Earlier this month, we did something we have only ever done once before; stayed overnight at an airport hotel. My wife had booked our BA flight to Corfu early this year, flying out of Heathrow at something like noon. A couple of months later, the flight time got shifted to something before dawn. The good news was that we’d be getting to Greece and our hotel several hours earlier than would otherwise have been the case, leaving us more time to enjoy our holiday. The bad news was that we were going to be way more tired than we would have been, so not able to enjoy it too much more. Solution: the Sofitel Hotel at Terminal 5 (the only one from which you can simply walk into the terminal – I bet they paid a hefty premium for that!) – where we overnighted on the Friday evening. For we would be flying on Star Wars Day! (May the 4th, in case you didn’t know.)

Despite having obtained ourselves an extra couple of hours kip by this strategy, there could be no lie-ins. The check-in facility at the hotel was notified to open at 5 am. It would be quite a tight squeeze for us to check our bags at the hotel, leaving us enough time to get to the terminal having gratefully left our suitcases behind, but it was manageable. To be on the safe side, though, I got down there for 4.50 – only to find a queue within the check-in area. The operation had evidently been open well ahead of schedule!


Looking a little like a logoed and smaller version of the Tardis, the sign at the Sofitel signifies check-in

And that was that. Granted, it’s a bit of a luxury to pay for a hotel room in order to get some extra sleep, but it felt worthwhile. And it’s not like it’s going to happen every time we fly somewhere – well, given the subsequent credit-card statement it isn’t…

53 thoughts on “FLYING: The overnight stay

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