Pilot praised for 'incredible' 360 degree detour for plane passengers

Many passengers would have missed out on the natural phenomenon it wasn't for the pilot's generous decision

Some people pay a lot of money for a view like this.

But airline passengers couldn't believe their luck when their pilot made a 360-degree turn mid-flight to catch the Northern Lights in all their glory.

The easyJet flight was travelling from Reykjavik in Iceland to Manchester Airport on Monday night (local time) when the natural phenomenon was on full display as passengers took it all in from their sky-high vantage point.

The Northern Lights from the window and flight path.
The passengers were left awestruck by the Northern Lights as they observed the natural phenomenon mid-flight. Source: Flight Tracker/Twitter

Photos taken from on board the aircraft showed the sky alight with vivid colours of green and pink which is caused by a solar storm.

A flight tracking website also recorded the plane's path and the 360-degree turn is clearly visible on the route, showing a complete loop was made over the northern Atlantic Ocean so passengers could soak up the view.

Adam Groves, one of the lucky passengers, shared that he was initially positioned on the wrong side of the aircraft to see the lights and was only able to catch a glimpse thanks to the pilot deciding to turn around.

“We took off and halfway into the flight the pilot turned all the lights off and the view was out the left window. We were sat on the right-hand side and after two to three minutes the pilot switched back and did a 360 loop around for everyone to see,” he told Manchester Evening News.

The pilot has been praised for going out of their way to ensure everyone could enjoy the experience. It has been reported that permission was granted from air traffic control before the pilot performed the manoeuvre.

Pictures taken by passengers were posted to social media, with many applauding the airline. "Bravo bravo to the tech crew, not every day this happens," one person wrote.

"Go easyjet. It's the little things," a woman commented. "All hail easyjet!!!" another said.

What are the Northern Lights?

It was the second night in a row that much of the United Kingdom has been subject to the glorious sight, with northern Scotland being the best spot to witness the display.

The lights seen from the ground (or in this case the sky) are caused by high-speed electrically charged particles entering Earth's upper atmosphere from space.

The particles originate from the Sun, which steadily pushes out these charged particles known as solar wind. When these charged particles hit our upper atmosphere, they become excited. Once they calm and decay, they begin to emit vivid colours which we enjoy as the Northern Lights.

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