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best time to fly to London (a.m. vs. p.m.)

Have been told recently that it's easier on you if you fly to London from Boston leaving morning, rather than the flights which leave at 7p.m., arrive early morn, English time, but for us would feel like 2 a.m! Anyone have experience with this? It sort of makes sense to me to arrive during daytime, but have never gone to England before.

Posted by
73 posts

I prefer to leave in the evening and get there at the start of a new day. We usually drop our bags off wherever we are staying (because it's too early to check in, we arrange to drop off luggage ahead of time), pour cold water on our faces, find the nearest coffee shop, and head out for a day on the town. We are generally exhausted by the time we are able to check in, so we take a shower and again and go back out and about. Although we are ready to pass out by around 7pm, we are then able to get right to sleep and be on schedule for the rest of our days!

Posted by
5193 posts


On my past 3 trips to London I have taken the morning flight. I LOVE the morning flight. You arrive in the late evening and get to your hotel around 11pm. I usually just stay up a couple of hours and sleep in a little late the next morning. I usually find that I am completely over jet lag by the following day.

I have never been able to sleep on a plane so the evening flights are never pleasant for me. I find that I often arrive with a headache from lack of sleep and don't really enjoy the first day.

The downside of the morning flight is that you have an extra night in a hotel since you arrive in the evening. The benefit of the morning flight is that you don't need to sleep in a cramped coach seat.

Posted by
12154 posts

I prefer to fly at night and arrive early.

Even if you have hotel reservations, it can still be several hours to get into your hotel. I'd prefer to get the logistics taken care of during daylight hours.

I try to get exercise the first day by including a lot of walking in my plans. I Force myself to stay up until at least 9pm. After a good night's sleep, I'm on a decent schedule.

Posted by
225 posts

I agree. Arriving London late evening works better.

Posted by
3580 posts

I'm on the west coast, so flight timing is different than for the east coast. I prefer to arrive at my European destination mid-day, so that by the time I get into town and to my hotel it isn't too long before I can have a meal and head for bed. Those early am arrivals can get you to your hotel before your room is available, thus giving you a very long day before bedtime. That doesn't work for me, especially if I couldn't sleep on the plane.

Posted by
808 posts

Just about every flight to the UK I've ever taken leaves late evening and arrives early the next morning.

I like arriving into daylight and watching the sun come up. I pick up the morning paper, enjoy a decaf coffee and unwind a little, have a short nap and start my day!