My Least Favorite Long Haul Flight Schedules

My Least Favorite Long Haul Flight Schedules

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Having just gotten off an ultra long 16+ hour EVA Air flight from Houston to Taipei, I wanted to share my least favorite kind of long haul flight schedules. I’m curious how my preferences compare to those of others.

We all have different flight time preferences

Long haul travel can be exhausting, even under the best of circumstances, when traveling in comfort. Even experienced travelers struggle with jetlag, and some of us are also bad at sleeping on planes.

We all have our preferred times and schedules with which we like to fly. That probably reflects our patterns at home.

For example, I’m a morning person, and it’s kind of problematic. I’m not talking about getting up at 6AM or 7AM, but rather I typically get up at 4AM without an alarm, or often even earlier. Like, when someone tells me “I had to get up at the crack of dawn,” my real question is “well why did you sleep in so late?” 😉

Now, let’s not even talk about when I go to sleep, because that’s kind of problematic, especially living in Miami. Let’s just say that if I’m going to hang out with anyone, it’s going to be for lunch.

So anyway, I love morning flights. If I have a 6AM flight, that means I can sleep in like I usually would, with time to spare. Meanwhile if you put me on a flight departing at night? Ugh.

For example, when it comes to transatlantic flights from the US East Coast to Europe, I know a lot of people hate flights that leave at 5PM, because they depart too early for many people to get any real sleep. I totally get that. However, it’s not a problem I have, because those flights allow me to go to sleep at my usual time, and I probably arrive more well rested than anyone else.

Along those lines, I wanted to share the two types of long haul flight schedules I really don’t enjoy…

I love morning flights

The long haul flight schedules I often take but dread

I always look forward to flying, because I’m a huge aviation geek. Furthermore, I’m lucky that I get to travel in comfort on long haul flights, thanks to miles & points. I don’t mind most long haul flight schedules, with two notable exceptions, which I wanted to share, as I’m curious if any others feel the same…

Late night North America to Asia flights

Probably somewhere around half of flights from North America to Asia leave very late at night and arrive very early in the morning. Take my EVA Air flight from Houston to Taipei, for example, which was blocked at 16hr50min, departing at 11:30PM and arriving at 6:20AM two days later:

  • Taking these flights requires staying up way past my bedtime, and it’s not like you actually go to sleep at 11:30PM, as it’ll realistically be at least 1:30AM (accounting for taxi time, the meal service, etc.)
  • I almost never get more than six hours of sleep on a flight, no matter how long it is, so then I wake up roughly halfway to Asia; given that I’m waking up around nine hours before the 6:20AM arrival, that’s really late at night in Taipei, so then it’s another very long day
  • Never mind that these flight schedules are not at all ideal in terms of hotels, because it doesn’t conform to standard check-in and check-out times
  • These flights aren’t so bad if you’re a night owl and you can force yourself to stay up for the first half of the flight and sleep for the second half of the flight, but the odds of that happening for me are roughly zero

Ultimately these flights are pretty efficient, since you do have two full days on each end. They’re also great for connectivity on both ends, for those connecting.

Personally I prefer the alternative, which is usually a midday departure that arrives in Asia the following evening. I find that I always arrive feeling much better rested that way, though admittedly it’s not ideal for those with limited days off.

I struggle with late night flights to Asia

Early morning flights from the Middle East

At the hubs of the Middle Eastern carriers, 3AM is basically rush hour, as it’s when many long haul flights depart. That’s perfectly logical, since route networks are largely based around serving connecting passengers, and about timing flights so that they arrive and depart foreign destinations at a reasonable hour.

So as logical as it is, my gosh, it’s not fun for those actually originating in the Middle East. For example, take Etihad’s 14hr20min flight form Abu Dhabi to New York, departing at 3:10AM and arriving at 9:30AM.

As much as I’m a very early morning person, that’s too early even for me. Realistically, you’re probably going to be at the airport by 1AM, and probably have to wake up well before midnight. I suspect a vast majority of people simply don’t sleep before taking these flights, and that’s not fun. I don’t know how crews at the Gulf carriers do it.

Now, I don’t mind these flights quite as much as the North America to Asia late night flights, simply because they arrive in the United States at a more reasonable hour. If I took the above Etihad flight, I’d realistically probably have a meal after takeoff, sleep for six hours, and then wake a little before 4AM New York time… that’s basically my normal schedule!

Gulf carriers have some rough schedules at times!

Bottom line

Airlines operate flights with all kinds of schedules, catering to different kinds of travelers. I think we all have our preferences, and as a morning person, I’m not a fan of flights that depart really late in the day.

In terms of schedule, my least favorite kinds of long haul flights are late night flights from North America to Asia, which typically leave really late, arrive really early, and are very hard to beat in terms of jetlag. I’m also not a fan of the 3AM bank of flights when departing the Middle East, assuming I’m actually originating there. They’re just too early to get any real sleep the night before.

I totally understand why these flights exist, and they’re super efficient… but I just don’t love them.

I’m curious to hear from OMAAT readers — what are your favorite/least favorite kind of long haul flight schedules?

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  1. HenryLAX Guest

    I once had this 5am departure thing out of Romania to connect to 7am departure out of Belgrade back to JFK as part of the infamous Air Serbia error fare that’s USD $217 RT inc tax/fees.

    For that steal of a deal, I simply lived live a little.

    The timing, definitely ain’t ideal. The airline though, is definitely an underrated gem.

