Air travel can become really interesting if one plans ahead (or if one is lucky enough) to get a window seat. Keep the live map option on the touch screen monitor and periodically look outside the window. Every view would be a new surprise. One can get some really breathtaking scenes of our diverse mother nature. At the same time the live map gives the information of where the flight is.
Our journey from Dubai to Chicago was a long 16 hours flight; which means sitting, eating, walking, sleeping on the same aeroplane - this would certainly sound not so exciting or boaring for many. However, on such air travels, I got to see some amazing landscapes at different places on the globe. I was sitting in the window seat and the weather at most places was perfect.
Of course, this was not my first long route flight journey, but ya, you can say, this was my latest travel in Summer time, so I am writing about this one. I actually had one more really latest long distance air travel, but that was around in December, so even though I was sitting in the window seat, I couldn't get much nice views. Most of the time, in most regions, all I could see was a bed of clouds. Haha. Well, I shouldn't say I saw nothing but clouds; actually at some places I saw some amazing winter vistas, including snow covered mountains, snowy cities and yes, glaciers and iceberg filled waterbodies somewhere above Greenland and northern Canada. To see this winter beauty from the sky was equally awe inspiring.
Since this journey is from East to West, which means traveling in the direction of sun, we see daylight at all the places where flight travels ahead, if flight has taken off in daytime. Our flight took off in the morning from Dubai, and that's why I got to see all the different beautiful vistas in bright daylight. That was summertime in the northern hemisphere, so at many places there was almost clear sky, though at some places it was cloudy.
International flight travels at a very high level, way lot above the level of clouds. Hence if the weather outside is very cloudy, from the flight window, we can only see a dence layer of clouds spread everywhere. Almost all the international flights travel in the stratosphere. Stratospheric region starts around 30,000 to 40,000 ft high above the surface level. Flying in stratosphere benefits the airplanes in many ways such as, it causes low air resistance, less fuel burning and it provides better engine efficiency. The outside air temperature where the airplane flys is very low, in the range of say -40°C to -50°C and the air pressure is also very different, also because the flight is traveling in a fast speed. The inside cabin temperature as well as air pressure is highly regulated, so that humans can stay normally and they won't feel much difference in temperature and pressure. Though, sometimes some people might feel cold, hence, light blankets along with small pillows are provided in long route flights.
Flights traveling from Europe to North America; in fact all flights making any long transcontinental journey in the northern hemisphere, take the northern Arctic route. Instead of flying in a straight line right above the Atlantic Ocean (imagine a flat regular map of earth), such flights take an apparently curved route, flying above Iceland and Greenland and sometimes even above the north pole. The reason behind this is flights always want to take the closest possible paths, for the obvious reason of course, to save the major fuel cost. Our earth is spherical so what looks straight line and hence looks closest on a flat map, it is actually the longer path if seen on a sphere. Hence, the apparently curved route seen on the flat map of touch screen monitors provided in flights, is the closest possible.
Our flight from Dubai to Chicago, also took a similar Arctic route and flew above different countries including Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Poland and above the southern parts of Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Greenland. Then it came over Canada and finally it reached Chicago.
The flight that takes off in the morning from Dubai, reaches Chicago on the same day around late afternoon, even after completing the long 16 to 17 hours journey. This is because of the time difference in the two places. Chicago is far away to the west compared to Dubai, so Chicago timezone is almost 12 hours behind Dubai timezone.
In northern areas like Chicago, in summer, the day is lot longer than as compared to in winter. So in summer when a flight lands in Chicago at say around , even then the city has a bright daylight just like afternoon; whereas it's complete dark outside, when a flight lands around same time in winter, because of the smaller days. Strange, isn't it?
While landing in Chicago, I got to see the amazing complete view of the world famous Chicago skyline. Although, this wasn't the first time I was seeing those Chicago's architectural wonders from a flight, this time it was special. The weather and daylight in this 'Windy City' was perfect at that time and I got to capture some cool shots as well as a landing video too. Yay.
Happy me !!
~~ Seema's Photo Palette ~~
Happy me !!
~~ Seema's Photo Palette ~~