Thursday, September 05, 2013

Airport layovers: from pods to luxury

Sydney to Uganda. It's not a straightforward affair. There are certainly no direct flights to Entebbe, or indeed to anywhere in East Africa. The busiest and easiest transit hub is Dubai, to which I'm flying via Singapore. I'm trying to keep the cost of this trip down (and failing spectacularly – African tours and safaris can be shockingly expensive) by flying on Singapore Airlines-owned budget carrier Scoot, then onto Dubai flying Emirates on points.

An eight-hour layover in Dubai before the next flight out to Uganda presents a small what-the-hell-do-I-do dilemma. Sleep seems the obvious answer. I figure finding somewhere to get properly horizontal will get me to Entebbe in better shape than turning foetal on airport seating, so what are the options?

Dubai International Airport has an in-terminal hotel for A$180 a night. Between disembarkation and flight check-in I'd get less than six hours' use of it. That certainly isn't frugal. A quirky alternative that appeals is the Snoozecube, a simple bunk in a fibreglass pod tackily plastered with vinyl murals of forests beneath fluffy-clouded blue skies. It is purely a private spot to doss, perfect for a brief layover. But at A$20 an hour it soon approaches the price of the fully appointed hotel room. Comparatively, it's even more expensive than a standard room with shared bathroom in the Ambassador Transit Hotel of Singapore's Changi Airport. Of course, Changi is one of the best airports in the world, featuring a luxury four-star hotel in the terminal as well, but I do wonder if the New Zealand-owned Snoozecube might find itself in more airports (Dubai is the only one) with a more reflective price. I'll be putting out for the hotel.

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