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I'm an aisle guy, personally. I don't like having to push past people or force them to stand up every time I feel like stretching my legs. I'd rather be the guy that other people are pushing past.
Still, there are instances when the window seat on a plane is definitely the better option. There are certain commercial flights that are so scenically spectacular, so beautifully photo-worthy, that to request any other seat would be an absolute crime. These are just normal flights that happen to fly over very beautiful places.
If you're flying on any of the following routes, you're in luck: the sightseeing on your holiday begins the moment the wheels leave the tarmac. Just make sure you've got a window seat, and a camera.
NZ613 – Auckland to Queenstown (Air New Zealand)
This two-hour journey takes in almost everything that makes New Zealand so beautiful. You begin with the rolling green hills of the North Island, cross the Cook Strait, and all of a sudden you're following the snow-capped peaks and glacier-riven valleys of the Alps across to Lake Tekapo, and then south to Queenstown for one of the most spectacular airport approaches – above lakes and rivers hemmed in by jagged peaks – that you're ever likely to witness.
UA2093 – Dallas-Fort Worth to San Francisco (United Airlines)
This has to be the most scenic route in the US, a four-hour journey that begins with the urban sprawl of Dallas, before ascending over the barren Texas panhandle and eventually hitting the Rocky Mountains around Utah. And soon after that, you discover the true scenic highlight of the flight: Yosemite National Park. Even the approach into SFO, with glimpses of the bay and Golden Gate Bridge, is spectacular.
NF240 – Port Vila to Tanna Island (Air Vanuatu)
The views from any island-hopping flight are going to be spectacular, and this is one of the best. Departing the Vanuatu capital, Port Vila, you head out over Mele Bay, before making a left turn and setting course over wide blue ocean for Tanna, a volcanic island plopped in the middle of the Pacific. The views of the volcano as you approach the airport at White Grass are truly memorable.
AC8889 – Vancouver to Whitehorse (Air Canada)
There are actual, dedicated scenic flights that have nothing on this amazing journey, which tracks the jagged peaks of the Rocky Mountains as they unfurl to the north of British Columbia and on into the Yukon. Around Vancouver it's all lush forests and sparkling water, but pretty soon that view turns to white peaks and glaciers as you hit the spectacular high country.
CX257 – Hong Kong to London Heathrow (Cathay Pacific)
Hong Kong is a great place to take off from, and London Heathrow can be an amazing airport to land at, given the sheer amount of traffic you're sharing the sky with. However, the highlight of this journey is in the middle: the vast tracts of the Gobi Desert above China; the plains of the Mongolian Steppe; the icy wilderness of Siberia. It's even better than watching Miss Congeniality for the fifth time.
LA2081 – Lima to Puerto Maldonado (LATAM)
Peru is a country of amazing natural diversity, and you get the perfect snapshot of it all while flying from Lima to Puerto Maldonado. Once the sprawl of the capital disappears from over the wingtip, you're into the foothills of the Andes, which quickly become the spectacular mountain range that's the home of Machu Picchu. Eventually you pop over to the other side, where the lushness of the Amazon rainforest awaits.
CX785 – Hong Kong to Denpasar (Cathay Pacific)
While there's nothing much of interest for the first half of this flight, as it heads out over the South China Sea, things get really interesting once you hit Borneo. CX785 crosses land at Sabah, skirting spectacular Mt Kinabalu, before taking in a good few hours of the volcanic ranges, dense jungles and thick, sluggish rivers of Kalimantan.
QF63 – Sydney to Johannesburg (Qantas)
If you can't afford to take a dedicated scenic flight to Antarctica, there's good news: the shortest route between Sydney and Johannesburg is to fly south, which means QF63 regularly brushes the edge of the great white continent at the base of the globe. To ensure the best views of icebergs and tundra, make sure you're seated on the port, or left-hand side, of the plane, and hope for good weather.
M8 – Male to South Ari Atoll, Maldives (Trans Maldivian Airways)
You could easily sell this seaplane transfer from the Maldivian capital of Male to the stunningly tropical South Ari Atoll, home to several upscale resorts, as a scenic flight alone. The views are as you would expect: flawlessly clear water dotted with coral reef and sandy cays, worthy of a good hundred or so photos.
H21 – Santiago to Punta Arenas (Sky Airline)
How beautiful is Patagonia? You'll know full well after taking the Sky Airline flight from Santiago, the Chilean capital, all the way down to Punta Arenas in the country's far south. The flight path follows the Andes Mountains from the stunning Lakes District, down through rugged northern Patagonia, and into the amazing fjord land of the south.
U24826 – Zurich to Naples (easyJet)
Obviously, Switzerland is going to be beautiful. This is one of the most visually stunning countries on the planet – you really can't go wrong for the first half of your journey. Then, however, you're into Italy, which is probably not that exciting once you've left the Dolomites behind; that is, until you begin the descent into Naples, with views of Pompeii, Mt Vesuvius, the Isle of Capri, the Amalfi Coast and more visible for the lucky few.
VW537 – Mexico City to Puerto Escondido (Aeromar)
First, Mexico City. You can't truly appreciate how mind-bogglingly large this city is until you're flying above it, watching as it stretches on, and on, and on into the distance. Once you've cleared the DF's urban sprawl, however, you'll cross the Sierra Madre del Sur, the spectacular highlands of Oaxaca, spying winding mountain roads and small villages, before descending to beautiful, coastal Puerto Escondido.
What is the most scenic commercial flight you've ever taken? What about the visually dullest?