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sleeping in Casablanca’s Mohamed V Airport

7 February, 2011

Flying in and out of Errachidia means that we get to spend lots and lots of time twiddling our thumbs in Casablanca’s Mohammed V Airport.  Errachidia has two flights in and two flights out each week.  The timing of each is either so late, or so early that it is difficult to get in and out of the airport unless you want to pay an arm and a leg for it.  This means that just about any time we fly in or out, we have the privilege of sleeping in the airport.

Because of the high number of other travelers and people employed by the airport, I feel safe spending the night in the airport.  This does not, however, mean that I am necessarily comfortable staying there for the lengthy stretches of as many as ten hours.

Sunday night, I opted to stay at the airport because I feared missing my flight and then having to spend ten to eleven hours on the bus back to Errachidia.  I had about ten hours to kill while waiting for my flight, and so I did quite a bit of walking around, observing and surprisingly enough, sleeping.

Based on my findings from the other night, I give you the following pieces of advice for making your extended stay at the Mohammed V Airport more comfortable:

1 –      During winter months, bring a blanket/sleeping bag and dress warmly.  The airport is not heated, and for whatever reason, they like to leave the doors to the outside open.

well-prepared travelers getting their sleep on in terminal one

2 –      The tile floor is very, very cold.  There are a number of chairs throughout the airport, and there are six benches (long enough to lay down and attempt sleep on) located upstairs in Terminal 1, directly in front of the Terminal 1 International Flights boarding area.  If you opt to sleep on the floor, expect to be woken up multiple times throughout the night so the floor cleaners can clean the narrow strip of tile you are occupying.

3 –      If hard benches are not your scene, but spending the time and money to try to get a hotel room is not for you, attempt to access the Royal Air Maroc office.  It is located right next to the benches and gateway for Terminal 1 International Flights and is unoccupied between the hours of 2230 and 0615.  The door was not locked when the last employee left, and there are eight couches inside.

4 –      Make friends with the cats.  Like everywhere else in Morocco, there are cats roaming around.  One took to me, and she was both friendly and clean enough to cuddle with.  Cuddly cats make a cold night warmer.

cuddling with one of Mohamed V's cats

5 –      If you are flying in/out of Terminal 2 and have the money to spare (about 500 DH/ 50 Euro), there is an on-site “hotel” featuring small rooms with double beds and bathrooms down the hallway.  You will have to argue and/or cry to be allowed access to it because it is located beyond the security check-point.  You will be told by ticketing agents that it is “unpossible” to receive boarding passes more than two hours before your flight.  Do not believe these lies and ask to speak to the manager/boss/chief/modeer.

6 –      If you have the time to spare and do not want to stay in one of the on-site shoe boxes, there is the Atlas Airport Hotel.  I have not stayed there, and per the interwebs, it is not reviewed very highly, but it is an option.  They have a shuttle to and from the airport, but it is rumored that the driver does not go until you tip him sufficiently.

7 –      If the trains are still running, you can take the train to Casa Voyageurs and sleep at the Hotel Ibis.  I’ve stayed here and found it to be perfectly acceptable if all you are expecting is a bed to sleep in and a hot shower.       The train ticket (one-way) will cost you 40 Ds, and the list price for the hotel was 600 Ds.

8 –     Taking a taxi into the city is always another option, and will cost you about 250-300 Ds.  Like almost any airport, getting taxis out of Mohamed V is easy at any hour.  Finding one early enough to get back for super-early flights, however, may not be so easy.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October Mist permalink
    29 November, 2011 05:09

    Thank u for the review. I was considering staying overnite but decided to take the RAM/Iberia flight from Marrakech back to Madrid a day early just in case. From there I take the flight back to the USA.

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