Friday, May 2, 2014

In-Flight Photos from Seat 19E, There and Back Again

 So I always select 19A to sit in for my super cheap Frontier flights to Houston. 

I also always buy the new Atlantic magazine when I fly and take a photo as I enter the plane of the animal on our plane's tail. I don't think I'm going to crash if I don't do any of these things, but I like the rituals. 

This time, as I was scooting row by row towards 19A I realize there's a guy installing a car seat into my spot. Behind him in the row is a little girl, maybe 2,  and a mom with a baby in a sling. The flight attendant asked me where I was heading and when I said 19A, everyone realized they'd been setting up shop on the wrong side of the plane. I wasn't about to insist they try to move the entire caravan, and took up 19E what would be the western facing side of the plane for our trip to Houston. 

I realized this side of the plane actually offers some better views. 

 Maya, the Jaguar, would be winging me to Houston. 

Jack was on the place next door. We had a staring contest. He won. 

After departure, 19E meant I would be on the right side of the plane (literally and figuratively) to see Colorado Springs from above. 

Leaving the Denver ranges behind

Over the Air Force Academy on the northern side of Colorado Springs, Pike's Peak just coming into view far left

In the center is the burn scar from last year's awful fire. All of that reddish area, back towards Pike's Peak was ash. It's also the source of the disastrous mudslides later in 2013.

Very center, looking very small, is the Garden of the Gods, with Pike's Peak towering behind. 

Coming up on The Broadmoor, center

Southern Colorado Springs and Fort Carson. Mom and Dad's neighborhood is just above the center here. 

So, coming home, I decided to stick with 19E. This meant I was staring off into the air fields while boarding. And I stared off for a long time. When I entered the airport, I knew something was up. It was 4:45 A.M. (flight left at 6:00) and there were ridiculous lines at every ticketing counter. Security was at a standstill with a long, winding queue. They started shuffling and rerouting people about ten minutes after I joined the line, but I was still able to walk from security to gate A30 and directly onto the place as they were already boarding my cheap zone 3. When I got on, there were possibly 10 people already seated. Most of the passengers were stuck in security themselves. I heard the attendant say, right before 6:00 security was now backed up to two hours and "we aren't waiting for anyone today." The middle seat to my left stayed empty. 

Taxiing for takeoff


Being in 19E meant I was staring directly east for the first half hour of the flight, which was precisely sunrise, before we'd gradually drift further NW.

Doesn't look like 1000 miles, does it?

Some shots of our rise over Houston:

Love this one with the NE corner of the Beltway and Lake Houston. 

I could follow the water ways up through the Woodlands, with their heavy foggy mists right above the meandering streams. 

Lake Livingston

Good shot of the mists over the tribuataries

And then the tiny slice of orange orb started to make its peeking appearance, so I spent the next five minutes taking pictures of its rising. The orbs you see in the photos were not visible to the eye. 

At that point, we rose above the clouds and the sun was so bright everyone closed their window blinds and we all snoozed the rest of the way. 

Last shot, because walking directly on the place meant I missed snapping a photo of my polar bears, was of the initial decent into Denver, looking east into Kansas.

P.S. Check out Flight Aware for flight paths, average departure and landing times over the week, as well as the average seat price. I undercut mine by 2/3s!


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