Are Airports Open 24/7? (The Truth About Airport Hours)

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When I book a flight, I like to get it at as reasonable an hour as possible.

However, sometimes it’s necessary to book a night flight.

But that begs the question as to whether airports are open 24/7.

Planning Your Trip

Washington Dulles airport is open every day
Washington Dulles airport is open 24/7

When you’re headed off on an adventure, one of the most important things is that you stay organized.

This is especially important if you have a flight at an unusual time because the last thing you want is to arrive at the airport only to find that you have to wait outside. 

Understanding airport opening times allows you to make more concrete plans and helps you to avoid waiting around unnecessarily. 

Normal Airport Opening Times

airports are open every day
Normal airport opening times

Most of the big airports around the world, including many in the United States, remain open 24/7.

However, there are exceptions to this rule and some smaller airports may close at around 1 am, not reopening until 6 am.

When booking a flight, especially if you’ll be arriving at an airport for a connecting flight, you need to make sure that you’ll be allowed to stay in the airport overnight. 

What you should also consider? While some airports are open 24 hours a day, this doesn’t mean that all of the facilities will be available during the night. For example, many of the shops and cafes will close.

What’s more, in many cases, while you may be able to go inside the airport, the check-in desks might not be staffed until a particular time; usually 6 am. 

Which Airports Are Open 24/7?

In the USA, many of the larger airports remain open all day, every day.

In most cases, there will be restrictions on when flights are allowed to land and take off due to noise laws. Typically, between the hours of 2 am and 5 am, there won’t be any flights. 

Charles de Gaulle airport
Charles de Gaulle Paris airport is open 24/7

That said, this doesn’t mean that the airport won’t be open.

Airports such as Washington Dulles Airport (IAD), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and JFK in New York all remain open 24 hours of a day. 

Many airports around the world also stay open throughout the night including Heathrow In London (LHR), Singapore Airport (SIN), Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai (BOM), and Charles de Gaulle in Paris (CDG) are all open 24 hours.

Of course, as with many 24 hour airports, not all facilities will be available during the night. For example, at CDG, check-in closes at 11 pm. 

Surprisingly, some of the world’s bigger airports, like the one in Sydney, Australia, are not open 24 hours a day.

Being in one of the most visited locations on the planet, one might assume that this would be a 24/7 airport. Therefore, this reinstates the importance of researching before you travel. 

Can I Go Through Security At Any Time Of The Day or Night?

As I mentioned earlier, when you arrive at the airport at an obscure time, it may be that you can go inside but won’t be able to check in until the desks open in the morning. The same can be said for passing through security. 

Los Angeles international airport is open all night
Los Angeles International airport is open 24/7

In most cases, even where an airport is open 24/7, passengers will be restricted to landside until the services reopen in the morning.

Of course, where flights are departing in the wee hours of the morning, you will be able to head over to airside.

Can I Sleep In An Airport Overnight?

There may be many reasons that you need to stay in the airport overnight. For example, you may have landed at 10 pm but have a 6 am connecting flight. 

Sometimes, people may have missed their flights and are waiting for the next one, or perhaps a flight has been canceled or delayed. 

Singapore airport is open all night every day
Singapore airport is open 24/7

I even know of some travelers that like to get to the airport super early and this may mean getting inside the building during the night. 

All of these situations may require you to sleep in the airport overnight. Whether or not you are allowed to do this depends entirely on the airport.

What to Expect? Those that are open 24/7 largely allow passengers to grab a seat in the building and catch a few ZZZ’s. However, if the airport is not open to the public during certain hours, you simply won’t be permitted to sleep there. 

The good news is that most airports have a hotel either on site or very close by so even if you do find yourself at a loose end, there will be somewhere you can rest your head. 

Why Are Some Airports Closed At Night?

One of the main reasons that airports cease operation between certain hours is due to noise laws.

Airplanes are very loud with their large engines, and for residents living in close proximity to the airport, this can be very disturbing to their day to day lives and their sleep patterns. 

Heathrow London is open at night
Heathrow London is open 24/7

However, this isn’t the only reason that airports might not be open at night. In some cases, there’s simply no need for them to remain open as the demand for flights is much lower.

This is especially true of smaller airports that don’t offer international flights. In these situations, the airport usually serves passengers taking short haul flights which are often scheduled for more ‘normal’ times of the day. 

Are Airports Open On Christmas Day?

If there’s one day of the year that everything seems to slow down or stop completely, it’s Christmas.

But there are plenty of people who want to travel to see family and friends during the holidays so they may wonder if airports are open on Christmas Day.

flights on Christmas Day airport
Airports are open on Christmas day

Some airports are open for flights on Christmas Day but this is something you will need to check before making travel plans.

Airports are notably more quiet on Christmas Day and you may find that a lot of the shops, cafes, and restaurants are not open. 

While there are some airlines that offer flights on Christmas Day, many do not. If there is an airline you prefer to fly with, I’d suggest checking well in advance if you want to travel over the festive period. 

Final Thoughts

Many airports around the world are open all the time. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll have access to all of the facilities. In most cases, check-in will close at a predetermined time and there won’t be any flights between certain hours due to noise laws. 

That said, you may still be allowed inside the building on landside during the night and there may be a few things still open. In all cases, the airport will still have security staff on hand should there be anything wrong.

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