Can I sleep in the airport if I've checked luggage?
July 2, 2011 9:43 PM   Subscribe

I'm flying to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul airport later this month. My flight arrives around 11 PM, but thanks to an unforeseen scheduling snafu, my ride won't be able to pick me up until early the next morning. Normally, I'd just hang out in the terminal overnight, but on this trip, I'll have a checked bag. What would happen if I just waited until the next morning to retrieve my suitcase from baggage claim?

Yes, I realize this probably sounds really dumb, but I'd like to avoid spending the night in the uncomfortable, drafty outside security if possible. I've slept in lots of airports, MSP included, and it's always a nicer experience in the terminal itself. I don't have enough extra money to pay for a hotel room, and at the time I booked the flight, I thought that someone would be able to pick me up at the airport immediately upon my arrival.

If I don't pick up my suitcase immediately after the flight, will it just be brought to the baggage office, or is this scheme going to land me on some kind of do-not-fly list? Is there some other option I've not yet considered?
posted by easy, lucky, free to Travel & Transportation (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
it will go to the baggage office, yes, and you'll have to make a claim there, in the morning, to retrieve it. You'll need to retrieve it before they send off to the warehouse, if you need to get it before you leave the airport

if it were me, I'd claim my bag, and then spend the night in the airport.
posted by thelonius at 10:21 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've seen the baggage office close down after 10pm there, so I'd double check there hours before leaving your luggage to rot. The baggage claim area is not so comfortable, but it is warm so it won't be so drafty, and there is carpet that you can curl up on if you like.
posted by Think_Long at 10:47 PM on July 2, 2011

I have done this before, for the same reason, but not at St. Paul, and it was fine, I just picked up my luggage in the morning by showing my luggage sticker stub thingy, to the luggage pick up station guy, but YMMV.

On a side note, there is a website that reviews, and gives tips on specific airports, it seems like Minneapolis-Saint Paul has decent sleeping situation inside secuirty according to the's featured review of Minneapolis-Saint Paul. Bringing a small blanket, eye masks, and ear plugs, turn your cell phone alarm on to vibrate, slip it in your pocket, and drift off.

Good luck.
posted by Patrick Leo at 10:55 PM on July 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you're willing to trust a stranger (and a lurker, too, i'm afraid, so i don't really even have posts you can check out), I'd be glad to pick you up at the airport and drop you off wherever the hell you need to go. Or put you up on my hideously uncomfortable futon for the night, if it comes to that.

Why? Because people have given me rides and crash space many, many times over the course of my lifetime; i pay it forward when i can.

MeMail me or whatever if you want a hand.
posted by adrienneleigh at 11:20 PM on July 2, 2011 [23 favorites]

Yes, I realize this probably sounds really dumb

In the spirit of not eschewing the possibly dumb/obvious answer, might it be worth questioning, as a fail-safe solution to this conundrum, whether you could manage this trip with just carry-on luggage? Obviously if you need to check a cello or something this is an invalid response, but otherwise it being 2011 where you can buy pretty much anything anywhere, and is there anyone who really couldn't own one more pair of comfortable pants, going light might make the question moot.
posted by nanojath at 11:33 PM on July 2, 2011

Your bag might end up in any number of places which may or may not be accessible to you by the time you want to leave the airport.

We got bumped from a flight over the holidays; our luggage went to JFK with our original flight while we went to Newark the next day.

They had my partner's bag tagged correctly and it had been taken to Newark to meet us. My luggage was considered...lost? Abandoned? Something. They had taken it to a warehouse somewhere on Long Island. I had to wait for them to deliver it the next day.

We had a similar issue with luggage in MSP. It was their fault, the office was closed and locked, so it had to get delivered the next day (Christmas day, too!)

Of course, both times it was the airline's fault. I'm not sure what they would have done if I'd just neglected to pick up my bag. Hopefully I wouldn't have had to pay for the delivery, or schlep out to some random warehouse.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:54 PM on July 2, 2011

Is there any reason why you can't just catch (inexpensive) public transport to your friends house (or the home of who ever it was who you thought was going to pick you up)?

Of if that's not feasible, why not make arrangements with someone on who IS accessible by public transport? (I assume if you can afford a plane ticket you can probably afford a $2 for a bus ticket.)
posted by Kololo at 12:05 AM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the replies so far; I'm mulling them over.

