Air Travel During The Great North American Eclipse

A NASA map of The Great North American Eclipse
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio - Beth Anthony, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read

As families across the U.S. continue their spring break travel, the Federal Aviation Administration predicts next week will be the busiest of the season, with most fliers taking off on Thursday, April 4.

The FAA is forecasting spring break traffic will peak with 50,670 flights on Thursday, April 4 and with 48,904 flights on Friday, April 5.  Thursday, March 28 is also expected to see more than 50,000 flights in the sky.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is preparing for a busy spring break travel season, with the peak expected next week. Here’s what you need to know:

Heavy Traffic Ahead: The FAA predicts next week will be the busiest of the season, with Thursday, April 4 seeing the most flights (50,670) followed closely by Friday, April 5 (48,904 flights).

Great North American Eclipse

Many travelers are presently heading to their usual spring break destinations. This year, a significant number are headed to the eclipse path to witness the Great North American Eclipse. This is set to take place on Monday April 8th.

Be prepared for potential delays and limited parking at airports along the path due to the high volume of aircraft and drones.

The Great North American Eclipse is also referred to as the Great American Eclipse or the Total Solar Eclipse of 2024.

It’s a total solar eclipse, which means the moon will completely obscure the sun’s disk for viewers along a specific path across North America.

A NASA map of The Great North American Eclipse
NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio – Beth Anthony, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Here are some key points about the eclipse:

  • Visibility: The path of totality, where the complete blackout will be visible, stretches from Mexico through the United States and into Canada. If you’re not located within this path, you’ll still be able to witness a partial eclipse.
  • Duration: The totality, the period of complete darkness, will only last for a few minutes depending on your location. However, the partial eclipse will be visible for a longer duration.
  • Travel Impact: Due to the spectacle, expect a significant increase in travelers heading towards the path of totality. This could lead to crowded airports, limited parking, and potential delays.

Air Travel Safety Tips

The FAA is committed to ensuring a safe travel experience for everyone. They are providing guidance to pilots to manage air traffic along the eclipse path and remind all travelers of the following:

  • Patience is Key: Spring break travel can be hectic. Remain patient, especially at the airport, and allow yourself extra time for security checks and boarding. Remember, federal law prohibits interfering with crew or unruly behavior.
    • Pack Smart: Double-check your luggage for prohibited items. Common toiletries like aerosol cans (hairspray, deodorant, etc.), nail polish, and artist supplies are not allowed in checked bags. Pack these items in your carry-on luggage.
  • Lithium Battery Safety: E-cigarettes, vaping devices, and spare lithium batteries must be carried on. These items can pose a fire risk if damaged. Keep your electronic devices with you in the cabin for easy access.

By following these tips, you can help ensure a smooth and safe travel experience during this busy spring break period.

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This year's US spring break sees a significant number of air travelers heading to various states to witness ‘The Great North American Eclipse’ on 8 April.
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