the only thing closest for relaxation. It is open daily from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm and located in Concourse C; near our Mother’s Room. Big credit for Mamava Pods though. They’re located in Concourse A, Gate A5
  7. Restrictions on Movement: Movement between landside and airside is restricted overnight, which can inconvenience passengers arriving late or needing early access to boarding areas.

8 Practical Tips for for Good Sleep at Chicago’s Midway Airport:

  1. Choose Your Location Wisely:
    • Opt for Concourse C: This concourse is noted as the quietest and cleanest, making it a preferred spot for those looking to catch some sleep. Although it lacks benches, the floor can be a viable option if you come prepared.
    • Find Couches Near the Food Court in Concourse A: These couches offer a more comfortable option compared to standard airport seating.
  2. Come Prepared:
    • Bring a Travel Blanket and Pillow: The airport can be cold, especially with the air conditioning running at night. A travel blanket and a small pillow can greatly increase your comfort.
    • Wear Comfortable Clothing and Layers: Opt for loose, soft clothing and bring extra layers or a hoodie to stay warm.
    • Pack Noise-Canceling Headphones or Earplugs: To mitigate the effect of operational noises, announcements, and cleaning crews, noise-canceling headphones or earplugs are essential.
    • Eye Mask: An eye mask can help block out the bright lights of the airport, facilitating better sleep.
  3. Secure Your Belongings:
    • Keep Luggage Close: Sleep with your luggage underneath or very close to your body. Consider a luggage lock to secure zippers and compartments.
    • Use Luggage as a Makeshift Pillow: This not only keeps your belongings safe but also provides extra comfort.
  4. Stay Hydrated and Fed:
    • Purchase Food and Water Before Concessions Close: Most food services close by 10 PM, so stock up on snacks and water beforehand, especially if you anticipate needing something during the night or early morning.
  5. Plan for Your Hygiene:
    • Bring Personal Hygiene Supplies: Since there are no shower facilities, having items like facial wipes, toothbrush, toothpaste, and hand sanitizer can help you feel refreshed.
  6. Check Out the USO Lounge if Eligible: If you’re a member of the military or a military family, the USO Lounge offers a comfortable space to relax, which is available from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
  7. Stay Informed:
    • Monitor Flight Information: Keep an eye on flight status boards or apps to stay updated on your flight details and any changes to gate assignments or departure times.
  8. Choose Strategic Sleeping Times:
    • Sleep During Quieter Hours: Late at night or very early in the morning are typically quieter times at the airport. Avoid sleeping during peak operation hours when foot traffic and announcements increase.

Hotels Near Midway Airport for Comfortable Sleep

For travelers seeking accommodation near Midway Airport (MDW), there are several hotels within close proximity offering a range of facilities to meet the needs of diverse travelers.

  1. Hyatt Place Chicago/Midway Airport – Located just 0.9 miles from Midway Airport, this hotel provides free shuttle service, making it convenient for airport transfers. It’s an ideal choice for travelers looking for nearby accommodations with accessible shopping options.
  2. DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago Midway Airport – Situated 1.0 mile from the airport, this hotel is known for its excellent service, clean rooms, and good value for money. It boasts amenities such as a sanitized environment, scheduled pool visits, and is only 5 minutes away from the airport.
  3. Hilton Garden Inn Chicago/Midway Airport – At 0.8 miles distance, this hotel offers a comfortable stay near the airport with positive feedback on the enjoyable stay by families and promises a prompt return visit.
  4. Hampton Inn Chicago-Midway Airport – Also located 0.9 miles from the airport, it offers free breakfast and a commendable location slightly south of Midway Airport, making it a convenient choice for travelers.
  5. Chicago Marriott Midway – Approximately 0.9 miles from the airport, this hotel is highly recommended for its great service and proximity to Midway Airport and surrounding areas.
  6. Carlton Inn Midway – At 2.0 miles from the airport, this hotel stands out for its ease of access to the airport without the burden of parking prices, offering a great value stay.
  7. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Chicago-Midway Airport, an IHG Hotel – Near to the airport with only 0.9 miles distance, it meets key search criteria including cleanliness, comfort, free breakfast, airport shuttle, and reasonable pricing.
  8. Fairfield Inn & Suites Chicago Midway Airport – Situated 1.0 mile away, offering free 24-hour shuttle service to Midway airport, which is particularly useful for guests with early flights.

