JumboStay Arlanda

Although I have long been fascinated by Concorde, and am slowly visiting all the BA frames, it was an aircraft I never flew on. The supersonic era it was meant to usher in never came to pass, and the sound barrier remains one I will likely never break.

Conversely, the other great icon of 20th century aviation, the Boeing 747, has repeatedly featured in my flying history. It arguably brought about a greater revolution in travel, for it made long haul journeys a more realistic prospect for the masses. My first ever flight to the US was on a British Airways 747, and later I was lucky enough to experience the upper deck a few times.

COVID brought about an unceremonious end to BA’s jumbo jet fleet, and indeed that of most other airlines too; today only a handful of operators use it for passenger service. Even for cargo its days are numbered: the last “queen of the skies”, a freighter for Atlas Air, rolled off the Boeing production line at the end of 2022 and should be delivered this month.

Given its sheer size, an entire 747 is a challenge for an aviation museum to find space for (although the very first one can be toured at Seattle’s Museum of Flight). Some have found other uses, however. I’ve yet to visit Negus at Cotswold airport – which is now an event space hosting everything from corporate parties to a Christmas grotto – but on this trip I couldn’t resist booking in at Jumbo Stay.

As the name suggests, this plane has been repurposed as accommodation, with a range of options from budget hostel-style shared rooms up to a luxury cockpit suite. Most of these, plus shared bathrooms / showers, a café and a conference space have been created by a complete reworking of the aircraft interior. But some ‘rooms’ are located outside, housed in the wheel wells and the engine nacelles!

For the brave – or perhaps the summer – engine rooms at Jumbo Stay Arlanda.

The latter did appeal for this ‘tunnels and tubes’ trip – but braving the Swedish winter any time I wanted to use the bathroom didn’t! My budget not stretching to the opposite extreme, the suites, I compromised with an en-suite single room, costing 1450SEK (about £115) for the night.


One of Arlanda airport’s free and frequent buses (route beta) conveniently includes a stop at Jumbo Stay whilst looping between the terminals (2 and 4) and long stay parking / car rental area. The plane is then hard to miss! Alternatively, it’s less than a mile on foot – one of the more pleasant airport walks I’ve taken, through snow-dusted woodland rather than the usual endless car parks.

Arriving – or should that be boarding? – at Jumbo Stay.

The hybrid hostel / hotel approach has resulted in some fiddly rules to follow. Check-in starts at 3, and you’ll need a code to get onto the aircraft which I only received at 2:30. But it also stops at 6, unless you’ve made advance arrangements. I’m not sure why, as there was no-one to check me in; you just select the appropriate key card from the reception desk. In fact, I never met any staff during my visit – breakfast is also self-serve, and you just leave your key card at checkout.

One additional quirk – unlike a flight, shoes aren’t allowed on board, so you’ll have to take them off before entering. So bring slippers, perhaps!

I managed to get a shot of the evacuation plan, which gives a good idea of the layout. My room was the not-quite-perfectly-numbered 748; 747 is the cockpit suite, not shown as it is of course on the upper deck.

As a hotel room, 748 would be considered pretty basic: a single bed; a small table with one chair; a TV; and a couple of posters. But a run of porthole windows and the curving wall make it very clear you’re in a plane, not a building – and this is far more personal space than you’d have got when it was flying. The bathroom is also much better than you’d find on an aircraft, not least because of the shower.

Room 748, Jumbo Stay

En-suite bathroom

I had imagined I would spend the evening in the café chatting away with fellow avgeeks, but I didn’t get back from central Stockholm until quite late and no-one seemed to be about. I eventually discovered I wasn’t the only guest due to an unfortunate design flaw… whenever someone shut one of the (surprisingly heavy) doors, the (surprisingly light) walls (and posters) would noisily shake. So although the bed was comfortable enough, I didn’t get a great night’s sleep!

Café in the nose of a 747

I finally met a couple of people – but still no staff – at breakfast the next morning. As mentioned, this is self-serve, from a selection of cold-cuts, cereals and breadstuffs. Quite a budget offering, to be honest – far from a typical hotel buffet, although it was free. I couldn’t enjoy it for too long: I only realised that checkout is at 10am with about fifteen minutes to spare!


I’m not entirely sure whether to recommend Jumbo Stay – it seemed expensive for what you get, but that may be due to my room choice. The shared bathrooms looked fine, so perhaps a cheaper spot in a dorm would have been a better option. Or visiting in summer, when the engine rooms could be more agreeable. Ultimately, it depends on whether your love of unusual aviation experiences outweighs a preference for fancy hotels!

Jumbo Stay after overnight snow.