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The Most Scenic Routes - Airline pilots reveal their favorite views from the air

A number of regularly traveled commercial flight paths showcase some of the nation's most beautiful vistas, from the Grand Canyon to Alaskan glaciers to historic lighthouses en route to Portland, Maine. Pilots have their favorites views, and some tell stories of days before high fuel prices when they would seek permission from air-traffic controllers to pass close by prime sites or even double back to give passengers on both sides of a plane a great view. ( 更多...

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BC Hadley 6
Before buying tickets, I check my flight's route on FlightAware to see which side of the plane will provide the best scenery. Flying home (PDX) from the east, I always get a window seat on the left - even at night, snow-covered Mt. Hood is spectacular.
max lyons 4
I just flew from JFK to SEA, the view of Glacier National park, the Rockies,the Cascades, and then a perfect view of Mount Rainer (I was on the left side) was a site to behold. Also, the departure to the north out of Seattle right over the city and Elliot Bay/Puget Sound before turning back east was a good departure.
My favorite approach though is the Potomac approach into DCA, you can't beat that.
firesafety552 3
In the 70s a pilot of TWA took us over the Grand Canyon, dropped the port side and then dropped the starboard side so all could get a view...I have always wondered if this was "legal"...good view tho...beautiful
DaQi 3
I had two great experiences with this sort of thing. Once flying out of Calgary to Vancouver on a gorgeous clear afternoon the pilot flew up the bow river valley all the way past Banff and Lake Louise. Spectacular seeing the tops of mountains going past only slight below the window. Another time on Air Canada flying from San Francisco to Vancouver I was in the cockpit (obviously pre-9/11 when this was not a big deal) flying over Mt. St. Helen. I had my camera with my and the pilot dipped the wings so I could get a better picture. He asked me to be quick before air traffic control noticed the dip. Great experiences that just added to my love of flying.
I always loved the approach into MIA...especially when landing to the west. The views of Miami Beach and those glorious high-rise hotels and condos were awesome!! Another favorite were the take-offs and landings at SFO. The bay area and that Golden Gate bridge never looked so good!!
Phil Waldon 3
I will always remember my flight in 1969, on my way home from a year in Vietnam. The pilot was nice enough to let everyone on board that the Grand Canyon was ahead and then gave us all a great view.
ken young 2
There is a departure procedure out of EWR which takes a path over Manhattan and out over the East River The view on the left right side of the aircraft is lower Manhattan then LGA and Citi Field and of course the head waters of of Long Island Sound and if it's clear, a good part of the Connecticut South Shore.
On the left side it's the Geo Washington Bridge, the Palisades Cliffs and a view of the widest part of the Hudson River known as Haverstraw Bay.
Robert West 2
My favorite view ? LAX ~ HNL LOL
Lewis Tripp 1
But a great view of the Pacific.
As a New Yorker, I love the approach to LGA that takes you up the Hudson with incredible views of Manhattan and then the huge wind around to line up with "22/4" to come in. YOu also can see EWR & JFK traffic. pretty cool!
DaQi 1
That is an amazing approach. I remember doing it once at sunset so the building in Manhattan were aglow as we rounded the bottom of Manhattan and turned up the East River.
yes and be careful not to hit one of them
artie Neivert 2
my favorite scenic route was landing at the old Hong Kong Kai Tak airport., awesome from
100 ft above the roof tops.
Any of three ways into New Orleans. Over the swamp or over the lake or over the river. :)
Fritz Steiner 2
My father was a crew member on the first west-bound transcontinental flight in 1929. He worked for TAT (Transcontinental Air Transport -- TWA's predecessor). His favorite views were the Meteor Crater and the Grand Canyon. TAT flew Ford Tri-moters so they were never very high above the landscape, but high enough for some breathtaking views.

In 1977 I was on a business trip to Koror, Palau on Air Micronesia, a Continental subsidiary. After a stop at Yap, we continued southwest to Koror, but the Captain gave us a treat by flying all the away down the Palau Island chain and circling over the island of Peleliu, the site of perhaps the bloodiest battle in the Pacific during WWII.
Then we returned and landed at the airport on Babelthauap.

Incidentally, we had a VVIP (Very, Very Important Person) on board on the flight down -- The King Of Tonga -- who was making a "State Visit" to Palau. He occupied seats C-D-E in the row just in front of me. He was one HUGE man. His wife, who was no Jennifer Aniston, herself, occupied the row in front of him. They boarded in Guam . Air Mike's plane was a 727-200 Combi so they were forklifted in and out through the cargo door.
My favorite is takeoff from Runway 34L at Kingsford Smith in Sydney. As you fly north, the right side gets a spectacular view of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge on the way out of the city.
dbreslin 1
As an American Airlines captain I always looked for ways for passengers to enjoy the view. My favorites 1) the "mountain tour" from SEA - doing a VFR semi-circle around Mt Rainier at 16,500 feet - just above the summit. Same type tour available for Mt Saint Helens - sometimes... 2) Taking off from BUF for the "Falls tour" - going west over Niagra Falls at 4500 feet with a left bank for a great view of the falls. 3) Grand Canyon tour - banking left and right so all with a window seat could see usually in the morning when shadows were sharp and the air clear.
dwbrant 1
I really enjoyed the scenery when landing at Lajes Field, Azores (TER) .. as long as the flight crew allowed me up front to observe the approach.
jeffking45 1
I,too check my route before booking my seat.My favorite scenery is going into SEA with south winds, right over Lake Washington,Downtown, and over Boeing Field. DEN to LAX usually offers great views of the Grand Canyon(sit on the left side). And any flight out of JAX if easterly winds gives spectacular views of rivers, barrier islands, and the Atlantic.


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