I don’t think anyone actually likes redeyes. Well, actually, maybe some non-frequent flyers that have been listening to too much “Airplanes” by BoB/Hayley Williams do.
Anyway, I’m proud to say that as of a couple of weeks ago, I don’t actually dread redeyes anymore. After 200 or so domestic, sub-five hour redeyes under my belt, I’ve actually started to appreciate them for what they are. The funny thing is, the reason I’ve started to appreciate them is because I spent most of last year trying to avoid them, without good reason. When traveling east, I’ve actually found redeyes to be far more enjoyable than daytime flights for a few reasons:
- They’re huge timesavers. This goes without saying, but it’s nice to not leave the west coast at the crack of dawn and arrive on the east coast in the dark. It’s much nicer to leave the west coast in the dark and arrive on the east coast at the crack of dawn.
- My email inbox appreciates it. The biggest pain about daytime flights going east is that I end up arriving home at around midnight, only to be up until the wee hours of the night catching up on email. With redeyes, I get a head start on the day by being able to check my email at 6AM upon landing, and then throughout the day. Admittedly, this assumes you fly an airline that doesn’t offer wifi aboard…
- Post-redeye sleep is the best. I’m a pretty light sleeper, except after a redeye. Nothing beats the feeling of going to bed early after a redeye and waking up refreshed the following morning at a reasonable hour.
- Upgrades are easier. This isn’t true across the board, though is true for me. I travel on weekends, and redeyes on Saturdays are much easier than daytime flights on Sundays.
But those are all factors that I’ve known from the beginning. What has changed is that I realize that redeyes don’t have to be so bad. For one, I’ve finally figured out the most comfortable redeye sleeping position (which doesn’t involve drugs or alcohol). The key (for me) is to have a non-bulkhead seat and a hoodie. Recline your seat all the way, put the pillow behind your lower back, adjust the headrest widgets so you can rest your head against them, put in some in-ear headphones and listen to quiet music, stretch your feet out all the way under the seat in front of you, put on a hoodie and zip it up (and rest your hands in the pouch), and pull a blanket all the way up to your face. Works like a charm for me. If done properly, it’s almost as comfortable as an angled flat bed (at least for a few hours).
But the key, for me at least, is to not try to force myself to sleep. The issue I always had is that I felt like I needed to get as much sleep as possible on a redeye. That caused me to spend more time on a redeye thinking about sleep than actually sleeping. Instead I sometimes have the snack and start watching the movie. If I end up not sleeping, so be it. But almost always I end up asleep about 10 minutes into the movie, without ever feeling like I forced myself to sleep.
And there you have it, that’s why I don’t mind redeyes anymore!
On a slightly unrelated note, United’s new redeye snacks are abso-friggin-lutely amazing. It’s rare that I’ll say that about domestic airplane food, but the cold chicken pasta and even the tomato and mozzarella sandwich are really, really good. I would actually rather have that than the normal lunch or dinner offerings.