A sunset landing is always a treat, but what about a night at the airport? – Photo: Manu Venkat | AirlineReporter
Even for the most enthusiastic air travel aficionados, the idea of an overnight layover probably sounds awful.
Airports, after all, are an awkward place to spend the night. Hotels by the terminal can be overpriced and uninspiring. Getting into the city isn’t always a realistic option. Transit lounges aren’t always open 24/7, and even if they are, there’s no guarantee that you’ll find a cozy spot to hunker down.
For these reasons and more, overnight layovers are anathema for the business traveler elite. But for flyers looking for dirt-cheap tickets, they are sometimes a necessary evil.
But hey, we AvGeeks are an adventurous bunch, right? I figured there must be at least a tolerable way to make it from sunset to sunrise without leaving the airport. And with summer travel plans that would place me overnight at Tokyo Haneda for not just one night, but three, I had the chance to put that guess to the test.
Could there be such a thing as a good overnight layover? Join me for my three nights at Haneda ’“ each spent very differently ’“ to find out.
Off we go!
LAX at sunset
I would be willing to wager that most of the traveling public simply buys whatever airfare suits them best to get from Point A to Point B, and probably back to Point A. Whether it be the ever-popular nonstop, the obvious geographic connection, the shortest connecting time, and/or simply the lowest price, most people don’t really think outside the box when it comes to booking tickets. The carriers rely on the fact that customers will simply select from among the first few options they see when booking online; as such, there have been PR battles and even lawsuits over what order online travel booking sites list certain fares and airlines.
What you may not know is that fare rules (you know, those long-winded, multi-page things full of legal mumbo-jumbo you never read before clicking the box saying you agree to them and purchasing the ticket) many times have built-in flexibility that’s just waiting to be utilized for maximum effect, even on the cheapest fares…