Confusing Airplane Terms: Red Eye Flight Meaning

Pilots · 6 min read · Jul 29, 2022
red eye flight meaning

Some people like to travel at night. They even take long drives around the city on empty streets because it soothes their soul. Everyone has their own preference and so do these people who book red eye flights. Red eye flights appeal to these travelers because they provide a chance to watch the city lights from sky during long dark nights. Airlines operate red eye flights all over the world.

So, what is an exact red eye flight meaning?

The term red eye flight has been named due to the symptom of developing redness in eyes more often referred as the red eye. It is often faced by the night traveling passengers due to fatigue.

The cities of west coast are frequently connected to the cities on east coast due to these red eye flights. The planes usually depart between 10 to 1 am from the west coast and arrive at their destination in east coast between 5 to 7 am. The time difference creates a gain of these 2 to 4 hours.

Red eye flights are scheduled to arrive at their destination the next morning after departing at night. Apart from those who feel comfortable with these overnight flights, business travelers also find it the best option as they are usually not in a mood to miss any of their working days.

A dark aircraft cabin on a red eye flight.

The pros of a red eye flight

Although, the flights that can cause fatigue might not be so much appealing when someone hears about it. However, there are few advantages which red eye flights provide to their travelers over the daytime flights. These include:

1.     Cheaper than ordinary daytime flights

The flights that depart during day are usually more costly as compared to the ones departing at night. As not many people are willing to travel at night, the airlines prefer to book as many passengers as possible.

When they do so, they reduce the fares and sometimes it happens that the cost is declined to half of the original ticket cost. Even after doing so, the plane is never fully occupied and usually empty. Therefore, booking a red eye flight is a quick trick to save money. Choosing the overnight flight option means hefty savings!

2.     Less crowded plane with more capacity

During the day, as the airplanes reach their total capacity, they run at full and even overbooked. However, this does not happen at night. If a person pays for their single seat, they can expect to get a completely empty row during a red eye flight.

It increases the chances of stretching out on more than a single seat and sleeping pleasantly throughout the flight.

3.     Much quieter with calm environment

You might have to face noisy kids while traveling during the day. People might talk louder around you and their voices might grind your gears.

A person does not have to put up with all these antics when they take a red eye flight. It is because not much people travel at that time to create such noises and a person can easily escape from all of this at once.

4.     A faster check-in without much hustle

During peak hours, as many people are rushing in; the security check-in takes a lot of time. These points are usually empty at night and this whole process becomes much easier compared to the day.

Not many arrivals take place during these times and as a person is taking a red eye flight, they would be able to find their belongings sooner on the belt than usually.

5.     An increased safety of luggage

During such late night flights, a person can be sure of the safety of their luggage. It is because of the fact that as not many people are travelling, therefore, if any bag or even if an electronic gadget is lost, there is a possibility that it will be returned to their owner without any risk of being stolen. Not only this, the aircraft you will find on your next red eye flight can offer your more overhead bin space.

6.     Saves your time

Not many people are willing to leave their entire day just to take a flight and travel to some other area. They have work to finish. For such matters, red eye flights provide a suitable solution as it enables travelers to utilize their days to complete their pending work.

Without cutting precious time, and leaving an entire day to a person, late night flights create a great opportunity for people who are in dire need of travel with an aim to save their time. Red eye flight meaning is synonymous to time savings.

Ground staff is preparing an airplane for a red eye flight.

A red eye flight is safe to travel on

When it’s about travelling at night, people are quite hesitant. It is because they think the night time is not safe enough to travel to another country. But in reality, red eye flights are not like that as they themselves are safe. Mostly the passengers are sleeping and the security at airport is even better than what people are usually used to.

Increasing the quality of experience

People often book a window seat for such flights. As a person enjoys their journey while looking through the window, a few more ways could add to their positive experience. These include:

1.     Some extra snacks

You will get the usual food served to you during the flight. However, what about munching on your favorite snack when you are sitting idly and looking through the window and feel a bit hungry? Putting some extra bags of chips, biscuits or something light to eat would prove to an extra add-on to your journey.

2.     Getting a neck pillow

Imagine getting a whole row to yourself but when you try to stretch, you have nothing to place under your head. Wouldn’t it be annoying? When you have a long journey ahead of you but nothing to support your head, it’s going to spoil the entire experience making it uncomfortable.

Therefore, in order to avoid such incidents, it is advised to keep a neck pillow with you. It will be a good support to make you feel at ease when you get seated on your plane.

3.     Masking your eyes

It’s a general concept that as red eye flights occur at night, there would be darkness around. However, it’s not correct. Although the plane is quite dark but the emergency lights could be irritating for the eyes.

They can make you feel uncomfortable and thus makes sleeping impossible. In order to solve this issue, an eye mask could prove to be a great solution as they provide a total blackout restricting even a single ray from entering the eye.

4.      Ear buds

Even though the plane is usually empty and there’s not much noise around. So, during such a flight, if a person does not want to fall asleep, listening to your favorite song could be relaxing. For that purpose, taking your ear buds with you would be a great choice.

You can either listen to your playlist as you watch the sky from your seat or you can simply put your eye mask on or enjoy the rhythm of your favorite song throughout your journey.

5.     A tooth brush to keep fresh breath

If a person is habitual of brushing their teeth before they go to sleep, it would be annoying not to be able to keep their routine once they enter the plane.

In order to make this possible, it’s better to keep a toothbrush with you and some paste. If a person does not feel comfortable utilizing the plane’s sink, the water bottle could be used instead as it’s comparatively much more hygienic. This procedure keeps the routine in place and also makes you believe you are ready for sleep.

An airplane ready to take of from the runway at night.


The red eye flight meaning is as their name suggests, it is a flight that departs at night and lands at destination early morning, leaving a bit of redness in the passengers’ eyes. Though some might consider red eye flights as uncomfortable and hectic, others enjoy it as they love to travel at night where they can enjoy the dark sky while cherishing its beauty.

Such flights are usually cheaper than normal daytime flights and way more comfortable for a business trip or people who enjoy nights. Those who want to save their time, and also their money, red eye flights prove to be the best option for them as their fares are much lower than a normal flight ticket that departs during day.

It has a few other pros too which include a less stressful airport, a faster check in, increased luggage safety, less noisy airplane, and more capacity to stretch which will make you fall asleep faster. In order to increase the efficiency of a red eye flight, getting some snacks, a neck pillow, an eye mask and ear buds could prove to be quite beneficial for the passengers as it enhances their overall experience.

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Jet pilot @NASA

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