As Celestial Tourism Grows, Finnair Adds Midnight Sun Flights to Bodø

As Celestial Tourism Grows, Finnair Adds Midnight Sun Flights to Bodø

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(Bloomberg) — The sky is calling. With the total solar eclipse in North America, geomagnetic storms making the northern lights visible in unexpected US locations from Alabama to California, plus an aurora borealis that’s predicted to be at its most active now until 2026, travelers are increasingly taking inspiration from what feel like once-in-a-lifetime natural phenomena. Some are seeking cooler European summers, too. 

That’s all promising for Finnair Oyj, Finland’s flag carrier, as it taps into these growing trends to draw more tourists this summer. 

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From June 17 through Aug. 12, Finnair will take passengers five times a week from the capital city of Helsinki to the northern seaside town of Bodø, Norway. The airline expects the 2½-hour route to soar in popularity as travelers plan quests to see the midnight sun. (Flights land in Bodø by 6 p.m., so you can watch the sky … not darken at dinnertime.)

The phenomenon occurs during the summer months in countries north of the Arctic Circle or south of the Antarctic, with the sun remaining visible into the horizon 24 hours a day. You can see it in other destinations as well, including Alaska, Canada, Denmark and Iceland. 

This is the most extensive flight schedule to Bodø in Finnair’s history. A small, nature-filled hub that sits north of the Arctic Circle, the town last summer saw the debut of thrice-weekly service from the airline. 

“With demand for travel to the Nordics continuing to rise exponentially, we are excited to be relaunching our direct flights between Helsinki and Bodø,” Pasi Kuusisto, Finnair’s general manager for North America, said in a press release previewed by Bloomberg.

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Bodø is a destination in its own right: Think camping, cycling and glacier-climbing just outside city limits, plus a restaurant-filled waterfront with modern architecture. And this year it’s hosting a slew of concerts and art exhibits, as a designated 2024 European Capital of Culture.  

But the flights themselves are part of the experience. Some of them will be in full daylight, well after departing at 8 p.m. Daytime itineraries, by contrast, will offer views of the Svartisen glacier, Norway’s second-largest, and the Saltstraumen, a tidal current that forms giant natural whirlpools—two remote destinations that are well worth seeing. 

Other airlines that regularly offer midnight sun flights and access to cooler summertime destinations include Icelandair, with routes from Reykjavíc north to Greenland and the Arctic region (Iceland’s midnight sun also runs from May through August). Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA offers daily flights from Oslo to Bodø during the summer—the last flight of the day departs at 9:35 p.m. and gets you there at 11:05 p.m., with the sun still shining just outside.

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