On Monday, August 21st, those lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time will view a total eclipse of the sun.
Travelers have been driving up fares to cities that promise the best views of the upcoming solar event – those metropolitan areas in the so-called “path of totality,” where the eclipse will be most spectacular (the moon blocks the sun 100%).
Flights from west coast cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco show higher price spikes into cities like Portland and Boise, destinations easier to get to for west coasters than cities further east. Flights from Midwest and eastern city gateways, show much higher fares for “path of totality cities” closer to those metropolitan areas. This can be explained by the likelihood of star gazers to travel to locations closer to home, rather than flying across the country for an astronomic event.
We compared airfare prices for the eclipse “weekend” of 8/19/17 to 8/22/17 to both the weekend before (8/12/17-8/15/17) and the weekend after (8/26/17 – 8/29/17) and found striking differences in the fares.
On the west coast, San Francisco (SFO) to Portland (PDX) flights are almost 300% more than regularly priced flights (compare $137 round trip to $400-500+ prices for eclipse weekend airfare). Los Angeles to Portland shows an increase of 350% over regularly priced fares for eclipse dates. Los Angeles to Boise shows a similar pattern, with prices almost 2.5 times the regular prices for this time of year.
Moving across the country, we found that east coast flights are also experiencing a marked price increase. New York (JFK) flights into Nashville are typically around $275, but are currently selling for more than twice that with passengers ponying up a cool $726+ for the privilege of viewing the event. Flights into St. Louis (the most logical entry point for Carbondale, Illinois viewing) from JFK are also twice the typical fare for the weekend.
The complete list of “Best Viewing Destinations” with their most accessible airports and current fares are: