Europe. For trips to the most popular intercontinental destinations, you know the almost-universal pattern: Overnight eastbound from the United States and Canada to Europe, daytime back. That pattern is dictated by times zones and travel times:
-- The typical westbound flight times are eight to 12 hours, but the clock times are just three to four hours.
Those circumstances allow one airplane to fly a daily round-trip schedule on many routes: overnight eastbound, daytime return, keeping the airplane flying 14 or more hours out of 24 -- a very desirable high "utilization" rate for an airline. By contrast, a plane flying to Europe during the day arrives very late in the evening, local time -- too late to go anywhere else until the next morning -- resulting in a much less attractive utilization figure. Nevertheless, you find a few daylight eastbound nonstops, almost all to London:
-- Boston to London on British Airways with American Airlines code-share.
-- Chicago to London on American Airlines with British Airways code-share.
-- New York/JFK to London on British Airways with American-code share and Virgin Atlantic with Delta code-share.
-- Newark to London on United and Virgin Atlantic with Delta code-share.
-- Toronto to London on Air Canada.
-- Washington to London on United.
-- Boston and New York/JFK to Reykjavik on Icelandair, seasonal and less-than-daily.
Some London flights arrive early enough for a late connection to Paris; some depart late enough for domestic connections to the North American gateway. And the Reykjavik flights are great if you want to stop over (no extra charge) in Iceland.
Asia. Lots of westbound flights from the United States and Canadian West Coast gateways to China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and Taiwan are daylight trips, but all return flights are red-eyes.
South Pacific. I found no daylight nonstops in either direction between the United States or Canada and Australia or New Zealand. You can, however, fly to Honolulu on Hawaiian with a no-charge stopover and then fly daylight to Auckland, Brisbane, or Sydney, but with a red-eye return.
Southern South America. Although most flights are red-eyes both ways, you can fly daylight nonstops in both directions from Miami to Buenos Aires on Aerolineas, Miami to Sao Paulo on American and TAM, and New York to Sao Paulo on TAM. You find more daylight options to Northern South America
Domestic. Red-eyes dominate a few long-haul east-west domestic U.S. routes. From Anchorage, the only daytime nonstops to the lower 48 are on Alaska Airlines to Portland and Seattle all year and seasonally to Los Angeles and San Francisco. From Honolulu, all nonstops to destinations east of Las Vegas are red-eyes. Although other lines fly eastbound transcontinental daylight trips, if you like extra legroom and a no-charge checked bag, JetBlue runs daylight nonstops from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle to Boston or New York, but all eastbound nonstops from Portland and Sacramento are red-eyes.
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