Frequently asked questions about red eye flights

This FAQ list helps answer several commonly asked questions about red eye flights.

Q: What is the definition of a red eye flight / what’s a red eye flight?
A: A red eye flight is a night flight that departs late in the evening and arrives early in the morning, which may leave a traveler with red eyes from lack of a good night’s sleep. I typically call any overnight flight a red-eye, but it is sometimes used to refer to shorter overnight flights, which wouldn’t allow the passenger to get enough rest.

Q: How to find red eye flights?
A: Using this site is a good start to finding a red eye itinerary as there are pages for many destination cities. And on those pages we list some of the airlines which might have such flights and approximately what the flight times have been. When searching for red eye itineraries on the travel search engines or airline sites, you can sort results by departure time, and look at those flights departing late in the night. Some of those may be red eyes. But it’s important to keep in mind that red eye flights are somewhat rare, and may not exist between some city pairs. The flights are more commonly found when traveling in an eastward direction, such as from the US west coast cities such as San Francisco, to the east coast cities like New York.

Q: Where can I find the cheapest red eye flights?
A: That’s a tough question. There was a time when red eye flights were often quite a bit cheaper than more popular flight times, and the night flights were less crowded. While that is still somewhat the case, it seems less so now-a-days given how full aircraft are. Still, to find the least expensive red eyes, it tends to take time and effort searching. One can try different days, carriers, and even nearby / alternate airports. Booking early can also often help as the cheaper fare classes tend to still available early on.

Q: How to book a red eye flight?
A: Once you’ve found a red-eye flight you’d like, it’s booked like any other flight ticket. One thing to be careful of is the dates of the flight. Since in many cases the flights depart near midnight, and may sometimes cross the date line.

Have a question or additional info for other travelers? You can enter it here. Thanks!