If we take a look at JFK's flight schedule for this year's November 6th (which is the winter DST switch date), there are plenty of flights departing between 1am and 2am. For example, a Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong at 1:25am.

If one were to actually buy that flight, what would be departure time printed on the ticket? And when would the plane actually depart — on the "first" or "second" 1:25am?

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  • The departure time on the ticket would presumably be 1:25 AM. Tickets don't typically indicate time zone, in my experience. To find the time zone, you can check flightaware or similar, but (1) it would be nice if there were an answer for the less-aware traveler, and (2) that won't give us an answer to your question until November. Until we can answer it, all we can do is advise travelers to assume the earlier departure time, at the risk of an extra hour of waiting. – phoog Mar 21 '16 at 16:34
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    Cathay Pacific does not go into enough detail to be sure, in fact if you read the page thouroughly, it seems as if there might be two flights that day, one at 1:10am (during the first 1:10am that is) and then another at 1:50 am, during the second 1:50 am). Of course, what this means is that the only real answer is call the airline – CGCampbell Mar 21 '16 at 17:05
  • I have seen time zones with 'daylight saving' notations attached for just those days, even when there is not usually a time zone in use. I do not have proof though. – Willeke Mar 21 '16 at 17:08
  • For the particular example of CX845 that flight will leave at the first 1:25 AM. Hong Kong doesn't do DST, so flight schedules from there to a country which does DST must change when the time changes. CX845 departs JFK at 1:25 EDT on November 5 and earlier dates, and 00:45 EST on November 7 and later dates, so the 1:25 departure on November 6 is still on the DST schedule. I don't know how to tell this in general, though. – Dennis Mar 21 '16 at 17:10

The ticket always indicates the local time at the departure and arrival. So it will indicate whatever is the local time for that flight. Tickets do not indicate the timezone.

Due to the complication with timezones and winter/summer times aviation always uses UTC (sometimes also called zulu time, named due to the letter Z which was designated for GMT) for flight planning purposes.

So, for the purposes of flight planning, the flight is scheduled for 0525Z on November 6; and for the purpose of ticketing, it is scheduled for 0125.

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    So, if all the user sees is local time, the question is still: which 0125 is it, the first one, or the second? – CGCampbell Mar 21 '16 at 19:10
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    This doesn't really answer the question. The point is that there are TWO 0125s (local time) on that day - one before the switch, and then another an hour later after the switch. – Doc Mar 21 '16 at 19:21
  • The flight is booked at the first time; since the second time (after the switch) the flight has already departed; which is why I mentioned the zulu time as well. – Burhan Khalid Mar 22 '16 at 4:26
  • The point of the question is how as a customer you'd know that it departs at the first time, since tickets generally (?) don't have the time written in UTC on them. – Voo Mar 22 '16 at 8:41
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    Likely the airline would specify which time was the correct one. If not a quick call would solve the quandry. – user13044 Mar 22 '16 at 10:27

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