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Grab a seat on these total solar eclipse flights

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There’s just over a month until one of the most memorable moments of the year.

On April 8, millions of Americans will experience a total solar eclipse as the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, darkening the afternoon sky. It’s a phenomenon that won’t happen again in North America for 20 years.

To witness the spectacle, travelers are planning spring getaways to Texas, the Midwest and parts of the East Coast set to experience the eclipse most dramatically. This is fueling high hotel prices and earned the event a spot in TPG’s 2024 Travel Trends Report.

But the excitement isn’t only coming from spectators on the ground.

In recent weeks, one major airline has announced special flights specifically scheduled to give passengers a high-flying view of the eclipse. Plus, other carriers have pointed passengers to flights that are likely to provide a bird’s-eye view of the natural phenomenon.

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Delta Air Lines

Delta Air Lines has perhaps leaned into the excitement around the eclipse more than any other U.S. airline.

The Atlanta-based carrier added two flights timed specifically to give passengers maximum time in the path of totality to its April 8 schedule.

The flights drew so much interest that you may be out of luck if you didn’t act quickly.

delta plane

The first eclipse flight Delta announced on Feb. 19 sold out in less than 24 hours.

delta flight info

The sold-out flight takes off at 12:15 p.m. CDT on April 8 from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), with a final destination at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW).

Travelers quickly snagged seats and helped Delta track a 1,500% spike in search interest for Austin-to-Detroit flights for April 8, the carrier said.

As a result, Delta came back a week later with a second Detroit-bound flight, also meant to maximize passengers’ time within the path of totality. DL1010 will depart Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) on a larger Airbus A321neo aircraft at 12:30 p.m. CDT on April 8.

As of this writing, seats aren’t quite sold out just yet, but you’ll certainly have to pay up.

A main cabin ticket sits at $949 one-way.

delta flight info

Or, if you want to tap into your Delta SkyMiles, you can book the trip for 90,000 miles one-way.

delta flight info

As you can see, it appears Delta has already sold out its first class and Comfort+ space on the flight.

Other Delta options

Delta has also noted four April 8 flights that may give passengers a view of the eclipse.

Those include:

  • DL5699: Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) to New York’s Westchester County Airport (HPN) — departs at 2:59 p.m. EDT on an Embraer 175
  • DL942: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to DTW — departs at 8:40 a.m. PDT on an Airbus A320
  • DL2869: LAX to San Antonio International Airport (SAT) — departs at 9 a.m. PDT on an Airbus A220-300
  • DL1683: Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) — departs at 9:55 a.m. MDT on an Airbus A320

United Airlines

United Airlines has also unveiled a slate of flights it says will “potentially” be in the path of the solar eclipse. Those routes for April 8 include a half-dozen flights out of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and five more from Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).

Those flights include:

  • UA5693: O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport (LIT) in Little Rock, Arkansas ­— departs at 12:45 p.m. CDT
  • UA0490: ORD to George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) — departs at 12:47 p.m. CDT
  • UA0455: ORD to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) — departs at 12:49 p.m. CDT
  • UA0247: ORD to New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) — departs at 1 p.m. CDT
  • UA2187: ORD to Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport (IAD) — departs at 1:20 p.m. CDT
  • UA1438: IAH to Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) — departs at 11:55 a.m. CDT
  • UA6128: IAH to John Glenn International Airport (CMH) in Columbus, Ohio — departs at noon CDT
  • UA6109: IAH to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) — departs at 12:05 p.m. CDT
  • UA1318: IAH to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) — departs at 12:23 p.m. CDT
  • UA1687: IAH to Indianapolis International Airport (IND) — departs at 12:25 p.m. CDT

Customers on some of these flights will receive special United-themed eclipse glasses for safe viewing, the airline told TPG.

“United is seeing incredibly strong demand to top viewing destinations like Cleveland, Little Rock and San Antonio in the days leading up to and after the eclipse,” the airline said in a statement.

United planes

Most notably, inbound bookings to San Antonio between April 4 and 7 are up 127%, the carrier said. Outbound bookings from San Antonio on April 9 and 10 are up 288%.

