O’Hare Airport Sleep Guide + Pods/Suites – Best Alternatives

If you have 3, 5, or even more hours of layover at O’Hare International Airport, the latest airport sleep technologies such as sleep pods and sleep suites come in handy. While there are plenty of things to do in Chicago during a layover, nothing beats taking a comfortable rest in tech-equipped sleep facilities.

In this article, I have provided a detailed guide on sleep options you can opt for at O’Hare’s different terminals. Here is a full guide to O’Hare Airport.

Are there sleeping pods at O’Hare Airport?

O’Hare Airport has installed sleeping pods that can be used during the day as they are within United Airlines’ Polaris Lounge in Terminal 3. These pods were installed barely a year ago in July 2023 when Polaris Lounge opened in O’Hare’s Terminal 1, Concourse C near gate C18(map).

Unfortunately Chicago’s O’Hare Airport does not other overnight sleep pods such as the capsule-design pods by GoSleep or mini-suite rooms by Minute Suites. There used to be sleeping pods in form of suites operated by Minute Suites from reports dating back to 2013 but were permanently closed and are no longer available as of April 2024.

Polaris sleep pods are only accessible to United passengers flying First or Business Class on long-haul international flights. You cannot purchase a day pass as you would with United Club’s $59 pass. You can purchase a one-day pass on United Airlines App(you can download United’s Android app here or iOS app here).

One thing to note, however, about Polaris Lounge sleep facilities is that they are closed by 9:00 PM.

Polaris Lounge day beds are also available in Houston, LAX, Newark, SFO and Dulles and none of them are open overnight.

Below is an image of a day bed at Polaris Lounge.

Day bed at Chicago O'Hare Polaris Lounge
Image of a day bed at Polaris Lounge in ORD. Credit: Upgradedpoints.com

Despite being the 4th busiest airport in the US, with over 33 million passengers annually, O’Hare Airport has not yet implemented innovative airport sleep tech specifically sleeping pods like the ones created by GoSleep. These innovative pods would provide passengers with convenient options for a quick nap between flights.

Based on my personal experience, finding a comfortable spot to sleep at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport can be quite a challenge. This city, known for its windy weather, can be unforgiving during the cold winter months. To add to the difficulty, the airport’s seating is equipped with armrests, making it even more challenging for weary travelers in need of a place to lie down and rest.

Are there Minute Suites at O’Hare Airport?

O’Hare no longer have Minute Suites which were innovative compact sleep solutions available to clients in the past but have since been permanently closed.

The Minute Suites at O’Hare Airport served as the starting point for Minute Suites, which has since grown to include over 15 other airport locations across the United States. However, as of April 2024, Minute Suites are unfortunately no longer available at ORD. In 2013, a decade ago, O’Hare Airport partnered with Minute Suites to introduce their revolutionary sleep suites, meticulously crafted for airport terminals as per this Press Release titled, “Minute Suites Bound for O’Hare Airport”. Below is a snapshot of the article.

NBC News announce launch of minute suites in Ohare
NBC News announce launch of minute suites in Ohare

In the 2013 NBC Press Release, Minute Suites unveiled a total of 29 suites, each encompassing approximately 62 square feet. It is disheartening to learn that Minute Suites chose O’Hare as one of its starting points only to later discontinue its services.

Unlike sleeping pods, Minute Suites were more spacious and offered both a work desk and a chair which converts into a bed. They also allowed up to 4 guests per booking, unlike GoSleep pods which allow just a single person per booking.

Minute Suites had two locations in Terminal 3, one near Gate B6 and another near Gate C11. However, a check in 2022 to ascertain whether Minute Suites is still offering nap rooms at O’Hare revealed that they do not.

