In flight: A US Airways redeye experience


Redeyes suck. When they’re less than six hours flying time they suck even more. And when they involve sitting in coach they suck even more. So maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, but as part of this mileage run I was booked on a US Airways 757-200 from Honolulu to Phoenix, in coach. Ouch.

I was somewhat fortunate in that I got a window seat; that’s my preference anyways, especially on a redeye. When we boarded the plane I walked back to check out the other seating options and I was incredibly happy that I didn’t end up in the rear exit row. While the middle and aisle seats back there have tons of legroom the window seat has the slide housing which really gets in the way of a comfortable ride.

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I headed back up to my row and settled in to 13A; triskaidekaphobia is apparently not an issue with US Air. That row has a misaligned window which is both good and bad. I found it nice for leaning against when I was sleeping but were I to want a view I’d probably be pretty disappointed with it.

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As for the seats themselves, they are pretty tight. And pretty old. They actually still have ash trays in the arm rests.

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I’m actually surprised they haven’t removed them to save on weight and cut the fuel costs a bit more than anything.

As for the in-flight experience, I slept the entire time. There might have been a drink service but I didn’t notice. I also have no idea if there was buy-on-board for food. I put in my ear plugs, donned my eye mask and was asleep before they made the announcement that personal electronic devices were permitted. I woke up when we landed in Phoenix.

I survived and it wasn’t incredibly awful. It also wasn’t a particularly pleasant experience. In other words, exactly what I expected.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

10 Comments

  1. could i please have a code for the club card application. keep up the good work! thanks

  2. Thanks for your sharing.

    I was just planning to book a redeye flight from LAX to PHL on US simply because their price is so low. After reading this, I will need to think it twice. I usually cannot sleep the whole way through, at most 30 minutes to an hour in coach. And I haven’t never flown US, so I dont know what to expect. It looks like everything is old, outdated and it does look unconfortable to me. Sigh, maybe I’ll pay a little more for daylight flights.

    What doesn’t make sense to me is, a lot of Asian airlines have free meals, entertainment and new aircrafts for every route they fly. It doesn’t matter how short the flight is, an hour, two hours, meals are always given. The airfare is not that expensive, to be honest. So why any of the airlines in the US/ Canada can provide similar services? I don’t understand.

  3. I was on this flight in January. In F. And it was still horrible. 🙂

    The whole experience starts on the ground, with US not having any staff at HNL until 8:30pm, then having to walk the entire length of the terminal to gate 30.

    But that plane is a disgrace though… up front you get a nicer seat but it’s still old like hell.

  4. You’re a trailblazer. I hear Bear Grylls’ next episode will involve surviving a US redeye.

  5. @ Harold. The Asian carriers you mention are probably relatively new with young fleets and low debt loads. Not to mention lower labor costs. One of the biggest problems for US carriers is high debt service and aging metal. Couple that with $100 bb oil and you lose the frills in coach.

  6. I’m so glad I was able to change from that routing to HNL-SFO-PHX. Both segments were upgraded (SFO-PHX only had 10 people on the flight), and it was re-issued as a B fare 😀

  7. To everyone who has commented above, an economy ticket on a six hour redeye pretty much sucks no matter who you fly.

    Having said that, US can’t get rid of their 757’s fast enough…they’re by far in the worst shape of any in the fleet.

    1. No one is flying A320-series aircraft to Hawaii right now. Operationally it is simply not an option. At least not in a configuration that approaches a profitable flight.

      And this flight really was just another redeye. The pitch was pretty bad but I went the other direction on Monday and with an empty middle it didn’t suck.

      As for why the other carriers can fly wide-bodies and make money while the US carriers cannot, it is mostly about demand and capacity. There are more carriers flying and more airports which need to be served in the USA than in SE Asia. That translates into smaller planes connecting more dots rather than fewer, larger planes connecting fewer dots.

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