We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Red Eye Flight?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WikiMotors is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WikiMotors, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A red eye flight is a flight which takes off from one location late at night, and arrives early the next morning. The slang term for these night flights comes from the idea that many people deplane with reddened eyes caused by lack of sleep. Since most airlines and airports are capable of operating at night, red eye flights are very common in many countries, and frequent fliers often wind up on these flights because of the perceived convenience and reduced expense.

For an airline, red eye flights allow the airline to reposition planes and crew to prepare for the flights it has scheduled for the next day. Since many planes might be moved anyway, the airline figures it might as well break even or perhaps profit by selling tickets on late flights. As an incentive, tickets on a red eye flight may be cheaper than tickets for more coveted daylight flights, and many airlines have a red eye schedule which is designed to be convenient for people like executives, who may want to hit the ground running on the other end, and head directly from a red eye to a meeting or event.

Passengers sometimes find red eye flights convenient as well. Transitioning between time zones, for example, is often easier when people can sleep on a plane and then stay awake all day at the destination, rather than when people arrive in the evening or at night and try to force themselves to sleep. A red eye flight can also sometimes be more enjoyable, since these flights tend to be less crowded, and sometimes people can get upgrades to better seats more easily on a red eye.

When taking a red eye flight, it's a good idea to pack some supplies. A small travel pillow, sleep mask, and a set of ear plugs or noise-canceling headphones can be quite useful for people who want to try sleeping on the plane, as can a soft, lightweight blanket. Grabbing a window seat, if possible, will also increase comfort, since sleepers can lean on the window to sleep. As a general rule, the front of the plane is quieter, since it is far from the engines, and emergency exit and bulkhead rows provide a bit more legroom to stretch out in. Packing water or buying water after security is also advised, as it can be difficult to stay hydrated on a plane.

Many red eye flights run West to East, which means that a few hours of potential sleep could be lost. While it may be tempting to sleep upon arrival to make up for lost time, seasoned travelers do not recommend this. It's better to be active after a red eye flight to accustom yourself to the new time zone and to stretch your body after the long flight. While it's not a good idea to make major plans for an arrival day, wandering around a park, shopping, or making a lunch date can be a great way to stay alert.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WikiMotors researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By submariner — On Jan 26, 2011

Everyone knows about the cheap red eye flights, but there are other airline discounts that can be had for last minute travelers. If you are trying to fly last minute, you may be able to get a discounted first or business class flight for less than a full fare coach ticket. The fares are called Y or Q fares, which correspond to the discount code for upper tier seats when the seats have not been filled prior to take-off. Airlines would rather sell these seats then send the plane empty, but the only way to get the discount is to ask. The best part is that the seats do not say first or business class so it will be acceptable for passengers flying on company expense. This is probably part of the reason that these seats are made available at or below full fare coach prices as well. For planned trips, a red eye is the cheapest, but for last minute travel, you may be able to score a first class spot for less than the price of coach.

By cougars — On Jan 25, 2011

@ Parmnparsley- You got lucky with your red eye flights. It seems like every time I book a red eye flight I get stuck on a lane that is packed with fussy children and cranky passengers. I never get any rest on the red eye, making the first day at my destination miserable. What airline do you fly...I have to book my tickets with them.

By parmnparsley — On Jan 22, 2011

I prefer to take the red eye as often as possible when I travel. The red eye flight deals are nice, but even better is the lack of crowds and lines. Some airports have fewer amenities after ten pm, but there are also far fewer people, getting to the airport is easier than during rush hour, and finding an empty row in coach is not impossible. I also find that these flights tend to be on time or early more so than the daytime flights. There are fewer flights operating at the airports, so taxing and air traffic is not as bad. I have never spent hours on the runway during a red hour flight, but I have during daylight flights.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.