San Diego is definitely an “A” seat city

I actually paid for my first “Even More Legroom” seat upgrade as part of the AYCJ pass this morning.  I had neglected to reserve a seat in advance for my flight from JFK to San Diego (big mistake, I know) and I was faced with the option of paying for the EML seat or being stuck in 17E for the flight.  Given my strong aversion towards sitting in the middle seat I coughed up the cash and selected 4A a window seat.

At the boarding gate the agent was waiting for me.  Apparently she had to change my seat to accommodate a family traveling together.  When informed of this I immediately asked if it was still an “A” seat.  It was, though she also offered me an “F” window seat.  My response, “But we’re flying into San Diego; I need the A seat,” threw her for a loop.  But it is true.  Flying into San Diego is an event where you really want to be on the left side of the plane.

The final approach is unlike any other airport.  First you get to see the navy ship yards and the iconic Coronado Island bridge.


Then you’re right next to a whole slew of high-rise office buildings and right over the top of a parking garage that makes you wonder if the pilot is looking to park the plane or land it. 

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The views on departure out the left side of the plane aren’t half bad either, looking down on Mirimar (I think) and Coronado Island).


And, just for fun, here’s one last shot of the inbound flight, with the fog sitting in the hills of Southern California or Mexico (I’m not exactly sure where we were at this point in the flight).


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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Yup, gotta sit on the left flying into SAN. I've done it maybe five times, and it's my favorite approach (I never experienced the landing at the old Hong Kong airport). Hope you had a chance to actually look around in town a bit.

    Oh, and no, that's not Miramar, which as far as I know is on the main land, not on Coronado Island. According to my iPhone Google map, it's called North Island NAS (I would have bet cash it was called Coronado NAS). I remember spending a few afternoons at the beach near the Hotel Del Coronado and having Navy jets doing landing practice right over me 🙂

  2. Indeed. Miramar, now a Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) is further out in the desert east of the city. It's the former home of TOPGUN, which is now much further inland at NAS Fallon in Nevada.

  3. We were on the left flying into San Diego without even trying – hooray for us! (Will have to remember to consult you about seat locations next time we're flying anywhere.)

  4. Actually, Miramar is almost due north of SAN, not east out in the desert. Those are some nice shots and it makes me miss living there a little.

    Flying on the right is not without its views though, as one can see all of Mission Valley and the Balboa Park/San Diego Zoo area nicely.

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