Amenities at ORD Sleep Pods:

Below are the amenities at Polaris Lounge which features a day bed and shower facilities;

  • A narrow day-bed that can fit one person
  • Full buffet
  • Full-service bar
  • Pre-flight dining
  • Quiet suites
  • Showers
  • Wi-Fi

Below are the amenities that were available when Minute Suites was still operational in O’Hare:

  • Private suites that come with a daybed,
  • Workstation,
  • Television,
  • High-speed Wi-Fi
  • Alarm clock.
  • Neck pillow
  • Bedding – blanket
  • Up to 4 people can access the suites per booking
  • You can also request for additional amenities such as noise-canceling headphones

Cost of Minute Suites at ORD:

When it was available, the cost of Minute Suites rental at ORD ranged from $30 an hour to $120 a night as per the NBC article. This is different from the current pricing structure that Minute Suites has.

In Airports where Minute Suites are available, the initial hour is priced at $48, with an additional charge of $12 for every 15 minutes thereafter. These brief intervals are perfect for a refreshing nap, while a two-hour nap comes to a total of $96. For those seeking an extended overnight sleep, booking an entire eight-hour block is possible at a rate of $175.

If you have a Priority Pass membership, the first hour is free but you’ll need to pay for the additional period upfront.

You cannot purchase a day pass to access sleep pods at Polaris Lounge. You can only access if you are a United passengers flying First or Business Class on long-haul international flights.

Other sleep options at O’Hare

You can sleep on any of the airport benches at O’Hare. Even though Chicago O’Hare Airport is open 24 hours, security checkpoints do close down at night, except Terminal 5. If you’re already inside a Secure area before closing time, it appears you’re allowed to stay Airside. Plan to get there early if you want to pass through Security or stay in the pre-secure, landside areas for as long as possible.

According to Sleepinginairports.net, below are the key sleep options that passengers can choose from at O’Hare;

  • Couches just beyond Security in Concourse K
  • Lounge chairs airside in Terminal 3, near Gates H
  • Circular couches just inside the security checkpoint in Terminal 5
  • Gate C20 has quiet nook for someone prepared to sleep on the floor

Review of ORD’s Sleeping:

Sleeping at O’Hare Airport during a layover presents a mix of advantages and disadvantages based on traveler experiences. Here’s a summary of the pros and cons:

Pros:

  1. Availability of Cots: In certain areas, the airport provides cots with blankets and pillows, notably past K1, enhancing comfort for overnight stays.
  2. Seating Options Without Armrests: There are places, such as Gate B19 and C17, where seats without armrests allow passengers to lie down.
  3. Security Patrols: Areas where cots are provided have frequent security patrols, offering a sense of safety for solo and female travelers.
  4. Warm and Quiet Spots: Certain locations, like the semi-private nook at Gate K1 and couches at B18, offer quieter and warmer conditions for rest.
  5. Dimmed Lights: In the cot areas, lights are dimmed at night to facilitate better sleep conditions.
  6. Charging Outlets: Some sleeping spots are close to power outlets, allowing travelers to charge their devices overnight.
  7. Less Trafficked Areas: Places like the connecting hallway between Concourses K and H offer less foot traffic, providing quieter spaces for rest.

Cons

  1. Cold Temperatures: Many reviews mention the airport being very cold at night, suggesting a need for warm clothing or blankets.
  2. Noise: Despite quieter areas, overall noise from announcements, TVs, and night cleaning crews can disrupt sleep.
  3. Brightness: The airport is generally well-lit, with reports of bright lights in many sleeping areas, potentially hindering sleep without an eye mask.
  4. Limited Food Options Overnight: Access to food and beverages is restricted late at night, with few to no options available until early morning.
  5. Hard Surfaces: Some sleeping spots involve benches or the floor, which can be uncomfortable without padding or sleeping mats.
  6. Risk of Theft: A review mentioned a theft incident, highlighting the importance of securing belongings while sleeping.
  7. Lack of Privacy: Most sleeping areas are in public spaces, offering little to no privacy for travelers.

