RED EYE FLIGHTS leave after 9 PM and arrive before 5 AM. Most people avoid them. I don’t, though, and here are 10 reasons why:
1. Late night flights are often cheaper.
For my recent flight from Charlotte to New York, a ticket that cost more than $200 for a mid-day flight cost just $82 for a late night flight.
2. Late night flights offer faster check in.
Airports tend to be less busy late at night; from curb to check-in, your jaunt to the gate is likely to be smoother and quicker than it would be during the day.
3. Late night flights often fly well below capacity.
Mid-day flights are often full. Late night flights aren’t… which means the one seat you paid for can often turn into three seats for stretching out and taking a nap. Fewer passengers also means you’re more likely to snag the increasingly coveted airline blanket, pillow, and snack.
4. Late night flights are less rowdy.
Parents with crying kids. Businesspeople knocking back a few drinks. The overexcited tourist who just can’t wait to get to Vegas and gamble away her retirement. They’re all absent from late night flights.
5. Late night flights are more luggage friendly.
Fewer passengers = more overhead bin space and less luggage in cargo. Less luggage in cargo = faster baggage claim.
6. Late night flights let you get in a full day’s work.
Mid-day flights always leave me feeling as if I’ve lost a whole day of work, leaving me cranky. A late night flight, however, lets me get in at least a half-day’s work, and I can squeeze in a full day’s work if I’m not procrastinating.
7. Late night flights let you avoid rush hour traffic.
Sometimes, the headache of air travel has nothing to do with air at all, but with on the ground traffic. Avoid morning and afternoon rush hours by taking the late night flight.
8. Late night flights tend to be on time.
With less air and runway traffic compared to morning and afternoon flights, late night flights tend to arrive and depart on time.
9. Late night flights allow you to manage your appetite.
Like work, eating habits always seem to get thrown off by morning or mid-day flights. With a late night flight, though, it’s possible to eat breakfast and lunch, and to pack a light snack for the plane.
10. Late night flights leave you less prone to losing stuff.
With fewer people, TSA screeners, gate agents, and flight attendants are all more likely to have more time to devote to you… which means they’re more likely to see and return the laptop you left behind at the x-ray machine or the camera you forgot in the overhead bin.
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Julie Schwietert Collazo is a writer, editor, researcher, and translator currently in New York, formerly of Mexico City and San Juan. She is Matador's managing editor and is the lead faculty member of MatadorU's travel writing program.
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