Austin/ Weather & Environment
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Published on April 09, 2024
Austin to Indianapolis Southwest Flight Elevates Eclipse Viewing Experience at 35,000 FeetSource: DeltaMSP, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Above the clouds and far from the ordinary, Southwest Airlines passengers soared to new heights to witness a total solar eclipse from 35,000 feet. On a special flight leaving Austin for Indianapolis, eclipse enthusiasts were promised an unmatched view of the cosmic phenomenon. One passenger on flight 1721, Beth Dively, shared her excitement for the event, saying, "It’s a reason to have a party and I love making an event of something," according to CBS Austin.

The flight's atmosphere was charged with expectation as travelers huddled at their gate, ready for a party above the clouds with swag bags, solar-themed cocktails, and in-flight trivia. But not everything went according to the plan. A challenge arose when passengers attempted to view the phenomena directly, as the sun's position above them made it tricky to spot. "The sun, itself, I would say was pretty underwhelming," passenger Elena Laptak said, as per CBS Austin.

Despite some viewing difficulties, the overall sentiment was positive. The special flights, which also included Southwest Flights #1252 from Dallas to Pittsburgh and #1910 from St. Louis to Houston, provided travelers with a unique perspective of the darkening sky as seen from above the weather patterns that could obstruct views from the ground. "We had to lay down on the floor to see a tiny little glimpse of it, a tiny little thing," passenger Elena recalled about trying to capture the moment.

In a statement obtained by CBS Austin, Southwest Airlines expressed their delight in providing this opportunity, saying, "The whole world was looking up today, and we were over the moon to leverage our place in the sky by extending an opportunity to observe this phenomenon close up on several Southwest flights in the path of totality." Not only was the celestial show a highlight, but also was the full-blown celebration at 35,000 feet that has become a memorable part of passengers' travel tales.

Austin-Weather & Environment