  2. W Ho Guest

    Finally, something worth reading.
    Just dropped Klint’s blog (too much of a drama Queen) & VFTW (what a douche & dumbass) ..

    Lucky, what time do u have supper & go to bed?! 6pm & 8pm?

    “I typically get up at 4AM without an alarm, or often even earlier.”

    I like an afternoon flight, say 4pm dep.
    Arrived at airport 1pm & hv lunch at the lounge etc.
    I’d pack when I wake up (11am) and head to the airport 12.30pm @ SIN

  3. Geo Guest

    From Alaska to the SE US is a bear. There is no easy way to do it. Rather fly from Asia with no stops than from Alaska with stops. Flights leaving at night and into the early morning hours with long layovers results in very uncomfortable flying conditions. Having traveled all over the world , to and from Alaska from SE USA is one of the worst travel experiences.

    1. HenryLAX Guest

      If you think that’s bad, try those 3 hour “red-eyes” from Las Vegas to Dallas/Houston/Chicago

      You embark in a zombie state

      You disembark even more zombie-esque for the next 24 hours

  4. Met F Guest

    I loved my overnight flight to Asia with regards to timing. I didn't sleep much, of course, but having that morning sunlight just as we were leaving the airport helped the circadian part, and a great cardio workout hauling luggage to the airport made sure we were wide awake and ready to start having fun immediately.

    1. Met F Guest

      Oops, *luggage to the hotel.

      Which reminds me, we arrived at our hotel at about 10:30am and although our room wasn't ready, the okami was happy to store our luggage for us until the room was ready and even moved it into the room while we were out. I don't remember if other hotels went to that extra step, but they were happy to store our luggage until we returned to formally check in. We...

      Oops, *luggage to the hotel.

      Which reminds me, we arrived at our hotel at about 10:30am and although our room wasn't ready, the okami was happy to store our luggage for us until the room was ready and even moved it into the room while we were out. I don't remember if other hotels went to that extra step, but they were happy to store our luggage until we returned to formally check in. We made reservations for everywhere though, I'm not sure if this works without them.

  5. eponymous coward Guest

    100% disagree on the North America-Asia. I use an app to get my circadian rhythm synced to my new times zone and it inevitably wants me to sleep during the flight in the early hours of the flight if I am leaving midday.

    Going to sleep during meal service when everyone is running around the cabin? AYFKM? The hell with that. Eat the meal and sleep afterwards, which is way easier on midnight departure.

  6. Tim Dunn Jr Guest

    Any flight is a good flight as long as it is on Delta. Delta is the best airline in the world. PERIOD.

  7. RANDEEP SINGH Guest

    BEST TIME FOR LONG HAUL FLIGHT AND ULTRA LONG HAUL IS 07:00 PM FROM ANY AIRPORT IN WORLD . MOST LONG HAUL FLIGHTS ARE OVER 12 HOURS AND ULTRA LONG HAUL FLIGHTS ARE OVER 16 HOURS . QATAR , EMIRATES , ETIHAD , SINGAPORE , QANTAS , NEW ZEALAND , UNITED AIRLINES , AIR INDIA HAS SAME TIME LEAVING FROM MOST AIRPORTS .

  8. UncleRonnie Member

    I’ll give you an ugly route: OGG to LHR. Take the red-eye to LAX or SEA with no time to really sleep, arrive at 5am and wander around an airport for 6-7 hours. Get an early afternoon flight to LHR (10 hours in coach for good measure) and hit the zoo that is T5 security at breakfast time. Nasty. My sleep patterns are wrecked for another week!

    These days I prefer mid-afternoon flight from Maui...

    I’ll give you an ugly route: OGG to LHR. Take the red-eye to LAX or SEA with no time to really sleep, arrive at 5am and wander around an airport for 6-7 hours. Get an early afternoon flight to LHR (10 hours in coach for good measure) and hit the zoo that is T5 security at breakfast time. Nasty. My sleep patterns are wrecked for another week!

    These days I prefer mid-afternoon flight from Maui to the West Coast and checking into the Airport Marriott at 9pm for tacos & a comfy bed - all for a reasonable $150.00. Cruise to TB at lunchtime the next day fully rested and then the transatlantic bit isn’t an issue.

  9. Aaron Guest

    I don't like the red eye flights down to South America. You don't get the benefit of a multi hour time change that cuts down the number of hours you have to stay awake the following day and you end feeling like a zombie the next day.

  10. Joe Jones Guest

    Most flights from East Asia to the Gulf are also arranged as late night departures and super early morning arrivals to facilitate connections. It is super miserable if you're a business traveler from Tokyo to Dubai and you have to arrive from a 12-hour flight at 4 am local time.

    If arriving at HND early in the morning, you can visit the onsen in the Airport Garden next to T3.

  11. D3kingg Guest

    I’m not getting up and flying at 6am nowhere in the US. You couldn’t pay me.

  12. Ricky Guest

    Lol 11:30p it’s hardly being a night owl..

  13. Adam Guest

    I generally prefer really late departures from the US arriving in Europe after 11AM. Living in MSP, I'll purposely go west to go east to have more time to sleep. IAH-LHR is way better than JFK-LHR.

    Recently KLM changed their MSP-AMS schedule to a god-awful 2:35PM departure eastbound with a 5:25AM arrival in AMS.

    As others have said, US to Argentina/Brazil/Chile/Uruguay are the best flights. Or Europe to South Africa.

