A bit of good news surfaced today amid the continued pilot strikes crippling German carrier Lufthansa. According to a press release, LH 435 from Chicago to Munich experienced an otherworldly and unique event southeast of Iceland. For four minutes, passengers and flight crew aboard the Airbus saw today's total solar eclipse from 41,000 feet.
"LH 435 was the scheduled Lufthansa flight that was closest to the solar eclipse today," said Captain Martin Hoell, head of the Munich long-haul fleet, in the release. “We used this unique opportunity to allow our customers to witness this natural phenomenon. Our flight planners calculated the minor adjustment of the routing that was required and the crew flew into the complete shadow of the solar eclipse at exactly the time and point that was planned.”
In addition to the usual services available for transcontinental flights, the LH 435 flight crew also provided interested passengers with UV glasses and informational brochures. At 10:37 Central European Time, all aboard were privy to something that most on the ground were able to catch for a full minute less.
Looks like passengers aboard LH 435 were able to enjoy an incredible experience. Still, this event can only distract so much from Lufthansa's ongoing difficulties with its looming budget cuts and the pilots' union strike. Interestingly, the airline's social media posts about the eclipse have all been accompanied by short apologies to those affected by the strikes.
None of Lufthansa's long-haul flights to Bush Intercontinental Airport from Frankfurt (LH 440) and Munich (LH 7902) have been affected so far.