Now Boarding: A Sleeping Pod For Naps At The Airport

Being trapped in an airport waiting on a delayed flight can feel like an eternity. After exhausting the overpriced food options and duty-free shops, what else is there to do but fidget in a stiff seat and bemoan air travel’s tragic decline? If only there were a comfortable spot to stretch out and take a nap without worrying about someone swiping your luggage. Meet SleepBox 01, a shoebox-size room designed by Arch Group to give weary travelers a place to rest for anywhere between a half hour to several hours. The first full-scale model has been installed in the Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.

The Moscow-based firm has made some radical aesthetic changes to its 2009 proposal, abandoning the white iPod exterior for the warmer look of ash veneer. The inside resembles a boat cabin, with every inch maximized to provide a short-term guest with everything she might need short of a shower: a twin-size bunk bed, a fold-down desk, a nightstand, an LED lamp, a gadget charging station, and electric-drive blinds for privacy.

The first SleepBox is for demonstration purposes, but Arch Group says that commercial ones are in the works. “We installed the simplest modification, because the largest clients’ interest is in budget solutions,” says Mikhail Krymov, one of the firm’s principals. More elaborate versions could include mood lighting using color-shifting LEDs, Wi-Fi, a TV, a safe-deposit box, and an automated bed-changing system (though an attendant would still tidy up after each guest).

If Arch Group rolls out operational SleepBoxes, it’ll join the legions of businesses that have swooped into airports to offer the services airlines have cut. But as with checked luggage, meals, and in some cases, even pillows, it probably won’t come cheap.BL