Planes Diverted Due to Solar Storms

Most flyers are all too familiar with how stormy weather can destroy the best-laid travel plans (and as of this writing, airports in Houston and Dallas are under siege by massive thunderstorms). Sometimes, though, nature throws a real curve like this week’s solar storms.

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Solar Storms Affect Airlines

As reports, solar storms have prompted Delta and United to divert some flights away from polar routes, and American Airlines was said to be monitoring the situation.

A check of the National Weather Service’s Space Weather Prediction Center’s Facebook page notes that a “G1-Geomagnetic Storm” is in effect and such storms “can be responsible for communications blackouts and power grid surges on the ground.”

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Storms Can Snarl Airline Communications

A Delta spokesperson told Discovery that this can have an effect on the airline’s ability to communicate. Their solution to the unusual situation was to fly a few of their polar routes “a little further south than normal” which added only about 15 minutes to the journey. Among the routes affected were flights between Detroit and Asia.

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As Discovery says, “Our planet is having an exciting few days.” Hope some of those diverted passengers got a chance to enjoy the show.


Published: January 25, 2012