My First Domestic Redeye In Years Had An Interesting Celebrity!

Filed Under: American, Travel

On Friday I took my first domestic redeye in years.

Back when I was just a young lad, I’d take redeyes all the time. Probably an average of one a week, but often even two in a week. As I’ve gotten older I value a good night of sleep more than in the past, and unfortunately I can only sleep on flat surfaces.

So while I’ve done some transcontinental “premium” redeyes with flat bed products over the past few years, it has probably been a few years since I’ve otherwise done my last domestic redeye.

Friday night I didn’t have much of a choice. I had a commitment in LA on Friday night which went till around midnight, and then had to be in Chicago on Saturday by noon. So I decided to take the 1AM flight from Los Angeles to Chicago.

This was the same night that American and US Airways merged their reservations systems, so I was thrilled when everything worked out perfectly.

So, how did I feel after my first domestic redeye in years?

The redeye wasn’t as bad as I remember

Having done hundreds of redeyes over the years, I have extremely unpleasant memories of them. But the truth is that it actually wasn’t so bad. I don’t know how it happened, but shortly after takeoff I fell asleep, and only woke up about an hour before landing. I don’t feel like I got “real” sleep, but at least I wasn’t conscious for most of the redeye.

Surprisingly I didn’t have neck pains either, which I usually otherwise associate with domestic redeyes. In the past I always had terrible neck pains after landing, from my head bobbing back and forth while drifting to sleep for hours on end, given the lack of “proper” headrests in domestic first class.

I do love sunrises

If there are three things in life which always put a smile on my face, they would be nice weather, sunrises, and sunsets. I’m used to seeing sunsets on flights, and I’m used to seeing sunrises on longhaul flights. But there’s something so beautiful about seeing a sunrise as you’re coming in to land in the morning. I was in an aisle seat, so couldn’t capture a good picture. But suffice to say it was gorgeous, and brought back memories of many great views.


Jesse Jackson was on my flight!

This flight came with a bit of amusement as well. Jesse Jackson was seated diagonally across from me. And almost everyone who walked by him recognized him, given that he has a fairly distinguished look.

I had nothing to do but watch the aisle during boarding, so one thing I found interesting is that he proactively stuck out his hand to every black passenger who walked by, but no one else. There’s no issue with having some sort of “allegiance” with a community, but I found that sort of glaring.

He seemed to be a genuinely pleasant person, and was happy to pose for photos, and even “blessed” a bunch of people who walked by. Not a bad “performance” on his part for a 1AM flight.

Bottom line

After my flight this past weekend, I don’t hate redeyes as much as I remember hating them. They’re actually not all bad, at least in moderation. Do I want to go back to taking one every week? No way. Do I mind them once in a while when they just work best schedule-wise? I don’t think so.

Where do you stand on domestic redeyes — do you take them all the time, avoid them altogether, or somewhere inbetween?

  1. I once had the displeasure of sitting next to Jesse Jackson on Continental KEWR to KSFO. He was an arrogant tool to the inflight crew (they were all Caucasian) and even said to one that he could take a charter aircraft and get good service. The F/A responded with a snippy reply that was basically next time do so.

  2. I think given what black people here in the USA have had to endure a little private handshake with one another isn’t too much to allow. As white males Lucky we can’t reasonably expect to be part of their shared experience.

  3. I don’t know Jesse Jackson. But I do know from being raised by a black man that it is not a racist gesture that Mr. Jackson only reached out to other Black people. It’s very common. While out in public my step-dad gives a nod of acknowledgement to other black folk. There is a deep history behind it and hard to understand if you haven’t lived in their shoes. This author summed it up well, in my opinion as a white girl..raised by a black man.

  4. I just took my first domestic redeye SFO-PHL a few weeks ago on UA’s newly configured A319. All I can say is never again. I too can only sleep on flat surfaces, and after 4 hours of trying to get comfortable and sleep I arrived in PHL exhausted, though ache free. I’m extremely particular to get a full night’s sleep every night, and this messed up the entire first day in PHL, even after a 2 hour nap. I can’t imagine an extra 1-2 inches of legroom on AA would have made a difference.

  5. All nonstop flights on my usual route from Hnl to dfw on American are redeyes. Still waiting for AA to install fully flat seats in first class.