    1. JasonMath New Member

      Yup - I took BA296 from ORD to LHR last summer. Left at 9:15 PM CDT, arrived at 11:00 at Heathrow. No issues with jet lag, as I was able to sleep almost 6 hours on the plane!

      On the other hand, there are no good direct flights from ORD to AMS - United leaves at 6:25 PM and arrives at 9:20 AM, while KLM leaves at 4:20 PM and arrives at 7:10 AM. KLM...

      Yup - I took BA296 from ORD to LHR last summer. Left at 9:15 PM CDT, arrived at 11:00 at Heathrow. No issues with jet lag, as I was able to sleep almost 6 hours on the plane!

      On the other hand, there are no good direct flights from ORD to AMS - United leaves at 6:25 PM and arrives at 9:20 AM, while KLM leaves at 4:20 PM and arrives at 7:10 AM. KLM is over $2,000 cheaper round-trip a business class and I get access to the Delta Sky Club at O'Hare (with showers), so I will probably fly KLM. My plan is to fall asleep by 8:30 PM the night before, wake up at 5:00 AM that day, and have an early "dinner" at the lounge between 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM so that I can refuse meal service and fall asleep on the plane by 6:30 PM. That way, I get at least 5 hours of sleep on board!

  14. iamhere Guest

    The airlines have to decide their schedule based many factors such as most customers, gates and airports, traffic in the sky, etc. You should be aware that the schedule you operate on is not that of most people and you work for yourself.

    "Personally I prefer the alternative, which is usually a midday departure that arrives in Asia the following evening. I find that I always arrive feeling much better rested that way..."

    The problem...

    The airlines have to decide their schedule based many factors such as most customers, gates and airports, traffic in the sky, etc. You should be aware that the schedule you operate on is not that of most people and you work for yourself.

    "Personally I prefer the alternative, which is usually a midday departure that arrives in Asia the following evening. I find that I always arrive feeling much better rested that way..."

    The problem with the following evening is that it wastes a day on both sides and it is problematic for connecting passengers and may even require an overnight for them wasting more time. A very self serving comment.

    1. Joe Jones Guest

      Well, Lucky's preferred schedule is exactly how the vast majority of US-Japan flights are scheduled, which is partly because the Tokyo airports have limited capacity during overnight hours due to noise restrictions. There were no overnight flights from the US to Tokyo until Haneda expanded in the early 2010s, and there still aren't that many (only 5 flights a day from JFK/SFO/LAX).

  15. Matt Guest

    You are complety different to me ben, I really like late flights...Like the 1-2 am flight with SQ back to Europe, normally very tired then, have a small meal after take off and then try and watch one film. Then off to Sleep, have a couple of hours sleep on the plane, wake up for breakfast already back in the normal routine...

  16. Ethan Guest

    You could add India departures to your assessment of Middle East flights. Most westbound departures from India to Europe or the US depart between midnight and 4AM. I believe this is largely to sync the arrivals with onward connections, but it makes for a miserable, long night anytime you depart Delhi or Mumbai.

    1. Srini Guest

      It's also probably that most countries don't allow flights to come during the night hours so they use the planes to India instead and cause a lot of inconvenience to passengers and nearby resudents. They need to ban flights between midnight to 5 am.

  17. Raksiam Guest

    I completely agree that midday flights to Asia that arrive later evening or around midnight are best. Then I can just go to the hotel and go to bed. Arriving early morning two days later is terrible.

    1. Vancouver - Char Diamond

      yes, i agree Raksiam (and Lucky) those midday departure flights to Asia from the West Coast are much easier than the midnight (early morning?) departures

  18. Im so Dunn Guest

    I really hate the 5-6pm East Coast departures to Europe - especially to AMS/LIS/CDG and even worse LHR. You basically arrive in the middle of the night (east coast time). Even if you book the hotel for the evening prior I find it difficult to sleep

    Ruins the day for me.

    1. Ryan Guest

      As someone who flew out of BOS for twenty years (and now JFK/EWR), I couldn't agree more. I typically fall asleep between midnight and 2am, so those early departures mean a wasted day on the other side.

      Kinda loving TAP's 23:55 flight from EWR now! Usually a very light load too.

  19. Carrie Gold

    As an Australian who needs to travel long haul to visit my favourite locations (with apologies to NZ which I do also adore), my strategy is just to wipe out 24 hours and pretend it never happened .... particularly given the often limited schedules and inevitable transit layovers.

  20. Mark Guest

    I’m the opposite of you, Ben. My favorite flight to Asia departs North America at about 1:30 AM and arrives in Hong Kong around 6 AM. Unfortunately Cathay’s fares are too high to buy on my next trip, but this flight lets me take off after a full day of work, leaves late enough that even I will be tired enough for an inflight nap (I’m a night owl, myself), and gets me into HK...

    I’m the opposite of you, Ben. My favorite flight to Asia departs North America at about 1:30 AM and arrives in Hong Kong around 6 AM. Unfortunately Cathay’s fares are too high to buy on my next trip, but this flight lets me take off after a full day of work, leaves late enough that even I will be tired enough for an inflight nap (I’m a night owl, myself), and gets me into HK in plenty of time for a morning connecting flight. And I save a night in a hotel, which is usually a waste of money with all the jet lag on the first day of an Asian trip.

