Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Revisiting Sleeping at the Frankfurt Airport

Long time fans of Graham's Travel Blog may recall that I once spent a memorable night Sleeping in the Frankfurt Airport. Since it was written, this article has become one of my most frequently read articles. It turns out that there are a large number of people out there that have overnight layovers through Frankfurt, who knew?

Not long ago I received a message from one of my readers, Ronnie, who had heard a rumor that the authorities at the Frankfurt airport were no longer allowing people to sleep in the terminal, and he asked if I knew anything about this.

This type of policy struck me as odd, but I know better than to assume that I understand the logic behind airport security measures. I thought about this, and the only justification that I could come up with for such a policy was that once asleep, the German government recognizes humans as an unattended bag. Unattended bags are always promptly addressed, so using this logic it is clear that sleeping in an airport would pose a serious security threat.

Not being able to tell wether or not this policy was after real visiting the Frankfurt airport website, I promised my new friend that I'd look into the situation the following week as I had a trip planned that would take me through Frankfurt.

Upon arriving in Germany, I found a telephone hooked into the airport information hotline. The man on the other end of the line was very confused, but he assured me that no policy exists that would prevent anyone with a layover from spending the night in the terminal.

I had my immediate answer, but I was left with more questions than answers. Where had such a rumor originated and why? Upon delivering the good news to Ronnie I inquired as to the origin of the rumor. It turns out that his friend's travel agent had informed him of the "policy" and encouraged him to book a hotel room at the airport in order to avoid being kicked out onto the street.

This seemed a little fishy so I asked my travel agent if there would be any financial incentive to spreading such a rumor and it turns out that there is. Travel agent usually receive a 10% commission on booking hotels.

I'm not saying that this particular travel agent was doing anything immoral, but it would appear that the travel agent may have been trying to boost their commission check. There's no way to tell for sure, but if my agent ever tried anything like this then I would be looking for a new agent.

During my layover in Frankfurt, I took a few minutes to visit the area where I had spent my restless night. To my surprise I found that much had changed in my absence. The moving sidewalk that woke me countless times was gone, walls that had been in place had been replaced by glass walls and most noticeably the stone slab on which I had rested was gone!

Airports don't stand still so I shouldn't have been been surprised, but I couldn't help but be saddened by the disappearance of my slab. Taking a closer look in the surrounding area resulted in uncovering another significant change. The soft and cushy benches in front of the McDonalds had been modified by adding a "speed bump" to prevent weary travelers from sleeping on them.

While you can still sleep in the Frankfurt Airport, they aren't making it any easier with usable cushioned benches and stone slabs being even harder to find. If you are planning on sleeping in the Frankfurt airport then you will need to be a little more clever than I was.

If you've enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to the RSS feed.


  1. Great post with humor in it.

  2. I was pleasantly surprised to discover both of your posts regarding the sleeping practices at Frankfurt airport. As I lost my frequent traveller card I'm now looking for a nice spot to have a rest for 10 hours before my next flight...

  3. Love the article, will make a trip overseas and stop overnight in Frankfurt airport with my 2 year old daughter and my mother! I don't know what I'm going to do!