Monday, April 19, 2010

The Arline Window Seat


I always book an isle seat on overseas flights for comfort and ability to get up without disturbing the neighbors. On shorter U.S. flights (or the U.S. leg of a long-haul) I love the window seat to watch the country flow by like the discovery channel. If you like the window seat, here are a few suggestions from an airline pilot for several destinations.

In general the left side of an aircraft is almost always an “A” seat; the right side varies by aircraft type. Check to be sure. Usually when booking a flight and choosing seats you are presented with a layout of the seating for that aircraft and can easily tell which seats are the left window seats.

LGA (La Guardia) A gamble: heading north up the Hudson, the most jaw-dropping views of Manhattan can be on the right; more often the less-dramatic views of Manhattan are on the left.

LIS (Lisbon) The city center and bridge usually appear on the right.

LHR (London Heathrow) The right side offers the best views.

LAX (Los Angeles) The city’s breathtaking scale is apparent in any direction. Downtown and Hollywood are usually on the right.

LIN/MXP (Milan) If you’re coming from the northwest, best views at both airports are on the left.

SFO (San Francisco) From Asia, Europe or the north, the Golden Gate and the city usually appear on the left. Arrivals from the east and south aren’t always as lucky, but try the right.

Flying coast to coast, I also consider which side the sun will be on and choose the other side, the north side will not have direct sun in your face. If night falls while in flight you might try to estimate which side of the aircraft the major cities will be. Las Vegas is probably the most recognizable at night.

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