British Airways is opening new ‘Forty Winks’ nap lounges at London Heathrow and New York JFK airports for weary first and business class travellers. Jenny Southan reports
The first British Airways ‘Forty Winks’ nap lounge was unveiled on May 17 at the airline First lounge at London Heathrow. When travel restrictions ease and other first and business class lounges open, they will also be installed in the Concorde Room at London Heathrow Terminal 5 and New York’s JFK Terminal 7.
The sleep capsule EnergyPods were created in partnership with workspace sleep technology provider Restworks and feature “gravity neutral positioning and privacy visors”. They are free to use but can’t be pre-booked. Passengers simply use the “Your Menu” lounge app to check if one is available in real-time. (This information is also displayed on a screen outside the Forty Winks entrance.)
Apparently, the EnergyPod is the “world’s first chair designed exclusively for power napping”, although Globetrender has observed similar concepts in the past, such as the Airpod, MinuteSuites, NapCity, GoSleep and Izzzleep.
Christopher Lindholst, Restworks’ global managing director, says: “Being able to rest while travelling is an important way to stay healthy and energised, and what better way to use your dwell time than to catch up on some sleep. We are excited British Airways is making this important investment in customer wellbeing.”Although Globetrender can’t imagine many people will feel relaxed enough to sleep while travelling during the pandemic, this is a trend we have been monitoring for over six years, so it comes as no surprise that a mainstream airline such as BA has finally adopted the innovation.
The Heathrow First Class ‘Forty Winks’ lounge has seven pods available. But a big question for travellers will be “are they Covid-free?”
The airline says that Dettol hand sanitiser stations will be positioned in the nap lounges, and Dettol antibacterial wipes will be used to keep the pod surfaces clean after each use.
How do the EnergyPods work?
Users set a timer on the EnergyPod to wake them up or use the “one-touch” start button for a pre-programmed 20-minute nap. The EnergyPod reclines to elevate the feet and promote relaxation. The adjustable privacy visor can be swiveled into place to block out distractions and free audio content can be downloaded via the Restworks Mobile app.
British Airways says that, when open, Concorde Room customers will be able book an EnergyPod via dedicated hosts, request a time they would like to be woken and choose a hot beverage to enjoy after their rest. Water and hot towels will be provided to add to the refreshing awakening experience.
Tom Stevens, British Airways’ director of brand and customer experience, says: “We can’t wait to welcome our customers back after a very difficult year, and we’re always looking for new ideas to support our customers’ health and wellbeing pre-flight.
“In late 2019 we carried out a survey of over 100,000 lounge guests asking what they would like to see featured in our lounges. Sleep pods were right at the top of their list. Our ’Forty Winks’ nap lounges will offer a dedicated rejuvenation space for customers as they return to the skies. Beating jet lag and catching a snooze on the go has never been easier.