Pilots reveal their favourite scenic views from the cockpit

Pilots reveal their favourite scenic views from the cockpit


The flight routes you HAVE to bag a window seat on: From the Grand Canyon to the Alps, pilots reveal their favourite scenic journeys (and some incredible cockpit snaps from them)

  • Pilots say they love the jaw-dropping views across the Alps and on the route from Manchester to Tunisia 
  • The flight from Manchester to Las Vegas offers stunning views of both the Grand Canyon and The Strip  
  • Flying into Skiathos offers views not only of the Greek islands but also of the Alps and the Croatian coastline 

They say the journey can be the best bit of the holiday.

And these pictures prove the point.

They’ve all been taken by pilots from Thomas Cook, who voted for the flights that they think are the best for awe-inspiring views on take-off, landing or mid-flight.

The recommendations include Manchester to Enfidha Hammamet Airport in Tunisia, which offers stunning vistas over The Alps, and London Stansted to Skiathos, which wraps in unbeatable views of both the Croatian coastline and the Greek islands dotted around in the Aegean and Ionian seas.

First Officer Victoria McCarthy said: ‘As pilots, we are lucky to have the best office window in the world, so when we take our travellers on holiday, we try to use the PA as much as we can to let them know what they can actually see out of the window – not just the routing information.

‘It might be an incredible view of Venice, or the Alps. I never take it for granted, so it’s important to me that everyone enjoys the whole flying experience.’ Scroll down to find out which routes you’ll definitely want to bag a window seat on…

Manchester Airport to Enfidha-Hammamet Airport (Tunisia) for views of the Alps 

One of the best ways to get a stunning view of the white peaks of the Alps is to catch a flight from Manchester Airport to Tunisia. According to pilot Jason Ramsey, an early morning flight is best, although any flight in daylight hours should be fine

Ramsey says that the left-hand side of the plane is best on the way out of Manchester and, following the same logic, the right-hand side best on the return for optimum views of the Alps. He added: ‘If you’re lucky or eagle-eyed, you may even be able to make out Mont Blanc, Europe’s highest mountain’

Manchester Airport to McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas) for views of the Grand Canyon and Strip   

A firm-favourite route with Thomas Cook Airlines’ pilots for views is from Manchester Airport to Las Vegas, because the Las Vegas Strip and its bright neon lights hove into view on the approach

As well as seeing The Strip, passengers on the Manchester to Las Vegas route are also treated to incredible views of Grand Canyon National Park. Pilot Dave Crichton says passengers can take in the scenery either flying into or out of Las Vegas and from either side of the aircraft

London Stansted to Skiathos International Airport for views of the Croatian coast and Greek islands

According to Thomas Cook Airlines’ pilots, taking an early morning flight from Stansted to Skiathos means passengers will see the Alps, Croatia’s coastline and the incredible Greek islands scattered throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas. Pilot Victoria McCarthy said: ‘Coming into land over the Greek Islands is my favourite. Not just the view but the fact everything is happening at once, and all coming together. Landing is the most exciting part for the pilot.’ Pictured is the island of Skiathos

Manchester Airport to San Francisco International Airport for views of Greenland and Golden Gate Bridge

Most of Greenland is covered by a sheet of bright white ice but according to Thomas Cook Airlines’ pilots, the fringes of the  island have more colour, meaning it can be made out from the windows of passing planes. On a clear day, the fjords cutting into the coastline and glaciers rising out of the water are sometimes visible

As the aircraft makes its approach into San Francisco, passengers get a bird’s eye view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Pilot Astrid Herz said: ‘It’s stunning to overfly the bay and see the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. You also get some good views of the mountains and the city’

Manchester Airport to JFK Airport (New York) for views of Manhattan 

Pilot Jason Ramsey says the iconic New York skyline is a sight that takes some beating – especially at night. As a bonus, he adds that it doesn’t matter which side of the aircraft you are sitting on during the approach to the Big Apple, as both guarantee splendid views

London Stansted to Oslo Airport for views of the Norwegian fjords and the Northern Lights 

Passengers flying from London Stansted to Oslo at night are sometimes lucky enough to see an aerial view of the Northern Lights. Pilot Simon Rockett recently caught this fantastic view of the Aurora Borealis from the flight deck

London Gatwick to Orlando International Airport for views of Kennedy Space Center 

On the flight from Orlando International to London Gatwick, the plane flies directly over the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. Pilots say passengers wanting to catch a view should ideally be on the left-hand side of the aircraft

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