When people travel by air, they usually book flights within waking hours. This means purchasing a flight that departs in the morning and arrives either in the afternoon or evening. These regular flights, however, can get pricey, especially when there’s a high demand for air travel.
Don’t worry, though, as travelers have other options when flying to their intended destination. Apart from booking a flight outside the peak season, they can purchase overnight flight tickets, also known as a red eye flight.
What is a Red Eye Flight?
A red eye flight is a commercial service that leaves at night and arrives sometime in the morning. People derived this phrase from the distinctive red eyes of weary or sleepless air passengers — something that’s highly familiar with frequent flyers.
An example of a red eye flight is a plane that travels from a city on the East Coast of the United States to a new destination on the West Coast. Given that these overnight flights only last a short time (typically from four to six hours), travelers won’t get the necessary deep sleep they need to function properly during the day.
Benefits of Booking a Red Eye Flight
Even if this travel option will likely make you weary the following day, overnight flights can be convenient for flexible and budget travelers.
Here are the advantages of booking a red eye flight:
You Can Avoid the Dreaded Rush Hour Traffic
Heavy traffic is one of the primary reasons for travelers to miss their flights. Getting stuck during rush hour can make most morning flights a nightmare.
If you’re one of those travelers looking to avoid traffic jams like a plague, catch a red-eye flight. Fewer air passengers translate to fewer cars going to the airport. This means that you can get to the airport faster.
You Can Check In Way Quicker
Checking in at the airline counter will likely be a breeze, thanks to the lack of commuters and bulky travel bags crowding your path. Just imagine flying minus the tedious and long lines at check-in and airport security. If you don’t like the idea of weaving in and out through a crowd of air passengers, book a red eye flight.
You Can Potentially Save Some Money
Overnight flights are less popular than your traditional morning or afternoon counterparts. Airlines, therefore, do their best to make these flights as attractive as possible. One common tactic is to reduce the prices of these airline tickets. If you have a limited travel fund or just want to save some money, getting a late night flight may be a good choice for you.
There May Be Fewer People in the Plane
If fewer travelers decide to fly red eye, you’ll most likely see a lot of empty seats. This may allow you to stretch your body without worrying the person next to you. What’s more, you don’t have to get up every time a passenger in the window seat needs to go to the lavatory. You can enjoy the space you want — at the price of a single seat.
The Flight Will Likely Be a Quiet One
Looking to enjoy some R&R on the plane? A red eye flight is your best bet. Parents with babies or younger children are more likely to book morning or afternoon flights to avoid the hassles of sleeping overnight. What’s more, many passengers on the plane would prefer to get some shuteye. This means one thing: a flight without noisy children or crying babies.
You Could Save Money on Hotel Accommodations
If you arrive at your destination late at night, chances are that you’ll sleep overnight at a hotel. This can get costly, especially if you’re a budget traveler.
When you purchase a red eye flight ticket, you can save money on your accommodation. This scenario is like hitting two birds in one stone. First, you get to travel to a new destination while you’re asleep.
Second, you’ll have plenty of daytime when you touch down. This is why some business travelers choose to fly red eye; they can potentially complete a day of work ahead of them. The overnight flight option is also ideal for tourists who want to make the most of their vacation time.
How to Get Yourself Ready for Your Next Red Eye Flight
Before you embark on a night adventure in the skies, you’ll want to get yourself physically and mentally ready for this journey.
Here are a few tips to make your upcoming red eye flight more bearable and help you arrive at your destination feeling fresh:
Book a Window Seat
The best seat on the plane on an overnight flight is the window seat. When you need to sleep, you can lean on the window and not on your fellow air passenger.
When choosing a window seat, pick one that’s far away from the restroom and the galleys. Flight attendants prepare meals in the galley, so this area can get noisy. Also, the sound of flushing in the lavatory can interrupt your beauty sleep. So, look at the aircraft seat map carefully and pick a window seat that will help you get as much zzz’s as you can.
Eat a Light, Healthy Meal Before Your Flight
Never skip dinner on a red eye flight. Unless you’re fasting or following a weight loss plan, you shouldn’t sleep on an empty stomach. If possible, eat dinner before you board the plane. Not all flights offer dinner. If they do, the meals may not be to your liking.
When getting dinner, try to eat a nutritious and light meal. Instead of munching on greasy foods from an airport fast food chain, order a salad or some other healthy meal.
Besides oily foods, try to refrain from eating spicy or salty meals. Although they’re easily available in the airport, they can cause discomfort and bloating — two culprits that will prevent you from getting a good night’s rest.
Pack a Blanket
The cabins on an airplane can get notoriously cold. The average temperature in a cabin is about 75 degrees Fahrenheit or 23 degrees Celsius. Although this figure may be fine for flight attendants moving around, it may feel a bit cold for people trying to sleep.
If your area is too cold, use your blanket or get one from the flight attendant. If these options aren’t available, wear warm, fluffy socks and a soft cardigan. Warm and soft layers will help you stay warm and comfortable throughout the red eye flight.
Take Nonstop Flights Whenever Possible
As much as possible, avoid traveling with connecting flights and fly direct. Waking up to change planes will mess up your circadian rhythm and prevent you from waking up refreshed.
Recreate Your Bedtime Routine
Before you go to sleep, do activities that will prepare you for nighttime rest. This may include putting on comfortable clothes, brushing your teeth and washing your face. Following your usual bedtime routine will help you relax and signal your body that you need to get to bed.
Keep Your Seatbelt Fastened
You should keep your seatbelt buckled — even if the fasten seatbelt sign is switched off. Flight attendants are required to check if you’re wearing your seatbelt. So, stay buckled up to prevent the cabin crew from interrupting your sleep and reminding you to put on your seatbelt during moments of turbulence.
Avoid Drinking Wine and Coffee
These two beverages will make your red eye flight experience a nightmare. Coffee will keep you tossing and turning in your sleep.
Downing a glass of alcohol to induce sleep is also a bad idea. Although a nightcap may help you get to sleep faster, this won’t be a restful one. What’s more, you’ll likely wake up dehydrated, as the air in the cabin can get dry.
Booking a red eye flight has its advantages, especially if you’re trying to save your hard-earned dollars. Don’t, however, try to make this a habit. Getting on overnight flights once in a while isn’t a big deal, but doing this frequently (every week, for instance) can be bad for your health.