Delta offering special flight to view total solar eclipse along the path of totality in April


(NEW YORK) — North America will experience its last total solar eclipse for 20 years in April, and now some skywatchers will have a front-row view.

Delta Airlines announced its chartering a flight from Austin, Texas, to Detroit on April 8 that is specifically intended for passengers to have an up-close view of the solar eclipse along the path of totality — the specific locations on Earth that fall in the center of the moon’s shadow during an eclipse.

A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth and, for a short time, completely blocks the face of the sun, according to NASA.

The flight is scheduled to depart from Austin at 12:15 p.m. CT and arrive in Detroit at 4:20 p.m. ET. It’s timed “to give those on board the best chance of safely viewing the solar eclipse at its peak,” Delta said in a press release on Monday.

The one-way flight is $1,129 and can be purchased through the Delta website.

“The April 8 eclipse is the last total eclipse we’ll see over North America until 2044,” Warren Weston, Delta Air Lines lead meteorologist, said in the press release. “This eclipse will last more than twice as long as the one that occurred in 2017, and the path is nearly twice as wide.”

Delta says passengers will have “premium viewing” due to the A200-300 aircraft’s extra-large windows.

In the U.S., the path of totality begins in Texas and will travel through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Small parts of Tennessee and Michigan will also experience the total solar eclipse, according to NASA.

Passengers aboard preexisting flights on April 8 will also have the chance to view the total solar eclipse, and Delta encourages those individuals to come prepared with solar eclipse viewing glasses.

These Delta flights will fly within the path of totality:

  • DL 5699, DTW-HPN, 2:59 pm EST departure, ERJ-175
  • DL 924, LAX-DFW, 8:40 am PST departure, A320
  • DL 2869, LAX-SAT, 9:00 am PST departure, A319
  • DL 1001, SLC-SAT, 10:08 am MST departure, A220-300
  • DL 1683, SLC-AUS, 9:55 am MST departure, A320

Solar eclipse experts suggest — whether on the ground or in the sky — that avoiding clouds is the best and only way to fully experience a total solar eclipse.

“You want to avoid any type of cloud, if you can,” Fred Espenak, a former astrophysicist from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and author of Road Atlas for the Total Solar Eclipse of 2024, told ABC News of Eclipse Day.

Delta noted that weather changes and air traffic control factors are out of the airline’s control on eclipse days.

“Let’s say it’s on a sunny day with some puffy cumulus clouds around. All you need is for one of those clouds to be in front of the sun and you’ve missed the total eclipse. So, you’re really looking for a place with as few clouds as possible,” Espenak said.

“So I wish everybody fair skies next April,” Espenak noted.

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