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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rent a room at the airport

The business traveler in search of a catnap or a corner to catch up on work may soon be able to rent privacy and quiet by the hour at busy airports. A Florida company, which since 1992 has been testing free-standing private rooms at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, says the idea has proven a winner and is on the verge of expansion. The "Ziosks" being tested in the Minneapolis airport -- eight of them scattered throughout the terminals -- are free-standing private rooms, each equipped with a sofa, work table, credit card-swipe telephone, fax machine, television and clock radio. Seven of the rooms are about six square meters in size. The eighth is smaller and has a recliner chair but no sofa. To gain access, the traveler picks up a phone on the outside of the unit. A freephone number is automatically dialed, putting the customer in touch with an operator who takes down the name, address and credit card number as well as the length of time for which the unit is needed. The user then gets a four-digit code that allows entry and re-entry through the rental period. The cost: $12.95 for the first hour, $6.98 for additional hours. While none of the test locations has running water, the company has a design for a room that will have a shower and toilet. A similar concept is in use at Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris but that involves a number of units consolidated in one walled-off location.