Eclipse in the Sky: Can You Fly During the Phenomenon?


Mark your calendars for April 8th, when the skies will darken for an extraordinary cosmic event: a solar eclipse observable from North America. While the thrill of witnessing this celestial wonder is palpable, it’s crucial to prioritize safety if you plan to travel during this celestial show.

Aerial Viewing: Is It Safe?

Good news for travelers! Authorities and experts assure us that flying during the solar eclipse is absolutely safe. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) anticipates over 47,000 flights scheduled for the momentous occasion. However, it’s vital to protect your eyes from the sun’s intense rays, even at 30,000 feet.

Eric Christian, an eclipse expert at NASA, emphasizes, “Never look directly at the sun during the eclipse without approved glasses or a pinhole camera.”

An Enhanced Experience in the Clouds

Travelers flying within the path of totality, stretching from Mexico to eastern Canada, may encounter an extended eclipse duration due to their proximity to the sun. Dallas, for instance, will witness close to 4 minutes of totality, while those on flights along the path can expect approximately 10 minutes of breathtaking darkness.

Airlines Offer Eclipse-Themed Flights

Capitalizing on the eclipse frenzy, several airlines, including Southwest, Delta, and JSX, have announced “solar eclipse flights” specifically designed to take passengers on an unforgettable aerial journey through the heart of the celestial phenomenon.

Photography Tips for Sky-Bound Observers

While capturing the eclipse with your camera may be tempting, experts advise leaving the photography to the professionals. Instead, focus on soaking in this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle with your own eyes.

Coordinating Flight Operations

Air traffic controllers and airline personnel are diligently preparing for the eclipse. Pilots, flight attendants, and ground crews will be equipped with protective eyewear, and the FAA has provided guidelines to minimize airspace disruptions.

Weather Outlook: A Mix of Hopes and Concerns

While authorities are confident in the safety of flights during the eclipse, the weather forecast casts a shadow of uncertainty. North Texas, in particular, is predicted to have more clouds than usual. Eric Christian explains that high-altitude clouds may not pose a problem, but low-lying heavy clouds could hamper visibility.

Safety First Amidst the Spectacle

Regardless of the weather conditions, aircraft safety remains paramount. Christian assures travelers that, “Plane travel is extremely safe, and airlines will prioritize safety over optimizing eclipse views.”

So, gear up with your solar eclipse glasses, secure a prime viewing spot on your flight, and prepare to witness a celestial marvel from a unique perspective — 30,000 feet above the ground!