Airline Offers First Class View of “The Great American Eclipse” By Tabitha Shiflett email@example.com | Jun 30, 2017 10:13 AM EDT Alaska Airlines is hosting a flight like no other. On August 21, the company is giving a select group of stargazers and astronomy enthusiasts the chance to view "The Great American Eclipse" from 35,000 feet. According to a company press release, the flight is set to depart from Portland at 7:30 a.m. and then fly off the coast of Oregon, giving passengers a once-in-a-lifetime view. While the flight is invitation-only, Alaska Airlines is choosing one lucky fan and a guest a chance to win a seat on the flight. The contest will begin on July 21 via Alaska Airlines' social media accounts. "As an airline, we are in a unique position to provide a one-of-a-kind experience for astronomy enthusiasts," said Sangita Woerner, Alaska's vice president of marketing. "Flying high above the Pacific Ocean will not only provide one of the first views, but also one of the best." "The Great American Eclipse" will be the first solar eclipse of its kind since 1918. The Best Places To See The 2017 Eclipse Aside from the cockpit of the Alaska Airlines jet, there are plenty of locations to get a great view of the eclipse. According to The Great American Eclipse website, the 10 best places to view the eclipse include Madras, Oregon at 10:19 a.m., Snake River Valley, Idaho at 11:33 a.m., Casper, Wyoming at 11:42 a.m., the Sandhills of western Nebraska at 11:49 a.m., St. Joseph, Missouri at 1:06 p.m., Carbondale, Illinois at 1:20 p.m., Hopkinsville, Kentucky at 1:24 p.m., Nashville, Tennessee at 1:27 p.m., the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at 2:35 p.m., and Columbia, South Carolina at 2:43 p.m. What Is A Total Solar Eclipse? A total solar eclipse happens when the moon looks as though it's completely covering the disk of the sun. A total eclipse comprises five phases - the partial eclipse, where the moon becomes visible over the sun's disk, the beginning of the total eclipse, when the entire disk of the sun is covered by the moon, totality and maximum eclipse, when only the sun's corona is visible, the end of the total eclipse, when the moon begins to slowly move away, and the partial eclipse end, when the moon is out of the sun's way completely.