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What Are Red-Eye Flights?

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The fact that you gain time as you move eastward through time zones means that red-eye flights often occur on eastbound flights, although they do happen with north to south flights as well.

Examples of red-eye flights are:

  • Transcontinental routes from the U.S. West Coast to the U.S. East Coast, for example, San Francisco (SFO) to New York (NYC)
  • Eastern U.S. to Europe e.g. Washington Dulles (IAD) to Dublin (DUB)
  • North America to South America e.g. New York (NYC) to Quito (UIO)
  • Middle East to Southeast Asia e.g. Abu Dhabi (AUH) to Bangkok (BKK)

For some routes, the only nonstop alternatives are red-eye flights, so you have no choice but to fly overnight or to choose an alternate route. Examples are New York (NYC) to Edinburgh (EDI) and Boston (BOS) to Dublin (DUB)

To book a red-eye flight, you’ll want to identify flights that leave later in the day and arrive the next day. One way to do this quickly is to use a filter to list only the nonstop flights that leave in the evening. Here’s an example, using Google Flights to search for red-eye flights from JFK to LHR.

We’ll first select “Nonstop” from the Stops dropdown box.

Next, we’ll use the slider under “Times” to select flights that leave at 9:00 pm or later.

You’ll notice that the arrival time has the +1 notation, which indicates that the flight is arriving the next day.

Select your flight, grab your travel pillow and you’ll be on your way.

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