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Prime eclipse viewing: Delta adds path of totality flight for April 8

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Parts of the country will experience the phenomenon of a solar eclipse in less than two months. Now, a major U.S. airline is tweaking its flight schedules to allow 130 lucky travelers the chance to see the event from a 30,000-foot vantage point.

On April 8, the moon will pass between the sun and Earth, completely blocking the sun’s face. The spectacle will be visible to more than 31 million Americans along a path stretching from Texas to parts of the Midwest and sections of the East Coast.

For close to a year now, TPG has warned of sky-high hotel prices at destinations along the path, as travelers try to secure their chance to witness the eclipse from the ground.

But what about trying to witness it from the air?

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On Monday, Delta Air Lines announced it has added a special flight to its April 8 schedule that’s designed specifically to allow for peak eclipse viewing.

The flight is Delta flight number 1218, which will take off at 12:15 p.m. CDT from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) and fly to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Metropolitan Airport (DTW).

The route is specifically designed to give passengers the chance to spend as much time within the eclipse’s path of totality as possible; for comparison, people on the ground in Dallas, thought to be one of the best viewing cities for the event, are expected to get about four minutes of totality.

To give travelers a better view of the eclipse and a better shot at taking incredible photos, Delta plans to operate this flight with an Airbus A220-300 aircraft, which has larger windows than many other narrow-body jets.

“The April 8 eclipse is the last total eclipse we’ll see over North America until 2044,” Delta’s lead meteorologist, Warren Weston, said in a statement. “This eclipse will last more than twice as long as the one that occurred in 2017, and the path is nearly twice as wide.”

A major 2024 travel event

It’s true that this solar eclipse is shaping up to be an even bigger event than the one many Americans witnessed in 2017. During that solar eclipse, many memorable images came from flights, including Alaska Airlines Flight 9671, which departed Oregon’s Portland International Airport (PDX) on Aug. 21, 2017.

Spots along this spring’s eclipse path were among the high-demand destinations noted in TPG’s 2024 Travel Trends Report.

Booking a flight for the eclipse

If you do want to book a seat on Delta’s special eclipse flight, it’s certainly not going to come cheap.

The one-way ticket from Austin to Detroit starts at $579 for a main cabin ticket.


Not surprisingly, scoring a top-notch mileage redemption on this flight won’t be easy. Award pricing starts at 52,000 Delta SkyMiles one-way.


Still, if you have a stash of SkyMiles or American Express Membership Rewards points saved up and are set on getting a prime view of the eclipse, it may feel like a worthy opportunity to use some miles.

Other Delta flights within view of the eclipse

On top of its flight specifically designed for eclipse viewing, Delta has noted a handful of other April 8 flights that may give passengers a view of the natural phenomenon.

Those include:

  • DL 5699 from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) to New York’s Westchester County Airport (HPN), which departs at 2:59 p.m. EDT on an Embraer 175
  • DL 942 from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to DTW, which departs at 8:40 a.m. PDT on an Airbus A320
  • DL 2689 from LAX to San Antonio International Airport (SAT), which departs at 10:08 a.m. MST on an Airbus A220-300
  • DL 1683 from Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), which departs at 9:55 a.m. MDT on an Airbus A320

Out of these flights, the least expensive SkyMiles redemption we found as of the time of publication was the Los Angeles-to-San Antonio flight, which starts at 18,000 SkyMiles for a one-way basic economy ticket.


Southwest Airlines eclipse flights

Last fall, Southwest Airlines also noted a handful of flights that may offer the greatest likelihood for eclipse viewing.

Those include:

  • WN 1252 from Dallas Love Field (DAL) to Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT), which departs at 12:45 p.m. CDT
  • WN 1721 from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) to Indianapolis International Airport (IND), which departs at 12:50 p.m. CDT
  • WN 1910 from St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) to Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), which departs at 1:20 p.m. CDT

Among these flights, the St. Louis-to-Houston option is the most affordable, starting at $224 for a Wanna Get Away fare. Or, you could redeem 16,711 Southwest Rapid Rewards points.


Bottom line

If you can’t secure an affordable hotel reservation, these flights may offer a chance to catch the eclipse from a unique viewpoint.

As always, the airlines caution that there may be factors that could spoil the view, from weather-related delays to disruptions caused by air traffic control.

Whether you’re planning to witness the April 8 eclipse from the ground, from a cruise ship or in the air, it should prove to be a memorable experience.

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