where to sleep in charlotte airport

Navigating an overnight stay at Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) presented a unique chapter in my travel diary.

With a late arrival and an early connecting flight, I found myself among the ranks of travelers seeking rest within the airport’s confines.

This guide is a candid recount of my experience, offering insights and tips for those who might find themselves in a similar situation.

Preparing for the Night

Dress for Comfort and Warmth: Heeding the advice of seasoned airport sleepers, I packed extra layers and a lightweight blanket. The airport’s temperature dropped significantly at night, making these extra layers a necessity rather than a luxury.

Choosing Your Spot: Sleeping airside, after security, offers slightly better amenities than landside. I explored both options before settling down for the night.

 where to sleep in charlotte airport

Airside, the modern chairs near Gates C12-14, though padded and equipped with wireless charging, were not designed for sleeping.

The armrests made it impossible to lie down comfortably. Eventually, I found solace in the chapel area, where long benches presented a marginally better sleeping arrangement.

The benches, devoid of armrests, allowed for a more restful position, though far from the comfort of a bed.

Landside vs. Airside: A Comparative Insight

Landside Discomfort: My initial walkthrough landside revealed a stark setting for overnight stays. The floor became the default option for many, thinly carpeted and unforgiving.

The ambiance felt colder, both literally and metaphorically, with fewer amenities to ease the discomfort.

where to sleep in charlotte airport

Airside Advantage: Choosing to stay airside seemed the lesser of two discomforts. Despite the hard floor, the presence of padded chairs and slightly more welcoming surroundings offered a psychological comfort, if not physical. The chapel, in particular, provided a quiet enclave away from the main thoroughfare.

Amenities and Necessities

Food and Drink: The lack of 24-hour food concessions was a drawback. I made sure to purchase snacks and water before the shops closed, relying on these supplies until morning. Vending machines were available but offered little in terms of nourishment or value.

Hygiene Essentials: The revelation of Minute Suites offering shower facilities for a fee was a godsend. Paying $30 for a 30-minute shower might seem steep, but the opportunity to freshen up and change clothes was invaluable in resetting my comfort levels and overall mood.

is there a hotel in the charlotte airport

The suites, located airside in the Atrium, were accessible from all terminals, making them a convenient option for rejuvenation.

The Rocking Chairs: An Unexpected Comfort

In my exploration, I discovered the rocking chairs located both landside in the Atrium and airside in Concourses D & E.

where to sleep in charlotte airport

These chairs, though not conducive to deep sleep, offered a momentary respite and a change of posture. Their gentle rocking motion provided a soothing effect amidst the ambient noise of the airport.

Coping Strategies and Tips

Security and Belongings: Throughout the night, I remained vigilant about my personal belongings. Sleeping in public spaces necessitates a strategy for securing luggage. I used my backpack as a makeshift pillow and kept my travel documents in a neck pouch for added security.

Social Camaraderie: Engaging with fellow overnighters offered a sense of community and shared purpose. We exchanged tips and looked out for each other’s belongings during restroom breaks, fostering a makeshift support system.

Noise and Light: Earplugs and an eye mask were indispensable in mitigating the constant hum of the airport and the harsh lighting. These small investments significantly improved my ability to rest.

Reflections on the Experience

Surviving a night at CLT was an exercise in adaptability and patience. While far from a comfortable hotel stay, it provided a unique perspective on the transient nature of travel.

The experience underscored the importance of preparation, from packing essential comfort items to researching airport amenities.

For those facing a similar overnight layover at Charlotte Airport, remember that while it may not be the most enjoyable experience, with the right mindset and preparations, it can be navigated with relative ease.

The adventure lies not just in the destination but in the journey – including the long nights spent in airports.

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