Red-eye flights take place when travelers are supposed to be asleep at home waiting for the next day’s flight or comfortably settled in their hotel accommodations. But some travelers take this flight — between 9 am and 5 am — because of the benefits it brings.
Even though they disrupt sleeping patterns and can be a nightmare if you’re flying with crying babies, there are some of the advantages of flying these red-eye schedules:
Flights scheduled for red-eye shifts are often cheaper than regular daytime departures.
Late-night flights can be less than half of the rates offered on day flights. So if you are tight in budget or try to squeeze a bit more savings to supplement your travel expenses, taking red-eye flights is one way to accomplish it.
Late-night flights offer faster check-in.
With fewer flights, and perhaps fewer passengers taking these late-night flights out of inconvenience hotel check-in hours or unfavorable itinerary planning, travelers have can check-in faster and movements from counters to departure gates are often smoother.
Red-eye flights are likely to offer extra seats to sleep on.
Mid-day flights often fly in full capacity, but night flights are more likely to have vacant seats which are helpful when you want to lie down and sleep. While this is not always a given, it might be reassuring that such arrangements can allow a weary traveler to more legroom during flight.
Late-night passengers are probably tired and weary. Most parents save the trouble — and embarrassment brought by a crying kid out of a night flight travel. Business people wish to spend the night knocking a few drinks at the bar, so it’s more likely to encounter quiet passengers during red-eye schedules.
It takes a shorter time to claim your luggage.
Fewer passengers mean more overhead luggage and fewer check-in luggage to claim. That can only mean less chances of losing your bags and retrieve them faster at the arrival luggage claim conveyor.
Late-night flights save you hotel accommodations.
Now that’s for the frugal people who take red-eye flights for this very reason. By taking late-night flights, the airplane becomes your transport and accommodation channel, saving you a night’s worth of hotel bill. If only earplugs and sleeping masks are as good as your soft hotel bed.
Late-night flights let you avoid rush hour traffic.
Fewer passengers on fewer flights also mean fewer cars on the road, which translates to faster getting to the airport and avoid the rush hour madness.
Airport waiting rooms are more spacious.
We guess there are many benefits to fewer people at the airport. For airports that are small that normally passengers have to squat on the floor, night flights ensure departure gate seats are all yours.
Late-night flights allow you to sleep. Wearing comfortable sleeping attire while airborne helps you sleep more comfortably.
More on-time flights. Fewer flights also mean less congested runways and on-time schedules, allowing you to enjoy a full day at business or leisure.
Make the most of your daytime schedule.
Since the red-eye schedule takes care of your transport arrangement, your daytime schedules are virtually untouched by airport transfers, waiting times and worse, flight delays. While you are taking rest, albeit not so comfortably, you may be good enough to get through your travel itinerary to begin your day as you arrive at your destination.
More attention to you means less likely to lose personal items. If daytime travelers squeeze themselves to get into the scanner, chances are one of them could leave a belt, mobile phone or a small purse behind. With nigh flyers, inspecting staff have fewer people to attend to so an unclaimed watch gets to its rightful owner much quickly.
Now that you know the advantages of traveling via red-eye schedules, you may want to explore the best way to not only survive it but best experience it — knowing that such experiences also has its fare of inconveniences.
Book a window seat
With your aim of getting some decent sleep, choosing a window seat may help minimize interruptions from someone seated next to you (“excuse me, can I go to the toilet” kind of requests). The wall also offers a good space to rest your head.
Wear comfortable clothes in the cabin
You may change to your most comfy pajamas and a warm sweater and apply generous amounts of lotion to counter the cabin’s dry air. Don’t forget to bring an equally comfortable sandals, sleeping mask, both of which may be provided on business class seats or your hotel room welcome kit, and neck pillow. Don’t forget to request for blankets from the flight attendants as air cabin temperature may be uncomfortably cold during the journey.
Book flights closer to your sleeping time
By the time you arrive at your seat, you might already be ready to shut down and fall asleep any minute. Once flight takes off closer to your bedtime, it might be a perfect time for you to get that well-deserved sleep.
Eat the right food and take the right fluids
Avoid alcohol and caffeine before your flight as they cause dehydration and might disrupt you from enjoying a good sleep. Instead, get enough water and balanced meals consisting of say salad, grilled salmon, bread and avoid spicy foods or processed ones like chips, as they can make your stomach bloated and potential frequent trips to the toilet.
Follow your pre-sleep routine:
If that includes washing your face, applying face moisturizer, brushing your teeth and reading a book before bed, try to follow this routine. Doing so may put you at ease as you mentally prepare to hit the bed (or in this case, your window seat in your flight).
Shut down cabin noise and disruption
This means investing in effective earplugs (not necessarily expensive, but one that’s proven to work for you) and an eye mask to block both cabin noise and light. Doing so helps you get to sleep more easily, and stay that way better.
Get enough time to prepare before arrival
If you tend to be in deep sleep for a while, setting a gentle alarm on your watch can help you rouse from sleep and get plenty of time to fix things (change to your regular travel or business clothes in time for a morning meeting, brush teeth, and avoid long lines at the toilet). Waking up might make us feel disoriented and confused and having this feeling just before an airplane landing can trigger unnecessary panic (where’s my phone, where did I put my wallet?). Waking up about an hour before arrival should give you enough time to prepare for arrival.
To many people, red-eye flights are an inconvenient way to travel and disrupt their circadian rhythm but it poses economic and practical benefits that many travelers now consider as a luxury.