A First-Hand Experience Of Taking A Red Eye Flight!

Red eye flights are overnight flights that usually arrive at their destination in the morning. Since passengers on these flights may not get enough sleep, they may experience fatigue, which could result in red eyes.

Red eye flights are commonly longer in duration and are more frequently available in regions outside of the Western world. This is partly due to the fact that airport curfews are more stringent in Europe, Australia, and North America compared to other regions.

However, this doesn’t imply that airlines in the Western world don’t offer red eye flights. In reality, when flying westbound transatlantic services, they are nearly always the standard for European and American airlines.

In this article, I will be explaining the reasons behind the existence of red eye flights and weighing the advantages and disadvantages of taking them. Once I am done, you will feel like you just had a first-hand experience of taking a red eye flight yourself!

What Is A Red Eye Flight?

What Is A Red Eye Flight
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Whether you enjoy these nighttime hauls or not, red eye flights are quite a regular thing for people flying long distances. They depart from their home terminal at night and reach their destination in the morning. They are so named because of the physical toll it takes on the passengers, causing them to get red eyes. Most of these red eye flights take off when flying to the east side. For instance, when you fly from Los Angeles to New York or From New York to London.

But there are exceptions to such flights, such as when you are flying north or south between long distances. For example, if you fly between North and South America or Europe and Africa.

The whole idea behind red eye flights is to save daylight and maximize your time spent at home and at your destination. Flying through the night helps you avoid losing a day in travel. It also helps save money spent on a night stay at a hotel. They are cheaper than day flights, too, making it a cost-effective option for budget travelers.

In some cases, there are actually no other options but to take a red eye flight because your origin and destination do not have day flights to begin with.

My Red Eye Flight Experience From Bahrain To London

My Red Eye Flight Experience From Bahrain to London
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Recently, I had the experience of taking three flights for one destination. I flew three different classes of travel on a single ticket.

I bought a Premium Economy round-trip ticket from London to Bahrain ten months before my flight. In this firsthand red eye flight experience, I will share my pretty good experience with Lufthansa during my return journey from Bahrain to London Heathrow, which involved a layover in Riyadh.

The expenses of Lufthansa flights to the Middle East did not follow a linear increase as the departure day approached. I have included two charts below to show how the price of my flight changed leading up to the day of departure and after the flight’s schedule was revised. Lufthansa operates a daily flight from its ground base in Frankfurt to Bahrain International Airport with a layover in Riyadh.

This is a usual setup as it’s a daily flight to Dammam via Kuwait. Both Bahrain-Riyadh and Kuwait-Dammam cannot be booked as fifth freedom flights. Intriguingly, Lufthansa continuously adjusts its schedule for destinations in the Middle East. According to Routes Online, Lufthansa would originally fly to Bahrain via Doha in 2014, but it stopped in 2015 when services to Doha renewed operations to Muscat instead.

Before Lufthansa stopped all flights to Doha in 2017, they operated Frankfurt-Kuwait-Doha flights. In 2017, flights to Bahrain were via Dammam, and in 2018, they were via Kuwait. When I bought my ticket in August 2018, my planned route was Heathrow-Frankfurt-Kuwait-Bahrain, but it changed to Heathrow-Frankfurt-Riyadh-Bahrain in September 2018.

Lufthansa used to operate Riyadh as a non-stop flight without onward legs in 2015, but after discontinuing Doha in 2017, they started flying Frankfurt-Riyadh-Dammam while also initiating flights to Bahrain via Kuwait. However, things were changed again in 2018.

Flight 1: Premium Economy, Bahrain To Riyadh

Premium Economy Bahrain to Riyadh
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Upon arrival at Bahrain International Airport via Uber, I made it through passport control and security within 15 minutes. The aircraft assigned for the flight was D-AIKN, which is an A330-343X. Boarding began at 23:20, which was slightly delayed, but it didn’t matter since only 20 passengers were boarding the red eye flight A330.

In fact, the gate push-off time was 11.42 pm, eight minutes early. The Premium Economy section of the plane had four rows with seven seats each. There were only seven passengers, resulting in a load factor of 25% in this segment. The legroom was spacious enough, allowing the passenger in front to recline without any pressure on the person seated behind.

The amenity kit for the Premium Economy included a toothbrush and toothpaste, a refreshment towel, a sleeping mask, earplugs, and a thick pair of socks. Although the earplugs were weak and the face mask didn’t isolate light fully, the socks were comfortable. The IFE system was not as good as Emirates, but it had decent options.

One of the few features was live GPS tracking of the aircraft. During the Bahrain-Riyadh journey, the movie “100 Things,” a 2018 German film, was played. Despite leaving Bahrain eight minutes early, the plane arrived in Riyadh five minutes late, as we had to wait for our gate to be vacated.

Flight 2: Business Class, Riyadh To Frankfurt

Business Class Riyadh to Frankfurt
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During the second flight from Riyadh to Frankfurt, since it wasn’t a fifth freedom flight, passengers traveling to Frankfurt from Bahrain were not required to leave the aircraft in Riyadh. After being told to stay seated for ten minutes while the plane refueled, a representative from Lufthansa’s Riyadh airport asked me to follow him into Business.

I was given seat 10H since the Premium Economy and Economy classes were set to fill up with passengers for the Riyadh-Frankfurt flight. The flight from Riyadh to Frankfurt was entirely full in Economy, Premium Economy, and Business.

The headphones provided by Lufthansa in Business were exceptional, as they blocked out all noise. The sound quality from the IFE was also excellent, allowing me to sleep soundly. The headphones were attached to the seat, so they couldn’t be removed. My red eye flight departed from Riyadh King Khalid at 2:10 am, 15 minutes late, and arrived in Frankfurt at 7:14 am, one minute early. The average delay for the flight LH637 is ten minutes.

Flight 3: Economy, Frankfurt To London Heathrow

Economy Frankfurt to London Heathrow
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Regrettably, the last flight of my three-flight sequence was delayed despite arriving early from its previous flight. The reason for the delay was that the aircraft, which was Lufthansa’s first A320neo with the registration D-AINC, took over an hour to clean.

Although I managed to secure an emergency exit row window seat, which I chose for free during check-in, the legroom on short-haul flights with Lufthansa was a bit disappointing for me. Moreover, the sandwich served on the flight contained cream and cheese, which was not suitable for me as I do not eat dairy. Unfortunately, there were no alternative options available for me.

Another slight disappointment was that the crew refused to serve water before takeoff, and I had to wait for a long time before we took off due to the delay. The flight was full in Economy and Business class, and despite the plane being on time on average, we arrived 40 minutes late at our destination in London after pushing off from Frankfurt 29 minutes late.

Additionally, we spent a considerable amount of time circling around London. It was not a big inconvenience, but the service was not as good as my previous flights with Lufthansa. However, I must acknowledge that Lufthansa quickly and smoothly compensated me with 600 Euros for the missed connecting flight during my outbound journey.

Wrapping Up

Honestly, I was so impressed with their customer service that I would choose Lufthansa for all my future connecting red eye flights.

If you have thoughts to share or questions to ask, please leave a comment below! We would love to hear from you!

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Sarmind is a Writer and an aspiring Editor who has experience in various short and long-form niches. Her academic pursuits intensely mold her industry background in content creation. She holds a Master's degree in Literature, and when not writing for professional purposes, she can be found re-reading old classics of Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters. She is super fond of cats and enjoys hours of doom-scrolling through memes on social media while cuddled up with a cup of desi chai. She likes to think she is an intellectual badass (colloquial: nerdy bore), and now all she needs is a sewing kit to complete the look!

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