It has been a long few days for me. I worked very late on Tuesday and was up at 5:30a the following morning for my spin class, getting about four hours of sleep. I took a nap that afternoon for 90 minutes, then took a redeye from LA to Washington that evening, getting no sleep on the flight. I put in a 16-hour day in Washington, then took a redeye Thursday to Dublin in economy class, again failing to get more than a few nods of sleep.
I arrived in Dublin, proceeded to the transit counter, collected my boarding pass for my flight to Boston (the point of the trip was try out Aer Lingus’ new business class product), then checked out the Executive Lounge (Priority Pass) and the Aer Lingus Lounge. There were no sleeping rooms, but I worked the entire time anyway other than a break for a quick shower and bowl of soup.
I boarded my flight to Boston, a six-hour flight, and figured I would sleep during the flight, but I did not – I ended up watching a movie and working. I landed in Boston and checked out the Air France Lounge in the decrepit Terminal E then proceeded by foot to Terminal B through the central parking structure for my United flights back to LA. I had arrived about 30-minutes too late for the direct flight to LA, so was scheduled to fly via Dulles, hopefully getting back to LA by 1am with the ultimate goal of being in bed by 1:30am.
As I tweeted about last night, though, all systems went down at Boston which ended up delaying my departure by just over an hour. It was a photo-finish at Washington Dulles, but after racing from D19 to C17 on a near empty tank, I found I had missed the flight by three minutes. Oh well.
Despite essentially no sleep since Monday night, I was wide awake. I texted my wife that I would not be home and that I was probably going to sleep in the airport (even with a free hotel room, the thought of waiting for a hotel voucher, taking the train to the Main Terminal, waiting for a shuttle, waiting to check-in, and going to sleep only to have to get up early the next morning was not appealing). She was concerned I would die of exhaustion and demanded that I get a hotel room. I guess I was sort of worried as well that with such incredible sleep deprivation I was not even tired (or at least did not feel tired).
So I did get a hotel room, the Hyatt Dulles, and did have to wait 20 minutes for the shuttle, which meant it was nearly midnight by the time I reached my hotel room. There was no way this was worth it if I was going to have to get up at 6am to return to the airport, so I rebooked myself on an 11am flight to LA today and slept in, enjoying a nice breakfast before proceeding over to Dulles for another cappuccino in the BA Lounge prior to my lightly-filled flight to LA.
The point of this post is two-fold. One, should I have just slept on an airport bench, retreated to the BA lounge for breakfast, then taken an early flight home or was the hotel necessary? I can actually sleep just fine in an airport…More importantly, how long can a normal person go without real sleep? I talked to my wife again and she said that I probably would not have died since lab rats died after seven sleepless days and not four, but that was hardly comforting.
In any case, I am now well-rested and am going to take it easy for the rest of the weekend. I used to run on just a few hours of sleep per night when I lived in Frankfurt, but at least then there was also 3-4 hours every night I would sleep — these past few days were like pulling three consecutive overnighters. How long do you go without sleep?