In conclusion, O’Hare Airport offers various makeshift sleeping solutions for travelers during layovers, with the provision of cots being a significant comfort factor. However, the quality of sleep can be compromised by environmental conditions such as cold, noise, and light. Travelers considering overnight stays at O’Hare should come prepared with warm clothing, earplugs, eye masks, and possibly a travel blanket or sleeping mat to improve their rest experience.

10 Free Sleeping Areas at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport:

To provide a more comprehensive guide on spaces/spots that various fliers have found at O’Hare Airport, I went through reviews left by users on Tripadvisor, Sleepinginairports.net, Reddit and other forums. Below are some places that travelers suggest or have found ideal for anyone to catch some zzzs:

Based on the reviews shared, here are places to sleep at O’Hare Airport with brief descriptions:

  1. Terminal 1, Concourse B Across from Security at B Gates: Travelers can find comfort in the wide, padded seats equipped with AC power plugs, making it a convenient spot for charging devices while resting. Although it’s noted for its noise, the availability of around 29 spaces ensures a chance at finding a spot. Chairs in T1, B19 has hard foam surfaces but may be cold and subject to loudspeaker announcements.
  2. Terminal 1, Gates C24-26: Situated just past Brioche Doree, this area features several couches without armrests, offering a reasonably comfy spot for sleeping. However, travelers should be prepared for intensely bright lighting, which might necessitate an eye mask for comfort.
  3. Terminal 1, Concourse B, next to Gate B18: Near the far end of the United terminal, quiet couches await weary travelers. The proximity to some TVs might introduce a bit of noise, but overall, it’s a less frequented spot ideal for those looking to lie down.
  4. Terminal 1, Concourse B next to Gate B4: Despite being in a bustling airport, B4 offers soft couches with power outlets, allowing travelers to recharge both themselves and their gadgets in comfort. The area is noted to have limited sleeping spots but provides a cozy option for rest.
  5. Terminal 2: The Interfaith Chapel offers a tranquil space for all passengers, irrespective of their faith. Additionally, the Butch O’Hare Family Lounge features play structures that can also serve as sleeping areas for children.
  6. Terminal 3 offers two lounges for travelers seeking rest: Lounge Chairs between H and T Gates: Suitable for lying down, but noise from night crew activities may be a concern. The other in T3 is Rotunda (between Concourse H & G) which provides secluded spots with armless chairs and small tables on a second level. The Rotunda in Terminal G is particularly noted for its quiet, dark location, ideal for stretching out. Still in T3, Gate G17 features seats with half armrests and Gates G-17-20 gates in T3 is known among for secluded spots, though it’s cold at night and more suited for those with camping gear.
  7. International Gate 5 – Gates M: This area features a mix of artistic wooden couches and sleek metal benches close to M17. It’s known for its spaciousness, tranquility, and peaceful ambiance, making it a perfect spot for a brief rest, although the metal benches might not offer the most comfort without additional padding.
  8. Terminal 5 Between Gates M4 and M1: Recognized for its serenity, this location is recommended for travelers equipped with inflatable mattresses due to the sparse carpeting. It’s an excellent option for those looking for seclusion and minimal passerby traffic.
  9. Terminal 5 Circular Couches: Positioned right past international security and the small food court, providing a comfortable option for passengers with overnight layovers.
  10. Cots with Blankets and Pillows(during flight cancellations): Available from 9:30 PM to 4 AM in unspecified locations, including near Gate K1 and F6 near the United Lounge. These areas offer cots with blankets, pillows, and toiletry kits. “Cot City” past K1 is notably mentioned for dimmed lights at night, a 4 am wake-up call, and security patrols.

Alternative options to sleep at O’Hare: Airport Hotels

For about $300 a night, you can sleep at Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport which is located within the airport complex. This is a great option if you have an early morning flight to catch as you can just walk to your gate when it’s time to board.

The hotel has 1,544 guest rooms and suites which are all soundproofed and come with black-out drapes to help you get a good night’s sleep.

