US airlines offer bird’s eye view of solar eclipse

Dhaka,  Tue,  26 September 2017
Published : 20 Aug 2017, 22:18:34
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Aviation

US airlines offer bird’s eye view of solar eclipse

US airlines offer bird’s eye view of solar eclipse
As millions of people move into position for solar eclipse on Monday, some US airlines are encouraging travellers to get a little closer to the action, reports The Australian.

Southwest Airlines has touted five of its flights that offer "the greatest likelihood" of catching "the best views" of the moon's 93-minute journey past the sun, as seen in a swath of the US from Oregon to South Carolina. Passengers on its morning flights from Seattle to St Louis and from Denver to Nashville could have some of the best views in the country, Southwest said.

The discount giant said it would offer "cosmic" cocktails and special viewing glasses to passengers on those flights, who should travel in darkness for at least a part of the daytime trip, depending on the weather.

Alaska Airlines is planning an invitation-only charter flight for astronomy enthusiasts and eclipse chasers. Departing Portland, Oregon, at 7.30am, the plane will fly west over the Pacific first, to give the passengers a sneak preview ahead of the rest of the US.

The Federal Aviation Administration is expecting so much additional air traffic from private jets and smaller planes that it has set up temporary air-traffic control towers in two cities in Oregon and two in Nebraska.

The FAA also is bracing to monitor 100 high-altitude, unmanned balloons that students plan to release in 31 states to take photos of the rare event, last seen coast-to-coast in the US in 1918.

Larger airlines said they weren't marketing flights that tracked the eclipse's route because they are leery of storms or air-traffic control delays that might rob flyers of the expected thrill. But accidental tourists who bought flights on those airlines may also get an extended view.
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