Hotels offering “Breakfast included” near Midway Airport:

  1. Hyatt Place Chicago/Midway Airport – Offers free shuttle service and a great location for travelers, with breakfast included.
  2. Hampton Inn Chicago-Midway Airport – Known for its convenient location slightly south of Midway Airport and complimentary breakfast.
  3. Carlton Inn Midway – Stands out for its proximity to the airport and includes free breakfast, adding to its value stay.
  4. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Chicago-Midway Airport, an IHG Hotel – Offers cleanliness, comfort, free breakfast, airport shuttle, and reasonable pricing.
  5. Fairfield Inn & Suites Chicago Midway Airport – Provides free 24-hour shuttle service to Midway airport and includes breakfast.
  6. Extended Stay America – Chicago – Midway – Offers breakfast included and is conveniently located next to Midway airport and Southwest Airlines.
  7. Residence Inn by Marriott Chicago Midway Airport – The suites are great, management and housekeeping are top-notch, and breakfast is included.
  8. Hampton Inn & Suites Bridgeview Chicago – Near Midway airport and includes breakfast with the stay.
  9. Best Western Inn & Suites – Midway Airport – This property is near Midway airport and features a good breakfast among its amenities.
  10. Sleep Inn Midway Airport – Part of the cluster of hotels south of MDW, offering breakfast included in the stay.
  11. Super 8 by Wyndham Bridgeview/Chicago Area – Provides easy access to Midway Airport and includes breakfast.
  12. Best Western Plus Chicagoland – Countryside – Recommended for its free breakfast and better rooms than nearby alternatives.
  13. Rodeway Inn Lyons – Offers breakfast included, ensuring a comfortable stay with essential amenities.

These hotels not only ensure a comfortable stay with their range of amenities but also add value with the inclusion of breakfast, making them ideal choices for travelers seeking convenience and comfort near Midway Airport.

  • The Extended Stay America – Chicago – Midway and the Best Western Inn & Suites – Midway Airport are distinguished as ‘Best Seller’ from the list of hotels provided.
  • Extended Stay America – Chicago – Midway is located approximately 2.0 miles from Midway Airport, offering convenience for travelers with a need for proximity to the airport and Southwest Airlines. It stands out for its accessible location next to major transportation links, catering especially to those looking for an extended stay option with inclusive breakfast.
  • Best Western Inn & Suites – Midway Airport, situated about 3.0 miles from the airport, is noted for its comprehensive amenities including a satisfying breakfast. This property is particularly recommended for its easy airport access, making it a suitable choice for guests prioritizing location and quality accommodations near to Midway Airport.

Midway Airport Sleep Score is Rated Poor: 35/100

Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) has a poor sleep score of 35 out of 100, underscoring its limited offerings for travelers looking to rest. This MDW Sleep Score Guide is designed to provide an overview of what travelers might expect regarding sleep accommodations and facilities during their stay at the airport.

The score is low due to a noticeable lack of sleep-friendly infrastructure:

  • Innovative Sleep Technology (Pods/Suites): Midway Airport does not feature any sleep pods or suites, significantly limiting comfortable and private rest options.
  • In-Airport Hotel: There are no hotels within the airport, which affects travelers looking for immediate lodging during layovers.
  • Hotels with Free Shuttle Service: Although several nearby hotels like Hyatt Place and Hampton Inn offer free shuttle services, they are outside the airport premises, which may be inconvenient for some travelers.
  • Designated Rest Zones and Identified Sleeping Spots: The airport lacks designated rest zones and universally recognized sleeping spots, further complicating the possibility of comfortable sleep. There are a few sleeping spots that fliers identified in different reviews as good for sleep in Concourse A, and C. Check out all the 4 locations to sleep at MDW Airport.
  • Seating and Space Availability: Seating is mostly equipped with armrests, reducing the potential for comfortable rest, and armrest-free chairs are scarce.
  • Ambient Environment: The airport is often brightly lit and cold at night with a noise level that can be disruptive, due to operational activities.
  • Amenities: Limited food options overnight, no shower facilities, and a lack of pay-per-use lounges restrict comfort further.

Despite operating 24/7, Midway Airport’s facilities do not ideally cater to the needs of passengers looking to sleep, reflecting significant areas for improvement in providing a restful and welcoming environment for travelers.

Sleeping at Chicago’s Midway Airport:

For travelers finding themselves at Midway Airport for an extended layover or an unexpected overnight stay, choosing the right spot to catch some shut-eye becomes crucial. Reviews indicate that while the airport is well-lit and feels secure, the availability of comfortable resting areas within the airport itself is limited.

