What's worth seeing outside during a London to Seattle flight?
August 26, 2011 12:56 PM   Subscribe

In a few hours I'll be flying from London to Seattle. What should I keep an eye out for (outside)?

Tomorrow I'll be on a daytime flight to Seattle from London. Help me make the 9.5 hours go faster.

I'm sitting by the window on the right side of the plane… facing north. What could I see from my window, and when? Is there anything I definitely shouldn't miss?
posted by fakelvis to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Cloud castles!
posted by ian1977 at 1:00 PM on August 26, 2011

You should not miss Mount Rainier, just before landing. That's good for about twenty seconds.
posted by Rat Spatula at 1:07 PM on August 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

You'll get to see how huge and empty most of Canada is! I was shocked by that on a flight from Reykjavik to Boston, and you'll be over it for even longer than I was. It's boring, but in an interesting way, when you note that you've been flying over land for the last 2 hours and you haven't seen any signs of human settlement yet (beyond the occasional road).
posted by mskyle at 1:13 PM on August 26, 2011

British Airways Flight 49? You might want to take a look at the flight plan filed for your own flight, some time tomorrow.

All of the flights I've looked at have that "flattened" bit in the path over Greenland, BTW. I assume that it's just due to the position not being updated on the website when the airplane is in that region, and that the actual flight path is pretty close to the planned flight path.
posted by Johnny Assay at 1:18 PM on August 26, 2011

You should not miss Mount Rainier, just before landing. That's good for about twenty seconds.

If you're facing north and coming from London, the mountain will likely be south of the plane. Depending on whose heads are in the way, you might have a difficult time seeing it. But it's definitely worth a shot.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:23 PM on August 26, 2011

Greenland from the air scares the unholy piss out of me. Huge, snow covered desolate mountains with no sign of human habitation. I normally bury my face in a book at that bit.
posted by bifter at 1:44 PM on August 26, 2011

If there's not too much cloud cover, look for signs of autumn in the high Arctic. How much snow is there? Is anything still green? How many of the lakes are frozen over?

You may be able to glance at Iceland on your way to Greenland. Greenland itself is beautiful. Look straight down for any Nordic ruins on the west coast, or for the blink-and-you-miss-it capital Nuuk/Godthåb, but mostly you'll be looking north towards the wild, icy, mountainous part of the island. Look out there-- what does late summer look like on the Greenland Ice Sheet? I wish I could see it.

You'll come down over the Canadian Rockies on the Alberta/British Columbia border. Count glaciers.

Look for thunderhead clouds with their unmistakable anvil-shaped tops. In fact, do some reading up on cloud types before you go, since you'll be seeing a lot of them.

Oh man, I love flying in window seats. Have fun.
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:11 PM on August 26, 2011

When I flew back from London to San Francisco earlier this summer, on a daytime flight, they made me close the shade on the window for most of the flight. So definitely bring other stuff to do!
posted by grapesaresour at 2:19 PM on August 26, 2011

When you're above the cloud layer, the sunlight will be intense so, as grapesaresour said, you'll probably need the shade down for your own comfort. You'll have lots of movies to watch. Make sure you have a book, too.
posted by essexjan at 3:47 PM on August 26, 2011

Often from the north one flies into SeaTac airport over Seattle and Puget Sound. You might have a great view from your starboard-side seat. I recommend familiarizing yourself with a Google Map of the area before you go. I always love it, when it's visible.
posted by grouse at 4:12 PM on August 26, 2011

Irrespective of where you're going, sometimes you'll look out of the window and there'll be a little plane-shaped shadow on the clouds, in a perfectly circular rainbow. That's always cool.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 6:28 PM on August 26, 2011

Mondo Window might be fun, if you'll have WiFi.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:42 PM on August 26, 2011

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