We tested it: JetBlue’s new nap pods at JFK are user friendly, free, and actually succeed in creating a calmer space within the chaotic environment of airport terminals.
Jim already wrote a post about the new nap pods JetBlue introduced last week to their terminal at JFK. It’s part of a growing trend to make airports more comfortable and enjoyable places. A couple days ago, I had some extra time waiting for a flight to commute home and tried one out.
Here’s what it was like:
If felt like Disney’s Tomorrowland.
You sit down, close the shield, and press the i20 button. Calming music and a soft, faintly robotic female voice welcomes you: “Energy pod activated. Enjoy your metro nap.” You then begin to feel a shift in gravity as the nap pod tilts upward. It feels like stepping into some type of clean, slick future.
It’s easy to use.
There’s a panel on the arm-rest that allows you to control the tilt of the nap pod, whether or not an interior light is on, or music is played. There is also a vibration setting. A lighted display counts down the remaining minutes of the nap.
It actually cuts down noise.
Airports are noisy, chaotic places. And although these nap pods are not really insulated, it still cuts out some of the general noise. Plus there are ambient noises you can choose to play inside the nap pod, including soft music or nature sounds like waves on the beach. These sounds help drown out the outside noises. I did a couple audio recordings to compare.
Here’s what the airport sounded like inside the nap pod with the shield closed.
Here’s what the airport sounded like sitting in a regular chair next to the nap pods.
Tips for using the nap pods.
Where to find the nap pods: At the time of this post, there were four nap pods in JetBlue’s Terminal 5 at JFK airport: two just outside Gate 17, and two by Gate 28. However, they are portable and potentially may be moved to wherever there is an outlet for it.
Where to put your luggage: There are two small shelves on either side of the chair that could fit a very small purse. Otherwise luggage will have to sit on your lap, or more likely, on the ground beneath the nap pod. This can make it difficult to keep an eye on. It also means the nap pods work best for people traveling either very light (with little or no carry-on luggage), or in pairs or groups where someone else can keep an eye on the bags.
How to (sort of) get around the 20 minute time limit of the nap pod: The nap pods are programmed to last only 20 minutes once activated. However, anyone can sit there longer without activating it. This means that there would be no tilt, vibration, or ambient music. But you can still put up your feet, close the shield, put on a pair of earbuds, and listen to music from your own device. Of course, it’d be a jerk move to hog the pod on a busy day, but this might come in handy on the rare occasion where you have the airport mostly to yourself.
(Disclosure: I obviously work for JetBlue for my day job, but tested these nap pods on my own time. This post represents my views, and my views alone, and as with all posts on Tripping Over the World, was produced independently and without any sponsorship.)
— Laura Rowley