LA to Chicago

When you fly, if given a choice, which do you prefer – window seat? Or aisle?

When you have a window seat, you’re trapped in a more confined space and have to ask strangers to move if you want to get out. If you have an aisle seat, you can sometimes stretch your legs a bit more, and you can get up and down as you please. I’ve heard people make the argument that once you’re over 10 years old and the thrill of flying has presumably worn off, you’d have to be a moron to want a window seat.

But I always want the window. I will stare out for hours, even if there’s not much more than cloud cover. I can never quite get over the fact that we’re hurtling miles above the ground, able to see the landscape change drastically from west to east (or vice versa). I try to find ballfields for good luck. I look at tiny houses and wonder whether the people in them are glancing up to see us pass by in our tiny metal tube.

On a recent trip from LA to DC, the first leg was so unexpectedly clear that I started snapping photos, not stopping until we landed in Chicago, where I had a brief layover. Here are a few of the shots; fasten seat belts, please!

Long Beach / LA, on an uncharacteristically clear day. You can see the city in the upper right corner.


Mojave Desert



Cloud cover over the Rockies





the Great Plains


the Mississippi River




9 responses to “LA to Chicago”

  1. lane says:

    : – )

  2. F. P. Smearcase says:

    Are ballfields good luck or is that your own personal thing? And are they all-purpose good luck or “safe flight” good luck? Nervous or terrified flyers believe being on a plane with someone famous is good safe flight luck (Buddy Holly, Grace Moore, JFK Jr., and a number of others notwithstanding.)

  3. ScottyGee says:

    Great shots! I too love watching the landscape below even though it scared the hell out of me when I think too much about where I am.

  4. LP says:

    Ballfields = good luck = my own personal thing. I just like ballfields, having spent a lot of time on them, and they’re easy to spot from the air, even from pretty high up. Extra good luck = if someone’s actually playing a game and you can see the tiny little players on the field.

  5. Swells says:

    Really lovely photos–it’s easy to forget how incredibly flying is. Thanks for the reminder.

    Also, unrelated, your first line puts me in mind of one of my favorite crossword clues I’ve seen in a long time, which perhaps some of you saw too a few months ago. The clue was “Opts for the window over the aisle?” The answer was (don’t read to the end of this sentence if you want to figure it out for yourself first . . . )

  6. KS says:

    Wow, I was dealing with this very issue last night (aisle vs. window) when booking a flight out west to see my mama in Jan. I couldn’t decide (grown up vs. kid choice) so I selected the same row on outbound and return flights but chose a window seat for one and an aisle for the other.

    I remember when I was young, back when flights over 2 hrs still fed you a meal, when the pilots used to announce over the intercom which geographical points of interest were visible out the windows. “For those on the left side of the plane, we’ll soon be passing over the southern ridge of the Grand Canyon. For those on the right, you might catch a glimpse of Flagstaff, Arizona, while off in the distance you’ll see the lights of Vegas.” I can’t remember the last time that happened. Makes me sad.

    One thing I really do not miss: smoking sections on airplanes. Can you even believe we used to have to deal with that???

  7. Josh K-sky says:

    Window all the way. Once I identified my house from the plane. (Well, my intersection. But still.)

  8. LP says:

    5: Ha!! That joke actually made me laugh out loud.

    6: Yeah, I think the pilots aren’t supposed to announce locations anymore, or something, because of terrorism or whatever. Although, every once in a while they still do, and it’s really cool. Not that long ago, I had a pilot announce, “As we ascend to our cruising altitude of 30,00 feet, if you look out the left side of the plane, you can see my house.”

    7: I LOVE being able to identify stuff. After taking off from LAX on this trip, i could see the hotel where RB and I stayed for our anniversary, as well as the little platform where sea lions gather in the harbor it overlooks. One other time, on taking off from LGB, I could see the rides at Disneyland.

  9. A White Bear says:

    I am a window person, always. Even if I never look out of it, I feel tucked away somehow, not exposed to the aisle and people bustling by. In the window seat, I can crunch myself down into my own little private space and pretend I’m alone.