  6. I prefer taking redeyes from CA back east so I don’t miss the whole day. I just need some starbucks upon landing and I’m good Til 3. No jetlag the day after landing.

  7. I cant sleep well on planes, especially sitting up. I have never been business or first class in my life, but I still think domestic red-eyes suck.

  8. “I think given what black people here in the USA have had to endure a little private handshake with one another isn’t too much to allow. As white males Lucky we can’t reasonably expect to be part of their shared experience.”


  9. I take American red eye each week from Seattle-Tacoma to dfw. Been Doing That For 10 Years. You learn how to sleep the older you get.

  10. “I had nothing to do but watch the aisle during boarding, so one thing I found interesting is that he proactively stuck out his hand to every black passenger who walked by, but no one else. There’s no issue with having some sort of “allegiance” with a community, but I found that sort of glaring.”

    Seriously? =/ NAGL, Lucky.

  11. Ben,

    My view might differ from others, since I do these pretty much weekly. (And often have no choice, since OGG on Maui is one of my ‘home’ airports.) But, what I’ve found going back and forth between LA and DC every week is that after a certain amount of flights I’ve watched all the bad movies and read all the books-under-bad-light I can handle. It’s a wasted 6 hours from Dulles to LAX no matter how you slice it. The epiphany was that I can be bored senseless awake. Again. Or, I can pick up 4 or more hours of OK sleep– enough to get me through the next day on the ground at the destination.

    So, since I have to sleep at some point anyway, I might as well try to get some of it in the air where there’s nothing to do. On AA I always try to get 3A or 3F and tell the purser what my objective is… “slip me a snack early, then I’m going to sleep and I promise to be the easiest passenger ever”.

    Yeah, it’s not great sleep, but with earplugs and a shade it’s passable.

  12. “As white males Lucky we can’t reasonably expect to be part of their shared experience.”

    Not a white male, here, but are you freaking kidding me? The predisposition of some whites to always justify racist behavior by blacks is perhaps one of life’s greatest mysteries. I guess whatever helps you sleep at night…

    Jessie Jackson is nothing but a kerosene-throwing opportunist. He wouldn’t have touched my brown hand. Celebrity? Why? Does he have a sex video? (Ugh, sorry for THAT mental image).

  13. Jessie, the biggest racist alive…I would hardly consider that idiot a ‘celebrity’ much less would I ever be wanted to be seated close to him.

    Completely worthless person.

  14. Thanks for the report Ben,

    It helped to confirm something I have long suspected, that Jessie Jackson is not only a race hustler but racist as all fuck.

  15. @Jack

    I hope you are kidding. First of all, I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT ANY GROUP OF PEOPLE HAS HAD TO ENDURE. I am only responsible FOR THE WAY I TREAT PEOPLE. I will only be accountable for such.

    While I can feel bad for things like natives being slaughtered and their land seized, slavery, the holocaust , interning Japanese Americans in WW2 and a whole other list of things that are a stain on humanity, I didn’t do it- and I WILL NOT BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR IT.

    I shouldn’t be expected to tolerate nepotism and the nudge, nudge wink, wink BS that goes with it and be silenced by having some other white folks telling me to ‘check my privilege’. Naw thanks.

    If I treat someone fairly, I fully expect to be treated fairly in return.
    If you are willing to be treated like a bitch out of some misplaced sense of guilt, have at it..but that will be your cross to bare, not mine.

  16. He’s almost as bad as Al Sharpton, just another race baiting opportunist leeching off his community’s perceived notion that he’s fighting for them instead of extorting companies with threats of “racism”

  17. Lucky,

    Since we’re discussing racism, is “the Game” discriminatory? Are blacks represented in proportionate #s at the mileage gamer confabs? If not, why the disparate impact? What should airlines and the BoardingArea do to help redress the disparate impact? And don’t tell me that there are more white frequent fliers. I’m not a frequent flier. Does Jesse Jackson need to get involved?? How can the airlines and the BoardingArea reach out to the blacks to increase participation? Should there be minority set aside award seats?

  18. The comments to this post are disconcerting, as is the reference to race by you, Ben.

    Did any non-black people extend a hand to Mr. Jackson, Did Mr. Jackson shake every assumed-black person’s hand or just “most” or “some”? Was Mr. Jackson indeed proactively sticking out his hand to every person assumed to be black or was a hand extended to people that made prolonged eye contact? What is the “allegiance”? Did Mr. Jackson refuse to shake anyone’s hand? What was the assumed race of the person sitting next to Mr. Jackson and what did you observe about that interaction? Did you speak to any other passengers about your observation?

