Checking In: Sleeping Soundly On a Plane...That's Also a Hotel

by  Tommy Burson | Dec 1, 2014
Plane / Biletskiy_Evgeniy/iStock

It’s not often that you sleep soundly on a Boeing 747. Even less common is stretching out, relaxing, and enjoying a few beers, fresh cookies, and a satisfying shower while you're at it. But such homely comforts are exactly what you'll find at Jumbo Stay hostel, a converted 747 aircraft (formerly operated by TransJet) that now sits on a runway on the outskirts of Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport.

Jumbo Stay features 29 bedrooms, most of which are two- and four-bed dormitory style rooms with community bathrooms. For those who like a a little privacy, a set of suites -- with the one in the cockpit being the most sought after ($311 per night) -- are also available. Upon arrival, you’re required to remove your shoes for cleanliness purposes, and the rule works. The hostel is among the cleanest I’ve encountered, and I've stayed at my fair share of you-get-what-you-pay-for lodgings.

For my stay, I arrived as an overbooked passenger. I would have typically opted for the dorms, which at $70 per night were like most hotels: set of bunk beds, TV, some storage spots for your suitcases. But since none were free, Jumbo Stay offered me a single-bed suite at the back of the plane (normally $226 per night), close to where kosher meals are typically stocked. The room was narrow, running the length of 17 windows, but included free snacks like sparkling water and a Mars Bar as well as free continental breakfast in the morning.

Elsewhere onboard, there's a cozy cafe and gift shop. The cafe provides an assortment of warm snacks, sandwiches, beers, and coffee -- don’t worry, the selections taste better than your typical airline food. My favorite feature was a book and diagram that documented the history and outline of the jet.

Easily, the best perk of this hostel is its location. It’s a five-minute free shuttle ride from the Arlanda check-in counters, making it ideal for travelers who have either an early flight the following morning or a late-arrival. And I'd only recommend staying here for one night, anyway. The novelty and kitsch are worth experiencing briefly, but it's more than 30 minutes from downtown Stockholm -- not ideal for maximizing your time in the city. It’s a bit pricey for what you get, too (though that might be common to all of Sweden). As cool as it is to say that you're staying in a former Boeing aircraft, when it comes down to it, a plane is still somewhat claustrophobic, especially when it's been converted with relatively thin walls.

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