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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Eclipse Flights
The captain has turned on the 'fasten seat belt' sign.
Title text: The captain has turned on the 'fasten seat belt' sign.

Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by a BOT - Please change this comment when editing this page. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.

A total solar eclipse will occur on Monday, August 21, 2017. It will be visible as a total eclipse in a narrow band across the contiguous United States starting in Oregon on the Pacific coast and traversing east from there. Cueball asks Megan what she is doing, which turns out to be mapping the flights of aircraft that will be in the air and will fly through the area of the eclipse. She has found between 50 to 100 such flights. On the map, the center of the greatest eclipse is shown on the border between Illinois and Kentucky. Cueball says that the airlines and pilots will be prepared and aware of the situation, but Megan wonders what it would be like on a plane with an unprepared crew. The last panel shows a plane flying into the area of the eclipse with one of the crew telling the passengers that the end of the world has come.

The title text refers to the captain engaging the fasten seat belts signs for the passengers as a precautionary measure for turbulence, as the captain believes the end times are upon them.

Transcript

[Cueball is standing behind Megan, looking over her shoulder as she's seated in front of her laptop.]
Cueball: What's that?
Megan: Flight plans. Looks like there will be 50 to 100 flights whose route puts them in the path of the eclipse next month.
[A map with a shaded path of the eclipse and red planes traveling is shown, with some planes inside the path.]
Cueball: I'm sure the airlines will be prepared. Pilots know that stuff.
Megan: But can you imagine being on the one flight where the pilot didn't?
[A more detailed plane is shown flying into a curtain of darkness.]
Captain: *KSSCHHH*
Captain: This is your captain speaking. If you look out the right side of the plane, you'll see, uhh...
Captain: Folks, this appears to be the end times.


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