What time is it on a transatlantic flight?

Mar 18th, 2005, 07:45 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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What time is it on a transatlantic flight?

I know this sounds like a dumb question, so let me explain. It is a overnight flight that leaves from Chicago at 10:00 PM, and arrives in Copenhagen at 1:30 PM Copenhagen time. When I arrive in Copenhagen it will only be 6:30 AM in Chicago. So in flight what time do they use. Will I get breakfast and lunch on this flight? When it is midnight in Chicago it will be 7:00 AM in Copenhagen, and I will probably be somewhere over the Atlantic. So will they be using Copenhagen time and serve me breakfast then. When it is 5:00 AM in Chicago it will be noon in Copenhagen, and I will probably be flying over England or mainland Europe, so will they use Copenhagen time and serve lunch, or will they use Chicago time and serve breakfast?
Sorry for the stupid question, but I've never taken a transatlantic flight before.

Thanks for your help
ktyson is offline  
Mar 18th, 2005, 08:28 PM
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On all trans-Atlantic flight, you get served dinner once you board, and you get breakfast before you arrive.

Doesn't matter if you're flying from West Coast, East Coast or Chicago, and whether your flight leaves 3pm or 10pm; and whether you arrive 6am or 1pm. Still dinner/breakfast.

Exception is the daytime flight, which I don't know what meal they serve.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 25th, 2005, 05:53 PM
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rkkwan is correct. Dinner/breakfast.

But for me, the priority on a transatlantic flight is to sleep as much as possible. If you wait till after they've cleared away dinner before even starting to doze off you'll be 1/3 of the way through the flight with a bad aftertaste of airplane food stuck in you mouth.

My routine is to always, and I mean always eat a dinner meal BEFORE I get on the plane. Sometimes with a wine or a beer, but more often than not without. As soon as I get on the plane I make myself as comfortable as possible. Lumpy things out of my pockets, belt buckle loosened, etc. If I'm lucky enough to be in business class, then I'll even put on a pair of PJ's (although my Sponge Bob pants have gotten a snicker or 2).

A couple of advil to chase the ever present travel/airplane headache I usually get. Noice cancelling earphones (now avail for $50-75) plugged into my iPod, some sleepy music set to turn off in about an hour and I'm off to sleep.

On a good trip I can get 4-5 hrs from Chicago to Europe. Sometimes more, sometimes less. About an hour or so before landing they'll serve breakfast. Something like an omlet, fruit and a biscuit. Someone will crack open a single window shade and flood the cabin with light (usually the guy next to you).

Enjoy your trip.
J62 is online now  
Mar 29th, 2005, 07:39 AM
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I don't thinks this is a stupid question at all (maybe because I was about to ask something similar!).

I've got my first transatlantic flight this Saturday, leaving London at 11.00am and arriving in San Francisco 11 hours later at 1.00pm!

I was thinking my best tactic would be to try to adapt to SF time as soon as I get on the plane (i.e. 2.00am), and thus try to go to sleep straight away. Then I would hope to get breakfast about five or six hours in, and then lunch just before landing. Will it work like this?!

Any advice for tactics for long East-West daytime flights?
guarro is offline  
Mar 29th, 2005, 07:42 AM
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I've often found that east-west is much easier, though my longest has been London to the eastern US, so only 5 hours time difference instead of 8.

But I don't try to adapt to the destination time on the plane. What I would do in that case is try to stay awake on the plane (or maybe a nap, but not sleep the whole way) and just eat whenever you're hungry (or when they serve food).

When you get to SF you'll feel like it's nearing bed time, but it'll be afternoon. I would stay up as late as you comfortably can, then go to bed and get a long night's sleep and wake up (maybe a bit early) the next morning.

This is what I do coming home from Europe, and I've never felt terribly tired after about a day. Going West-East is a whole different story!
jlm_mi is offline  
Mar 29th, 2005, 08:51 AM
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When your on the plane it can be any time you want. About one hour after the plane takes off, they come around with drinks. Wine is free on the foreign airlines but you pay $5.00 on U.S. airlines across the Atlantic. British Airways usually gives me two small bottles of wine in coach and the second one I hold for dinner. About one hour before landing a breakfast is served.

On the television monitors it will tell you the time at the destination and the time at the origination of the flight.

I strongly suggest changing your watch as soon as you get on the plane. I have actually met people in Europe who never change their watch because they want to know what time it is back home. They then add the 5, 6, 7 or 8 hours to determine the time in Europe. I would have a problem with jet lag if I did this. I'm gullible. If I see it on my watch, I believe it!
wally34949 is offline  
Mar 29th, 2005, 01:01 PM
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I used to try to adjust to my destination's time zone whenever I flew internationally, i.e. force myself to stay awake or go to sleep according to whatever time it is at my destination. I eventually came to the conclusion that this made no meaningful difference at all for me in terms of actual jet lag after arrival. Now I just sleep when I feel like it, eat when I feel like it, and don't worry about the time change until after I arrive. Of course, what works for me may not work for you.

I've also never understood the east-west, west-east theory and how one direction could be considered 'easier' than the other, especially when going halfway around the world and dealing with 11-15 hour time changes. It's hellish either way
Patty is offline  
Mar 29th, 2005, 04:27 PM
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In general, flying east is "easier" simply because the flight is shorter.

But across the Atlantic, it's different because most flights are red-eyes. Same issue with flying red-eyes domestically. You're tired, you want to sleep; but the seat is not comfortable if you're in coach. After a few hours, you woke up because your bum is sore. And then just when you fell asleep again, they wake you up and serve you breakfast when it's still 3am US time. That's why it's hard.

Europe-US flights are almost always daytime. You eat, you watch a couple of movies, you take short naps, you read, you eat again, and you're almost home. That's why you don't feel as cranky as the red-eye to Europe.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 30th, 2005, 01:04 PM
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Patty - It's not a theory, it's personal experience. It may not be true for everyone, but it's true for me (and many others). Deeling with 11-15 hour time changes may make the difference negligible, but for shorter distances (like US to Western Europe) I find it makes a big difference.

I don't think it's even as much what rkkwan says, for me. When I take the red-eye to Europe, I try to fly late enough that I can sleep on the plane, and I always get some sleep, but never enough. Then, I get in and it's still morning there! If I want to adjust myself to the local schedule that day, I have 8-12 hours still that I need to stay awake when I'm already exhausted.

Coming home, I leave late morning or early afternoon and I'm home bit mid- to late-afternoon. I've slept well the night before, had a nap on the plane, and when I get home I can go to bed in 5-6 hours. I'm tired from all the fun we had on vacation, but it's not sleep deprivation like it is on the way there.
jlm_mi is offline  

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