Favorite times to fly

March 28, 2012

Recently, I read a Facebook comment that said this person’s favorite time to fly is early morning, because they will get to their destination early, and flights are less crowded. I agree that early morning can be a good time to travel, but I am confused about the less crowded flights this person has experienced. Nonetheless, it inspired me to think about the pros and cons of flying at different times, and my own favorite time to fly.

Early morning: The nice thing about early morning flights is that the airlines haven’t had a chance yet to get off track, so everything is usually on time. Also, it’s true that you do get to your destination sooner, which for business travelers means getting to work sooner, so fewer nights on the road and more time with family. The problem is that the flights are usually super crowded, and airport security lines are often incredibly long. Another problem—you have to get up at obscene hours to make these flights, which can make for a looooong day.

Mid-morning to mid-afternoon: Early afternoon is actually my favorite time to fly. Most business travelers are through airports already, so lines are shorter and flights tend to be a little less full. You get regular amounts of sleep (yes!!!), plus I really like flying with the sun is up. Don’t know why. Of course, the problems are the opposite of early morning travel—you lose a lot of potential productive time, and delays could have built up by that time.

Evening. Flying home at the end of the workday seems so much more satisfying than going to a hotel and taking a flight out in the morning. The main perk is that you got your work done, and you get to go home! Of course, it has all the cons of the morning flights (crowded flights, long lines) with the added possible bonus of an entire days worth of delays stacked up. For me, though, that’s worth it as long as I get home.

Red-eye. Because I live in the middle(ish) of the country, I haven’t had the opportunity to take many red eyes. The few times I’ve flown overnight, I’ve been completely wasted the next day, and it was pretty awful. It seems like, in general, they would be terrible, unless you got an upgrade, but I’m sure there are pros as well.

Readers, what are your favorite times to fly? Did I miss any pros or cons? What about red-eyes? What do you love or hate about them?

  1. elwing said,

    I actually don’t mind red-eyes that much as long as I’m not in a middle seat. I’m capable of zonking off pretty quickly on a flight at night, so I just sleep the entire flight. I’m usually headed to Europe (from the east coast), so there’s plenty to keep me awake when I land. My husband hates them because he can’t fall asleep. I see it as a productive way to spend my sleeping hours :)

  2. Michael said,

    I am not sure about the morning less crowded. I went out of LAX to SLC today and the flt. was oversold by 12. I would have taken the credit if I didn’t have a meeting. I will say I do like the one day turns. I just got back to LAX and am sitting in my living room. :)

  3. Irene Hoe said,

    Lunchtime and early afternoon. If I feel out of sorts taking an early morning flight, I can’t imagine that the pilots are feeling much better.

  4. TMH said,

    I prefer red-eye flights because I’m usually flying to London from the New York. I’ve always been able to fall asleep on planes and usually don’t suffer jet-lag as much as I do when I fly home. Arriving in my location and being “somewhat” on their time really helps with the time change. Coming home, I’m shot for at least a day because my internal clock is still on GMT. Now if I could just get a red-eye flight from London to NYC…

  5. Ali said,

    I like flying late morning and early afternoon. It’s pretty quiet, we can find enough seats together in the Qantas lounge (we travel with 5 to 7 people usually) and you don’t have to wake up too early.

    I’ve flown on a couple of early evening flights with all the business folks and found it very odd. All these “suits” were greeting each other and at the end, saying “see you next week”. It suddenly occurred to me that they must fly the same routes frequently and see the same people.

  6. SkiCat Travels said,

    I got for late morning or early afternoon myself. Almost never will I take the last flight of the day…on purpose anyway, just too risky.

  7. Max said,

    I flew out of DIA a couple days ago early in the morning. Sure, security was long. But I’ve been there mid day, when the line is halfway around the terminal. It all depends on the airport. But I tend to like mornings and red eyes.

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