  21. Azamaraal Diamond

    Ben
    Middle East flights leave between midnight and dawn because that's the coolest part of the day which allows the most fuel efficient takeoff. Lift and jet efficiency are highest when the temperature is coolest.
    I'm a night owl so takeoff at midnight is perfect - and hour or two in the lounge before departure, a leisurely meal, 8 hours sleep (aided by a few Krug/Bordeaux), and day arrival.
    Transfer in HKG...

    Ben
    Middle East flights leave between midnight and dawn because that's the coolest part of the day which allows the most fuel efficient takeoff. Lift and jet efficiency are highest when the temperature is coolest.
    I'm a night owl so takeoff at midnight is perfect - and hour or two in the lounge before departure, a leisurely meal, 8 hours sleep (aided by a few Krug/Bordeaux), and day arrival.
    Transfer in HKG usually means a number of hours in the lounge and then another overnight?
    Both ways.

  22. Jason Brandt Lewis Gold

    Well, on the one hand, since I can't control airline's flight schedules, I just fly when the airline does...

    On the other hand, it's not so much the departure time, it's the ARRIVAL time. I hate arriving at some ridiculous hour super-early in the morning. "Take my EVA Air flight from Houston to Taipei...departing at 11:30PM and arriving at 6:20AM two days later." WTF do you do at 6:20 in the morning??? You can't check...

    Well, on the one hand, since I can't control airline's flight schedules, I just fly when the airline does...

    On the other hand, it's not so much the departure time, it's the ARRIVAL time. I hate arriving at some ridiculous hour super-early in the morning. "Take my EVA Air flight from Houston to Taipei...departing at 11:30PM and arriving at 6:20AM two days later." WTF do you do at 6:20 in the morning??? You can't check in to your hotel; since you've eaten on the plane, you don't even want to go to breakfast! And sometimes, you arrive BEFORE the Customs and Passport Control people arrive. I landed in LIS (from JFK) once at some ungodly hour of the early morning (5:00 am?). No one to check our passports, no one to declare anything to -- I went from the baggage carousel to the taxi stand. Early next year, I'm flying SFO-TPE and my flight is scheduled to land at 5:25 in the morning...YUCK!

  23. Manny Guest

    Any red-eye because I can only afford economy and can't sleep well on planes. If I have to take a red-eye, the later the better. And I hate the meal service on TATL red-eyes which are already short flights to begin with. Airlines should stop serving dinner on flights that depart after 9pm.

  24. FoxtrotMikeLima Guest

    It's because all these flights have to depart and arrive during CBP hours.

  25. James S Guest

    I don't understand why 11pm flights serve a full dinner at midnight. Why not a snack and then a full meal at a more reasonable time

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      I have been on flights that do that but the snack was way too paltry given the process and time of getting to the airport and through security.
      If the snack is robust enough, then, yes

    2. Azamaraal Diamond

      BA used to do that out of AUH and DXB - midnight departure with NO MEAL even in F. Arriving at A/P after work the lounge only had snacks and C2H5OH. Terrible. Then a breakfast 5 hours later as the main meal - heck I want to sleep.
      Midnight is the PERFECT time to eat a great meal then sleep.
      Forget breakfast of dried out omelette or horrid eggs.

  26. InceptionCat Gold

    I really dislike the Europe to Asia flights that depart at around noon and then you arrive say in SIN at around 7a.m. I can barely sleep as by the time you land it is midnight western Europe time which is when i'd be going to sleep on some days. Just a nap after lunch/departure and then all awake + drinks.

    My last trip involved me staying awake the night before and then managed to sleep quite well on the flight.

  27. Pete Guest

    Crews do it because after a few months their circadian rhythm is totally in shards, and they adapt to stealing sleep wherever they can. Chronic jetlag and sleep deprivation is real. It's an extraordinarily unhealthy lifestyle, particularly combined with 80-100+ hours of high altitude radiation exposure for the 11 months a year they're flying.

    1. D3kingg Guest

      Ok Pete. You fly once a year ?

  28. Ted Guest

    I live on the USA west coast and my biggest concern along these lines is I want a non- stop to Europe thet leaves in the evening. Thrn I can enjoy amesl and movie, sleep for 4-6 hours and then arrive in Europe in the late afternoon or early evening in time for hotel check in. The flights that arrive in the morning in Europe are killers for me. I would have to book an...

    I live on the USA west coast and my biggest concern along these lines is I want a non- stop to Europe thet leaves in the evening. Thrn I can enjoy amesl and movie, sleep for 4-6 hours and then arrive in Europe in the late afternoon or early evening in time for hotel check in. The flights that arrive in the morning in Europe are killers for me. I would have to book an extra night before in the hotel, because I need to shower and crash when I get in at that time.

    I also try to avoid red eyes domestically whenever possible, especially Hawaii to the West Coast in the short red eyes with no lie flats to Chicago or Dallas. Such an uncomfortable way to spend the night.

  29. JB Guest

    Actually, most flights from the Middle East to North America depart in the morning, between 8-9am in their timezone. And those flights will arrive in the U.S. between 2-5pm. If you are originating in the Middle East, you wake up around 3-4am.

    Meanwhile, for those connecting from the Indian Subcontinent, the flights on the ME3 depart around 3am to get into the Middle East on time for these flights. You have to be at...

    Actually, most flights from the Middle East to North America depart in the morning, between 8-9am in their timezone. And those flights will arrive in the U.S. between 2-5pm. If you are originating in the Middle East, you wake up around 3-4am.