To get to the hotel, you can either take the Airport Transit System from any of the terminals or walk. If you’re driving, there’s also a free 24-hour shuttle service that runs between the hotel and all airport terminals.

Another option is The Westin O’Hare which is located about 10 minutes away from the airport by shuttle. This hotel also has a free 24-hour shuttle service to and from the airport.

The rooms here start at $229 per night and come with all the standard amenities that you would expect from a Westin property. In addition, the hotel also has an outdoor pool, fitness center, and restaurants if you need to get out of the airport for a bit.

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, there’s also the Hyatt Regency O’Hare which is about 5 minutes away from the airport by shuttle. Rooms here start at $149 per night.

This hotel has 1,094 guest rooms and suites which are all equipped with noise-canceling windows. In addition, the hotel also has an indoor pool, a 24-hour fitness center, and a restaurant.

FAQs

Does O’Hare have minute suites?

No, Minute Suites is no longer operational at O’Hare Airport. The company used to have two locations in Terminal 3, but they are no longer in operation as of October 2022. However, there are other alternative options available if you’re looking for a place to sleep at the airport. There are several hotels located within the airport complex as well as others that offer free shuttle service to and from the airport. Whichever option you choose, make sure to check the rates and reviews in advance to ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money.

is there a hotel inside O’hare airport?

Yes, there are several hotels located within the airport complex. Some of the options include the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport, The Westin O’Hare, and the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. Rates for these hotels start at $149 per night. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, there’s also the Hyatt Regency O’Hare which is about 5 minutes away from the airport by shuttle. Rooms here start at $149 per night.

You can also take the Blue Line “L” train from the airport to Downtown area with several hotels.

Does O’Hare have sleeping pods?

No, sleep pods by companies such as GoSleep pod or Minute Suites are not at O’Hare International Airport. In 2013, there were reports of Minute Suites opening sleep spaces at the airport but they are no longer in operation as of October 2022. However, there are other alternative options available if you’re looking for a place to sleep at the airport. There are several hotels located within the airport complex as well as others that offer free shuttle service to and from the airport. Whichever option you choose, make sure to check the rates and reviews in advance to ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money.

What can I do at or near O’Hare during a long layover?

If you’re stuck at O’Hare during a long layover, there are still plenty of things that you can do to pass the time. There are several restaurants and cafes located within the airport complex so you can grab a bite to eat. There are also a few shops where you can do some window shopping or pick up some last-minute souvenirs. If you need to kill some time, there’s also an on-site museum called the O’Hare Museum which is free to enter. If you’re looking to get out of the airport for a bit, there are also several hotels located nearby that offer free shuttle service to and from the airport.

Which airports have sleep pods?

JFK, Houston, and DFW are some of the airports that have sleep pods. Minute Suites has a presence at JFK and SFO, while GoSleep has pods at LAX. These sleep pods usually cost around $30-40 per hour and come with amenities such as a bed, television, Wi-Fi, and electric outlets.

See the full list of airports with sleep pods here.

ORDs ZZZ Score: 72/100

ORD scored above average despite lacking innovative sleep facilities. Here is a detailed breakdown of how it scored 72 out of 100;

Sleep Accommodations (24.5/37.5 Points)

  • Innovative Sleep Technology (Pods/Suites): 0/8 (ORD no longer has innovative sleep pods. Minute Suites was permanently closed)
  • In-Airport Hotel: 7/7 (The Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport Hotel’s presence directly across from Terminal 2 confirms the availability of in-airport hotel facilities)
  • Hotels with Free Shuttle Service: 5/5 (There are more than 10 hotels within 2-mile radius of ORD offering free shuttle.)
  • Designated Rest Zones: 0/5 (There are no designated rest zones)
  • At Least One Identified Sleeping Spot in Each Terminal: 5/5 (Reviews mention sleeping spots across multiple terminals)
  • Ease of Access to Free Sleeping Spots: 5/5 (“Found some really nice nooks” among other mentions indicates accessible free sleeping spots)
  • Access to Day-rooms in Airport Hotels or by Nearby Hotels: 2.5/2.5 (Day use hotels like Hampton Inn Chicago O’Hare and Hyatt Regency Chicago)

