Red-eye flight

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A red-eye flight is any flight departing late at night and arriving early the next morning. The term red-eye, common in North America, derives from the fatigue symptom of having red eyes, which can be caused or aggravated by late-night travel.[1]


A red eye flight is one which is too short to sleep on and thus causing significant distress to your optic nerves from fatigue. Flight time from Hong Kong to Seoul (3h30m)is a good example. Most flights from North America to Europe depart in the afternoon or evening, and arrive the next morning. The reverse journey, however, is usually in the daytime.


The majority of transcontinental flights are operated during the day, but as of 2010 red-eye flights operate from Perth to Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra and Melbourne, and from Darwin to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Red-eye flights have previously operated from Australia to New Zealand and Fiji. Red-eye flights to Australia operate from various locations in South-East Asia and North America, such as Scoot's flights from Singapore to Gold Coast, Sydney, and Melbourne. Jetstar offers red-eye flights between Melbourne and Wellington with the flight departing Melbourne at 1am and arriving in Wellington at 6am


TAM Airlines, Azul Brazilian Airlines and Gol Transportes Aéreos offer red-eye flights, called Big Owl (Portuguese: Corujão) flights in Brazil, with over 50 different routes throughout Brazil, all departing between 10pm and 6am. Usually these flights originate in Belo Horizonte, Campinas, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo bound for Manaus, Belém, Porto Velho, Northeast Brazil, North America, Argentina and Europe.[2][3]


A few overnight flights from Europe to the Middle East and to Russia were being operated in 2009, all of which had a flight time of 3–6 hours and departed in mid-evening, arriving around dawn the next day. In 2012, multiple travel agencies offered budget night flights from the Canary Islands or the Cape Verde Islands to the mainland of Europe, also generally having a 3-6 hour flight time. These were operated by airlines such as Transavia, Thomson & Norwegian. Many flights to Brazil leaves around 20.00 and arrive in the morning. KLM, Air France, LATAM Airlines, British Airways, TAP Portugal, Alitalia, Lufthansa, Swiss Airlines and Iberia airline operates red-eyes flights to Brazil main cities. Many flights from the Far East to Europe leave at around midnight local time and arrive very early the next morning 11 hours later European time. Emirates operates red-eye services from London Heathrow and Glasgow International Airport to Dubai: Bot depart the UK at around 22.00 arriving early the next morning. Amongst some party-goers the BA117 departing LHR at 8.20am and arriving at JFK before 12 noon is known as a red-eye as it is possible to party all-night and then sleep and arrive refreshed in New York.

Middle East

Royal Jordanian Airlines operate red-eye flights to and from Queen Alia International Airport to Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Kuala Lumpur. Emirates & Air Arabia has some red-eye flights (U.A.E to India)[citation needed].


Russian airlines operate similarly to U.S. airlines by connecting Moscow to Yakutsk, Irkutsk, and Vladivostock. They last 5–8 hours but due to the northerly latitude the flights can cross as many as 8 time zones during this interval, drastically enlarging the time difference. The flights depart Moscow around 6 pm and arrive at the eastern cities around 6 am the next day. One of the current examples of red-eye flight is Aeroflot's SU783 from Moscow to Magadan, departing 23:05 Moscow time and arriving 14:00 Vladivostok Time on next day (Flight time is 8 hours).

United States and Canada

Red-eye flights connect West Coast cities to Central and East Coast cities. These typically depart the West Coast between 10 pm and 1 am, have a flight time of 3–6 hours but lose 2–4.5 hours due to the time difference, and arrive between 5 am and 7 am. Red-eye flights also connect Hawaii and Alaska with West Coast mainland cities. Furthermore, red-eyes also connect Honolulu with Tokyo, as the flights only depart at night, and arrive around 6 to 7 hours later.[4]

Historical availability[edit]

In the 1930s and 1940s, red-eye flights were not possible, as most airports did not have the equipment necessary to work at night. There are still airports that do not function after certain hours, or have curfews for noise reasons, limiting the number of airports from which red-eye flights can depart.

Films involving red-eye flights include The Langoliers (miniseries) (1995), Red Eye (2005), Snakes on a Plane (2006), Flightplan (2005), Turbulence (1997), and Non-Stop (2014).


  1. ^ Harper, Douglas. "Red-eye". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  2. ^ Gol pede autorização permanente para operar vôo noturno Folha Online. Retrieved on April 07, 2009.
  3. ^ TAM lança ofertas corujão a partir de R$ 79,50 Rotas e Trilhas. Retrieved on April 07, 2009.
  4. ^