Seats often come with armrests, thwarting any hopes of sprawling out, and floor space, albeit abundant, isn’t the most appealing option for everyone. However, there are a few nuggets of comfort to be found for the weary traveler. Areas near the food courts in concourse A occasionally offer couches, and the presence of fast-food outlets open 24 hours can be a solace for late-night hunger.

For those prepared, bringing items like a travel blanket, heavy socks, and a hoodie can make napping in chillier, brightly lit areas more comfortable.

Opting for accommodations at nearby hotels, such as the Extended Stay America – Chicago – Midway or the Best Western Inn & Suites – Midway Airport, which are celebrated for their proximity to the airport, free breakfast, and more inviting rooms, could provide a more restful alternative.

How amenities at MDW contributed to low sleep score rating:

The absence of innovative sleep technology and in-airport hotels at Midway Airport has markedly impacted its score in terms of providing adequate sleep accommodations for travelers.

Notably, the airport’s lack of sleep pods or suites, which are becoming increasingly common in airports worldwide for offering a private and comfortable space to rest, resulted in a score of 0 out of 8 in this category.

Additionally, the unavailability of an in-airport hotel, which would allow passengers immediate access to rest without the need to leave the airport, further diminished its appeal as a comfortable layover option, scoring 0 out of 7.

These limitations significantly reduce the airport’s overall sleep-friendly rating, highlighting a crucial area for potential improvement in enhancing traveler satisfaction.

Check out our Midway Airport Sleeping Guide.

Breakdown of Midway Airport Sleep/ZZZ Score Rating:

Sleep Accommodations (5/37.5 Points)

  • Innovative Sleep Technology (Pods/Suites): 0/8: No sleep pods or suites are available at Midway Airport, limiting options for efficient and comfortable sleep.
  • In-Airport Hotel: 0/7: No hotels are located directly inside the airport, which restricts immediate access for layover passengers looking for quick and convenient rest.
  • Hotels with Free Shuttle Service: 4/5: Several nearby hotels such as Hyatt Place Chicago Midway Airport Hotel,and Double Tree, and Hampton Inn are within 1 mile and offer free shuttle services, making them relatively convenient for travelers, though they require leaving the airport. For those seeking the most economical choice, Travelodge by Wyndham Downtown Chicago presents itself as the budget-friendly option, priced at less than $100 per night and situated approximately 9 miles from Midway. Carlton Inn Midway, with no parking fees and only 2 miles from the airport, is another convenient option.
  • Designated Rest Zones: 0/5: No designated rest zones are available, which limits structured and secure sleeping arrangements within the airport premises.
  • At Least One Identified Sleeping Spot in Each Terminal: 0/5: Specific, universally recognized sleeping spots in each terminal are not mentioned, leading to inconsistent sleep opportunities. Check out these 4 spots recommended by fliers to sleep in Midway Airport.
  • Ease of Access to Free Sleeping Spots: 0/3: Limited availability and access to free sleeping spots are noted, particularly with armrest chairs making it difficult to lay flat.
  • Access to Day-rooms in Airport Hotels or by Nearby Hotels: 1/2.5: Day-use hotel rooms are available in nearby hotels like Hampton Inn and Marriott, providing some options for daytime layovers but not within walking distance from the terminals.

Seating and Space Availability (4/10 Points)

  • Armrest-Free Chairs: 1/5: Most chairs have armrests, and few armrest-free options are noted, restricting comfortable laying down positions.
  • Availability of Seating Spaces: 3/5: While seating is available, the presence of armrests and limited number of comfortable options reduce the practicality of these spaces for restful sleep.

Ambient Environment for Sleep (8/20 Points)

  • Lighting: 2/8: The airport remains brightly lit, which can disrupt sleep. Specific quieter, dimly lit areas are limited and not consistently conducive to sleeping.
  • Sound Level at Night: 4/7: Noise from cleaning crews and operational announcements persists, though some reviews mentioned quieter areas, like Concourse C, which is considered the quietest and cleanest.
  • Overnight Temperatures: 2/5: The airport is described as being cold at night, particularly with air conditioning running, which affects comfort for sleeping without adequate preparation.

