I recently read a piece called "18 of the World’s Strangest Airports" which made me think about memorable takeoffs and landings. There are loads of discussions on the art, architecture, and amenities in airports, but what about the sights you see out of that little oval window?
I’m sure there are many, many more and this simply reflects the best I've come across to date.
1. Quito, Ecuador
I landed into Quito at night, and fell asleep before takeoff on my way back. Had I not woken up as the plane soared up, I would have missed what I think is one of the most beautiful sights in the world. Turquoise lagoons nestled amid the Andes mountains, with ethereal rays of sunshine streaming through a mild cloud cover. Sounds story bookish doesn’t it? It was completely surreal. Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International airport is located above 9,000 feet, serving Ecuador’s capital city, a staggering altitude that causes nausea and dizziness if you attempt a run for your baggage. It will soon be replaced by a new one a few thousand feet lower which should alleviate that nasty side effect slightly, but I can only hope it offers the same visual beauty from the skies as the old one does.
2. Nice, France
How could you not be excited for your holiday when you land into Nice? You can see the entire curve of the Mediterranean coast all the way to Monaco if you have your geography right – beaches, villas, and the warm orange you come to associate with this part of the world. Right before you get into Nice, depending on where you’re arriving from, keep an eye out for the contrasting snow clad western bit of the Alps.
3. New York, NY
I am always sorely disappointed when I happen to be on the wrong side of the airplane landing into JFK, La Guardia or Newark, the three large airports that serve the NYC region. The city is always a lovely sight to see – yes, we miss the WTC towers now, but the skyline rarely fails to impress.
4. Hong Kong
HK is one of those airports everyone seems to admire. Situated on a man-made island, planes often land right next to the water. Peek out of your window, and you’ll see the tremendous amounts of cargo going in and out of the harbour. The article that made me think of all these places includes it in one of the world’s strangest airports.
5. Delhi, India
Usually submerged in fog if you’re arriving in the evening or early a.m., land in Delhi on a sunny, clear day and you’re in for a treat. Keep an eye out for the massive Lotus temple (literally, shaped like a Lotus) on the outskirts of the city. I would be surprised if you weren’t impressed.
Views, check. Time to read/sleep/eat /work, and subside into the rest of your trip.
FOR THE EXAMINER'S LA READERS
The airport on Catalina Island is apparently rather memorable too. See comment here.
LENS: Fairly extensive traveller, given to choosing window seats