I absolutely hate red eyes. I took one yesterday from LAX-PHL and while the flight is actually pretty chill, arriving home at 6AM just throws off my game for the rest of the day.

My learning style tends to be “the hard way” so I don’t often put suggestions from others into practice and then regret that later on. I had a plan to survive yesterday’s flight and it actually worked out pretty well, save for a few tweaks. Here are some tips that helped me and might help you.


Hit the Lounge

LAX's Korean Air lounge is a pleasant escape complete with most amenities!

LAX’s Korean Air lounge is a pleasant escape complete with most amenities!

I arrived at LAX around 7PM for my 10PM flight. My plan all along was to walk from Terminal 6 over to the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) to use the Korean Air lounge, but then my flight got switched to Terminal 4 (perfect!). Why this lounge? Simply because my Diner’s Club card gets me in free.

All I really wanted was food, drinks, and a shower. Being in a busy terminal and gate waiting area can sometimes be stressful and it definitely helps to have some space to be able to stretch out and decompress from the day. This is especially true before hopping on a red-eye.

I highly recommend the Korean Air lounge. The staff is friendly and while the food is somewhat lackluster, If you are a Diner’s Club or Priority Pass cardholder, the value is certainly difficult to beat.


Noise Canceling Headphones

I’m a huge proponent of noise canceling headphones, especially the Bose QuietComfort 35 which I picked up a few weeks ago. While a bit expensive at $349, I’ve always been a huge fan of Bose because of the quality noise-canceling ability and the lack of sound leak.

Prior to the QuietComfort 35’s, I owned and loved the QuietComfort 25 headphones. The only difference? No wire on the QC35; entirely Bluetooth.

There are, of course, cheaper alternatives but I only like to recommend the products that I use and Bose products have never let me down.


  • Incredible noise-canceling ability
  • Slick, stylish look and feel
  • Reputable company


  • Price
  • Charging doesn’t last as long as traditional batteries
  • Over-the-ear are difficult to sleep with on airplanes due to the size of the ear muff


Wear Comfortable Clothes

Typically I arrive at the the airport wearing dress clothes which are definitely not conducive to a comfortable overnight flight so I immediately try to first take a shower, then change into something comfortable.

Airplanes are notoriously cold at cruising altitude so it’s a good idea to dress into something loose fitting but warm. My go to attire is a t-shirt and sweatpants or track pants.

I typically try to go to a lounge to change, but I have no shame changing in an airport bathroom. Gotta be comfortable! Oh, and make sure you put the clothes you will change to at the very top inside of your carry-on.


Pick a Great Seat

American operates the A321 from LAX-PHL which unfortunately doesn’t have the Transcon business class like the A321T. Because of this, I make sure to get the exit seats with no seat in front, giving me ample leg space. The seats I typically go for are 23A,F and 10A,F. If you’re going to be in a rush when you arrive, pick row 10. If you don’t mind waiting and 10 is not available, row 23 is identical. Highly recommend you do the same!

Obviously if you have status with American, request an upgrade because the larger seats in First Class (and generally quieter environment) will undoubtedly help you sleep. The only reason I’m reluctant to use my upgrades with AA on the red-eye is that the meal service is practically non-existent and traveling Eastbound is typically always shorter.


Get Some Help *Wink*

Disclaimer: If you want to be a boozehound, be over 21. 

I like to sample the alcohol selections at lounges prior to my red eye flights. Red wine always puts me right to sleep, sometimes to a fault of course, but I always try to have some before a flight so that by the time we get to cruising altitude I’m feeling light and airy.

Others have suggested over-the-counter sleep aids like Dramamine and Melatonin, but I’d prefer not to jack my body up with drugs before sitting in an enclosed metal tube 30,000 feet up for 5 hours.


Bottom Line

These five tips may not work for you, but they’ve certainly helped me. As someone who has an extremely difficult time sleeping on airplanes, I’d love to get your thoughts and feedback on what helps you survive redeyes and long flights in general!