Although my upgrade clearance record has been pretty bad lately on morning transcons, it has been perfect on Sunday night redeyes from either Los Angeles or San Francisco to Philadelphia. Last Sunday, however, my luck ran out and I missed the upgrade on my SFO-PHL flight (#5 on the waitlist with all first class checked in full).
I’ve really come to enjoy redeyes this year not so much because I have finally figured out how to get a good rest on them, but because I like United’s Hindu and Moselm meals. Sleeping, however, is already tough enough on an airplane and a heavy meal before attempting to get some shuteye may not be the wisest course of action.
When it became clear that my upgrade was not going to clear Sunday evening, I headed over to Singapore Airlines’ SilverKris lounge for a small sandwich and some fruit before the flight. The light snack hit the spot and filled me up, so when I boarded the flight to PHL I was ready to get to sleep.
Although I wasn’t particularly tired (I always try to get eight hours of sleep the night before a redeye and take an afternoon nap the day of the redeye), I passed out right away and did not wake up again until we were ten minutes away from Philadelphia! This was in economy seat 6F on an A319.
For a change, I went to school feeling somewhat refreshed and wasn’t on the verge of passing out by noon. Accidents can happen and I am aware that this flight may be an anomaly. The key test will be trying this again next time I fly. While I won’t give up an upgrade (and even a special meal) if it comes, I will be interested to see what happens next time I wind up behind the curtain on a redeye flight. Hopefully in the same seat on the same route to make the experiment more authentic.
Unfortunately, that won’t be happening for a while. UA has ushered in their winter schedule which means the SFO/LAX-PHL redeyes are gone for the rest of the year. Starting this Sunday, it will be back to daytime flying for me. With UA’s tightened routing restrictions, I can’t even route BUR-SFO-IAD-PHL anymore.
To summarize: I just learned something that may be obvious to most but has never occurred to me–skip the meal if you want a good rest on a redeye flight.