Two things that I neglected to mention:

- I'd love to travel with only a carry-on, but I'm actually moving back home to the lovely Midwest after a few years on the East Coast, so I'll be bringing pretty much all of my worldly possessions with me.

- My final destination isn't Minneapolis-Saint Paul but another city which is approximately 4 hours away. I'm only flying to MSP because it's a lot cheaper to do it this way. I don't really know anyone in the Cities.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 12:10 AM on July 3, 2011

That being the case, i really CAN put you up on my futon if you feel like it. I may actually even have a daybed instead by then. Seriously, no one should have to sleep in a fucking airport. Not kidding.
posted by adrienneleigh at 12:12 AM on July 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

in the "pre-9/11" world, they used to have baggage lockers for this kind of thing, in places of public transportation.But someone might put a bomb in those lockers: so, you cannot haz
posted by thelonius at 12:21 AM on July 3, 2011

adrienneleigh, have you been to a meetup? Is there another Mefite who would be willing to vouch for your non-sketchyness?

I think your offer is a great (and very kind/generous) idea, if you can find someone to be a character reference, or otherwise put easy, lucky, free's mind at ease.
posted by Year of meteors at 1:05 AM on July 3, 2011

Consider also non-Mefi alternatives to finding a couchsurf, like, say, Couchsurfing.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:06 AM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

in the "pre-9/11" world, they used to have baggage lockers for this kind of thing
I can confirm that as of one year ago JFK still had a left luggage service (which I used for a day trip into the city). These are usually in the international terminal if they exist, although it's true that most were taken out post-9/11.

I wouldn't want to leave all of my worldly possessions in the trust of airlines overnight or sleep with it. Take up adrienneleigh's offer or hit up couchsurfing.
posted by Bunglegirl at 6:28 AM on July 3, 2011

I should say that the JFK left luggage may seem irrelevant but I wanted to point out that they still do exist in some airports so it might be worth a little research. Have you thought about calling the airline at the airport to ask about luggage storage?
posted by Bunglegirl at 6:30 AM on July 3, 2011

Seriously, there are lots of us Mefi peeps who can probably help stash you somewhere, and who are known :) Write to one of us. This 'sleeping in the airport' nonsense is for the birds.
posted by gregglind at 6:35 AM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Also, the MSP airport has train services to other points in the city that may prove more comfortable, if for some reason you're averse to trusting mefites for accommodations.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:59 AM on July 3, 2011

I've seen piles of unattended luggage left in little rows at baggage claim in the MSP airport for hours and hours overnight. If it was me I'd be nervous about my bag wandering off overnight if I didn't pick it up in a relatively timely manner. But honestly I think the baggage claim area is no less uncomfortable than the terminal for sleeping.
posted by vytae at 9:25 AM on July 3, 2011

Yeah really not all airports have the inspector at the baggage claim exit matching yer stub with the luggage label -- does MSP, even on grave shift? I'd be afraid of some late-night low-life snagging that one last unclaimed bag, and walking away.
posted by Rash at 9:57 AM on July 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

These are all your worldly goods. Do not leave them unattended overnight while hoping for the best ... unless you're OK with never seeing them again.
posted by cyndigo at 11:34 AM on July 3, 2011

I can vouch for Adrienneleigih's character. In fact, reading her original post i even said to myself "that seems like something Adrienne would do, then got to the username. I've known her for 20 years and she's an exceptionally trustworthy human being.
posted by topher74 at 3:09 PM on July 3, 2011 [3 favorites]

does MSP, even on grave shift?

I've never seen anyone checking claim tickets at general baggage claim at MSP. I've only ever seen it happen clearing customs and even that is incredibly spotty.

And seriously -- even if no one here can vouch for Adrienne's character to your satisfaction, there's now a gaggle of upper-midwesterners willing to help out. At the very least a couple of us could take you to Mickey's for greasy food and help you find a cheap/safe hotel for a couple hours sleep.
posted by nathan_teske at 9:26 PM on July 3, 2011

Also, for completeness, is a good place to crash. They also have a "last minute couch" option.
posted by crawltopslow at 4:42 AM on July 4, 2011

Hi! I am also here in the city and more than willing to help out if need be. We should make it into a meetup! :)
posted by triggerfinger at 7:36 PM on July 4, 2011

« Older Let's get some shoes.   |   I'm 28 years old and I feel passionless and... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.