The view from the airplane window

Out airplane windowAs often as possible, I try to get a window seat when I’m traveling. Certainly anything beats the dreaded middle seat, and crawling over other people when you need to stretch your legs can be a pain, but that window seat has the best thing on board—a window. A recent article by Peter Ferry on World Hum, “Out the Airplane Window,” describes some of the most stunning moments he’s had as an observer through the window of a commercial aircraft.

When I think back on some of the flights I’ve taken, it’s not the movies on that teeny little screen that are memorable. It’s the views of the world below me that stay in my mind, like the time we passed over the Great Blue Hole, off the coast of Belize. I’d always imagined it much larger, but that didn’t diminish the beauty of the perfect deep blue circle surrounded by gem-toned Caribbean water just below my window.

Once, I got an aerial tour of Yosemite National Park on the way home to San Francisco. As a California native, I’d visited Yosemite countless times, but the priceless view from above was something I’d never seen—other than on TV.

We may never be able to visit all the places we see out the airplane window, but just seeing them as we pass over is far better than seeing them on screen. And it adds to the travel experience in counting not just the destination, but also the journey as important.

I’ll always remember gazing out from a small propeller plane as I left the Peruvian Amazon behind me on my way to Cuzco. The bark-colored water lay in lazy loops among the lush emerald forest like a monstrous serpent. Ahead, the Andes formed a snow-capped wall. I don’t think there will ever be a movie that will make me feel like I did at that moment.

What are some of your most memorable views from the airplane window?

Posted by | Comments (10)  | August 13, 2010
Category: Air Travel

10 Responses to “The view from the airplane window”

  1. Rob Says:

    The view from the window while flying from Talkeetna to the ‘landing strip’ on the Kahiltna Glacier in Denali National Park in Alaska is spellbinding. What massive mountains! All the seats on the ski-equipped planes have windows.

  2. Richard Says:

    After backpacking from Cape Town to Cairo on public transport, watching the entire journey in reverse from the window of the plane that took me home. It really draws home the distances you may never see on the ground.

  3. Steve Says:

    Flying over the top of the world on a flight from New York to Bangkok.

  4. Ted Beatie Says:

    One of my favorite was an otherwise mundane flight – from DC up to Boston – but I had the pleasure of watching the northern lights for two hours. Similarly, I love watching lightning storms (as long as we’re not flying through them!), seeing flash after flash in the clouds, like a fireworks show put on by mother nature.

  5. Chris Says:

    Returning from Europe back to North America we flew of Greenland on a beautiful clear sunny day. The view of the ice fields, glaciers, icebergs and blue blue water was one I swore I would never forget — but had. Until this post reminded me of it. Thanks.

  6. » A soundtrack for travel :: Vagablogging :: Rolf Potts Vagabonding Blog Says:

    […] create a list of travel-related songs for myself—to inspire me whether I’m working at home or looking out an airplane window. Sure, maybe I’m late to all this, but I never made mix tapes, so musical list making had to […]

  7. Miles L Says:

    Taking off from London to Iceland at dusk on Guy Fawkes. And with Sigur Ros on my headphones getting me ready for the week ahead, I couldn’t believe it as the sky lit up as far as I could see with rockets and geysers of colored sparks.


  8. Jill Robinson | Writer & Editor » Staring out the Airplane Window Says:

    […] wrote about the view from the airplane window recently, for Vagablogging, after an article I’d read by Peter Ferry on World Hum. While it’s […]