Dubai: The SnoozeCube is barely larger than a compact cubicle. Yet it's a life-saver for exhausted travellers stuck in transit between two long flights.
Developed by New Zealander Peter Swann, the SnoozeCube is the first of its kind in the region, providing travel-weary passengers at Dubai airport with a clean, comforting hotel room of sorts, complete with a built-in TV screen with internet access and music options to help them snatch those all-important 40 winks before boarding the next flight.
Located on the first floor of Dubai airport's departures, in Terminal 1, opposite the Irish Village, and next to gate 122, SnoozeCube offers passengers 10 mini-hotel style rooms, equipped with a single bed, a touch-screen TV, and hangers for carry-on luggage.
"In the two weeks that we've been open to passengers, the response has been phenomenal," says Swann. "During peak hours [11pm to 7am], we're totally booked, with people waiting at our door for the next cube to be available. During the day, it's quieter, with an average of 70 per cent occupancy at any given time."
Although located in Terminal 1, passengers from terminals 2 and 3 also have access to the SnoozeCubes, provided there is a booth available. At 2.4 metres long and 1.8 metres wide, the SnoozeCube offers a respite from the rigours of travels for passengers who need their R&R, most notably those who have a long transit in the airport.
"When I first flew through Dubai and saw people sleeping on the floor of the airport, with their bag as their pillow, I realised something needed to change. By chance, as I was watching the Tom Hanks movie Terminal, something clicked in my mind. At the time, I was working as a tour guide in New Zealand. Years of research later, here I am, providing power-naps to anyone who needs it," says Swann.
These power-naps Swann offers come at a price of over Dh1 per minute of snooze time. "The cost for renting a capsule is Dh65 an hour for the first four hours, decreasing gradually to Dh45 an hour for a stay that extends nine hours," explains the New Zealander.
"It's the ideal middle-of-the-road solution that's neither too expensive nor too cheap for the average passenger who just wants some shut-eye between flights. We don't need science to tell us that it's not natural for the body to sit hunched up for so many hours. All human beings need some horizontal time and that's what we're giving them."
Over the next six months, Swann plans to expand the concept to many more SnoozeCubes in Terminal 1, and as soon as space opens up in Terminal 3, a few there too. Additionally, with the expansion of the airport, Swann has his eyes set on Terminal 4 when it opens later. Also on the cards are plans for a double cabin for couples and a fully-integrated IT system with flight timings and announcements hooked up to the cabin's touch-screen TV.
While the SnoozeCube at Dubai airport costs Dh65 ($18) per hour of rest, XPRESS takes a look at other sleeping pods in airports around the world and compares costs.
- Minute Suites at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (USA): $30 (Dh110) per hour
- Sam's Snooze At My Place at Indira Gandhi Airport, New Delhi airport (India): $9 (Dh33) per hour
- Yotel at London Heathrow and Gatwick airports (UK): $39.5 (Dh145) onwards for a minimum of 4 hours
- Yotel at Schipol Airport, Amsterdam: $39.5 onwards for a minimum of 4 hours
- Sleepbox at Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow: $10 (Dh36.7) (Coming soon)
- Napcab at Munich International Airport (Germany) $15.8 (Dh58) per hour, with minimum spend of $47.5 (Dh174)