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British Airways launches ‘sleep pods’ in the Galleries First lounge

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‘Sleep pods’ will launch today in the British Airways Galleries First lounge at Heathrow Terminal 5.

Seven pods will take the space that was previously occupied by the business centre, which has been chronically underused for a number of years.

Business Traveller reports than an additional five pods will be installed in the Concorde Room – potentially in the space currently occupied by the Elemis Spa – with a further three pods appearing in the lounge at New York JFK.

Here is a picture from the pod manufacturer, Restworks, of one in use:

Restworks sleep pods British Airways lounge

Pre-booking will not be possible. Signage in the main lounge area will apparently indicate if a pod becomes free.

The pods will be overseen by a dedicated staff member who will offer hot towels and a wake-up drink after your session, which the manufacturers suggest will be 20-30 minutes.

I have never tried one of these pods so I can’t give you any sense of what it is like ‘inside’. A common complaint seems to be that you can only sleep in one position, with no space to turn, which can get frustrating. If you are in Galleries First today and decide to give it a try, please let us know.

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Comments (54)

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  • bsuije says:

    My university was trialing these a good few years back. They were amazing for power naps during long revision sessions and I genuinely found them very beneficial. So much so that I was hoping power napping would take of as the next big thing for increasing productivity & we would see these rolled out across offices. But no – we got treadmill desks instead…!

    The dome blocks out most of the noise and light, and there was an option to play calming music. You could set how long you wanted to nap (maximum was 20-25 mins, IIRC) and whether you wanted to be woken up by a sound (chirping birds, comes to mind). When it was time to wake up, the light inside the dome would gradually increase, the birds would start chirping (if you selected that option) and the chair would vibrate gently to rouse you out of your nap.

    • Rhys says:

      That sounds like quite a delightful way to wake up!

      • WaynedP says:

        You can replicate in your own bedroom like I did, Rhys, if you buy a Lumie Luxe bedside radio/alarm/light from JL and get Avios into the bargain too 🙂

        Falling asleep to audio book (Bluetooth connected) with gradual sunset feature is very pleasant, but other ASMR sound effects are also available.

  • Piers says:

    “I have never tried one of these pods so I can’t give you any sense of what it is like”
    🤣 Brilliant article, showing what reporting has come to.

    • WaynedP says:


      Indeed, a report on a social media platform that states a fact and then encourages readers to make up their own mind on the matter, independently of any bias on the part of the author !

      Disturbingly contrary to the direction pursued by sages like the former POTUS.

  • Andy D says:

    20-30 minutes of valuable drinking time, that.

    • AJA says:

      +1 Do the napping once you’re ensconced in seat 1A on your flight.

  • twoclicks says:

    I tried one of these a while back at Somerset House down on the Embankment, where the thing was branded “Metro Napping.” My take: oddly recommended! The position is relaxing and not claustrophobic at all. Agree with @bsuije, an amazing power nap.

    • The Paw says:

      I’ve slept in these at Abu Dhabi and Dubai airports. They work surprisingly well. Even though they’re in a darkened room in an area separated from the main terminal hubbub, you should still make sure you have an eye mask and ear plugs. Perfectly adequate for a few hours sleep. The best part IMO is that your hand luggage is safely stored in a compartment under the mattress in the pod, so you don’t have to worry about your stuff. IIRC the Dubai airport area was even covered for 2 hours by Priority Pass (and then you could pay for more hours).

      In pre-Covid times, I wouldn’t have hesitated to sleep in one again if it made sense for my layover. However, I don’t think I’d be comfortable in a small enclosed (though somewhat ventilated) place that many others would have used recently, as I assume they wouldn’t be sanitised after every use (too noisy for the others lthat would be sleeping in the neighbouring pods).

    • John says:

      I have slept very well for about 4 hours on a regular sofa at Athens airport many times.

  • Nick says:

    IMHO it looks like it may bring back not particualrly good memories of an MRI scan session.

    • Andrew says:

      MRIs are so restful though. I have 3-4 a year (voluntarily) to help out the Fellows. It’s the only place where I can fall asleep on my back – but I’m usually strapped in with the board to my chest so can’t exactly move.

      Those pods look awful, I’m not sure why there are no airline seat or “cocoon” manufacturer that sell a one that’s designed for a tall guy to sleep in a foetal position.

      • Rhys says:

        MRIs are super loud, though?!

        • MKB says:

          My recent NHS one was. But I was given headphones with a choice of radio stations to partially drown it out. I did nearly fall asleep.

        • PJJ says:

          Not when you take your hearing aids out

          Nothing is loud

      • john says:

        Not restful when you know they are looking to see if brain lesions have grown!

  • Magic Mike says:

    I’ve tried these, they’re good if they’re in a nice quiet spot and you don’t get disturbed. They recline too so you have a little control over the positioning…

  • Lady London says:

    looks like the equivalent of those cafe chairs which are deliberately designed to be comfortable only for a short time so customers leave having done peak spend but in the shortest possible time as subconsciously the seats make them uncomfortable.

    This design looks like it’s been scientifically worked out to be intolerable after 20-30 minutes.

    Contrast that with pods and loungers to available in decent airports around the world like Changi, which understands that travellers may have layovers and long flights between continents through disorienting time changes and providers loungers which are actually intended for rest.

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