Surviving a Red-Eye Flight from West to East Coast in Economy Class

by joeheg

I feel a need to address this issue head-on. Yes, it is possible to survive a red-eye flight from the west coast to the east coast in economy.

It’s difficult for many in the travel community to understand that many passengers fly on red-eye flights in economy class and survive to tell the tale. However, it’s true, and we’re here to say that we did it, and it’s not as bad as you’d imagine.

I’ll preface this by saying our most recent flight was from San Francisco to Orlando on United. I upgraded my seat to an Economy Plus seat in the exit row while Sharon decided to stay in her aisle seat a few rows back. I also want to mention that this flight was directly after our flight from Singapore, so we were already almost a day into our trip (thus my need for a shave).

a man taking a selfie in an airplane

IMHO, the extra legroom was enough for me to stretch out and get a nap on the flight. a seat with a safety card in the back

It was also nice that I had no one sitting next to me.

a seat in an airplane

Sure, I wasn’t up in first class, but the cabin was full, and I had no chance of getting an upgrade. However, for a 5-hour flight, there’s not much more you can ask for than an empty exit row.

Even Sharon, who was sitting in a regular economy row, was able to catch a nap. And since this was our final flight, we were able to sleep as long as we wanted in our own bed once we got back home.

So I suggest that when you’re booking a red-eye flight, think about what you’re looking for. If you need to get sleep before a meeting the next morning, then you might want to pay for the first class seats. But if you’re like us and are returning home after a long trip, it might not matter how well you sleep on the plane, as you’re going to sleep really well when you get back to your own bed later that morning.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

dee February 16, 2024 - 1:47 pm

We seem to luck out with a middle seat in main cabin(DL) for the 5++ hour flight. Even if I book 5 weeks I advance all the good seats are blocked with a largeX!!! Of note, we are DM,MM++ on DL…


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