How many of you take those night flights because they’re cheaper? I do!

In fact, recently, I’ve come to realise that almost all the flights I take out of Pune are these late night flights called Red Eye flights by airline companies. Why? Because they give you red eyes.

Not just red eyes, these flights give you the ‘morning after’ feel, you feel hungover, you may suffer from acidity because you’re probably grabbing a snack onboard and your body clock goes for a toss.

When you take an international flight, a lot of times, you plan your schedule to allow enough time to handle jet lag and recover from it. When you take a domestic red eye flight, you don’t do that. You land up and if lucky, grab a few hours of shut eye before you start your day.

Some people I know take these flights to avoid the traffic to and from airports, located as most of them are, outside city limits.

I remember the time when there’d be few takers for these flights, and a lot of people, like me, chose them because they were way cheaper than day time flights. In about one year, I’ve seen a surge in the number of people taking these flights.

I’ve also noticed lately that the best connections to a few destinations are these flights. And suddenly there is way too much crowd on the airport at these unearthly hours, and a new kind of traffic jam to deal with.

I’ve come up with 10 tried and tested tips to make these red eye flights and the aftermaths just a little more comfortable. If you travel like I do, take at least 4 of these flights every month, then you need these tips:

  1. Try to catch a nap before leaving for the airport. It may be tough, but it’s worth a try. Catching a nap makes sure you’re not cranky when you’re standing in a snaking, seemingly never-ending queue to check in or waiting for your luggage after arrival
  2. Have a heavy dinner at home and avoid eating on-board. I know its very enticing – the thought of a piping hot meal on the cold flight, but eating at the wrong hour screws up your metabolism
  3. It costs a bit extra, but I’ve realised the value of pre-booking my seat on the aircraft. A window seat that I can sink sideways into is good. The emergency window seat, which costs a lot more, is best. Based on what fare I get for the trip, I book my seat to ensure an uninterrupted flight
  4. Dress comfortably – Learned this the hard way, after I spent many a miserable hours because my pants were too tight or shoes too bulky. Now I travel in flip flops and comfortable yoga/track pants
  5. Get into your seat, buckle up, call the air hostess and tell her not to wake you up for food service and sleep. If music helps you sleep, plug in your headphones. If reading helps you sleep, read a book for a few minutes. Chances are you’ll be in dreamland by the time your aircraft begins taxiing. Avoid watching a movie or any sort of visual entertainment that will stimulate your senses and make you feel awake
  6. Carry necessary accessories: I swear by the neck pillow! A few years ago, if you’d asked me about it, I’d have thought of you as a pretentious person. Now, I simply admire and rely on the utility of it. Some of my friends also use the eye mask to block out light. Take your pick to ensure a comfortable late night travelling experience
  7. There is nothing more irritating than being cold on a flight. These low cost airlines do not offer blankets and I’ve had to endure bone chillingly cold cabins on some of my trips. So, tip number 7 is – be warm. I may look like a fool carrying a jacket on a flight in the middle of summer, but I care more about my comfort than what others think
  8. Be hydrated. This is one cardinal rule for air travel in general. Drink lots of water so you’re not dehydrated with the air conditioning on the airport and in the aircraft
  9. Avoid caffeine at all costs!! Contrary to what we have been made to believe, its best to avoid caffeine right from the evening itself. Not only does it give you a surge of energy that doesn’t last long, it also causes heartburn and sleeplessness in most of us
  10. Most of all, plan a few hours of shut eye before you begin your day after arriving at your destination. It’s not an international flight and you’re not travelling across time zones, but you are sleep deprived and your body needs time to recover. So give it time

I admit that despite all of the tips above, I have begun dreading taking these flights. I do end up feeling unwell after I take a few of them back to back and it takes me time to recover.

Im not sure if its worth the price we pay – after all, these flights are cheaper and make it possible to travel more. All I know for sure is that these flights are changing the travel landscape, and not for the better.


Author Ritu

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