Alaska Airlines shifts flight plan to catch eclipse

Image: Eclipse passenger
A passenger on a Lufthansa flight watches a solar eclipse out the window in March 2015. Passengers on an Alaska Airlines flight will have a similar opportunity. (Credit: Lufthansa via YouTube)

Now, that’s service: Amateur astronomers persuaded Seattle-based Alaska Airlines to shift its departure time for Tuesday’s flight from Anchorage to Honolulu 25 minutes later so that passengers can see a total solar eclipse en route.

“It’s an unbelievably accommodating gesture,” Mike Kentrianakis, solar eclipse project manager for the American Astronomical Society, said in an Alaska Airlines blog post about the schedule shift. “Not only is Alaska Airlines getting people from Point A to Point B, but they’re willing to give them an exciting flight experience.”

Thanks to the time change, the passengers on Alaska Flight 870 are now due to see a minute and 53 seconds of totality out the window from a height of 37,000 feet, well above any clouds. (But if you haven’t bought a ticket, don’t bother looking; the flight’s sold out.)

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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