With the rapid development of advanced technologies associated with air travel, passengers can travel at night. Be it morning or night; you can fly at any time of the day to far corners of the world. While day flying is a norm for most people, evening or night flying has also gained attention over the last decade. We call it a ‘red eye flight’- the flight scheduled to take off at night (usually around 9:00 pm) and arrive at the end destination at around 5 or 6 am.
Red eye flight is named so because it leaves late at night and doesn’t give enough time for passengers to get a full night’s sleep, causing their eyes to turn red due to fatigue stimulated by the lack of sleep. Although night flying is smooth and enjoyable, not everyone can sleep peacefully on planes. The lack of enough time to sleep, difficulty falling asleep onboard, and jetlag all lead passengers to a state of tiredness, resulting in red eyes.
How to book a red-eye flight?
Before learning how to book a red-eye flight, you should know a few more things about the red-eye flight. Red-eye flights operate less than daytime flights because they don’t exist for every route and not all airlines and airports offer red eye flights. Red-eye flights are typically longer, lasting a minimum of four hours but often closer to six hours or more. They are common in long domestic US routes (usually from west to east, e.g., Los Angeles to New York), transatlantic routes (e.g., New York to Rome), Middle Eastern routes (e.g., Bahrain to Frankfurt, Abu Dhabi to Rome, etc.)
Several US carriers like Frontier Airlines, Spirit Airlines, American, United, Delta, etc. operate red-eye service on domestic routes. Airports in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Portland, San Francisco, Denver, and Portland handle red-eye flights in high numbers to put off passenger streams away from peak operating hours.
Flights over to Europe are commonly red-eye and sometimes might be the only option available. Routes like Heathrow-Athens, Amsterdam-Istanbul, London Stansted-Istanbul Sabiha, and Milan Malpensa-Kutaisi are some of the popular red-eye flight pairs in Europe. Carriers like Turkish Airlines, Air Serbia, Pobeda, Aegean Airlines, Wizz Air, Austrian Airlines, etc., operate red-eye routes within Europe.
Booking a red eye flight: Easy steps
Red-eye flights are characterized by overnight flying, typically long duration, and lack of sleep onboard. There are no actual criteria regarding red-eye flight hours, but such operations surely involve passengers arriving at an airport in the late hours of the night for overnight flying and reaching their intended destination in the early morning. Booking a red-eye flight is easier, and the simplest way is to:
1. Check out whether the route you are flying has a red-eye flight service. Red-eye flights commonly exist on west-to-east routes (for instance, New York to London, Los Angeles to New York, etc.)
2. Select the airline you want to travel with; ensure the carrier you choose offers red-eye flights.
3. Book the flight with the airline; fill up necessary details such as originating and arrival airport, date of travel, number of travelers, preferred cabin class, etc. Choose the red eye flight that is suitable for you in terms of travel time, no of stops, and price.
Example of booking a red eye flight: American Airlines
If you want to book a red eye flight on American Airlines (AA), let’s say on January 24, 2023, on the Los Angeles-Dallas route, here’s how you do it.
1. Open the American Airlines app or website; click the ‘Flight book’ option.
2. Enter From/To information; in our case, the originating airport (From) is Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and the destination airport is Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
3. Enter the departure date, i.e., 24Jan 2023, and the return date too (if any)
4. Enter the number of passengers (1 for e.g.) and the preferred class of service
Once you click the ‘search’ option, it will redirect you to the flight availability options. Since you want a red-eye flight, click the ‘Sort’ button and select the Departure (late to early) option. It will show you red-eye flight options only. One AA red-eye flight on January 24, 2023, takeoff from LAX at 11:59 pm and arrive in DFW at 4:59 am.
Choose the suitable red eye flight from the search result, fill in the passenger details and make the payment.
In the case of Delta red-eye flights, you can filter the search results by clicking the ‘Travel Time’ option. Similarly, for the United Airlines red-eye flight, you can sort out the option by clicking either on travel time, departure time, or arrival time.
Various options to book a red eye flight
Red eye flights save on costs as airlines benefit from lower slot prices and utilization of jets that would otherwise be sitting idle on the airport tarmac. If you want to travel without busting your budget, red-eye services are ideal. There are various options to book a red-eye flight, such as:
1. The first option is to hunt online travel agencies which display a wider selection of red-eye flights operated by different airlines at lower prices. You have the option to compare the prices of several airlines and secure the best deal.
2. Instead of using a travel agent, you can book the red-eye flight directly with the airline through their apps or website. Although the price may look quite expensive, you won’t have to pay hidden fees and get the best seats available.
3. You can use travel search engines that feature ‘red eye flight’ options. Depending on the search engine, they will display all available flights on a given route according to your search and allow you to filter the search using the ‘only show overnight flight’ or ‘travel times’ button. Then, you can choose the best suitable red-eye flight and book it accordingly.
Tips for booking the red eye flight at a cheaper price
The price of a red-eye flight varies according to the airline, time of booking, sector, and class of service. If you want to travel on a red-eye flight without shocking your wallet,
- Book your air ticket a lot earlier than your departure date to get the cheapest red eye flight deals. Pre-booking also allows you to get the seat of your choice in the aircraft. Consider the time which usually has less travel demand, for e.g., Wednesday is considered the cheapest day of the week.
- Check if you are eligible for any kind of discount on categories like senior citizens, students, etc.
- Redeem airline mile rewards or frequent flyer points to save more on airfare.
- Check price comparison websites, get in touch with travel professionals, undergo your own online search, and do whatever it takes to get the cheapest fares.
Why book a red-eye flight?
It is now easy to book a red eye flight using the aforementioned steps but do you know the extensive benefits of booking a red-eye flight? If not, let’s learn about the perks of traveling on a red-eye flight.
- Availability of the favorite seat
Red eye flights aren’t fully capacitated, so you have a high chance of getting the seat you want. Since it’s already an overnight flight, the last thing you want is other passengers waking you up to get past you. If the flight is flying below seat capacity, you can stretch your body or take a nap on empty seats.
- 2. Reduced fares
Passengers on a red-eye flight will benefit from reduced fares and save on accommodation costs since they spend the night on the plane.
- 3. On-time flight
Night flying is usually a smooth ride since flights are less crowded and they depart before the morning rush hour. Red eye flights operate beyond peak hours so they have a low tendency of being delayed.
- 4. Faster airport processing
Since airports are generally less busy at night, you can escape the hustle and bustle of passenger terminals, get more seamless check-in, avoid queues and waits, and board the aircraft quickly.
- Other benefits
Other benefits of booking a red-eye flight include reduced risk of a delayed flight, time-saving, more overhead bin space onboard the flight, less traffic, etc.
Is the red-eye flight an ideal choice for you?
Apart from getting the above benefits, prepare yourself for less sleep and poor rest on red-eye flights. You may feel jetlagged and arrive at your destinations completely exhausted. Red-eye flights compromise your natural sleep rhythms and are associated with several health risks like heart problems, slow metabolism, weak immune system, etc.
If you have no difficulty sleeping on planes and are fully prepared for overnight flying (earplugs, right playlist, facial cleaning wipes, eye masks, neck pillows, etc.), the idea of taking a red eye is fit for you. If daytime flight price seems more daunting than the fear of getting red eyes, you may book red-eye flights but don’t forget to pack your travel essentials.