You are currently viewing A flight did a U-Turn to see the Northern Lights

Sometimes, the journey is as spectacular as the destination! Last week, a full flight operated by easyJet had potentially the best in-flight entertainment ever: an epic view of the Northern Lights! 

An incredible display of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) on a February night was so epic that the pilot actually turned the plane around and made a loop, so passengers on the other side of the plane could get a good view too. 

The pictures are truly spectacular, and with only a few months left of the Northern Lights season, it’s tempting to plan our next trip to that area!


Plane turns around mid-flight for a view of the Northern Lights 

Check out the very unique flight map to show you what happened.



The pilot really did a complete 360 circle to let everyone on board see the spectacular Aurora Borealis, something very unusual for a commercial plane.

Here’s what happened:

  • An A320 was flying from Iceland to England on Monday February 27th
    • easyJet flight U21806 from Reykjavík (KEF) to Manchester (MAN)
    • The flight left on time at 19:46
    • Even with the detour, it landed 15 minutes early at 22:20
  • Passengers on the left side of the plane had a remarkable view of the northern lights
  • The pilot performed a 360-degree loop so other passengers could see the lights
    • It started the loop around 1 hour after take-off
    • The pilot also dimmed the cabin lights
  • The aurora was so bright it was also seen from space
  • March is one of the best times to see the Northern Lights 

The light show was so amazing it was posted all over social media, giving us some serious travel envy! Check it out. 



More views of the Northern Lights from a plane

The internet has been flooded with the most amazing Northern Lights photos from last week after these plane passengers got an incredible spectacle from their seats. 


It’s such a fantastic view of the lights that it’s easy to understand why the pilot dimmed the cabin lighting and did a U-turn so people could get good photos.



Luckily, the plane still landed on time in Manchester (don’t miss our post soon about schedule padding, the trick airlines use to improve their on-time performance stats), and the loop didn’t affect any other aircraft in the area. 

Thanks to the plane’s high altitude, passengers got some beautiful up-close photos of the lights.



Iceland is a top-rated destination for seeing the Northern Lights, which are also visible as far south as Scotland. 

Many planes flying in that area also get a great view of the lights during peak season. That includes certain transatlantic flights from Canada to Europe that pass through that area.


When is the best time to see the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights, officially called the Aurora Borealis, can’t usually be seen all year round. 

The unusual green and pink light display is caused by solar storms on the sun, throwing off particles that enter our atmosphere. This means that the more big solar storms happen, the better the lights look. 

Northern Lights in Iceland (photo credit: Mike Swigunski)


The best time to see the Northern Lights is in spring and autumn. It’s usually dark enough to get a good view, and there is more solar activity, so you get some unbelieve displays. So it’s no surprise the flight last week got such a good view. 

In fact, March and September are some of the best times to see the Aurora, so maybe some other flights in the coming weeks will get the same view!

NASA also released a cool photo of the lights seen from Space and confirmed that over the next few years, the lights would be extra spectacular as solar activity builds. 



So, you might have missed this season of Northern Lights, but you can still plan a trip for next year (planning ahead and preparing well is one of the top 7 best pro tricks to travel for less, as mentioned in our free ebook with 100+ travel tips)!

If you want to see the Northern Lights for yourself, a trip to Iceland is one of the best ways to guarantee a good view. Iceland is a favorite destination for many readers, and you guys have taken some truly spectacular photos of Iceland on your previous trips

For more Iceland travel inspiration, you can check out Iceland’s new Sky Lagoon and a video of Iceland.

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An easyJet flight from Iceland to England actually turned around and made a 360-degree loop to make sure passengers on both sides of the plane got to enjoy an epic view of the Northern Lights in the night sky!

What would you like to know about visiting Iceland? Tell us in the comments below.


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Featured image: Aurora Borealis (photo credit: Chong Wei)

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Emily Derrick

Now based in France, Emily is a writer from the UK with a passion for travel. Her love for adventuring was sparked during her time living and traveling in Canada as well as multiple trips across Europe. Emily always takes the scenic route to get to the heart of a country and when she isn't writing, she can be found outside with her two dogs Hugo and Suzette.

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