    There is a lot of information missing for a such a strong accusation, Ben.

  19. @ Daniel Kreuger – You say you flew Continental? Maybe the snippy flight attendant who drew Mr. Jackson’s ire is the same one who joked out loud on a United flight I had how she likes her sugar like she likes her men: “white and sweet” (I’m not kidding.) Translation: she wouldn’t go near a black man ever.

    So much casual racism out there. Why should Mr. Jackson offer his hand first? If any white passengers on Lucky’s flight wanted to shake his hand, they should have made the first move.

  20. Pete whatever and yes I like my sugar like I like my men, whatcha gonna do bout it? lol total rubbish…

    Americans have issues, everyone is racist, everyone has preferences, you’re just not entitled to treat people badly because of it. you smile and you bitch in private.

    just don’t come talk shit and pretend you are something special and you are colour blind lol

  21. The comments here are awful.

    Kudos to Lucky for writing a genuinely interesting thing about how a politician conducts himself in public. Also for not censoring himself just because race was involved. And Mr. Jackson should not be censured for knowing who his fans are likely to be.

    But all of you who commenters foaming at the mouth to censor or censure someone just because race was mentioned are making things in this country worse. Remember how President Obama asked us to have conversations without attacking each other?

  22. shame on you lucky!!! passive aggressive messy Qween,

    do you know if “Rev Jesse Jackson” had a history with the said passengers who just had to be of the same race??? Possibly may have seen them earlier at the boarding are, prior event, etc… don’t know their history or what they share in common. Hush!! your parents came to the US as German immigrants and not slaves that had all dignity and respect stripped off them. Leave American black people alone. ofcourse you will claim not to be racist because you are a fan of RHOA.

    when FAs greet you or fan over ur blog, and not other non-gay passengers, should we say they hate heteros??? Geez, you act soo innocent but deep down you are quite a hateful person.

    and for all you haters, Jesse Jackson has helped his people through scholarships, community programs, etc. His political aspirations were a little messy but don’t discredit his work in the civil rights movement. ofcourse, the innocent majority cant stand black people bonding.

  23. One quasi-political post and suddenly all the comments look like they’re ripped from a Yahoo! News article…

  24. The handshake doesnt bother me. I get it. What bothers me is that guy is a total phony. Havent seen mentioned yet that his son is in jail for stealing campaign money for personal purchases and he also engaged in the same sort of philandering as his father. Im no saint but I also dont claim to be holier than thou…

  25. LAX to RDU last Dec.Red Eye deep in coach middle seat .Crying baby behind a sick 20 something one row up and to my left coughed for the entire pre boarding and 5 hour flight .I think I slept for about 90 mins . It was an experience .Delta Flight .

  26. TIL celebrity = race baiting, cheating POS who abuses position and threatens companies w/ boycotts to line his own pockets and get jobs for his nepotism. As his son and daughter-in-law followed in his steps..and jail…sadly for not as long as it should have been.

    Check out the reddit open forum when good ol’ Jesse was asked questions…very enlightening the quality of this “celebrity’s” character lol

    Favorite question:
    How is your relationship with the illegitimate child you fathered in 1998 while cheating on your wife? Bonus question: How much money have you extorted from various people and companies over the years of practicing your shakedown scheme? Do you think Al Capone would be jealous of your business model if he were still alive?”

  27. Great news. I always had issues with the design of this card. It really sucked while in the drive thru when I had to explain where the strip is.

  28. Jessie Jackson is a racist asshole – too bad he wasn’t one of the passengers on that Jetblue flight that got pissed on a few weeks back.

  29. Very tacky Ben. I was on the flight and he spoke to everyone who spoke. Why would bu bring up the Black thing. Just lost respect sorry. You’re inviting racist comments.

  30. His wife is black. His mistress is black.

    Blacks make up 13.2% of the US population.

    Do the maths…….


  31. Ironically as I was reading your tweet and clicking the link, who do I see walking down the terminal? At first I was like nooooo
    He was on my flight…..I made sure everyone around me knew I only noticed him because of Ben!

    P.S. I got a handshake and a photo, but I credit that to my dazzling smile……

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