    Meanwhile, for those connecting from the Indian Subcontinent, the flights on the ME3 depart around 3am to get into the Middle East on time for these flights. You have to be at the airport at midnight, and wake up well before then. I often don't sleep before taking this journey, which means I've been up for an entire day before commencing a 24hr+ journey back home (often in Economy, which is rough for such a long time).

  30. Eric Guest

    I haven't flown to asia in a very long time, but have been planning a trip. Tell me - for the late evening departures, am I to understand that it is dark the whole way until the very end when you might get sunrise around landing time? That seems terrible to me...

    1. Mike C Diamond

      Correct, LAX-SYD departs ~2300 and arrives at ~0700 (depending on daylight saving at either end) and it's dark all the way. 14 hours in the dark (with a sunrise arrival) is enough for a meal and a reasonable sleep, if you can. I don't mind it - even a 2030 DFW flight to Melbourne (17 hours) was okay.

  31. Travelman5 Guest

    Honestly, I never think about it. I do it because that’s how to get back and forth. I flew (my longest) 17:48 from JNB-ATL in coach. Fun? Maybe not but doable. I’m here to tell about it. DXB-ATL was supposed to be 15+ hrs…until we took a medical diversion to FRA! Added 4 hrs. In April we flew 11:35 TLV-JFK. Fortunately I was in PS on DL. Better than coach! We chose an 11:55 PM...

    Honestly, I never think about it. I do it because that’s how to get back and forth. I flew (my longest) 17:48 from JNB-ATL in coach. Fun? Maybe not but doable. I’m here to tell about it. DXB-ATL was supposed to be 15+ hrs…until we took a medical diversion to FRA! Added 4 hrs. In April we flew 11:35 TLV-JFK. Fortunately I was in PS on DL. Better than coach! We chose an 11:55 PM flight to give us a full day in Jerusalem. ATL and BOS were both AM flights. Ultimately, I usually don’t care. Never experienced jet lag. I too get up between 4-5 am, so if available I usually take an early flight to get to me destination earlier.

  32. Matt Guest

    The Asia flights at night from the U.S./from Asia WOULD be the best, but the problem for me there is that the service is not usually as good. For example, ANA F evening flights lack the full service I believe.

  33. Justin Guest

    Two I really like. Flying economy on Turkish when I lived around DC depart around 11:30 pm. Since it’s morning their time when taking off didn’t need to worry about sleeping to much and would arrive at my destination I was connecting to in the evening and just go to sleep. Second, later red eye from Pittsburgh to London on BA leaves around 10pm. Easier to go to sleep and no wait whatsoever for border at Heathrow because the morning rush is over.

  34. ND Guest

    I look at flight times through a different lens. Arrival times are higher priority. I love transpacific flights leaving around midnight with destinations in southeast Asia like Bangkok. That allows for late morning/midday arrival. Arriving too early in the morning when a hotel room may not be ready isn’t fun. Arriving too late at the destination, like around midnight, means one is paying for 1 hotel night with minimum usage/benefit.

    1. Pete Guest

      We always book our room for the night before our arrival, and if we're on a late night/early morning departure we'll book that night at the hotel too. There's nothing worse than checking out at 4pm when the flight leaves in nine hours, hanging around in the hotel lobby, then at the airport waiting for check-in to open. I'd rather have a nap and then check out at 10pm.

    2. D3kingg Guest

      Yeah right Pete. That’s why you book the room another night. Stop comparing trips you took ten years ago.

  35. Donna Diamond

    Like Ben, i’m also a 4 am riser, a longtime habit from my Army days. I workout in the early morning dark and on flight days I book the early flights to Europe which leave the west coast around 6:30 am, connect somewhere eastbound in the US and arrive at destination in Europe early morning. I sleep well in business class. No problems. Westbound to Hong Kong, I end up on the late night flights...

    Like Ben, i’m also a 4 am riser, a longtime habit from my Army days. I workout in the early morning dark and on flight days I book the early flights to Europe which leave the west coast around 6:30 am, connect somewhere eastbound in the US and arrive at destination in Europe early morning. I sleep well in business class. No problems. Westbound to Hong Kong, I end up on the late night flights but it all works out. My worst place is Australia, I just can’t adjust time zones.

  36. Samo Guest

    "I suspect a vast majority of people simply don’t sleep before taking these flights, and that’s not fun." - Certainly better than a 6 AM flight for most people. You simply stay awake until departure (3 AM isn't that late, most people I know go to sleep around 1), then sleep during the flight. Quite ideal timing for me actually!

  37. Jay Guest

    I no longer am concerned about jet lag and can manage any flight schedules (except those that arrive at a final destination early am before 7am) since I have found success with the app Timeshifter… i recently tried it on an LAX-DOH-SIN and then SIN-DOH-HEL-LAX and with following the app and using light, timing sleep, caffeine, etc. it was a breeze!!

  38. jns Guest

    I like the late night flights leaving LAX to east Asia because that means I am usually at my destination in Southeast Asia around mid day. I will go back to flying EVA when their prices get closer to what they were pre pandemic. Meanwhile I am more likely to fly Korean airlines that leave LAX in the mid to late morning.

  39. Willem Guest

    I love the flights Ben hates & hate the ones he loves LOL. Love midnight & later departures since I can get dinner or even drinks w/ friends beforehand, and especially on redeyes to Asia of Australia in business class I actually can sleep almost the whole duration between meals. Slept 13 of the 17 hours of SFO to Singapore earlier this year!