Seating and Space Availability (10 Points)

  • Armrest-Free Chairs: 5/5 (Multiple reviews like “armrest-free chairs” and “soft couches” indicate the presence of comfortable seating options)
  • Availability of Seating Spaces: 5/5 (Various seating areas across terminals are described, suggesting a good availability)

Ambient Environment for Sleep (5/15 Points)

  • Lighting: 3/8 (In Terminal 1, Gates C24-26, one flier noted;”… the lighting stays intensely bright all night, so be prepared to cover your eyes with something.”)
  • Sound Level at Night: 2/7 (“Noisy but that’s the same all over the airport” points to an environment that might not be conducive to undisturbed sleep)

Operating Hours and Accessibility (15/15 Points)

  • 24/7 Operation: 5/5 (The mention of 24/7 food options indirectly supports the airport’s 24/7 operation)
  • Ease of Overnight Stay: 5/5 (Reviews detailing overnight stays imply that the airport policies accommodate such stays)
  • Wheelchair Access: 5/5 (General infrastructure details and airport standards imply good accessibility)

Amenities (17.5/22.5 Points)

  • Cleanliness: 3/3 (The absence of complaints about cleanliness in the reviews suggests satisfactory conditions)
  • Security: 3/3 (“Security present” from the reviews implies a safe environment)
  • Wi-Fi and Charging Stations: 3/3 (“AC Power plug” and general infrastructure suggest good availability of charging stations; Wi-Fi availability is standard in major airports)
  • Food and Beverage: 3/3 (The note of plenty of 24/7 food options directly addresses this category)
  • Shower Amenities: 0/3 (No public shower facilities – only available at paid lounges)
  • Pay-Per-Use Lounge: 2.5/2.5 (There are two lounges you can purchase a day pass)
  • Luggage Storage Facilities: 0/2.5 (Noted absence of luggage storage facilities)
  • Access to Smoking Areas: 0/2.5 (Smoking not allowed indoors and there are no designated smoking areas outdoors. Read more about smoking at O’Hare.)

Total Score: 72/100(Above Average)

Closing Remark on O’Hare’s Sleep Quality:

O’Hare International Airport (ORD) managed to secure an above-average ZZZ Score of 72 out of 100 despite significant drawbacks in sleep-specific accommodations. The permanent closure of innovative sleep technologies, such as Minute Suites, and the absence of designated rest zones posed challenges.

However, ORD compensated well with robust accommodations elsewhere. The presence of the Hilton Chicago O’Hare directly across from Terminal 2 ensures convenient access to in-airport hotel facilities. Additionally, more than ten hotels within a 2-mile radius offer free shuttle services, enhancing accessibility for travelers seeking off-site rest.

The airport excels in general seating and accessibility, which significantly contributes to its sleep score. Reviews frequently mention the availability of armrest-free chairs and soft couches across multiple terminals, providing comfort despite the lack of specialized sleeping facilities.

These seating options, coupled with good accessibility to free sleeping spots and the availability of day-use rooms in nearby hotels, suggest a versatile approach to accommodating overnight and transit passengers. ORD’s operations around the clock further facilitate these accommodations, ensuring that travelers can find a place to rest at any hour.

Despite these strengths, the ambient environment for sleep remains a notable weakness. The intense lighting, particularly in Terminal 1, and the pervasive noise throughout the airport diminish the quality of rest that can be achieved.

However, the cleanliness, security, ample Wi-Fi, and charging stations, alongside a variety of 24/7 food options, help offset some of the discomfort caused by the environmental factors. While there’s room for improvement in making the sleep environment more conducive, ORD’s existing infrastructure and service provision maintain a relatively high standard of passenger comfort.

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.