Delta Air Lines, 1 solar eclipse, 2 spectacular flights

Delta is doing something it has never done before in its almost 100-year history: fly along the path of totality during a total solar eclipse. Delta pilots are well-trained and well-prepared for any flight, but this special eclipse mission has meant extra hours in the simulator and time spent considering the flight’s plan. And Delta isn’t just doing it once. It’s doing it twice. At the same time.

Delta offered customers the opportunity to experience the total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8 on two flights: DL 1218 from Austin to Detroit (Airbus A220-300) and DL 1010 from Dallas to Detroit (Airbus A321neo).

This year’s eclipse will travel across the U.S. at 1,600 miles per hour, while the aircraft will be moving at about 480 miles per hour. The path of totality and the flights’ paths will come together about halfway the planned flight time.

While Delta people on the ground have been meticulously planning to put two planes in the right place at the right time for the perfect above-the-clouds view, pilots have been perfecting the timing of an “S-turn” maneuver during flight simulation, allowing customers optimal viewing on both sides of the aircraft during the four-minute totality duration.

Getting all of this timing just right means coordination on the flight deck, with Delta’s teams on the ground and coordination with Memphis Air Traffic Control.

Once at their seats, customers were greeted with co-branded goodie bags filled with bespoke items like ISO-certified eclipse viewing glasses, limited-edition Sun Chips – which were on sale to the general public for only four minutes – and Delta-branded swag including special-edition solar eclipse socks.

While many customers were glued to their windows, customer Neil Albstein proposed to his girlfriend Michele Rosenblatt. After two months of planning for the memorable moment, the stars aligned perfectly.

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