Saturday, September 12, 2009

Flying High

I came back from Chicago last night and am leaving for Las Vegas Sunday morning. Just home long enough to do laundry and pack up my family.

The weather in Chicago was perfect - no sweater or air conditioner needed. One of the few times I was leaving better weather than I was going home to in L.A..

I was a little concerned when I got on the plane. The new American Airline planes might be more efficient, but they are even more lagging in leg room. When I sat down, I felt like the seat in front of me was going to smother me. Okay, I’m a little claustrophobic which is why I always get an aisle seat. But then wonder of wonders the plane was so not crowded, I ended up with the whole row of three seats. It meant I could stretch my legs out and crochet another little cover for my BlackBerry. I wasn’t even bothered when the people in front of my reclined their seats.

I love looking out plane windows, though not enough to give up the freedom of my usual aisle seat. So having the whole section was great because I got to have both. When I finished the People Magazine crossword, which I love because I can actually do it, I started to look out the window. The sky looked like a midnight blue dome filled with stars. More stars than I ever see around my house. I could even see the milky way. For most of the way the ground was dark with clusters of lights here and there, but when we got near Las Vegas there were bigger clusters of light. I think it is so neat that I can pick out the ghostly ribbon of highway 15 - the same road we’ll be driving on to Vegas. I’ve traveled this air route enough to recognize places even at night. I knew when we passed the Lenwood exit near Barstow. We always stop at the Starbucks there both going to Vegas and on the way back home. After Barstow, the light show really began. We went over the high desert with Apple Valley, Victorville and Hesperia and then the plane went over the mountains and suddenly there was the whole Los Angeles basin filled with light as far as the eye could see. Lower and lower as we got closer and closer to the airport. By the time we went over the 405, the cars were looking pretty big. Then over the parking lot when the plane seemed so low I had a momentary feeling we might be landing there. But we made it to the runway and with a slight bump we were back on the ground.

And now to that laundry....


Monica Ferris said...

What a lovely description of flying! I was up in the air with you the whole trip.

Betty Hechtman said...

Thanks, Monica. Glad I could take you along.

Julie said...

I used to live in Las Vegas, and when landing or taking off at McCarran, I always look for Lone Mountain, off in the NW corner of the valley, where my little house is. Then flying into LA, seeing all the lights and the dark ocean beyond them. Love that trip, thanks for the reminder.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

I have to admit, I love the flight from St. Louis to Washington DC. The plane nearly always banks over the monuments. To see them from the air is thrilling--and shocking. Shocking that we can still view them from so close! I mean, I suppose it's literally miles and miles away, but the vantage point is so clearly fabulous that they seem spread out just for your viewing pleasure!

Like you, Betty, I have my little travel rituals. I used to always stop at the bookstore at Lambert Field (St. Louis aiport). But they've closed, sigh. So I guess we must always add new rituals as time goes on.

Betty Hechtman said...

Julie, how cool that you could pick out where your house was from the air.

Joanna, I've always been in my aisle seat when flying into DC. That must be a fabulous view. When I fly into Chicago, the plane goes all the way to the lake and then banks over downtown and gives a wonderful view of the skyline before heading back over the city to the airport.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I prefer the aisle seat, too, Betty, since I like to get up and walk around during most flights. But the last time I flew over my hometown of Pittsburgh I happened to have a window seat, and we flew right over the Point--the three rivers of downtown. Was that ever great! Having a whole row to yourself was definitely a plus.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Okay, free tip time.

Next flight, sit down and immediately open the barf bag.

You'll get the whole row to yourself.

Unless of course it's a packed house.

Next best idea? Bring on a crying baby.

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, the point sounds like a cool sight. There is something so neat about seeing something from above that you've seen on the ground. Google Earth is great, but it's not the same as seeing it live.

Joanna, good ideas for clearing a row. I tend to take the same flights back and forth to Chicago. I picked them because they are the least crowded.