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5 Tips for Your Next Red-Eye Flight

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Interested in enjoying — not simply enduring — your next long-haul overnight flight? Consider these tips on making the most of your time in the air, adjusting to your new time zone, and getting through that first day.

1. Nab a good seat.

To maximize their chances of catching a few winks, many opt to pay extra for the comfort of a roomier seat in economy plus, business, or first class. To nab the choiciest coach seats do your research to avoid being stuck in the middle seat of the back row. Seat Guru scrutinizes seating charts to find the best seats possible. (

  • “Traveling LAX-BKK and needing to sleep, the best option by a landslide is Thai’s non-stop in business class. Seats recline to a 170-degree angle with a 60″ pitch between seats.” (more from the Forums)
  • 2. Pack a goodie bag.

    Include a small bag in your carry-on filled with items that put you in the mood for sleep. Ear plugs, eye mask, a travel pillow, and warm fuzzy socks — you’re ready for bed. Nighty, night!

  • “Noise-canceling earphones. They make it easier to hear the movie, your recorded music will sound better, and when you want to sleep they serve as a pretty good Cone Of Silence.” (more from the Forums)
  • 3. Consult your doctor.

    Some travelers rest easily with a little help from either a prescribed sleeping aid or an over the counter medicine. There’s no one wonder drug that works for everyone — talk with your doctor about what will work best for you. If you decide to take anything, first take it at home well before your trip to ensure that it does not cause any unwanted side effects. You want to feel rested on your arrival, not loopy.

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  • “I always use Ambien and it works like a charm, but that isn’t necessarily the case for everyone. I’ve used melatonin, in addition to other sleep meds, and none of them worked. It’s kind of trial-and-error.” (more from the Forums)
  • 4. Just say no to napping.

    On landing in your final destination, it can be very tempting to head straight to the hotel for a much deserved nap. Many red-eye regulars skip the nap — they grin (“I’m in Paris!”) and bear (“I’m not budging from this quaint café”) that first day and then go to sleep early that evening. The aim is to wake up the next day feeling relatively in sync with your new time zone.

  • “It’s all about resetting your body clock to the new time as quickly as possible. That means arriving in the morning, hitting the ground running, and pushing through till bedtime. Then, sleeping like a baby through the night and revving back up the next day with that industrial-strength coffee!” (more from the Forums)
  • 5. Take it easy on the ground.

    Ambition is the enemy after a long red-eye flight. Keep your plans for that first day as simple as possible. After checking into your hotel, take a stroll of the neighborhood, wander into a few shops, and settle on a local spot for a leisurely dinner. If you plan to rent a car at the airport and drive on to another city, be sure to consider whether you will feel alert enough to safely do so. Even short drives can seem like eternity after a restless night.

  • “I am out and about the first day. I do schedule less than usual, and I usually start with a visit to a spa.” (more from the Forums)
  • Written and compiled by Katie Hamlin

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