Tired passengers waiting at London Stansted Airport (STN) over the weekend report that they were prevented from sleeping by roving teams of airport security. Many were forced to sleep on the floor due to the lack of seating in the departure area and claim that they were forcibly kept awake by staff.
Falling asleep isn’t a crime, but it seems that passengers at London Stansted Airport (STN) could be forgiven for thinking that nodding off is some kind of major transgression, Metro.co.uk reports. Over the weekend, not only were travelers waiting for early morning flights forced to sleep on the floor due to a lack of seats, but some have reported that they were rudely and intentionally awakened by security staff at STN.
Speaking to the outlet, passenger Ricky Gavioli offered his eyewitness account of what happened at STN early on Saturday morning,saying, “I have never seen anything like this in my life, it felt like a mini police state with security guards determined to stop tired passengers sleeping. The departure gate was closed until 3 a.m. and there were only 50 seats for around 400 or 500 people. This was where the main problem arose – they couldn’t go to the gate and there was no where to rest, so people were lying on the floor.”
STN’s security teams, Gavioli explained, were patrolling the airport to ensure that passengers were staying awake and upright.
This kind of behavior, unsurprisingly, did not go down well among waiting travelers, many of whom reportedly became perturbed at being denied rest.
According to the outlet, STN has recently begun to crack down on passengers sleeping in the terminal.
Offering an official statement on behalf of the airport, a spokesperson said, “There are a number of reasons for the periodic overnight closures to the departures area of the terminal building including construction work as part of our £600 ($787) million airport transformation program, to allow cleaning, and to allow necessary preparations for the next day’s flight operations. Sleeping on the floor is not allowed to ensure access for these works, cleaning and preparations. We don’t allow people to sleep on the floor or come with sleeping equipment (camp beds, hammocks, sleeping bags etc), and people sleeping on the floor will be asked to sit up or move if necessary.”