Sleeping in airports isn’t always a thing that’s planned. Missing a connecting flight or having a long layover can see you having to find a place to rest up on your journey.
We often read about all the wonderful things about the travels of others. But sometimes the reality of travel can be very different from those beautiful photos we see on Instagram. Things happen that are often beyond our control, and we can sometimes find ourselves in a bit of a pickle.
As a solo female traveller, mishaps happen to me all the time. In a way it’s part of the adventure. It can also be a bit of a challenge at times and sleeping in airports has for me, become a bit of an art form. I’ve learnt to hunt down cheap food, find a free shower, hook into wifi and to sleep in unusual positions.
Being a little bit accident prone, I often end up with a few bruises and bumps when I travel. Little things happen to me all the time. I’ve had to chase down a C cup bra in Rome (not as easy as you’d think) when my bra gave up the ghost. I’ve spent days in bed with the flu in France. I’ve had to spend 13 hours on a bus as a consequence of a train breaking down and have spent way too much money on new shoes when my feet have swollen from the heat. Yes life on the road is far from pretty dresses in fields of lavender and sipping wine overlooking national treasures.
“Your flight left at 1 am this morning”
This was the last thing I’d expected to hear as I arrived at the Turkish Airlines customer service desk in Istanbul. Oh poop was my very first thought, what the heck am I going to do now. I’d been in Istanbul for about a week at a conference sponsored by Turkish Airlines and I’d been confused about my flight from the moment my tickets arrived written in Turkish.
The customer service officer was great and promptly booked me on the next flight leaving for Kuala Lumpur in 15 hours time. Problem solved? Not quite, I needed to get back to Australia from Kuala Lumpur.
Okay, they’d booked me on Air Asia, for the Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne leg. I knew this flight was non refundable as I hadn’t paid for it in the first place and there was no way I could find a phone number to speak to anyone at the airline to change my flight. Coffee time (I had hours to kill).
After a little fun and games trying to get wifi, I found a last minute flight that would get me home from Kuala Lumpur via Singapore. All set, sure I’d have to sleep at the airport in Kuala Lumpur. No problems all part of the adventure I reminded myself.
I spent the rest of my time at Ataturk Airport, buying Turkish delight, chatting to strangers from all over the world, buying little things for my grandson and drinking copious amounts of coffee. There was no way I was leaving the airport to risk missing another flight.
Hello Kuala Lumpur, hello sore throat, massive headache and runny nose.
Kuala Lumpur airport is made up of a number of different terminals that situated aways apart, which means you often need to clear customs between your flights. The train is the best way to travel between terminals.
Finally at the right terminal, I was now really suffering and knowing a flu was coming on, I went in search of a shower and some clean clothes before finding food and a place to sleep for the night.
The young people around me seemed to have no problem sleeping on the hard floor. For me, I found a seat with no armrests, curled myself up and soon drifted into a fitful sleep. Sleeping in airports isn’t much fun when you’re feeling like you’ve been run over by a truck.
Goodbye Kuala Lumpur, Hello Singapore
Changi Airport is considered the best airport in the world and it’s one of my favorites.
Normally I love exploring Changi and it’s great attractions, but with another 7 hour wait, an illness and sheer exhaustion, it was off to find a spot to curl up and take a nap. This was easy to do as Changi has some great comfy spots to lounge and put your feet in the air. Sleeping in Changi Airport is not too shabby.
Finally, my flight home was boarding and I held my breath until they announced the last door was closed. Although I’d booked last minute, and the plane was pretty full, I realised I had a full row to myself. Sleep quickly overtook me again. Soon I would be home at last.