Southwest Airlines Red-Eye Service to Take-Off From Las Vegas in Coming Years

Posted on: March 26, 2024, 09:52h. 

Last updated on: March 26, 2024, 11:07h.

Southwest Airlines revealed this week that the company is in the early stages of prepping overnight flights. When red-eye flights commence, the budget carrier says Las Vegas will be among its first serviced airports.

Southwest red-eye flight Las Vegas
Southwest officials say the airline will offer red-eye flights from Las Vegas to the East Coast in the coming years. In 2017, Southwest implemented a new booking platform that allows the budget carrier to offer overnight layovers and red eyes for coast-to-coast travelers. (Image:

Though the take-off of overnight flights — commonly referred to as “red-eyes” — is still years away, Southwest company officials said at an aviation event last week that the airline will begin such routes via Hawaii and Las Vegas.

A red eye typically departs the West Coast or Hawaii in the evening or night and arrives on the East Coast in the early morning. The flights are popular with business travelers who can arrive in places like New York ahead of a morning meeting.

We’ve previously shared plans to start overnight flying as we look to increase revenue while providing additional service to our customers,” Southwest said in a statement. “Before these flights can begin, there’s a wide range of work that needs to be completed, which is anticipated to take place over the next few years.”

Southwest is Las Vegas’ largest carrier. Last year, Harry Reid International Airport said Southwest served more than 20.9 million passengers through Las Vegas’ primary air hub, a 16% year-over-year increase. 

Leisure Destinations

Along with business travelers, red eyes are popular with leisure travelers who visit the West Coast and who want to make the most out of their final day of vacation. Southwest said in a release that it doesn’t “have any other specifics” to share at this time, other than its overnight routes will begin “in leisure markets where they would make sense for our customers and in places where Southwest has a large presence, such as Hawaii and Las Vegas.”

The 20.9 million departing and arriving passengers Southwest facilitated at Harry Reid last year accounted for 36% of the 57.6 million travelers the airport accommodated. Southwest accounted for over 39% of the domestic business.

For most of its 50-year history, Southwest flights have been limited to daytime service. The company blamed its IT reservation system for being unable to coordinate overnight traffic.

That changed in 2017, when Southwest brought on Amadeus Solutions, a leader in airline scheduling, booking, and staff routing. It took Southwest another six years, which included a pandemic, before the company began offering trips with overnight layovers.

Blood-Shot Eyes

The term “red eye” gets its name from many travelers sporting bloodshot eyes upon deplaning the aircraft following an overnight flight. The term predates air travel, as red eye was used for overnight train travel, too.

Aviation experts say red eyes are profitable for airlines, as the routes allow the aircraft to remain in service when it would otherwise sit idle overnight. Fliers tend to like a red eye for the convenience and the fact that they often come with lower fares.

Southwest Chief Commercial Officer Ryan Green says the company could run as many as 50 nightly red eyes.