Got a favorite airport approach?


The LaGuardia Expressway Visual landing as seen on the IFE map
The LaGuardia Expressway Visual landing as seen on the IFE map

Spend enough time flying and there’s a decent chance you’ll come up with some favorite experiences. Favorite airline, favorite seat, favorite connecting airport and even potentially a favorite landing. Just this past weekend I was treated to one of my favorites: the Expressway Visual at LaGuardia right at sunset. It was spectacular.

The timing of that just happens to coincide with an annual poll where private jet broker PrivateFly wants to know what your favorite is. And, as much as I love the Expressway Visual, it actually wasn’t on my nominees list for this year’s survey. My two suggestions this time around were for Queenstown, New Zealand and Saba in the Dutch Antilles. I love the Queenstown arrival for the way it is nestled in between the mountains, with the lush landscape below. It is a great combination of exhilarating and beautiful.

queenstown-new-zealand-landing

Saba’s landing also involves a mountain, mostly for the purpose of navigation. As in fly right towards it. It is a spectacularly short runway with steep drops into the Caribbean at either end. Not quite aircraft carrier short, but exciting nonetheless.

And who knows; the draw of my hometown might end up pulling me in to vote for LaGuardia in the end. But the list, a great mix of remote landscapes and urban options, is a fun read.

What’s your vote?

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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, LinkedIn and .

35 Comments

  1. Expressway visual is stunning. I esp. like coming in from YYZ: Often approach right over LGA, angle SW with a banking turn over Times Square to go down the Hudson, then an beautiful loop around the southern tip of Manhattan to line up for the approach.

  2. – most LAX approach from west to east, the right side window sees the Hollywood sign
    – most LAS approach from west to east, the right side window sees the entire strip
    – DCA north-south river approach, left side window overlooking the entire National Mall
    – LGA south-north approach over Queens, left side window sees east side Manhattan
    – LGA south-north approach over Hudson river, right side window sees west side Manhattan
    – EWR north-south approach, left side window sees west side of Manhattan
    – Many variants of ORD+MDW approaches can see the Chicago skyline with the Willis Tower and Hancock Center
    – on a super clear day with unlimited visibility, a southwest-northeast approach at HKG left windows can see Macao’s skyline dotted with the casinos
    – on a clear day at SYD, the north-south approach left side window sees the Sydney harbor and the Opera House
    – the east-west approach at FRA can see the ECB, but that’s zzzzzzzzzzzzz
    – some southwest-northeast approaches at SIN can see the entire CBD and Marina Bay Sands

  3. For stunning scenery, I love landing in JAC. For urban views, my two favorites are the river visual into DCA and the typical approach path in SAN.

  4. I love Innsbruck, both on landing and take-off, for the spectacular mountain and valley views.

    For major airports, little can beat the usual LHR approach, especially to 28L, with amazing views over central London, when seated on the right, and the approach to SFO from the north, when the plane turns over the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco, when seated on the left.

  5. Landing on the 4s at Boston Logan results in nice water/skyline views on the left side, but my favorite is CYTZ – watching the Toronto skyline from down low as you come in for a short landing is really spectacular. I’ll take Billy Bishop every day over Pearson.

  6. Night landing into DCA at night on a north south approach is hard to beat.

    I don’t know which is more exciting the landing at Saba or the takeoff. In 1979 they where using a twin otter on a 1250 to 1300 foot runway. When we took off the pilot locked the brakes and revved the engines up and popped the brake and off we went downed the slopping runway. After landing in St Maarten I asked the pilot what would he do since after about 500m feet there wasn’t anyway he could stop the takeoff. His quick answer was “we do that for the tourist..I could coast down and with the cliff at the end become airborne..But it would take hours to clean the plane.

  7. LGA and DCA are amazing but hold special family memories, they’ll always be special. I also love looping over central Maui to land to the north; we approached along the west side of Haleakela and then turned 180 for landing…beautiful

    But my most favorite approach is always wherever I call home…I guess I’m a softy that way.

  8. San Diego…….flying into SAN during early evening hours after sunset, you can (almost!) see people working at their computers in the high rise office buildings approaching from the south. Views of the of the Coronado Bridge at sunset can be pretty spectacular too.

  9. Coming in over water to BOS bc it looks like you’re about to land in the ocean and then you suddenly touch down on land.

  10. El Alto at La Paz, Bolivia, has a great closeup view (some feel a too great closeup view) of Mt. Illimani at the world’s highest major commercial airport. There have been plane crashes into the mountain.

  11. I love landing into SIN onto runway 02C with the city to the left on the approach. The bay below is dotted with ships and on a clear day as the sun sets behind the skyscrapers, it’s a stunning sight to see.

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