Would you pay for a few hours of sleep on a bed inside an airport? What if your flight was delayed and you could remain on the secure side of the terminal and escape the noise and hassle of the crowds? A Russian company has created a “Sleepbox” that it claims will quickly pay for itself and offer weary travelers a place of respite.
Currently being tested at Moscow Sheremetyevo, the boxes run about $10,000 each and are marketed as a smart investment for airports, railroad stations, offices, and even street corners. Inside the box, measuring 1.4 meters (4.5 feet) wide, two meters (6.6 feet) in length and 2.3 meters (7.5 feet) in height, is a two-meter-long bed made of pulp tissue and polymer foam that changes bed linen automatically. Luggage space, a ventilation system, WiFi, electric sockets and an LCD TV are all standard options. Variations, such as two-bed configurations, are available. The suggested rental rate would be $15/hour or $50/night.
While the concept sounds appealing in theory, I have some questions. I assume a user will slide a credit card to gain access then have an option to stay longer once inside. What about a person who chooses “no” but does not vacate? Just a sheet change? Or someone who slips in as someone else is departing? Putting these on street corners with hourly rates…yeah, I’d imagine the devices would get tarnished pretty quickly with smoke, drugs, alcohol, urine, and other bodily fluids. This little doohickey sounds like it might be more trouble than its worth unless you have an attendant standing by, which would make the operating the Sleepboxes much less profitable.
But I wouldn’t rule it out yet–I think there is potential (the concept has worked for Forumule1 and Etap hotels in Europe). I get a kick out of the public toilets in New York City with doors that fly open after you’ve exceeded your time limit and something similar may work at airports, though perhaps these Sleepboxes are best suited for offices and club lounges rather than as a vending machine available to the masses.
We’ve seen the growth of vending machines over the last decade from snacks and drinks to high-end electronic devices. Beds are the next frontier…