On average, people spend more than three hundred hours per year traveling. Most of it is unavoidable daily commutes, but another significant part is long-distance flights by plane. Making the most out of this time is what separates productive people from those who can’t manage their time well.
Working is often impossible due to connectivity issues on a plane, so a frequent passenger is simply sleeping. Airlines understand this struggle and provide overnight flights. But such offers, called red-eye flights, aren’t without drawbacks. Here are five things you need to know to minimize the risks and increase cost-effectiveness.
What are red-eye flights?
Red-Eye flights is a continuous flight that departs late in the evening and arrives early in the morning. The idea is to get passengers to their destination before working hours.
It brings benefits both for airlines and for passengers. Travelers can cut expenses on hotels and save time by sleeping instead of simply waiting for a plane to land at their destination.
Airlines and airports, on the other hand, save money by using planes that would be idle otherwise. Airport fares are usually also cheaper at these times as it is the least busy time for an airport.
If timed right a red-eye flight is beneficial for all parties. However, as the appeal of such flights grew, airlines started to raise prices, and some red-eye flights have become even more expensive than their day-time counterparts.
How to find cheap red-rye flights?
But finding a good deal on a red-eye flight is still relatively easy if you know where to look.
Airline websites and apps are the main places to find offers for flights, including red-eye flights. Only a few airlines, such as Delta Air Lines, are putting their red-eye flights in a separate category. For most other airlines, you will have to simply filter the flights that leave late in the evening and arrive early in the morning.
Finding cheaper tickets is easier if you look into several airlines at once. Flight search websites like Skyscanner can help you to do it more efficiently. But be sure to try out using a VPN or a similar tool to check if the prices aren’t adjusted by location. You might find a cheaper red-eye flight this way.
Another common option for finding cheaper charter red-eye flights is to use travel agencies. They often book planes only for their customers, so they are not listed on the airline’s website. The prices can be significantly cheaper with a travel agency.
Health risks of red-eye flights
There are some considerable health risks associated with red-eye flights. It’s not without a reason these flights are called “red-eye” as passengers frequently get red eyes due to fatigue, jet lag, and dehydration.
Fatigue is associated with not getting enough good night’s sleep. Without some precautionary measures, this isn’t possible on a plane.
Jet lag, while commonly associated with a sudden change in time zones, is way more severe when you are flying overnight. But if you play your circadian rhythm well, the red-eye flight might even lower the drawbacks of jet lag.
Dehydration is a rare occurrence on a flight as flight attendants are always there for passengers to serve food and drinks. However, red-eye flights often have fewer stewards, and it isn’t their most effective working hours.
If you are a frequent passenger on red-eye flights, there might also be some long-term health risks. Not having a good night’s sleep frequently might lead to a weakened immune system, sleep disorders, such as insomnia, depression, increased risk of heart attacks, and even cancer.
What class of red-eye flight to take?
The health risks of red-eye flights sound worse than they really are, and that’s because there are effective methods to fight it. The most important measure for taking care of yourself during a red-eye flight is choosing the right class for a flight.
While economy class tickets are way cheaper, especially for red-eye flights, there is a reason for that. Not having a comfortable seat will deny you the possibility to sleep well. Economy sections of planes are also usually packed with people, which increases noise and other disturbances.
Business or higher class seats are also equipped with better lighting and have more experienced flight attendants that will provide meals, pillows and will help you stay hydrated. You can take care of most of these essentials on your own, but choosing a better-class plane ticket will certainly help.
Essentials for a red-eye flight
In case you are choosing a red-eye flight purely for cost-effectiveness, you should consider taking some essentials with you for the whole flight.
Comfortable clothes. Ease of movement always beats style in red-eye flights. You will be sleeping for most of the flight anyway, and comfortable clothes can make sleep so much better.
Sleeping mask. Although most interior lights are turned off during a flight, some of them are still left on as a safety precaution. If you are a sensitive sleeper like, me you will need a sleeping mask that completely covers your eyes so that no light can go through.
Earplugs or headphones. The plane and passengers won’t be completely quiet during the flight. You should prepare some measures for reducing that noise.
Travel pillow. At first, I was skeptical of the need for a pillow on a flight. But it’s a game-changer even on business-class flights with comfortable seats because your head position is extremely important for successfully and quickly falling asleep.
Sleeping pills as a last resort. taking a sleeping pill is the only option when nothing else works, and you have an important day ahead of the flight.
While red-eye flights aren’t a complicated concept, it’s important to know that there are some health and budget considerations. Knowing the five things outlined here will prepare you for your first red-eye flight. After that, you can decide for yourself whether such a travel mode is suitable for you.
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