  40. globetrotter Guest

    Not related to the post but I just watched YouTube about catastrophic flood submerging Mecca and surrounding cities. Will it affect your upcoming layover, though you won't leave the airport but still have to travel from one terminal to the next terminal?

    1. JB Guest

      This is older news. It happened around August through December of last year, maybe January as well. I don't think that's an issue at the moment, but I could be wrong.

  41. Super Diamond

    Best thing I ever did in this regard was get a prescription for Xanax. I only ever take them for sleep - it's like a freight train hit you and you're fully out for 8 hours and wake up feeling fresh and ready to go. Never get jet lag for this reason because I'm adjusted already.

    For that reason, I love the night flights to Asia that are 12h+ that arrive in the morning. You get to have a fun dinner experience on the plane without worrying, then wake up fully rested.

    1. derek Guest

      A very famous singer named Michael Jackson recommends Propofol for sleep.

  42. Danny Guest

    It is healthier for the human body to sleep before 10 pm and to awaken before 5 am. Mother Nature intended our bodies to rest when the sun sets and to awaken when the sun rises. Kudos to you Ben for you are the very few who live as Mother Nature intended.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      you do realize that the sun sets and rises at very different times depending on the time of year and location and where a place is in relation to time zones, the latter of which is totally created by humans?
      I, and many others, wake up at sunrise regardless of where I am in the world but when I go to bed is dependent on how much sleep I need to get to sunrise....

      you do realize that the sun sets and rises at very different times depending on the time of year and location and where a place is in relation to time zones, the latter of which is totally created by humans?
      I, and many others, wake up at sunrise regardless of where I am in the world but when I go to bed is dependent on how much sleep I need to get to sunrise. I certainly can get up earlier than sunrise but choose not to by large amounts of time. Given that large parts of the northern hemisphere have more than 12 hours of night right now - and the opposite is true in the southern hemisphere - where I have also lived - matching sleep cycles to daylight is aspirational but not always possible.

    2. Samo Guest

      Mother Nature didn't intend anything, it's not a conscious entity. Everyone's body clock is different - there are people for whom your suggested schedule would be a complete disaster, ruining their mental and physical health. Read about DSPD, it's a real thing.

  43. Art B Guest

    Oh gosh I get so frustrated about the very early Asia arrivals with hours to go before hotel check-ins. It always seems arranging early check-in ahead of time or begging upon arriving for the room to be ready early never work. I think some hotels even make it a point -not- to allow guests in early by even a second (this happened in Taipei after an early EVA arrival, actually). Dreadful.

    1. Luke Guest

      There is a common sense solution called booking the hotel room from the previous day. Stop being cheap!

    2. James Guest

      Hey Luke. Thanks for shaming people because of their budget. Many people simply can't afford to just drop another load more cash on another night in a hotel.

  44. golfingboy Guest

    The absolute worst long haul redeyes in my book by far are the east coast TATL flights. This has nothing to do with the departure time, but has everything to do with how short the flight is and the early arrival in Europe. Its hard for me to fall asleep while they keep the cabin lights on for dinner service and by the time everything dies down with the lights going out we only have...

    The absolute worst long haul redeyes in my book by far are the east coast TATL flights. This has nothing to do with the departure time, but has everything to do with how short the flight is and the early arrival in Europe. Its hard for me to fall asleep while they keep the cabin lights on for dinner service and by the time everything dies down with the lights going out we only have 3-4 hours left in the flight assuming the service was prompt. Personally, I wish they would eliminate F/J meal service on the plane for those flights and instead offer restaurant style dining in the lounge with an a la carte hot snack menu onboard. Cabin light goes out for takeoff and never comes on again until 45 minutes out.

    I am also someone that goes to bed early and gets up between 4-5AM yet those short EU flights ruin me every single time. The day time flights are great but also ruins a full day.

    My solution is to just do some backtracking to catch an 8/9+ hour flight to EU then on the return I take the quickest option.

  45. Steve Guest

    I won't pay/use miles for a flight that I won't have the whole experience. I may as well just stay in UA E+. I remember an EY flight, in the 'apartment', that departed AUH at 2 AM. I enjoyed none of it.

    1. ClownDancer Guest

      Yep. And i took xyz to sl and once a zq. The zq was great but i think i do YR next time. I really recommend the fu flight to zyr leaving midnight. Sorry i mean fu+. One time i was in tuskegee and did the delta nonstop pu to nwk and then oy to zwr leaving at 5pm. I got to zwr on time and checked in even tough it was late am.

  46. Tony Guest

    I'm also a very-early-morning person. However, I have no issue with very-late-night transoceanic flight. I prefer it to a daytime flight. My ideal transoceanic flight would be a late evening flight, but there're very few of them on transpacific routes. I don't get much sleep on flights anyway, even in a lie-flat seat (I haven't flown long-haul economy for decades). With late-night flights, I at least get some sleep (that I don't get with daytime...

    I'm also a very-early-morning person. However, I have no issue with very-late-night transoceanic flight. I prefer it to a daytime flight. My ideal transoceanic flight would be a late evening flight, but there're very few of them on transpacific routes. I don't get much sleep on flights anyway, even in a lie-flat seat (I haven't flown long-haul economy for decades). With late-night flights, I at least get some sleep (that I don't get with daytime flights). A late-night flight that arrives in Asia early next morning is beneficial if you need to make a connection (there're plenty more connecting flights if you arrive early in the morning than if you arrive in the evening).