Good eclipse flight deals are available

We found a few reasonable deals on some of these flights that, again, may offer passengers a view of the eclipse, per United.

Pricing currently starts at $105 for a United flight from Chicago to Little Rock on April 8. However, that’s in basic economy, which doesn’t include complimentary seat selection. You may want to pay $140 for a full-fare economy ticket so you can snag a window seat.

united flight info

The Chicago-to-Houston flight starts at $165 one-way.

You’ll pay more for what will likely be the more high-demand routes. For the 12:05 p.m. flight from Houston to Detroit, you’ll pay $595 for a main cabin ticket, which will be on board an Embraer 175 jet. It gets into Detroit just before 4 p.m. EDT.

united flight info

Or, you can book the flight with 40,000 United MileagePlus miles.

united flight info

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is pointing passengers to a handful of flights for the solar eclipse.

southwest plane
A Southwest Airlines aircraft on final approach at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

The first list includes flights that, according to the carrier’s network and schedule planners, “have the greatest likelihood of offering customers the best view” of the eclipse.

Those three flights include:

  • WN1252: Dallas Love Field (DAL) to Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) — departs at 12:40 p.m. CDT
  • WN1721: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) to Indianapolis International Airport (IND) — departs at 12:50 p.m. CDT
  • WN1910: St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) to Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) — departs at 1:20 p.m. CDT

These flights will cost you.

The Dallas-to-Pittsburgh flight starts at $660 for a Business Select fare.


Slightly cheaper, the Austin-to-Indianapolis route currently goes for $552 one-way.

southwest flight info

Or, your least expensive option of the three: the St. Louis-to-Houston flight starts at $224 for a Wanna Get Away fare, or you can also book it for 16,711 Southwest Rapid Rewards points.

southwest flight info

Additional Southwest options

Southwest has also identified a handful of other flights that “may also cross the path of totality.”

  • WN955: Dallas Love Field (DAL) to Chicago’s Midway International Airport (MDW) — departs at 12:50 p.m. CDT
  • WN506: Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE) to DAL — departs at 1:05 p.m. CDT
  • WN1734: William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) to Indianapolis International Airport (IND) — departs at 1:35 p.m. CDT
  • WN1682: MDW to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) — departs at 1:30 p.m. CDT
  • WN3108: Nashville International Airport (BNA) to DAL — departs at 1:40 p.m. CDT

What to know if you’re booking an eclipse flight

If you even think you might want to book a flight for the solar eclipse on April 8, you should act quickly.

Between seats selling out fast and the possibility that fares could rise in the coming weeks, you’ll want to lock in your fare now.

If you book a ticket on Southwest or a main cabin ticket on Delta or United (not a basic economy ticket), you can typically cancel and at least get the value back in the form of a trip credit.


Is an eclipse flight worth it?

These solar eclipse flights certainly don’t come cheap, but there are some clear benefits to experiencing the eclipse from cruising altitude.

Flying above the clouds

For starters, there’s the weather. After all, there’s the all-too-common “April showers” and the clouds that come with those showers, which could mean a somewhat obstructed view from the ground if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate.

At 30,000 feet, you’re almost assured a clear view.

A bird’s-eye view

Experiencing the phenomenon inflight should also bring an unforgettable view, Austin Chaney, chief meteorologist at CBS affiliate WHIO-TV in Dayton, Ohio, said.

“When you’re 30,000 feet in the air, the horizon is almost 200 miles away. That’s way more than the roughly 3 miles you can ‘see’ when you’re standing on the ground,” Chaney told TPG.

That could make for a rare view when flying through — or even near — the path of totality.

“Because the horizon is so far away … you should also be able to see the light on the outskirts of the shadow when you’re in totality,” Chaney said. “Passengers on these planes should easily be able to see the light coming in from places that aren’t in the shadow, which I imagine will be a spectacular sight to see.”

Bottom line

Of course, factors like air traffic control, weather delays and maintenance disruptions could also interfere on April 8 — just like any other day.

But if all goes according to plan, it should be a memorable experience on the ground and in the air.

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