Possibly The Worst Time To Fly To Europe

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Last weekend, the Michael W Travels family headed off on our first trip of 2019 (over President’s Week break).

We headed to a destination which was the first city I ever visited in Europe- Barcelona. We also included a visit to Andorra, a first for all of us.

I was happy to find award availability for our flights using American Airlines AAdvantage miles. The only issue was the time of the flight.

Our flight from New York City’s JFK Airport was set to depart at 5:43PM. While this doesn’t sound like a bad time for a flight, I had a major issue with it.

The flight from JFK- BCN takes around 6 hours and twenty minutes when flying direct. This means that while the flight arrives in Barcelona at 7:10AM (we actually arrived early), there isn’t much time to try to get some sleep.

You’re probably wondering what the problem was?

The problem was that our early arrival in Barcelona, meant we were arriving around one hour after I’d typically be going to sleep if we were at home.

During the flight, I slept around 20 minutes, Kim said that she didn’t sleep at all and Lucas spent the whole flight watching movies. I’m pretty sure that he was close to falling asleep as the flight touched down in Barcelona. As for Theo, he napped a few hours.

Then Hotels.com screwed up our reservation, making things worse during this early time of day.

Kim and I figured that we’d do the best to have a pretty full day in Barcelona. This way, we could try to get back on track by going to sleep at a normal time.

Doing this was easier said than done. (While wandering around, Theo was able to nap in the stroller so it wasn’t as bad for him.)

After visiting a couple of sights and grabbing lunch, we headed back to our hostel. I passed out at around 4:30 and woke up at 10PM. Kim and Lucas didn’t fare much better.

From what I recall, I went back to bed at close to 2:00AM and still work up relatively early.

This continued a cycle for the trip of being tired everyday.

What do you think is the worst time of day for a flight to leave for Europe from the East Coast?

4 thoughts on “Possibly The Worst Time To Fly To Europe

  1. That is what happens to Europeans whenever we go on a trip to the US. Going there fine, returning big issue, specially when you have to go to the office the following day. Very exhausting.

  2. If you have money, it is more restful to fly JFK/YYZ/ORD/BOS/IAD/EWR to LHR on a daytime flight then fly to Barcelona or another city the next day. More restful than even sleeper seats. For people in California, this is a huge time commitment because it will take 3 days of travel (Monday LAX or other to JFK, Tuesday JFK to LHR, Wed LHR to BCN or other).

    The one time I did it, I did not have jet lag but I didn’t start out in California but on Central Time.

  3. I’m not sure why people complain all the time about jet lag. I visit India at least once or twice almost every single year, Indian time vs US time is almost the 12 hours difference, yet it does not take more than a day for me to adjust if not the same day.

    Here is what I do
    I start with the night flight from US, fall asleep immediately, won’t even wait for the food to be served, wake up 7 to 8 hours into the flight, watch some movies and drink plenty of water, don’t sleep for remainder of the flight(4 to 6 hours ), once in middle east, go to a lounge and eat full, connect to the final leg of the flight and fall asleep almost immediately, wake up as the flight touches down(4 to 4.5 hours) and take rest for couple of hours in the hotel and start the day in India around 7 to 8 AM first by going to swimming pool and sleep early the first night around 8 PM. You won’t feel jet lag any other days.

    I feel funny when I read people even talk too much about daylight savings.

    Plan and adjust. It’s that simple. Stop being obsessed about time changes, our body can easily adjust its only our mind that’s stopping us.

  4. Tobs- For sure!

    derek- With limited time on many trips and also being at the mercy of award availability, its tough to pick and choose.

    BlackHill- Long flights are easier IMO than short ones. The big issue I was writing about was leaving early evening and arriving when I’d be going to bed at home. Glad to hear that you found a system that works for you. (Your plan clearly would not work on a 7 hour flight, leaving at 5:45p.)

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