MADRID -- We've all been there. Trapped at an airport for a five-, six-, twelve-hour layover. Snack bars and the wonders of duty-free shopping can only entertain for an hour or two. You're suffering through 3-G separation anxiety, unable to choose between astronomical roaming charges and the 15-euro-an-hour airport WiFi. Finally, you decide to take a nap. Not wanting to lose sight of your carry-ons, you and your travel partner sleep in shifts, curled awkwardly in the hard-backed, immovable, plastic seats or attempt to stake out a corner to perform a reverse toe-to-head spoon, on-top of your lumpy luggage. That tiny nap doesn't do anything to compensate for your jet-lag and hangover, and you are left feeling the pain of another wasted day at the airport.
What if you could spend just six euros an hour for security, privacy, a bed, and WiFi? That's the simple idea behind Spanish start-up AirportNap.
For another project coming out of Complutense University's first year of their Masters in Entrepreneurship, Miguel Gimenez-Cassina decided to design and implement a service that could have flexible shifts, allowing the hiring of one of the most crisis-ridden populations: mothers, 45 and older.
As part of this life-long-aspiring entrepreneur's degree, he had to make a business plan. "I asked my family, parents, friends if they had some good ideas," Gimenez-Cassina says. "My girlfriend Pamela told me that I could do something like hospital curtains for the airports." Pamela is from Venezuela and used to the pain of crippling layovers, following long, long flights.
Gimenez-Cassina loved the idea, as when he was vacationing in the Netherlands, he found out the hard way -- when "it was very, very cold and snowing" -- that the Eindhoven Airport closes at night. "I liked the idea of sleeping at the airport, and I searched by Internet and I didn't find anything and decided to continue with my idea," he says. There are other sites like SalasVIP and SleepBox that offer a similar service, but at a much higher cost. He says he saw something like AirportNap at the Philadelphia Airport, during a ten-hour layover, after doing the ever-so-popular-for-the-Spanish Route 66. "They have a similar [service], but it's very, very expensive." Gimenez-Cassina sees AirportNap as a beginning investment that could turn highly profitable in the long term, but still be low-cost.
He wants AirportNap "to be a location with 18 or 20 small, individual rooms, very small, very simple." Gimenez-Cassina says, "You enter in the hall, you pay and the service gives you a room with sheets and a bed, like a hospital. You enter in the room, and you can watch TV, use Internet, and you have a lot of extras like a waterbed and massage chairs and some chips or Cokes to drink and eat."
"One hour for nap, WiFi, air conditioning at 21 degrees [Celsius, 70 degrees Fahrenheit,] wake-up service, notifies if the flight changes," he says, along with the three-euro extras mentioned above, plus a souvenir catalog, to further your multitasking. In the future, he will plan how to incorporate a shower for the extra-busy, less fresh travelers.
While it is a low-cost service, he doesn't want to trick you into spending money on extras. "It won't be like RyanAir," he says, making sure to distinguish AirportNap from the world's most successful low-cost airline that notoriously adds on charges upon charges, keeping you awake, while the flight attendants try to make a sale. "You know [RyanAir is] very, very cheaper, but after with the extras, it's very expensive." He says that AirportNap, at "six euros an hours is cheaper."
Part of the AirportNap service has been designed to meet the standards of the "Premio Concilla" de la Fundacion Mujer Familia y Trabajo award for businesses that take into special considerations employees with families. "I decided to employ women older than 45 years because my mother was always autonoma [freelance] and now with the crisis in Spain, she can't find" a job in her sector. He wasn't sure, but his mother is somewhere around "54, 56, more or less." As part of this prize, he guarantees that at least 25 percent of his employees will be women between the ages of 45 and 60.
"I think there are a lot of women, like my mother, that they can't work with the crisis. This type of population is very difficult to find a job because they are older and enterprises want young women with a lot of experience, language," he says. "For AirportNap, it's not necessary to be a good-looking employee."
"I prefer mothers with children because I think that type of people need more the jobs and I'm sure that they're going to work better than other types of people that don't need the work," Gimenez-Cassina says. "I want that AirPortNap will be open 24 hours a day, so I think for that, women who have problems with children who go to school, etcetera, I think they can change their schedule," making shift work appealing to them. "They can choose, more or less, their own schedule."
The next step is to go through the tedious process of convincing airports to accept AirportNap on-site. Of course, he'd like Madrid's Barajas Airport, however, the owner "Aena is a public enterprise, so it's very, very slow. Always, they say they don't know exactly when they could have [the] space for AirportNap, or something like that."
They'll need about 100 meters at each airport, or like Madrid, at two centers -- T1 and T4S, which are two metro stops away from each other. Each sleeping cubicle starts at 1,055 centimeters by 900 centimeters. There are single and double beds and those for families. The walls, like in our office spaces, will be adjustable and quickly moveable, with tables and beds on wheels, like in hospitals.
Customers can reserve on PayPal, planning their layovers in advance, or in the moment. Teddy bears not included.