Stuck at the Airport? Sleep in the Cockpit

Most travelers dread the idea of staying overnight in an airplane. But soon people arriving in Stockholm, Sweden, will be able to get a good night's sleep in the cockpit of a jumbo jet.

A hostel slated to start taking reservations in December will give backpackers a chance to pay for a night in a refurbished 1976 Boeing 747-200 at the Stockholm-Arlanda Airport in Sweden.

"We are excited," said airport spokeswoman Helena Miller. "We can now offer our travelers an unconventional accommodation experience. Jumbo Hostel will become a new Stockholm-Arlanda landmark."

The novel idea for airport lodging comes from Oscar Diös, a Swedish entrepreneur who purchased the plane and previously owned a hostel and hotel in Uppsala, Sweden. Diös will call his new property Jumbo Hostel.

Though sleeping in the cockpit suite is the crown jewel for guests, or "passengers," of the hostel, the plane is also host to a variety of rooming arrangements, with something for every travel budget.

Visitors will be able to reserve small rooms with three beds per room. The hostel also offers dormitories, where travelers on a budget can rent one bed in a shared room. Flexible travelers who want an authentic airplane sleeping experience can snooze in the airplane seats of the original first-class section of the plane.

The wide price range for accommodations on the plane mimics the disparity between a first-class plane ticket and coach fare. Diös said the cockpit suite can be rented for $734 dollars a night. Rooms run $161 per night, and $44 will buy one night in a first-class chair.

The bathrooms and showers at Jumbo Hostel will be an upgrade from the lavatories on a red-eye flight. The hostel will feature compact cruise ship bathroom modules with a toilet, a sink and a shower in the same room.

And if travelers are looking for a unique romantic experience, Diös has the perfect solution. He will offer couples the opportunity to tie the marital knot on the wing of his airplane, followed by a night in the cockpit suite.

Diös explained that after the wedding, "you can have some champagne and you can meet with your relatives in the former first class, which will be transformed into a living room."

In an age when airplane food is becoming less common, Jumbo Hostel also plans to offer a cafe where visitors can buy coffee and cakes. The cafe will also serve as a kitchen and dining area for overnight visitors.

Luggage storage and lockers for guests are also available to stash belongings in somewhat cramped sleeping quarters. In a departure from the policies of many commercial airlines, Jumbo Hostel will not charge for extra bags.

For better or worse, hostel guests are jet set for the complete airplane experience, noise and all. About a 10-minute walk from check-in counters, the hostel is also about 100 yards from the airport's runway. Close proximity means visitors will be able to see airplanes taking off and landing in Stockholm, but it also presents the possibility of a loud night for guests.

Diös said he plans to ensure the hostel will be as comfortable as possible. He said he has taken measures to renovate the airplane, adding bathroom fixtures he claims would normally be found on cruise ships. Diös has also taken care to ensure the safety of regular airport operations. For example, he said he made certain the hostel's lighting would not distract pilots or airport personnel.

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