Operating Hours and Accessibility (7/10 Points)

  • 24/7 Operation: 4/5: Midway Airport operates 24/7, accommodating overnight travelers. From 12 midnight to 4:00 Am, only ticketed passengers are allowed past security. However, movement between landside and airside is restricted overnight, which can inconvenience passengers.
  • Ease of Overnight Stay: 3/5: Staying overnight is possible but comes with significant discomfort due to seating arrangements, lighting, and temperature issues.

Amenities (11/22.5 Points)

  • Cleanliness: 1.5/3: General cleanliness is maintained, though some reviews specifically mention dirty bathrooms which could affect the comfort of overnight stays.
  • Security: 3/3: A strong security presence provides a sense of safety, crucial for those staying overnight.
  • Wi-Fi and Charging Stations: 3/3: Recharge your devices at numerous workstations featuring counters with power outlets and comfortable seating options. Furthermore, all gated areas are now furnished with seats that include power sources. Also, take advantage of complimentary, unlimited WiFi. Simply connect to the “Boingo Hotspot” or “_Free_MDW_Wi-Fi” network and view an advertisement to gain internet access.
  • Food and Beverage: 2/3: Limited overnight food options are a drawback, though vending machines provide some relief. You can find 24/7 options such as the Coca Cola vending machine, Farmer’s Fridge vending machines located in Central Market, Concourse C at Gate C1, and Concourse A at Gate A4A, and Nuts on Clark in Central Market. Dunkin’ in Central Market is also open 24 hours from Monday to Friday, although its hours are reduced on Saturday and Sunday to 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Full list here.
  • Shower Amenities: 0/3: No shower facilities are available, which diminishes the ability to freshen up during extended stays.
  • Pay-Per-Use Lounge: 0/2.5: No pay-per-use lounges are available; only the USO lounge offers limited access, impacting non-military passengers. There are reports from December 2023 that The Club would be opening a lounge but could not confirm if its now operational or whether it would allow passengers to purchase day passes.
  • Luggage Storage Facilities: 0/2.5: There are no airport luggage storage facilities at MDW but few private luggage storage operators such as Hold Your Luggage operate close to MDW.
  • Access to Smoking Areas: 1.5/2.5: Smoking indoors is prohibited at Midway Airport. However, travelers will find four designated smoking lounges outdoors, available after security in Terminals A, B, and C. These lounges are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Total ZZZ Score for Midway Airport: 35/100

Closing Remark:

Chicago’s Midway Airport presents significant challenges for travelers seeking to sleep comfortably during layovers or overnight stays, as reflected by its low sleep quality score of 35 out of 100. This score stems from several key areas where the airport falls short:

  1. Sleep Accommodations: Midway Airport does not provide sleep pods or suites, nor does it have any in-airport hotels. This limits convenient and comfortable rest options directly at the airport, forcing travelers to rely on nearby hotels. Although some of these hotels offer free shuttle services, the necessity to leave the airport premises can be a significant inconvenience. Additionally, the lack of designated rest zones and universally recognized sleeping spots within each terminal leads to inconsistent and often uncomfortable sleep opportunities.
  2. Seating and Space Availability: The majority of the airport’s seating is equipped with armrests, significantly restricting the ability to lie down. While there are some armrest-free options, they are few and do not sufficiently cater to the needs of weary travelers seeking rest.
  3. Ambient Environment for Sleep: The overall environment at Midway Airport is not conducive to sleep. The terminal remains brightly lit throughout the night, disrupting the natural sleep cycle. Noise from operational activities and cleaning crews further disturbs the peace, although quieter areas like Concourse C provide some respite. The airport’s air conditioning system also tends to make the environment uncomfortably cold, which can be particularly challenging without proper preparation.
  4. Operating Hours and Accessibility: While Midway operates 24/7, restrictions on movement between landside and airside during overnight hours can complicate access to more comfortable airside locations. This limitation can affect passengers who arrive late or have early morning flights.
  5. Amenities: The airport maintains a level of cleanliness, though some areas, especially bathrooms, are noted to be less than ideal. While security is strong, providing a sense of safety, the lack of amenities such as shower facilities and pay-per-use lounges significantly reduces the comfort of extended stays. Additionally, food options are limited overnight, although vending machines and some 24/7 services offer minimal relief.

In conclusion, Midway Airport’s overall infrastructure and service offerings provide basic necessities but fail to offer a comfortable or accommodating environment for sleeping. This makes it essential for travelers to plan ahead, possibly considering off-airport accommodations or preparing with personal comfort items if

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.