Why I love redeyes

March 3rd, 2008, 6:49 pm PST by Greg

or “How to take a redeye from the west to east coast.”

I usually fly redeye (aka overnight) flights when coming east. I have had some disbelieving reactions to this like “Did you save a lot of money?” Sometimes, but that’s not really why.

The setup: Flying from Vancouver to Toronto or Ottawa takes about 4.5 hours. Counting in the 3 hour time change, that just about equals “overnight”. The last flights leave at 11:00 or so.

The prelude: I can get in a full day of work (or whatever) before leaving. The airport run happens after rush hour, and at a time that people are generally more willing to give me the ride.

Airport arrival: First thing at the airport: take a sleeping pill (Sleep-Eze or whatever). Check in and go through security. It only takes a few minutes, since there are few flights at that time. Eat somewhere in there and buy a bottle of water past security. About 10 minutes before boarding time, brush teeth.

The flight: The sleeping pill should be starting to kick by boarding. Put on sunglasses (since I can never be bothered with a mask). Ignore everything and get as much sleep as possible.

The connection: I am generally making a connection to North Carolina. That involves going through US customs at the Toronto airport at about 6:00. No lines, and the agents are still half asleep. For some reason, I sleep better on the second flight: I have slept through the takeoff and usually wake up when somebody tells me to put my chair up.

All-told, I usually get a little more than a half night’s sleep. That leaves me a little screwed up the next day. But, consider the alternative: if I hadn’t taken the redeye, I would have spent the whole day on a plane. This way, I can lounge around, take a nap and be good. As an added bonus, I can go to sleep whenever I want the next night, and jetlag is suddenly a non-issue.

The math doesn’t work out for east to west, though.

5 Responses to “Why I love redeyes”

  1. Greg Says:

    The redeye is great if you actually sleep. I have the problem where I have the strange NEED to watch the free movies. Yes, I know it’s stupid, but I watch the movies and forget to sleep. Then I’m totally zonked for the flight from TO to NC.

    Oh, and you want to make sure to have at least 2 hours in TO to clear customs – even that early in the morning. I almost missed my flight to NC with a 1.5 hour layover!

  2. bishnu Says:

    There’s no east-west red-eye, but with time zones you end up losing only about 2 hours. So you can take off at 7 am after getting a semi-full-night’s sleep, nap on the plane, land at 9 and get a full day in.

    I’ve gotten ridiculously familiar with this.

  3. Eunice Says:

    In theory, red-eyes are a great idea. I was taking Gravol but perhaps I will need to graduate to sleeping pills and taking flights without children.

    Who the hell takes their kids on a red-eye flight anyway?

  4. bishnu Says:

    Or just have a few beers before the flight.

  5. tina Says:

    I can’t believe you brush your teeth.