A few years ago I wrote an essay called “First Flight” that was published in The Best Travelers’ Tales 2004. The piece focused on the marvel of flying and how these days we fail to appreciate what we’re doing when we leave the ground and cruise through the air at 30,000 feet. I lamented that flying wasn’t a marvel anymore and told a story about my first flight, an experience I found astonishing and fantastic in the traditional sense because it was so unusual.

Other writers have addressed the notion of getting window seats whenever they fly because they don’t want to miss the extraordinary sight of Earth from cruising altitude, an experience no one had ever had before the 20th century. I remember John Flinn, executive travel editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, writing about how he would stubbornly refuse to lower his window blind to accommodate movie-watching passengers because his entertainment was outside. “Bravo!” I said when I read that column.

Now I noticed in Larry Bleiberg’s blog on Coastal Living that he’s made a habit of choosing window seats for the same reason, most recently on a flight to Alaska. And Travel + Leisure’s Jeff Wise lays out a whole strategy for seeing as much as possible whenever you fly. Check it out for your next flight and enjoy the view.

Filed Under Air Travel, Books, Travel


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