Jet lag, medically referred to as desynchronosis and rarely as circadian dysrhythmia, is a physiological condition which results from alterations to the body's circadian rhythms resulting from rapid long-distance trans-meridian (east–west or west–east) travel on high-speed aircraft. For example, someone travelling from New York to California feels as if the time were three hours later than local time. (Source)

As pilots often have to travel between multiple time-zones, especially during long haul flights, with as much as 12 hours of difference between them, how do they fight jet lag?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Pilots have duty schedules, and especially when travelling commercially they must take mandatory rest periods. Its highly unlikely that in the case you presented above, that the same pilots would be flying all the legs. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Jun 14, 2016 at 11:52

3 Answers 3


Crew members each have their own approach to this but in general on the long haul routes, as a pilot you have at least 24h layover, so you can catchup on some sleep, walk outside for a bit (depending on the local time) and then sleep some more so you're fit for the next flight back home. At home you have a couple of days off to recover from the trip.

On the very long flights 13h+ the pilots are with at least 4 so you can do a quick nap on board as well.

As a passenger I cope with the jetlag by looking at the arrival time, do I arrive in the morning I will try to sleep on the plane, will I arrive in the afternoon the I will try to stay awake and go to bed early. By doing so I wake up easily next morning and do not feel jetlagged.


As you say before, #Crew members each have their own approach" about it. I think the key for facing this is try to sleep as much as you can and if is possible, in the local time where you arrive to get avoid quickly the bad consequences of the jetlag. Is very important that you stay hydrate at all times.


Usually, crew member should follow the local time (base/hub time) for their routines on ground, and if necessary, some of the take melatonin to synchronize the circadian rhythms.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .