Even though personal space in planes is shrinking, I still prefer a window seat, the least roomy of all. The fuselage's curvature cramps my side and the storage area for carry-ons? Hardly accommodates my feet.
The window may be scratched and the trip to the aisle involves an obstacle course around legs and tray tables holding spillables. But to me, the inconveniences are worth it.
I guestimate the most likely flight path for optimal viewing and then beeline to a window seat either just forward or behind the wing. Most of the time my planning pays off and I've seen some awesome sights.
On a winter red-eye flight from Anchorage to Chicago I snatched a seat on the left and witnessed a display of the northern lights undulating like a mood ring's changing colors and patterns.
Fifty years ago the Hong Kong airport was located smack-dab in the downtown area. On a night approach we circled the harbor's calm waters reflecting glittering lights like gems on the crown jewels. Our captain welcomed us to an area with high-rise buildings whose blinking neon billboards pulsated with brand names.
Flying from Australia to Jakarta, I marveled at boats resembling Wheat Chex floating in the Indian Ocean.
Two days after the summer solstice, I photographed random white dots in the North Atlantic Ocean, icebergs floating near Greenland.
A short hop between Cuzco and Arequipa in Peru gave me an up-close-and-personal look at the perfect cone-shaped El Misti peak in the Andes. What a sight — blinding white snow, pristine and so close, I felt I could reach out and touch it.
I could ramble on about out-the-oval-window views of the Grand Canyon, Statue of Liberty and herds of elephants in Kenya but sometimes the most mundane and familiar sights offer the most comfort. During my globetrotting treks around six continents, one view most passengers would probably ignore would always stir excitement and nostalgia in me: a small red house nestled among sugar maple trees, an aerial panorama welcoming me home.
Patricia Misiuk is a Lakeland resident whose bucket list includes getting a window seat with no passengers in the adjacent middle and aisle seats. You can reach her at SHOOK46@aol.com.