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The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a warning that the upcoming Great North American Eclipse on April 8 could cause flight delays and disruptions. The eclipse will cross North America, including Mexico, the U.S., and Canada, traveling southwest to northeast across thirteen U.S. states in about an hour and ten minutes. Many people are planning trips to witness the eclipse, leading to more planes flying in already crowded airspace, especially during peak Spring Break travel days. Airlines like Delta Air Lines have sold out special solar eclipse flights, and private pilots are also planning to fly along the eclipse path.

The FAA expects next week to be the busiest of the season for air travel as travelers go on Spring Break getaways and head to states along the path of totality to experience the eclipse on April 8. There will be over 50,000 flights on Thursday, March 28, with Spring Break traffic peaking on April 4 with 50,670 flights. On Eclipse Day, April 8, the FAA expects 47,137 flights. The high volume of aircraft and drones trying to witness the total solar eclipse could lead to limited parking and potential airport delays, requiring pilots to prepare for airborne holding, reroutes, and Expect Departure Clearance Times (EDCTs).

The FAA has issued special instructions for pilots flying during this period to keep the skies safe and minimize disruptions. The Administration will issue further notices to guide pilots during the eclipse and has produced a video with advice for private pilots. The FAA has also provided a list of over 100 airports near the eclipse path, including American Airlines’ hub at Dallas-Fort Worth International, that may be affected. Travelers are advised to be patient, follow crew instructions, and not interfere with or assault crew members on planes to avoid civil penalties, criminal fines, and possible jail time. They should also remove hazardous materials from their baggage and not put e-cigarettes, vaping devices, or spare lithium batteries in checked luggage. Electronics powered by lithium batteries should be kept nearby, as incidents of devices catching fire do happen.

The FAA reminds travelers to enjoy Spring Break and the eclipse but to fly safely. Compliance with safety instructions and regulations during peak travel days can help to ensure a smooth travel experience for everyone. The Administration continues to monitor the situation and provide guidance to pilots and travelers to navigate the challenges presented by the eclipse and the increased air traffic it will bring. Airlines and airports are preparing for the influx of travelers seeking to witness this celestial event and are working closely with the FAA to ensure a safe and efficient travel experience for all passengers.

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