  47. Clem Diamond

    I'm the opposite of a morning person and definitely a night owl, so I really don't mind anything that leaves late in the evening. Actually I enjoy it because I don't have to stress about missing my alarm in the morning, I have time to get ready/pack during the day and leisurely go to the airport etc. Much less stressful than a morning flight.

    I despise those early TATL flights you mentioned - the...

    I'm the opposite of a morning person and definitely a night owl, so I really don't mind anything that leaves late in the evening. Actually I enjoy it because I don't have to stress about missing my alarm in the morning, I have time to get ready/pack during the day and leisurely go to the airport etc. Much less stressful than a morning flight.

    I despise those early TATL flights you mentioned - the only way I'm OK with a 5-6am arrival in Europe is if I can go straight to bed and take a nap until noon or so. So I usually prefer the latest departure that will give me the least amount of time to stay awake upon arrival.

    And for ultra long haul like flights, the arrival time matters far more to me than departure time. I just prefer to arrive late afternoon if possible, so I can arrive at my hotel around dinner time, eat, and go to bed. I am also a terrible airplane sleeper and after 12-14 hours I'm feeling gross, bloated, exhausted and all I want is a shower and a bed. I just did the LAX to TPE arriving at 6am in Asia and those 9 hours until check in time were absolutely grueling - not at all worth the few extra hours we were able to spend there.

  48. VitaliU Gold

    Regardless of where I fly, I prefer to arrive in late afternoon/evening, so that I can have a meal and go to bed. The following day, I’m ready to explore

  49. Tim Dunn Diamond

    I think you recognize, Ben, that your sleep cycle is much earlier than most people on earth and certainly in the US.
    Sleep cycles are heavily shaped by daylight, always have been, and there are differences in the "average" sleep cycles depending on where people live in a time zone.
    That said, 6 am flights for me are like staying up all night given that it usually means a 3.30 wake up which...

    I think you recognize, Ben, that your sleep cycle is much earlier than most people on earth and certainly in the US.
    Sleep cycles are heavily shaped by daylight, always have been, and there are differences in the "average" sleep cycles depending on where people live in a time zone.
    That said, 6 am flights for me are like staying up all night given that it usually means a 3.30 wake up which is way before I can normally get up.

    Internationally, flights from the Middle East operate in the middle of the night because that is what is necessary due to the heat during the day and the long distances of many flights.
    Redeye westbound flights from N. America to East Asia are a product of hub schedules which allow for "first flight of the day" connections.... in a premium cabin, I would prefer those flights since it comes close to my original sleep schedule, although later than desired.
    Late morning to afternoon departures from Europe allow for a couple hour nap onboard and the ability to resume a normal sleep schedule that night.
    US to deep S. America schedules are almost always overnight in both ways but w/ few time differences so almost easier to deal w/ than a US transcon redeye.

    Everyone's body is different but airline schedules are as much dictated by the globe, time zones and the speed of air travel as it is what makes sense for the human body. Thankfully, humans are very adaptable

  50. Zach Guest

    The worst US red-eyes used to be the LAS to places like Witchita on an America West Regional Jet. They would leave at 1am and arrive around 5:30am (with a 2 hour time difference). Those were brutal.

    1. Golfingboy Guest

      And there still are many of those midcon redeyes out there. Its as equally bad on mainline as its on a regional jet. LAS-DFW/IAH/ORD. There are some awful redeyes between the US and Central America.

  51. Jim Guest

    Like others, I have many strategies for dealing with overnight flights and jetlag. But even in the best case, it's just... tough. Fortunately, unlike Ben's early rising, I sleep in until 5:30 most mornings so that helps somewhat :P

  52. Michael Guest

    I’m on the other side here. For me, I LOVE BRs schedule. I fly them from SEA to BKK very often and find that they 01:00 to 02:00 departure time excellent..

    Yes, it’s way past my “bed time”.. but what I’ve found is that by time we get airborne and i’ve had a small bite to eat, it is easy for me to sleep.. and I’ll sleep quite long - maybe 7+/- hours.. waking...

    I’m on the other side here. For me, I LOVE BRs schedule. I fly them from SEA to BKK very often and find that they 01:00 to 02:00 departure time excellent..

    Yes, it’s way past my “bed time”.. but what I’ve found is that by time we get airborne and i’ve had a small bite to eat, it is easy for me to sleep.. and I’ll sleep quite long - maybe 7+/- hours.. waking up with around maybe 5 hours left,. I can then have breakfast get some work done..

    on arrival in TPE, what I love is now I have the whole day to make onward connections (be that to BKK or anywhere else in the region) and after arriving in BKK, i tend to sleep easily that night as well.

  53. MildMidwesterner Diamond

    My favorite redeyes are North American to South America (and vice versa). Depart around 8pm and arrive around 6am. There's almost no disruption to regular sleep rhythms.

  54. Andy Diamond

    For me it’s really about the amount of sleep I can get - and I need a minimum of about 6 to 7 hours. So the worst are late afternoon departures from the East Coast (e.g. 5pm), arriving early morning in Europe (e.g. 6am). I do not manage to sleep until about two hours before landing … and then I’m complete sleeping disorder for about a week …

    1. DC Guest

      Agreed. I can't do those anymore. Daytime flights to Europe for me, although you're mostly limited to BOS, JFK, and ORD to get to London. Further afield.......

  55. Tony Guest

    I flew ANA SFO-HND a few months back, 01:50AM-04:50AM+1 absolutely horrendous schedule.

