1) My very first flight ever: December, 1974, BFL-LAX on a UA 727-100. We entered the plane via the rear air-stairs, and on this very foggy early morning, we somehow took off on time. I had the window seat, and I remember to this day that realizing that fog, when seen from above, is just clouds on the ground.
2) It was many years later when I was able to take my next plane trip, but ironically enough, it was also a United 727-100. I had a window seat in coach on the right, directly behind the forward galley. Flying SBA-BFL (in the days of United flying SFO-BFL-SBA-SFO and SFO-SBA-BFL-SFO), I was curious what our routing would be (given the mountain range separating the cities), but it was almost a straight line, and we ended up flying almost directly over the house of a wonderful family friend who lived in the tiny town of Maricopa. She didn't know if she saw the flight, but she might have, and we got a kick out of that!!
3) Flying BFL-DFW for a family funeral in Arkansas, dad and I followed Interstate 40 from Barstow to Amarillo, where we turned towards landing at DFW. We spent a lot of summers driving that highway, and two days of driving was condensed into two hours. We wanted to believe the pilots did it for our benefit...
4) Window seat across from a flight attendant on a United DC-10 arriving at HNL. We hugged the northern coastline, and circled around the west side of the island, with O'ahu entirely visible while landing on the reef runway. I recalled reading from a travel guide, "more and more people are stepping forward to say that O'ahu is their favorite island". It hasn't been repeated in my many trips since, but I keep hoping!!
5) A re-routing story: January, 2002, barely four months since 9/11. My SAN-PIT-ATL red-eye routing was canceled last minute, so I was re-routed to Continental SAN-EWR-ATL. The connecting flight to Atlanta had me in a window seat on the right, and take-offs that day were on the 4's. As we were rolling down the runway, I realized, "oh, my, God - we're going to fly right by the World Trade Center site!" And we did. I was completely unprepared for the sight - and I cried.
A couple of pictures of me at age 21 in 1987. Many years and many pounds ago...
6) SAN-SLC. I had visited Boulder Dam many times (family in Las Vegas), but seeing it from the air was unbelievable. I have since seen it on approach to LAS, but the SAN-SLC flight flew at a low enough altitude that it was more like an "it's-a-really-clear-day-let's-give-the-pax-a-treat!" kind of experience.
7) July, 2004, MSP-PHX. On approach to one of the 26's, a forest fire that had been burning for several days was visible out the left side of the aircraft. There were a LOT of gasps from everyone, and the heat waves announced themselves with mild but detectable turbulence, which lasted almost to landing.
8) Every flight I have ever been on HNL-ITO. It simply doesn't get any more amazing than see six of the eight islands in one thirty-minute flight, followed by the incredible views that come when circling around Mauna Kea. This one never fails to drop jaws!!
9) All of far-too-few-and-gone-too-long dream route flights SAN-BFL. Both ways, one overflies LAX almost directly overhead, and seeing this sea-of-humanity from above is amazing. I also saw one of the many raging fires we have had from the air on a BFL-SAN as well.
10) April, 2009, FLL-IAH. A seating change for a family took us from two aisle seats to a center and window ended up giving me a view of the Mississippi River flowing into the Gulf of Mexico:
Funny story: the IAH-SAN flight started its take-off roll like a drag race. CO pilots were known for not wasting time, and our taxiing turned into a take-off roll the minute the 180 degree turn from the taxiway was finished. It was so quick, the "exit" sign one row in front of me popped off and landed at my feet. I had my companion take this picture of me picking it up and giving a bemused look:
Best part of the story: when a flight attendant came was able to come through, I handed this to her. Without blinking an eye, she said, "oh". Turned around, held it in place, gave a good, solid, WHACK to snap it into place, and kept on going. What else could you do but laugh?
11) ZRH-SAN, July, 2017: Take-off and overflying the mind-numbingly beautiful lakes of Switzerland was unreal.
We overflew Greenland, but it was covered in clouds. Canada, on the other hand, wasn't camera shy at all, showing off Hudson Bay and its ice to perfection:
And the almost-perfect curve of Lake Winnipeg was incredible!
Thanks for reading - I hope you enjoyed!!