a person sitting in an airplane with a light in the window
Photograph ©2024 by Brian Cohen.

Talking During an Overnight Flight

Shh. Be vewy vewy quiet. I’m counting sheep — not hunting wabbits.

Many people who are aboard an airplane during an overnight flight usually attempt to catch up on some sleep. They may not want to feel sluggish during the day after the airplane lands. They may need to be as alert as possible when working at their jobs. Should people not be talking during an overnight flight to ensure that fellow passengers get some rest?

Talking During an Overnight Flight

No law exists that talking is not permitted aboard an airplane during an overnight flight, which is also colloquially known as a red-eye flight — meaning that a person has stayed awake throughout the night and has red eyes as a symptom of fatigue from not getting their sleep.

“On the HNL – DEN redeye last night”, FlyerTalk member muscae posted in this discussion pertaining to a recent experience. “In the back on an award ticket, had a nonrev directly behind me who talked the entire flight. Various flight attendants would stop by kneel in the aisle and talk, talk talk. I got to dose off a few times. Why wouldn’t they take it to a galley? Solutions? Write to 1k voice and ask them to tell nonrevs not to talk constantly on a redeye? Is noise canceling headphones my only option? Anyone had a similar experience?”

A nonrev or non-rev is short for non-revenue and is typically an employee of an airline who pays little money or no money to fly as a passenger aboard an airplane. “Buddy pass” passengers can also be considered non-revenue passengers.

Final Boarding Call

I have experienced a number of flights recently that were either very long in duration or occurred overnight. One of those flights was when I experienced 14 hours seated in a middle seat with no recline near the rear of the aircraft in the economy class cabin. Fortunately, nobody in the immediate vicinity was noisy in any way, as getting some significant sleep was already difficult for me…

…but if a person is talking loudly when fellow passengers are trying to sleep, the best call for action is simply to ask the person to lower his or her voice. That person might have problems with hearing — especially with the noise of the engines of the airplane — and may not realize that he or she is talking too loudly.

Being polite and courteous to others is usually the best way to resolve an issue…

Photograph ©2024 by Brian Cohen.

  1. Non-rev talking all night with the FA on a red eye while sitting near the back? How about getting up and sitting in business or first class. If challenged, say the FA’s are talking too loudly in the back to a non-rev passenger sitting in a seat, not even the galley.

    Is that a solution?

  2. I often fly overnight or on the red-eye… and I would never think to ask others to not speak, or cry, or snore, or eat, especially on top of actual plane noises. A plane is loud by nature.

    If you want to sleep and are very easily annoyed by those around you, bring ear plugs.

    Common decency – do not expect others to change their basic actions to appease your delicate sensitivities on public transportation.

  3. I had a bad seat in the back of a flight to Dublin. 4 people came to the back to chat, drink, etc.
    I went over told them to take their party up to their seats. Even people in the back want to sleep, it’s not a party zone.

  4. That’s crazy that a nonrev and FAs would do that. They should know better. That said, yeah, noise cancelling headphones and/or earplugs are definitely the way to go. I almost always wear ANC headphones on overnight flights. And I disconnect them from the AV system when sleeping so that PAs about turbulence and such don’t wake me up.

  5. I guess my biggest gripe here is that it was a bunch of airline employees keeping passengers awake. You guys all sleep tomorrow. We don’t. But as for my fellow passengers….yeah, asking someone to lower their voice is about as far as you can go. I’m bringing noise canceling earphones and hoping.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!