Alaska Airlines has shared stunning video of a solar eclipse captured from 35,000 feet.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Alaska Airlines deliberately delayed its flight from Anchorage to Honolulu Tuesday by 25 minutes so passengers could see the solar eclipse under pristine conditions at 35,000 feet.
It was over a year ago that Joe Rao, an associate astronomer at the American Museum of Natural History, determined that the Alaska Airlines flight would intersect the “path of totality” during the solar eclipse.
He, along with others, convinced the airlines to depart a bit later than scheduled to have the best possible view of the spectacular eclipse. The plane left 25 minutes after its scheduled departure.
— Corey S. Powell (@coreyspowell) March 9, 2016
After Alaska Airlines confirmed the flight plan would be altered to intersect the path of the eclipse, Rao spread the word to a few astronomical societies.
Needless to say, Rao and a dozen other “eclipse chasers” were on Tuesday’s flight to catch a view of an eclipse under pristine conditions.
Alaska Airlines also changed its flight path to allow for prime viewing of the event, the company wrote on their official blog.
For the Alaska Airlines employees who worked to accommodate the flight change, the decision was about going the extra mile to create a unique experience.
“We recognize our customer’s passions. Certainly we can’t change flight plans for every interest, but this was a special moment, so we thought it was worth it. Now we have a plane full of customers who will be treated to a special occurrence.”
— Russ’L (@Russ24L) February 17, 2013
“We are all veteran eclipse chasers who have traveled around the world to ‘bask in the shadow of the moon’ for a few precious minutes,” Rao said.
Mike Kentrianakis, a solar eclipse project manager for the American Astronomical Society, said he was thrilled with Alaska Airlines’ decision to delay the departure and change the flight path.
— Anthony Horton (@vacant3rdman) March 21, 2015
“It’s an unbelievably accommodating gesture. Not only is Alaska Airlines getting people from Point A to Point B, but they’re willing to give them an exciting flight experience. An airline that’s actually talking to their people – and listening! That’s customer service at its best. It’s become personal.”
Before the flight took place, Captain Hal Andersen said he would coordinate with Oceanic Air Traffic Control to make them aware that the flight might require a few more tactical changes than what is typical.
“The key to success here is meeting some very tight time constraints – specific latitudes and longitudes over the ocean. With the flight management computer, it’s a pretty easy challenge, but it’s something we need to pay very close attention to. We don’t want to be too far ahead or too far behind schedule.”
According to the Alaska Airlines blog, Rao and Kentrianakis are among a close-knit community of self-described eclipse geeks known as “umbraphiles,” after the umbra — the dark shadow cone of the moon that sweeps across the surface of the Earth during an eclipse.
Video of the event was shot by Mike Kentrianakis of the American Astronomical Society.
Perhaps the video will inspire the nation as a whole to get excited for “The Great American Eclipse,” which will occur on Aug. 21, 2017. It will be the first total solar eclipse to sweep across the entire United States since 1918 and is expected to be one of the biggest news stories of 2017.
[Image via Shutterstock/alexaldo]