As mentioned previously, I have flown my whole life. And for as long as I can remember, I have always loved sitting in a window seat. I have never worried about how many people I would have to climb over, in the event I need to use the lav during the flight, though I sometimes try to temper my liquid intake beforehand. Too much information there?
You may be wondering why I enjoy the window seat instead of the coveted, roomier aisle seat? There are a few reasons for this. First, it makes the flight seem shorter when you have a view of constantly-changing scenery. Second, I have never been able to sleep well on planes, but having the wall to lean on with the white noise of the engines and air rushing by at Mach .085 does have a calming effect on me. Finally, a window seat view provides the chance to see landmarks that you may never otherwise see – or at least not from this unique perspective.
I do use some strategy in my seat selection when boarding the plane. The first choice to make is my row. I usually like to sit behind the wing because I think the wing provides an interesting element in the photo, along with some sense of scale. I usually fly Southwest Airlines on Boeing 737s and I like row 18 because not only does it have a great wing view, it is also one of the first rows to receive drinks in that section of the plane. My other criteria for selecting a seat is which side to sit on. Some people may never give this a thought. Others may just go with what feels right at the moment, perhaps next to an attractive stranger, or as far as possible from the screaming baby. Here is my Pro Tip: I like to choose my side of the plane based on the direction of our route at cruising altitude, and what side of the plane the sun will be on. For my photos, I like to have the sun on the other side of the plane, versus shining into my window – unless I’m shooting right at sunrise or sunset like in the top photo. Having the sun behind me means that the wing will be lit nicely and there will be little to know glare or sun flare into my camera. So for example, if I am flying North in the morning, I want to sit on the left side of the plane (when seated) because the sun will be on the other side.
Due to the nature of our flight privileges I don’t always get to choose the window seat on or near Row 18, but any window seat can provide an good opportunity for an interesting photo. No matter where I sit, I still try to get some part of the wing or engine into the frame.
Hopefully my seating strategy makes sense to all but the most directionally-challenged. Any camera can take good photos from the window seat. I also like to play with my iPhone camera in flight, using apps such as Hipstamatic and Instagram. Wherever you happen to sit, take the opportunity to shoot a few photos and be creative with it. You might surprise yourself with what you or your viewers end up liking.