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Delta adds another eclipse flight as companies look to capitalize on solar event

The eclipse is expected to be a major travel and tourism draw, with many companies already moving to take advantage.
A view of the total solar eclipse
A view of the Aug. 21, 2017, total solar eclipse from Madras, Ore.NASA / Gopalswamy

Passengers who book a special Delta flight will have the chance to witness the total solar eclipse in April from a unique vantage point: 30,000 feet in the air.

The airline announced Monday that it will operate a flight on April 8 from Dallas-Fort Worth to Detroit, timed to give people on board the chance to spend as much time as possible within the eclipse’s “path of totality.”

The eclipse is expected to be a major event because it will pass over several densely populated areas of North America, crossing Mexico, the continental U.S. and a small part of eastern Canada. In the U.S. alone, millions of skywatchers from Texas to Maine will have the chance to witness the rare astronomical event.

Solar eclipses occur when the moon passes between Earth and the sun, temporarily blocking the sun’s light. Along a roughly 100-mile-wide band known as the path of totality, people will have the chance to see afternoon skies darken as the moon fully blocks the sun.

Now, Delta is offering eclipse chasers another way to experience the April event. The flight announced Monday will be the second path-of-totality trip operated by the airline on April 8. A first flight, from Austin, Texas, to Detroit, was announced on Feb. 19 and sold out in under 24 hours, the company said.

The Austin-to-Detroit flight (Delta Flight 1218) will be aboard an A220-300 aircraft, leaving Texas at 12:15 p.m. CT and landing in Detroit at 4:20 p.m. ET.

The flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Detroit (Delta Flight 1010) will be on a larger plane, an A321neo, which will leave Texas at 12:30 p.m. CT and arrive in Detroit at 4:20 p.m. ET.?

The airline said that while the flights were designed to maximize time within the path of totality, they are subject to change based on weather and other factors, such as air traffic control.

More booking information is available at Delta.com.

The eclipse is expected to be a major travel and tourism draw, with many companies already moving to take advantage. Hotels are offering eclipse packages, and state tourism boards are touting a variety of events tied to the cosmic event.

For April's eclipse, the path of totality cuts across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Tiny parts of Michigan and Tennessee will also be able to experience totality if conditions are clear.

In all other parts of the continental U.S., skywatchers will see a partial solar eclipse, with the moon appearing to take a “bite” out of the sun and obscuring only part of it in the sky.

To safely view an eclipse, skywatchers must use eclipse glasses or?pinhole projectors?to prevent eye damage. People should never gaze directly at the sun during a solar eclipse, even when the sun is partly or mostly covered by the moon.

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