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LHR to LAX - Best flight time for minimise jet lag

LHR to LAX - Best flight time for minimise jet lag

Old Feb 27, 21, 6:10 am
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LHR to LAX - Best flight time for minimise jet lag

Hi Folks

International borders open permitting, I'm due to fly exEU to LAX in September. I'm booked on a 1300 departure exEU, arriving in to LAX at 1910 but I am thinking about changing to an early morning departure, connecting to a flight that would get me in to LAX at 1455. I'm booked in W but there is an Avios seat in J on the 1455 departure.

Knowing there are many FTers who've done LAX/SFO etc, I'd appreciate advice as to which is better for jet lag.

I find it very difficult sleeping on planes, so even in J I'd be lucky to get more than an hour or 2.

All advice welcome.
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Old Feb 27, 21, 6:36 am
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I always find an 8-hour time difference the worst (no problem with even 12 hours!). I would tend to go for the later flight since by the time you get into LAX and get to the hotel (or whatever) it will be bedtime. Also, if you get the earlier flight, what time would you have to leave home in the UK? (First-train of the day is sometime problematic).
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Old Feb 27, 21, 6:41 am
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The later flight means a very early start as I’d be doing a back to back in GVA. The early start requires an overnight in GVA.
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Old Feb 27, 21, 6:53 am
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Every body is different so you can't read too much in anyone saying "this is the right way to do it".

But for what little it is worth, for me
- first objective is to get to sleep as late as possible, without being silly about it. 21:00 hrs or 22:00 hrs in LAX would be good for me
- you don't want to hit REM in the wrong place or out of sync, so no sleeping on the flight, perhaps a light nap if unavoidable
- therefore consider walking around your hotel, or better still going for a swim an hour or so before bedtime, if in daylight
- eat light and keep hydrated, no booze obvs.
- always factor in your departure time from Europe, you ideally want to get up as late as you can. Long connections add to tiredness at some point, don't up for the first flight way too early.

So for me, 13:00 departure - with a lie in on the day of departure - would be perfect.
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Old Feb 27, 21, 7:03 am
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
So for me, 13:00 departure - with a lie in on the day of departure - would be perfect.
The 1300 departure is actually an 0930ish exLHR if I do B2B. I’m thinking maybe overnight GVA and have a relaxed morning might be the best option. It also removes any risk from B2B.
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Old Feb 27, 21, 7:07 am
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Originally Posted by wb1969 View Post
The 1300 departure is actually an 0930ish exLHR if I do B2B. I’m thinking maybe overnight GVA and have a relaxed morning might be the best option. It also removes any risk from B2B.
Yes, gat a nice hotel in GVA, perhaps close to the airport rail service, and if the weather is good you can have a minibreak in Switzerland to add to the trip.
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Old Feb 27, 21, 7:16 am
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And although anathema here, don't drink anything stronger than water (and plenty of that) to minimise jetlag.
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Old Feb 27, 21, 7:21 am
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doing this 6-8 times per year pre covid, i have always preferred arriving to LAX or SFO on the later flight because by the time i get home or the hotel and do my things, i am able to stay awake a while longer until 10 or 11pm and sleep great to 5ish the next morning.

it is the next few nights that just really stink and i always want to sleep at 6 or 7pm lol and wake up at 4am and it takes me a few days. but at least for the arrival, thats my preference!
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Old Feb 27, 21, 7:46 am
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You should take the late departure and by the time you get to the hotel in LA it will be evening and you can go straight to bed. If you take the early LAX departure it will be a very loong day (and all you will be waiting for shortly after arriving LAX is to go to bed but it will be too early local time).
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Old Feb 27, 21, 8:09 am
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Europe to North America is , in my mind, the easiest long-haul time-zone transition in the world.
Take the later flight, do not sleep more than an hour or so on the flight, and arrive tired and ready-to-sleep at an appropriate bed-time.
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Old Feb 27, 21, 8:09 am
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I used to do this c10 times a year. I strongly prefer as late a departure as possible. One key is to stay awake as late as possible, as mentioned up thread. The other, to the extent possible, is to shift to a later time zone before leaving the UK. By the day of the flight, I will have moved my bodyclock 3 hours forward, getting up each day at 10 rather than 7.
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Old Feb 27, 21, 8:13 am
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I’m with cws, everyone seems to respond differently. But for me I would want to stay awake on the flight, avoid a really early start, and remember ‘tyre touching chocks!’ is not the same time as ‘head touching pillow’ time! You’ve still got to actually get into the country, through customs, whatever Covid theatre measures are in place, get to your accommodation and I like to unpack and have a shower when I arrive (otherwise when I wake up it feels like I have an ordeal rather than a nice clear morning ahead). I would set an alarm for not after 7AM the following morning. I also swear by going onto destination time as soon as I have boarded the flight.

Last edited by IAMORGAN; Feb 27, 21 at 10:34 am
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Old Feb 27, 21, 8:13 am
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Doesn't matter which way the goal is avoid sleeping on the plane/flight if at all possible (I avoid alcohol), and if you must sleep align it with the destination time zone. Think of it as the morning you wake up change all your watched and personal devices to PST time zone.
IMO, 13:55 departure is 5am LAX time which is simply a long day if you can stay awake the entire journey as adjust proper.
If you leave early AM with connection - you are shortening yourself sleep in PST/LAX time resulting in naturally wanted to get to bed earlier - which hurts your time. If you left 8:00 UK you are 12am LAX/PST which incorporate breakfast and other noise disruptions even if you attempted to sleep as soon as you get into your seat you are awaken for connection and going to arrive tired.

Each person handles differently so only my experiences. The unknown is when you land LAX are you still working remote/mobile UK or EST or local time? As that factors into the equation. I find the 2nd day is the hardest as one can use caffeine to balance out the first 24 hrs but 25+ is hard crash especially if don't allow natural adjustment/sleep patterns.
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Old Feb 27, 21, 8:35 am
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as others said before: i always want to arrive in LAX as late as possible. airport -> hotel -> good night sleep. with an arrival in the afternoon you might want to consider a nap... BAD IDEA! - at least for me.
ex BER its even 9 hrs.. try to sleep as long as you can on your travel day. there is no need in getting up at 7 when your flight leavs at 3 pm
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Old Feb 27, 21, 8:38 am
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A connecting flight + a couple of hours at Heathrow + an 11 hour flight = a very long day. I’ve done many long hauls to Asia, but always overnight. This is a whole new challenge and to do it without a drop of alcohol is going to push me to the limit of human endurance!
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