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With less than a month to go until an annular solar eclipse is visible in the U.S., flights to key airports are surging in popularity.
Online travel agent Opodo has revealed exclusively in an email that searches on its platform for seven airports in or close to the path of the “ring of fire” annular solar eclipse are all up significantly year-on-year.
The most dramatic rise is for Albuquerque in New Mexico, which looks set to be “ground zero” for the event, during which about 90% of the sun will be blocked by the moon to create a “ring of fire.”
Searches for domestic U.S. flights to Albuquerque have risen by 115% for the period Oct. 11-17, 2023 versus the same period in 2022. It also notes a 64% increase in searches from U.K. airports to Albuquerque.
By coincidence the “ring of fire” will be seen for 4 minutes 43 seconds from 10:34 a.m. MDT on the penultimate day of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The Balloon Fiesta Park has luxury glamping tents and nearby Camp 505 has tent camping.
Opodo also revealed that six other airports in the 125 miles wide path—which stretches from Oregon to Texas though California, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico—have big increases in flight searches for the same period:
- Denver, Colorado: 18% (domestic U.S.)
- Salt Lake City, Utah: 27% (domestic U.S.)
- Las Vegas, Nevada: 38% (domestic U.S.)/17% (U.K.)
- Portland, Oregon: 23% (domestic U.S.)
- Austin, Texas: 22% (domestic U.S.)/22% (U.K.)
- San Antonio, Texas: 44% (domestic U.S.)/59% (U.K.)
Fly-in Fly-Out Eclipse Cities
It’s perhaps no surprise that Albuquerque and San Antonio are seeing the biggest increases in searches since both cities are in the path of the eclipse and will long views of the “ring of fire.” Both are therefore perfect destinations for a quick fly-in, fly-out eclipse experience.
However, the next most significant increase is in Las Vegas, which is just 250 miles/3.5 hours drive from the path through Utah close to Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Kodachrome State Park and many more choice destinations.
Ne aware that visitors to Utah and other backcountry locations will have limited facilities and resources. Be prepared to bring everything you need—a full tank of fuel, food, cash, toilet paper, ice—because it may not be available at your intended destination.
It’s also worth remembering that many businesses around the For Corners region in southeastern Utah, southwestern Colorado, northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico have Navajo employees, which means they may not be open during the morning. Follow the Visit With Respect guidelines.
I am the editor of WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com and author of “The Complete Guide To The Great North American Eclipse of April 8, 2024.”
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.