    Not only is the whole airport shutting down at that time (UA lounges included), its past my normal bedtime and the rather short 10h flight time really doesn’t help either as its a good 1h before you’re in the air and able to tuck in.

  56. Tyler Guest

    The best international flights out there are the few that depart the NE in the morning and land in Western Europe in the evening. No jet lag whatsoever.

    1. DenB Diamond

      Agreed. The ones that plunk one down at 5am leave me exhausted, sleeping all morning and part of the afternoon. I actually find it more efficient to "spend" a day flying east in daytime, blow the day on travel.

  57. Sam Guest

    lol these two flights are my favorite types of flights by far. I literally wish there were 3 am flights from Europe arriving in US (JFK/IAD/etc) at around 6 am.

    So great to be able to sleep the whole way and have full days in both origin and destination...

    1. 305 Guest

      There’s a few out there. Turkish operates a reverse red eye to Miami that I love to take. 1:40am-6:30am. Get a completely full day in whatever European city and then arrive in Miami before work.

      And I know Ben said he hates these kinds of flights, but the other way across the Atlantic I love taking AF’s late night flight to CDG from MIA. Departs at 11:30pm, making sleep a breeze and arrival in...

      There’s a few out there. Turkish operates a reverse red eye to Miami that I love to take. 1:40am-6:30am. Get a completely full day in whatever European city and then arrive in Miami before work.

      And I know Ben said he hates these kinds of flights, but the other way across the Atlantic I love taking AF’s late night flight to CDG from MIA. Departs at 11:30pm, making sleep a breeze and arrival in Europe late afternoon, perfect for heading straight to hotel check-in then aperitivo/dinner

  58. Chris W Guest

    Europe to North America flights departing around noon, and Asia to Europe flights departing Asia around midnight are my favourites

  59. Daniel Guest

    I also prefer flights arriving in the afternoon instead of early morning. But that's only when arriving at my destination for vacation or similar. For business travellers this would be good, and of course the main reason why the airlines like the early morning arrivals is for connectivity - in the end, most of the passengers will be connecting.
    Same for the Middle East airlines, since the vast majority of passengers are just connecting,...

    I also prefer flights arriving in the afternoon instead of early morning. But that's only when arriving at my destination for vacation or similar. For business travellers this would be good, and of course the main reason why the airlines like the early morning arrivals is for connectivity - in the end, most of the passengers will be connecting.
    Same for the Middle East airlines, since the vast majority of passengers are just connecting, their night schedules are perfect for those.

    However, what bothers me more than the departure/arrival times are flight durations. For example I would always prefer longer flight (for example 10 hours plus 3 hours) instead of two short flights (for example 6 hours plus 6 hours), simply because during those six hours I won't have time to sleep for at least 2-3 hours, given that I can't sleep well on planes and tend to need longer time for falling asleep.

    1. Andy Diamond

      Another advantage of afternoon arrivals is that the hotel room is ready and you can take a shower.

  60. KV Guest

    Flying back to DC from the UAE I refuse to take that 2 AM Emirates departing flight and pay a few hundred $ more for the more civilized Etihad flight out of AUH, which departs at a reasonable 10:30 AM and gets into Dulles around 5 in the afternoon.

  61. FC Guest

    This is definitely a personal preference and subject to the lifestyle you’re use to.
    As a person that regularly travels between US and Asia for work, and able to fall asleep on the planes, I prefer late night US outbound so I can hit the ground running when I arrive in Asia and adjust to jet lag much quicker. However, I’m very much aware I’m a certain type of traveler (business), and it’s because it works for me.

  62. James K. Guest

    Agreed about how horrible the late departure to Asia is when coupled with a 5-6am arrival. That's why I'm happy I'm on EWR-SIN not JFK-SIN in June!

    1. Jan Guest

      Do you mean SQ21 instead of SQ25 JFK-FRA-SIN or SQ23.

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Joe Jones Guest

Most flights from East Asia to the Gulf are also arranged as late night departures and super early morning arrivals to facilitate connections. It is super miserable if you're a business traveler from Tokyo to Dubai and you have to arrive from a 12-hour flight at 4 am local time. If arriving at HND early in the morning, you can visit the onsen in the Airport Garden next to T3.

2
Raksiam Guest

I completely agree that midday flights to Asia that arrive later evening or around midnight are best. Then I can just go to the hotel and go to bed. Arriving early morning two days later is terrible.

2
Tim Dunn Diamond

I think you recognize, Ben, that your sleep cycle is much earlier than most people on earth and certainly in the US. Sleep cycles are heavily shaped by daylight, always have been, and there are differences in the "average" sleep cycles depending on where people live in a time zone. That said, 6 am flights for me are like staying up all night given that it usually means a 3.30 wake up which is way before I can normally get up. Internationally, flights from the Middle East operate in the middle of the night because that is what is necessary due to the heat during the day and the long distances of many flights. Redeye westbound flights from N. America to East Asia are a product of hub schedules which allow for "first flight of the day" connections.... in a premium cabin, I would prefer those flights since it comes close to my original sleep schedule, although later than desired. Late morning to afternoon departures from Europe allow for a couple hour nap onboard and the ability to resume a normal sleep schedule that night. US to deep S. America schedules are almost always overnight in both ways but w/ few time differences so almost easier to deal w/ than a US transcon redeye. Everyone's body is different but airline schedules are as much dictated by the globe, time zones and the speed of air travel as it is what makes sense for the human body. Thankfully, humans are very adaptable

2
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