If you dread the idea of arriving exhausted and bleary-eyed after an overnight flight to Europe, I've got some news that might make your day. Though they're few and far between, daytime flights across the Atlantic do exist. Many major airlines offer nonstops from select East and Midwest airports, if you know where to look. With around just 12 daytime flights, it's a relatively minor splash in across-the-pond departures that number in the thousands.
If you don't consider the few measly hours of sleep between meal-service and your seatmate’s frequent lavatory trips as a quality night’s rest, then a mid-morning sendoff might be the solution you’re looking for. Here’s a breakdown of some of the benefits of daylight departures to Europe and the surprisingly limited list of airlines that operate them.
Benefits of Daytime Flights to Europe
Better for Battling Jetlag
The biggest reason to book a daytime flight to Europe is to limit jetlag. While it won’t completely eliminate the effects of shifting time zones, daytime flights largely reduce the impact. By nixing the need to “power through” after that 5 am red-eye arrival with copious amounts of coffee, most daytime flights over the Atlantic arrive in time for you to get a full eight hours of sleep and a smoother transition to start your European trip.
Get Work Done In-Flight
Unlike red-eye flights where you’re pressured to get to snoozing as soon as possible, onboard wi-fi allows for passengers who can work away from the office to get some tasks ticked off the list. Since most daytime flights link up major U.S. airports with financial hub London, the majority of planes between the city pairs are kitted out with in-seat power and faster internet connectivity.
Chance to Stretch Out
While it isn’t a guarantee, flyers might have better luck scoring a much-coveted empty seat beside them by opting for a direct daytime departure. Passenger loads are often lighter because the flight timings aren’t ideal for connections from both ends. Therefore, they don’t show up on as many online flight searches or are overlooked by most customers due to the long layovers once in Europe.
Downsides of Daytime Flights to Europe
Arrive Later at Night
The five to six-hour jump in time zones will skip you ahead past dinner time on most daytime flights. So, you might want to reconsider saying no to the “chicken or pasta” options when the cart comes down the aisle. By the time you clear customs, collect bags and make it to your accommodation, it might be nearing midnight, even though your body clock will think otherwise. That means less transportation and food options, but on the bright side, your hotel will be ready upon check-in.
No Onward Connections
After touching down in Europe, there’s a short stack of onward flight options departing beyond 9 or 10 pm from London and Paris. If you do have a connection, it’s likely the last flight out, so you better cross your fingers that everything's smooth as clockwork. Onward transfers will probably get you to your intended destination early the following day, negating the purpose of choosing a daytime flight in the first place. Stick with daytime departures only if the nonstop flight is to your final destination.
Unfortunately, at the moment, the markets in which these transatlantic daytime flights operate in are minimal. Except for the lone Norwegian seasonal spring and summer service from JFK to Paris, all other daytime flights departing North America are to London. Passengers leaving from west of the Mississippi or that want to visit elsewhere Europe are essentially out of luck.
List of Available Daytime Flights to Europe by Airline
- New York-JFK – London-LHR (AA142) departs 10:30 am – arrives 10:10 pm
- Chicago-ORD – London-LHR (AA90) departs 9:05 am – arrives 10:45 pm
- Boston – London-LHR (BA238) departs 7:35 am – arrives 7:05 pm
- New York-JFK– London-LHR (BA178) departs 7:55 am – arrives 7:45 pm
- New York-JFK – London-LHR (DL1) departs 10:15 am – arrives 10:25 pm
- New York-JFK – London-LGW (DI7014) departs 12:45 pm – arrives 12:45 am
- New York-JFK – Paris-CDG (DY7020) departs 9:00 am – arrives 10:00 pm (Seasonal)
- Newark – London-LHR (UA934) departs 8:30 am – arrives 8:40 pm
- Washington DC-IAD – London-LHR (UA122) departs 8:30 am – arrives 8:55 pm
- Boston – London-LHR (VS158) departs 8:15 am – arrives 7:50 pm
- New York-JFK – London-LHR (VS26) departs 8:15 am – arrives 8:10 pm
- Toronto-YYZ – London-LHR (AC868) departs 8:45 am – arrives 9:00 pm
*Departure times may vary by 10-15 minutes depending on travel month. Sample times from posted summer 2020 schedules.
Daytime flights are a solid choice for flyers who struggle with sleeping on planes or want to avoid arriving at their destination feeling fatigued. They’re known to reduce the effects of jetlag, and inflight wi-fi can help prevent a "lost workday" by allowing passengers to get tasks done while overlapping with regular hours. However, these elusive flights only operate from a handful of North American departure points and are really only beneficial if the final destination is London or Paris.
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