Is This The Worst Flight Schedule When Flying Economy?

Mileage goals
Written by Charlie

There are a lot of flight schedules that can be pretty hard on the body when it comes to getting some sleep. But, is this the worst flight schedule when flying economy? I certainly didn’t enjoy it!

Like most frequent flyers, I have flown during every hour of the day countless times. In fact, with a single quick turn between the US and Europe, I can almost hit every hour of the clock! 🙂

Is This The Worst Flight Schedule When Flying Economy?

There are some flight schedules that are harder for me to adjust with than others and, of course, most of them are red eye flights. If you are flying business class on a red eye, they are really not that big of a deal! But, when flying those flight schedules in economy, they can be brutal!

The Flight and Schedule

Recently, I flew from Athens to Doha to catch my QSuites flight for the US (review coming soon – suffice to say, QSuites is awesome!). This flight was an amazing redemption for Avios with how I paid for it, but I had really been hoping they would release business class space for this flight.

Flying a Red-Eye in Coach is HARD!

I really have no problem at all flying for 4 – 5 hours in coach (in fact, I am fine flying for 10 hours in coach). But, given this flight schedule, I really, really wanted to be flying business class! Especially since the plane Qatar uses for this particular flight from Athens to Doha (one of three flights they operate between those cities each day) had lie-flat business class seats. However, since I would shortly after that be getting on the 14 hour flight to the US in the QSuites cabin, I knew I could rough it. 🙂

So, what was this flight schedule? Check it out and tell me if you think this is the worst flight schedule when you are flying economy!

mix cash and avios

That’s right, without changing time zones, this would be a flight leaving at 1:15AM and arriving at 5:50AM all in the same time zone! That is brutal!

Yes, I can say that from experience! Fortunately, I had a whole row to myself but it was still a really tough flight. Your body is already tired and if you have trouble sleeping in coach, this is really a difficult flight.

By the way, our flight actually did not go this route but went up and over Syria and Iraq so it made for a slightly longer trip!

What Made This Flight So Tough?

To sum it up, here are the three things that made this flight so tough for me:

  • We didn’t change time zones
  • We were flying during deep sleep times – 1AM to 5AM
  • Flying in coach 🙂

Tough Flight No Matter What!

If you were flying this and ending in Doha, it would be really tough as well! Imagine – you are way too early to check in to your hotel, there are not that many things open yet for business, you will likely be ready to go to sleep by 3PM, and on and on.

Of course, if you are flying this route in business, you can deal with getting a nice, comfortable 3.5 hours of sleep and that will help a bit. But, this kind of flight schedule is still a difficult one no matter how you slice it!

Fortunately, I was able to make up for it by getting some nice sleep on the QSuites leg. But, I do not really have any interest if ever flying a similar flight schedule in coach again!

What was your worst flight schedule when flying economy?

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • West coast to midcon eastbound redeyes are worse. You lose 2 hours timezones, with otherwise the same schedule. Depending on your sleeping ability vs tolerance of late nights in the airport (and chance to sleep there) different city pairs and airlines will give the same arrival time and shorter or longer flights with similar or slightly earlier departures. There used to be a phx-msp flight that was especially brutal during summer (phx does not observe dst) so a midnight departure, 545 blocked arrival, and in-air time under 3 hours to kill any chance of useful sleep amount.

  • My biggest complaint about late night or red eye flights is with the vast majority of Asian carriers that somehow feel the need to keep all of the in-cabin lights on at full blast during the flight. Even wearing an eyemask isn’t enough. US carriers have found a way to do meal and beverage service with the lights dimmed or off, why can’t the Asian carriers? They’re so good at so many things but this is one area that drives me nuts.

  • I had it rougher. Red eye ferry to North Africa. Walk around all day with no hotel. Red eye flight to Luton (UK), arriving maybe 4 am. Bus to Gatwick. Then transatlantic flight.

    2 nights of not much sleep. No shower. Coming from Africa. Sticky.

  • LAX-MEX Redeye is disgusting. Usually only around 3 hours in the air and leaves around 00:00 and arrives around 5am.

  • Similiar to those mentioned DEN to ATL, depart at 0100 and land around 0545 with 2.5 hours in the air.