Skip to main content

Pilot diverts plane to give passengers better view of volcano

By Barry Neild, CNN
updated 10:15 AM EDT, Mon September 8, 2014
Fountains of lava spurt from a fissure in the ground on the north side of the Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland on Tuesday, September 2. Fountains of lava spurt from a fissure in the ground on the north side of the Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland on Tuesday, September 2.
HIDE CAPTION
Recently active volcanoes
Recently active volcanoes
Recently active volcanoes
Recently active volcanoes
Recently active volcanoes
Recently active volcanoes
Recently active volcanoes
Recently active volcanoes
Recently active volcanoes
Recently active volcanoes
Recently active volcanoes
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Icelandair pilot loops back to give passengers a better view of Bardarbunga
  • Volcanic activity around Bardabunga recently caused Iceland to raise an aviation alert
  • In 2010 an Icelandic volcano caused weeks of disruption to flights to and from Europe

(CNN) -- Erupting Icelandic volcanoes have been known to ground flights, but this time they kept one up in the air as a pilot looped around to give passengers a better view of the spectacle.

The extraordinary detour over the smoke and lava-spewing Bardarbunga volcano was captured on camera by one passenger and the image was later posted on Twitter by the airline.

"Our pilot made an extra circle around #Bardarbunga this morning to let passengers check it out," it said, thanking Erla Vinsy for the photo.

"Taking a short detour via a circle back around the eruption area, passengers on both sides of the aircraft were treated to an aerial view of the eruption while flying safely over the center of the action," Icelandair said in statement released later.

It's not often passenger plane pilots turn tour guide, with most sticking to dry commentary about airspeed, altitude and weather and confining off-flightpath maneuvers to holding patterns above busy airports.

Volcanic activity around Bardarbunga in August prompted Iceland's Meteorological Office to briefly raise the aviation threat level to red, its highest.

There were fears of a repeat of the travel chaos of 2010 when a huge eruption from another Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajokull, led to weeks of flight cancellations.

The alert related to Bardabunga was lowered to orange just days later and restrictions dropped, but officials said seismic activity was continuing at the volcano.

Volcanic ash can be a serious hazard to aircraft, reducing visibility, damaging flight controls and ultimately causing jet engines to fail.

From a safe distance though, it's got to be worth a second look.

MORE: Icelandic town frozen in time by volcano

MORE: Descending into an Icelandic volcano

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 11:38 PM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Whether filled with electric blue sulfur flames or hissing lava, these mega mountains offer incredible vistas
updated 8:40 PM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
This once-a-year luxury cruise visits untouched islands and never-snorkeled reefs.
updated 9:05 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
Peter J. Goutiere was just shy of 30 years old when he piloted a Douglas C-47 from Miami to Kolkata, India.
updated 6:47 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Breathtaking scenery, championship design -- many of the courses dropped into the Canadian Rockies are among the most memorable in the world.
updated 9:06 AM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
A floating hippo in the Thames river designed by artist Florentijn Hofman
Why Florentijn Hofman is sending a giant beast into London's River Thames.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
Scrap all those other bucket lists you've been compiling and start saving -- these memorable-for-a-lifetime trips don't come cheap, or easy.
updated 8:42 PM EDT, Fri September 5, 2014
A squabble over a device that limits how far a seat can recline has brought inflight etiquette into the spotlight again.
updated 6:23 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
Thirst for victory competes with thirst for booze in event where competitors raise their glasses long before they cross the finish line.
updated 5:57 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
At these fun Los Angeles bars, the the drinks come with a chaser of kitsch.
updated 4:41 PM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
From dining next to massive predators to drinking atop a rock in the middle of the ocean, Africa boasts some of the most interesting places to eat.
updated 5:21 AM EDT, Sun September 7, 2014
Just weeks after Bill HIllman, known as a veteran, expert bull runner, was badly gored in Pamplona, he's back at other smaller bull runnings in Spain, but walking with a cane.
updated 12:54 PM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Don't like the country you live in? Why not create your own, as many people have done. We uncover the parallel world of "micronationalism."
updated 9:24 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
A CNN producer experiences China's poor on-time flight record firsthand as his plane takes off eight hours late.
updated 2:00 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
New Yorker Kerrin Rousset's exploration of Swiss city aims to lure cocoa fans over to the dark side.
updated 11:47 PM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
Some things are just better after dark. These experiences around the world prove it.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT