Cons (and some pros) of overnight long-haul flights

There is nothing like coming home. That is of course unless the flight getting you home happens to be a famed “red eye” or overnight flight. If you are lucky enough to be able to sleep on a plane then if may not be so bad. For some of our members however, the experience is something best avoided where possible.

I’ve been looking for a way to get back from Asia without enduring the overnight return flight from Hong Kong, Manilla, Singapore or just about anywhere. I’ve used the Singapore 9:30am departure getting back to Brisbane at 1930. A nice way to complete a journey. Usually though I need to have a connection in from Philippines so it’s not so easy.

On the weekend I came back from Phnom Pehn on Silkair, then connected to the afternoon EK432 departing Singapore at 15:15 into BNE at 0100. Not exactly overnight, not exactly afternoon, but it does give timing to allow connection from many South East Asian cities and get home with the same day feeling. For me, felt a lot better today than having endured 7 hr 50 minutes of broken sleep.

Catching the day flight does come at some cost when compared to the overnight option. Planning any meetings or sightseeing on that last day is going to be minimal at best, unless you pay for another night’s accommodation. And a day flight into Australia will more than likely mean a night flight back out, which someone has to take. For some, it seems even the start of a trip is a good time to avoid the red eye.

I once did the Cathay midnight flight Brisbane- Hong Kong. Was a shocker flight for rest and then a shocker of a day in the Plaza Lounge recovering prior to the connection to Kathmandu. Coming back overnighted in Hong Kong and flew Cathay arriving back in Brisbane about 11pm. A much better trip on the body.

For others, the unpopularity of night flights can mean cheaper seats – regardless of whether you’re coming or going. Those savings can be hard to pass over if they mean the difference between another trip or not further down the track.

Latest trip left Singapore at ~23:45 on Qantas6 and arrived home in Sydney just before midday. Slept ~4-5 hours on flight but still tired. Slept an hour or so at home then packed my bag and headed back to airport going back to Brisbane. Arrived Brisbane late afternoon early evening but had lots of things to catchup so slept closer to midnight. Struggled slightly next couple of days but small price to pay for another overseas trip.

I guess I could sleep easily at all times of the day which makes trip planning easy and all I need to focus on is maximising time away.

What’s your preference when it comes to long haul flights overseas? Is it a clear choice between night or day, or does the cost of the flight become an important part of the equation, join the discussion HERE.


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