Is booking a hotel online really that much cheaper?
December 19, 2009 8:27 PM   Subscribe

I am heading to Lima tomorrow from Montreal. I have a 9pm - 5am layover at JFK airport. Can I decide at the last minute to get an airport hotel room? Or will I pay through the nose?

Because of the snowstorm today, I'm not sure if my Montreal--New York leg is going to be delayed. If it is delayed, it might be a short enough layover to just wait it out in the airport. If it's not, I'll grab a hotel nearby and sleep. Should I book the hotel online now to get the best price? Or wait it out and take a chance? Will I pay more if I just show up to the hotel?
posted by gillianr to Travel & Transportation around Lima, Peru (8 answers total)
I recently spent the night at the Newark airport and had someone purchase a room for me while I was en route. They got one on Orbitz long after the hotel itself had sold out. If you have access to the internet when you land you could try booking one.

Having said that, five hours isn't really as long as it seems when you're at an airport. It will take you at least 45 minutes to get to the hotel, 45 minutes to get back to the airport, and flying internationally always takes longer to get on the plane than domestically. You might only get an hour to sleep. Your best bet is to spend $50 on a day pass at one of the airlines' elite lounges and take a nap in a cozy recliner chair.
posted by billtron at 8:52 PM on December 19, 2009 [4 favorites]

Best answer: What time (EST) is your expected departure time tomorrow? I would not book anything now b/c that time may change (i.e. be delayed substantially) or the flight may be cancelled or etc etc etc. I would just play it by ear b/c you may not end up having any layover. Call the airline tomorrw morning.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 9:03 PM on December 19, 2009

Hotel rooms tend to cost less "on the day," not more, because if they don't get booked at all the hotel gets zero. (Of course the same could be said of airline seats, and their prices skyrocket. I don't really know why that is.)
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:28 PM on December 19, 2009

I've gotten cheap walk-in rates at airport hotels where they charge less than the day rate for a stay of a few hours. Contact the hotel directly instead of going through an Internet wholesaler.
posted by fuzz at 3:10 AM on December 20, 2009

We did something similar for an overnight layover at JFK two weeks ago. We used and booked a nearby 3.5 star hotel with an airport shuttle for less than $80. It will save you the hassle of calling around and comparing prices.
posted by Alison at 5:03 AM on December 20, 2009

Best answer: I just did this same thing in August. It only cost about $95 and it's definitely worth it. Just those few hours of sleep in a comfortable bed made the rest of the trip SO much better, especially since I don't sleep well on planes. I went to the baggage claim where the row of phones are to call random hotels and I got a free shuttle to a Sheraton or something like that and slept like a baby for five hours.
posted by cachondeo45 at 7:13 AM on December 20, 2009

I don't know about an airport hotel, but I've gotten good deals from roadside hotels after walking in late at night.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 2:10 PM on December 20, 2009

Response by poster: Just as a post note to this: My flight ended up being cancelled on the way out of Montreal, so I'm glad I didn't put a deposit on a hotel! After some negotiating I ended up being put on a LGA flight and didn't have much layover time at JFK once I got there. On the way back (2 weeks later) I had the same layover at JFK and I tried to book a room on the phone after arriving at the airport (like you did cachondeo45). Everything was sold out, or I was quoted top of the line prices, which was surprising. I found the Oasis Lounge at Terminal 4 really great for $45 (showers, internet, couches, breakfast)... although they only open at 4am.
posted by gillianr at 3:58 PM on January 3, 2010

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