Southwest Says You Can View the Total Solar Eclipse on These 8 Flights
The next major astronomical event is set to occur in April.
Getting front-row seats to view anything is exciting, whether you scored them at a concert or a football game. But these events happen regularly, unlike a total solar eclipse. That's not something you see every day—and certainly not something you expect to see up close and personal. But we have good news for science buffs and stargazers: Southwest Airlines has determined the eight flights you can book to watch the next total solar eclipse, which is set to occur a few months from now, at 30,000 feet up. Read on to find out which routes you should take and when to have the best possible view.
The eclipse's primary path will cross multiple states.
Following last week's "ring of fire" annular solar eclipse, the next upcoming total solar eclipse is slated for April 8, 2024. The eclipse is expected to pass across multiple U.S. states, including several that Southwest operates in—namely Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Ohio, and Texas.
The airline notes in an Oct. 14 press release, that Southwest's network and schedule planners "modeled the operation day against projections of the umbra and penumbra—shadows cast by the moon's eclipse of the sun" to identify specific Southwest flights from which passengers can see the celestial spectacle.
Three flights will have the best view.
According to their model, three Southwest flights have "the greatest likelihood of offering Customers onboard the best view of this moment," the press release states.
The first is Southwest Flight #1252, which departs Dallas Love Field Airport (Love Field) at 12:45 p.m. Central Daylight Time (CDT) and lands in Pittsburgh.
The second optimal route is Southwest Flight #1721, which leaves Austin, Texas, at 12:50 p.m. CDT and lands in Indianapolis. The third option is Southwest Flight #1910, which departs St. Louis at 1:20 p.m. CDT and lands at William P. Hobby Airport (Hobby) in Houston.
Five additional flights may also cross the eclipse's path.
If none of the top three options work with your travel plans next spring, Southwest offers five other options that "may also cross the path of totality during their scheduled operating time," according to the release.
The first is Southwest Flight #955, which departs Dallas (Love Field) at 12:50 p.m. for Chicago Midway International Airport (Midway). the second is Southwest Flight #506, which departs Milwaukee at 1:05 p.m. CDT for Dallas (Love Field).
The three remaining flights are: Southwest Flight #1734, which departs Houston (Hobby) at 1:35 p.m. CDT for Indianapolis; Southwest Flight #1682, which departs Chicago (Midway) at 1:30 p.m. CDT for Austin; and Southwest Flight #3108, which departs Nashville, Tennessee, at 1:40 p.m. CDT for Dallas (Love Field).
The airline has a warning for passengers, however.
The Southwest press release includes a warning to passengers interested in these flights not to look directly at the sun. Even during an eclipse, doing so is not recommended without the right protection for your eyes.
Beyond that, the airline also indicated that staff are excited to share the moment with passengers.
"Today's annular solar eclipse was an exciting sneak-peak of the total solar eclipse occurring next year, and our Meteorology and Network Planning Teams identified the best opportunities for a potential view of this breathtaking sight," David Dillahunt, Chief Meteorologist at Southwest Airlines, said, citing the Oct. 14 event. "With our flight schedule, we're able to offer hundreds of seats in the sky to view the eclipse, and we look forward to showcasing our Hospitality on this day while celebrating with our Customers."
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