The best views for commercial flights

Grand Canyon

In a recent blog we revealed that 61% of Brits prefer a window seat when flying, with 83% putting this down to the amazing views that can be enjoyed.

With that in mind, we got in touch with some of our brilliant pilots – some spending close to 100 hours a month in the air – to find out some of the best sights that can only be seen from the window seat.

Here are eight of the best!

1. Route: Manchester Airport – Enfidha-Hammamet Airport (Enfidha, Tunisia)

View: The Alps

Photo credit: Senior First Officer Jason Ramsey

To get a good view of the white peaks of the Alps, it’s best to catch one of the early flights out of Manchester Airport, says pilot Jason Ramsey. If not, then any other time during daylight hours should be fine.

You’ll want to be on the left-hand side of the plane on your way out and the right-hand side on your way back. If you’re lucky or eagle-eyed, you may even be able to make out Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain.


2. Route: Manchester Airport – McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas, US)

Views: The Las Vegas Strip and the Grand Canyon

Photo credit: Senior First Officer Jason Ramsey

Looking down from your window seat at the bright neon lights of the Las Vegas Strip is as much a fun experience as it is a surreal one – and one that’s a firm favourite with many of our pilots.

Photo credit: Senior First Officer Jason Ramsey

Of course, it’s at its luminous best at night, but even during the day, it’s still quite a spectacle. You’ll also get to see the incredible Grand Canyon, as pilot Dave Crichton describes it, from either side of the plane, in or out of Las Vegas.


3. Route: London Gatwick – Cape Town International

View: Table Mountain

Photo caption: Senior First Officer Simon Rockett


So-called for its flat top – it doesn’t have a pointy summit – Table Mountain is one of South Africa’s most popular attractions and one that you’ll be able to enjoy from the comfort of your window seat.

For atmospheric views of the mountain and its immediate neighbours – Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head – you’ll want to be on one of the a.m. flights into Cape Town International. “Early arrival views of Table Mountain are superb,” says pilot Tom Richards.


4. Route: London Stansted – Skiathos International Airport

Views: The Alps, Croatia’s coast and the Greek islands



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A typical flight from London Stansted to Skiathos International Airport is something of a treat for early morning passengers, as you’ll get to see a number of amazing sights throughout your journey. This includes the Alps, Croatia’s coastline and, as you get closer to your destination, the incredible Greek islands scattered throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas.

“Coming into land over the Greek Islands is my favourite,” says pilot Victoria McCarthy. “Not just the view but the fact everything is happening at once, and all coming together. Landing is the most exciting part for the pilot.”


5. Route: Manchester Airport – San Francisco International Airport

Views: Greenland, Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz


While most of Greenland is covered by a brilliant sheet of bright white ice – itself a spectacular view from above – the fringes of the island have a little more character and colour. Meaning, on a clear day you may be able to make out fjords cutting into the coastline and glaciers rising out of the clear blue waters.

Photo credit: Thomas Cook Airlines employee Georgia Felton

And that’s not all you’ll get to see on this route. As pilot Astrid Herz reveals, the approach into San Francisco is just as rewarding: “It’s stunning to overfly the bay and see the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. You also get some good views of the mountains and the city.”


6. Route: Manchester – JFK (New York, US)

View: New York City and Manhattan Island

New York

For many of our pilots, New York’s iconic skyline takes some beating … especially at night, says Jason, when it’s at its sparkling best.

As you get closer to the city, you’re likely to find that your eyes will be drawn to Manhattan Island – its cluster of world-famous skyscrapers is pretty hard to miss. As a bonus, it doesn’t matter whether you’re sitting in a window seat on the left-hand side or right-hand side of the plane, as both guarantee splendid views.


7. Route: London Stansted – Oslo Airport

View: Norwegian Fjords, Aurora Borealis

Think Norway, think fjords, think the Aurora Borealis. The Scandinavian country is home to over a 1,000 of these picture-perfect natural wonders. And while experiencing them in person is a must during your visit to Norway – you can also enjoy a bird’s eye view of them on your flight out of London Stansted.


If you’re lucky, a night flight might even get you an aerial view of the Aurora Borealis “I recently caught a fantastic view of them from the flight deck,” says Jason.


8. Route: London Gatwick – Orlando International Airport

View: Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space center

It’s the return flight from Orlando International Airport that offers up two of the most memorable views you’ll experience on this journey. The first is at the start of your trip, on a plane that flies directly over Cape Canaveral’s Kennedy Space Center. You’ll ideally want to be on the left-hand side for this.


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