As you hit 35,000 feet, the tactless baby seated next to you violently defecates. Two rows up, an aloof sandwich enthusiast busts out some Subway-concocted tuna monstrosity. What could possibly make this experience worthwhile? A beautiful, semi-exclusive view of a total solar eclipse!
Monday, Alaska Airlines announced the Great American Eclipse experience, which will give lucky travelers the chance to ditch stale peanuts for "totality from 35,000+ feet above the earth." The flight leaves Portland, Oregon at 7:30 a.m. PT to fly off the coast Aug. 21, following a specially optimized flight path to ensure passengers can properly view the total solar eclipse over the Pacific Ocean.
"As an airline, we are in a unique position to provide a one-of-a-kind experience for astronomy enthusiasts," Sangita Woerner, Alaska's VP of marketing said Monday. "Flying high above the Pacific Ocean will not only provide one of the first views, but also one of the best."
As with anything worth your time, there's a fucking catch. The special eclipse flight will not be booked commercially, as Alaska has instead chosen to make it an outing for "select astronomy enthusiasts and eclipse chasers." However, those who feel their invitation may get lost in the mail still stand a chance at getting aboard thanks to Alaska's forthcoming contest to win two passes to the big show. The contest kicks off across all Alaska social media accounts July 21.
The Great American Eclipse marks the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in the States since 1918. The eclipse will be visible all across the country, but totality is only possible in certain areas. Those of us stuck on the ground in August can find totality pleasures in Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, and more. In fact, more than 12 million people live directly in the Great American Eclipse's path of totality.
Check out footage of a regular (i.e. not coast-to-coast and total) eclipse from a previous Alaska flight below.