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Football Coach Sacks Redeye Flights, Team Loves It

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


I don’t know about you, but I hate redeye flights (well, at least shortish hauls not in lie-flat seats 🙂 ). And it turns out some other people do, too.

The New York Giants football team experimented with getting rid of its late-night flights home from West Coast games, opting instead to fly home the next day. And CBS Sports reports it’s a big hit with players.

Some Background

Teams that can afford chartered travel (i.e., most professional and major college sports) generally set their own schedules.

When a sports team plays an away game, they usually depart that city a few hours after completing the game. They fly (or sometimes take a bus or train, depending on the distance) to their next destination, whether it be home or another city. There are exceptions, of course, but that’s generally the mode many teams use.

I’ve spent time (as a media member) around sports teams. My wife and I also know some former NFL and MLB players. What we’ve gleaned is that there are a few reasons teams depart right after a game. A few are:

  • Some sports leagues require teams to be in cities at least 24 hours (or as soon as practicable) before a game.
  • If a team is going home, departing right after the game saves another night of hotel costs
  • Players don’t have an opportunity for a night on the town (read: get in trouble)

Again, that’s what I’ve gotten from my time around teams and former players. I know some airline employees read the blog — maybe they can add some insight in the Comments section.

Don’t They Fly in Luxury?

Few teams own planes. Most charter through airlines (Delta, United, and Sun Country seem to do the lion’s share, at least from what I’ve seen.)

Delta retrofitted some 757s for some NBA, NHL, and MLB charters:

But football teams — which are much larger both in quantity and physical size — get the same, standard planes you and I fly. Players usually have rows to themselves. (Some other sports teams also “fly coach.”)

Here’s where things get a little uncomfortable.

If a game ends at, say, 9:30 PM, the team might be wheels up around 11:30 or midnight. For short flights, that’s not too bad. Like, a Pittsburgh to New York hop wouldn’t be too onerous.

But as many of us know, something like Los Angeles to New York is a different matter. The flight isn’t long enough to get a good night’s sleep. And that’s if you’re able to fall asleep more or less sitting up.

So New York Giants coach Joe Judge decided to change that.

The Day After

Coach Judge decided that a full night’s sleep in actual beds was better for his players than those pesky redeyes.

So for the team’s West Coast games, they now stay an extra night in those cities (this year: Los Angeles and Seattle) and fly home Monday. They depart late morning or noon-ish and fly back to Newark. They first tried after a game with the Los Angeles Rams and, according to CBS Sports, the players “liked it a lot.”

He said:

We saw with this, getting a good night’s sleep on Sunday, waking up fresh on Monday. Everyone got home by, call it, 8 o’clock (PM) …. We’ll get everyone home, get a good night’s sleep. Wake up fresh on Tuesday and get rolling forward.

— Coach Joe Judge via CBS Sports

Insider reports that players responded well. And if a team starts winning, I’m guessing the owners won’t mind shelling out a few more bucks for those couple of extra hotel nights.

The Giants are currently tied for first place in their division. Then again, their division is rather meh.

Business Travel and Redeyes

I like Coach Judge’s approach.

There have been many times when I’ve finished a photo job around 10 or 11 PM — and my client has me on a 6:00 or 7:00 AM flight the next day. While I do have the luxury of sleeping in a bed for maybe three or four hours, the early flights are rough for me. Most of the day is shot for me. My concentration and mood are ugly. And I’m not a good napper, so that’s usually out of the question.

I much prefer flying home around 1 PM or so. I get a good night’s sleep and can take my time getting to the airport. (And it affords me some lounge time, too. 🙂 ). I’m in much better spirits and more productive.

Even when my wife, daughter, and I travel east, we try to avoid the midnight flights from LAX to Minneapolis or New York. We struggle to stay awake (and pleasant) with family members the next day. And our circadian rhythms are out of whack.

How about you? Are you someone who loves the redeyes and can thrive the next day? Or do you like the approach of getting a full night’s sleep — even if it means staying somewhere longer?

Featured image: ©iStock.com/anyaberkut

 

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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