Norwegian737
Topic Author
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Departure/Arrival Times Vs Body Clock

Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:27 pm

Not sure if this has been discussed before, but I've been wondering why certain airlines, esp. on intercontinental over night flights, depart and arrive opposite of what is natural to do for your body?

For example, most flights between North America and Europe are over night flights, but many of them are not over night in regards to how the body feel. When you arrive Europe early in the morning, it's only late evening at the place you left, and this is the time you start getting tired. I was on a Delta-flight from Seattle to Amsterdam once, and it left Seattle at 1pm, and arrives in Amsterdam at about 7, the next morning. But, with the 9 hr time difference between the two cities, when you arrive in AMS at 7am, it's only 10pm in Seattle. So I've spent the whole DAY on the plane, and when I arrive in AMS/whatever final destination in Europe, at around mid-day, that's when I'm starting to get tired and want to go to sleep! And then you have to stay awake the whole day before you can actually go to sleep! On the other hand, I've been on both SAS and BA flights from Seattle to Europe, and they left in the evening, making it more natural for me to actually get some sleep on the plane.

Why the difference in departure and arrival times like this?
Why are certain airlines 'morning airlines' and certain airlines 'evening airlines'?
Wouldn't the flight be easier and faster if you could actually get some sleep, considering that it's an over night flight?

[Edited 2012-01-05 04:27:48]

[Edited 2012-01-05 04:28:51]
 
CXfirst
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RE: Departure/Arrival Times Vs Body Clock

Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:38 pm

Well, whatever time you go, there still is time difference to battle, some like trying to stay awake for longer periods, some want to arrive just before night time. For me, I would rather land at 1 pm and be tired, try to stay awake as long as possible (fall asleep 7, 8, 9 etc.), some want to land late, so they can sleep immediately (but i think the worst jetlag is when you land late, and can't fall asleep before 3, 4 am, in my experience, that jetlag lasts longer).

As for your example, SEA to Europe, you mention the flight leaving at 1 pm and arriving next morning, while never hitting SEA night time. If you think about the AMS to SEA flight, it is a flight that leaves AMS morning (with enough time to connect European transfers), and arrives in SEA with time for passengers to do some business etc. Then KLM decide to leave relatively early, so business people can do business in AMS, as it arrives early there.

-CXfirst
 
Norwegian737
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Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:49 pm

RE: Departure/Arrival Times Vs Body Clock

Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:12 pm

Yes, I guess it also is a personal thing, and what you personally do in order to get over the jetlag.

Quoting CXfirst (Reply 1):
and arrives in SEA with time for passengers to do some business etc. Then KLM decide to leave relatively early, so business people can do business in AMS, as it arrives early there.

Aren't people tired, though, after a long flight across the Atlantic, and then straight to a meeting or something?
Wouldn't it be better for business people to arrive in the evening, and then have a night sleep before doing business?
 
migair54
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Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:24 am

RE: Departure/Arrival Times Vs Body Clock

Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:21 pm

There´s a strict regulation to cross the Noth-atlantic NATS... I don´t remember exactly now the timings but basically all the planes going westbound has a deadline to cross the atlantic and the planes going Eastbond the same... If I don´t remember bad the deadline is in 30ºWest paralel.

Also is for aircraft rotation, Imagine you leave FRA at 11 in the morning to NYC about 8 hours flight.. you arrive NYC at 19 local time in FRA... 2 hours turn around 21 FRA time... 8 hours fly back.. 5 am in the morning.... so you can connect with departure banks to connect around europe...

There´s few examples different however... GRU, LAD, EZE are few of them... where many planes stay there many hours to depart at a correct time to arrive in their destinations at good timing for connecting pax...
 
cmf
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RE: Departure/Arrival Times Vs Body Clock

Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:27 pm

Quoting Norwegian737 (Thread starter):
why certain airlines, esp. on intercontinental over night flights, depart and arrive opposite of what is natural to do for your body?

Because there are many more parameters guiding what people want. By offering something different than everyone else you stand out. Hopefully that attracts customers.

Quoting Norwegian737 (Reply 2):
Aren't people tired, though, after a long flight across the Atlantic, and then straight to a meeting or something?

Having done one or two transatlantic or longer flights per month for long periods of my life, it is not a big deal. You learn how to rest on the plane. After landing you grab a shower and then you're ready to go. It is easier than pulling an all nighter to get something ready for a morning meeting.

Quoting Norwegian737 (Reply 2):

Wouldn't it be better for business people to arrive in the evening, and then have a night sleep before doing business?

For the single aspect of being more acclimated yes. But there is much more coming in to play. For example: most people who travel a lot start to value time at home very much. A few hours more at home is worth so much more than being a little bit tired.

Just to expand a bit. I moved from Europe to US while still working for the same company. I frequently traveled to the same locations, meting the same people. I found it much easier to take an overnight flight from US than getting up at 3:30 to make the morning flight in inside Europe.
Don’t repeat earlier generations mistakes. Learn history for a better future.
 
LOWS
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RE: Departure/Arrival Times Vs Body Clock

Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:40 pm

I was in the US for the holidays, but it took me the entire week to get used to the US time. By the time I came back, I was on the US time. I only got about two hours on EWR-MUC. I got an hour on IAH-EWR and 20 minutes on a dreadful OKC-IAH.

By the time I made it to my train in Munich, after two Cappuccinos and a Red Bull, I was simply exhausted. I almost missed the stop in Salzburg. I fell asleep in the Sbahn and then in the car.

I'm still not totally back on schedule...last night I couldn't fall asleep until 4am! I fell asleep in a meeting in Vienna on Tuesday and on the train back.

Today, I went to the doctor and got a pill to knock me out.

I think having to change so many times, and not being able to sleep on the original flight to the US, really put me behind.
 
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ThrottleHold
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RE: Departure/Arrival Times Vs Body Clock

Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:35 am

Quoting LOWS (Reply 5):

Now imagine how long haul flight crews feel doing it several times every month for years!
 
B747forever
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RE: Departure/Arrival Times Vs Body Clock

Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:41 am

Quoting ThrottleHold (Reply 6):

Now imagine how long haul flight crews feel doing it several times every month for years!

I am sure they get more used to it.
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LOWS
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RE: Departure/Arrival Times Vs Body Clock

Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:52 pm

Quoting B747forever (Reply 7):

Quoting ThrottleHold (Reply 6):

Now imagine how long haul flight crews feel doing it several times every month for years!

I am sure they get more used to it.

I should hope so!

Besides, don't they also get to make rather frequent return trips? e.g. EWR-MUC-EWR in 30 hours?

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