What Day Is My Flight? It Is Not Such A Trivial Question

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30/06/2009 – What Day Is My Flight? It Is Not Such A Trivial Question

When searching for late night flights there appears to be a grey area of when one day ends and another begins.  Given that calendars and linear time are a concrete fact of life rather than an abstract concept, chances are you’re reading the topic of this headline and thinking to yourself “How can anyone not know what day their flight is?”

Well…despite you kicking back and scoffing at this topic there is a chance you may have encountered this topic somewhere in your life outside of travel, so let me clear this fundamental basic of choosing flights up.   Why am I choosing to clear this subject up?  Because it is a question I am asked with surprising regularity!

Last week I was contacted by someone who showed up at the airport a day early for their flight and had booked a series of flights one-day off based on their first flight. I’d hate to see this happen to others.

First the basics
Fact: Each day is 24 hours
Fact: Each day starts at 12:00am and ends at 11:59pm and/or 00:00hrs to 23:59hrs
Fact: When looking at airline departure/arrival times all times are “local time”
Fact: Local time is the ‘local time is defined as the time at the departing/arriving airport

So now that we have the facts out of the way, knowing what day your flight is should be quick, easy and straightforward.

If you are seeking a late night flight from Hong Kong (HKG) to Rome (FCO) a logical option might be Cathay Pacific’s flight 293.  Cathay Pacific Flight 293 departs at 12:05am (00:05hrs).

So if you want to leave on Monday, July 1st you need to recognize that the flight you are seeking actually departs on Tuesday July 2nd.    While 5-minutes after Midnight might seem like Monday to you, according to the calendar it is Tuesday.

Airline flights do not take into account that “1:00am on Tuesday is considered Monday night,” airline schedules go by the hard fact that 12:00am/00:00hrs is a new day, thus the flight is on Tuesday morning not Monday night.

Always remember the hard undisputed facts of linear time as we know it…a new day starts at The Stroke of Midnight. Regardless of what day you are heading to the airport and what day you may be boarding your flight, if your flight has a scheduled time of Midnight or beyond you must adjust your thinking for the “day your flight is departing.”

Check your calendars!

Happy Flying!

Comments

  1. Yea it becomes very frusterating with timing.

    Not just with flying, but also pick ups. I actually have an airport pick up at SEA at 12:05am tonight (or really Thursday morning). Cofirming over and over again with the airline confirmation and the person flying to make sure the date was correct…

  2. Agreed. A new travel service called Tripware solves all this. A business traveler can plan, book, and manage a business trip directly in Microsoft Outlook calendar. That way, they can keep ‘time’ on their business meetings and travel.

  3. If I want to book an overnight flight, say LAX to ATL that arrives Tuesday morning, I always need to search two dates — late PM flights on Monday and early AM flights on Tuesday. I wonder why no travel site offers the functionality to do this in one search. I know flights are listed by the date of departure (local time), but it doesn’t seem like it should be such a difficult programming exercise to offer the functionality of a unified late PM/early AM search.

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