In-flight entertainment rarely bubbles up such anticipation and excitement that a whole cabin whoops and cheers as the film reaches a climax, but for passengers on Alaska Airlines flight 870 things were a little different. Whether the flight was filled with umbraphiles or not (which it probably was), passengers stared in awe as they were treated to an incredible view of the total solar eclipse that passed over the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday 8 March.
The airline has astronomer and eclipse chaser Joe Rao to thank for spotting the opportunity, when he noticed that the flight path of AS870 went straight through the eclipse’s narrow belt of totality.
Of course it’s not just the path that the plane has to pass through, it also has to do it at the right time. Fortunately for the plane full of expectant astronomers Alaska Airlines shunted the flight time for out by 25 minutes, so that they would be in the right place at the right time. Now that’s customer service!