Pilot makes 360-degree turn at 37,000ft to let passengers view northern lights

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An easyJet flight made a 360-degree turn to allow its passengers to watch an “amazing display” of the northern lights as it flew over the northern tip of the UK.

On Monday evening, passengers on flight U21806 from Reykjavik in Iceland to Manchester Airport were able to take pictures of the celestial spectacle after the pilot decided to perform the circular turn.

The manoeuvre took place to the west of the Faroe Islands at 37,000ft (FlightRadar24.com)
The manoeuvre took place to the west of the Faroe Islands at 37,000ft (FlightRadar24.com)

The controlled detour to the west of the Faroe Islands took just less than 10 minutes and occurred shortly after 8.30pm, while the Airbus A320 was flying at an altitude of 37,000ft (11,000m) and at a little under 500mph, according to flight tracking website Flightradar24.com.

A spokesperson from easyJet told the PA news agency: “We are pleased that the captain on our flight from Reykjavik to Manchester yesterday evening was able to perform a controlled manoeuvre in order to allow passengers to witness an amazing display from the air of one of nature’s greatest sights, the aurora borealis.

Winter weather Feb 27th 2023
The northern lights have been visible in the UK this week (@mrmcgrath12/Twitter)

“Our crew will always go above and beyond for our customers and we’re delighted to have been able to share this special view of the northern lights with them.”

Photographs of the northern lights taken by the easyJet passengers have been shared widely on social media, showing hues of green and pink lighting up the night sky.