views flying into seattle

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373 Posts
Joined May 2005
We were wondering which side of the plane gives the best views of Mt. St. Helens and other mts. We'll be flying from Dallas on AA. Thanks in advance.
San Diego, CA USA
5,249 Posts
Joined May 2002
Your best bet would be to see if you can find a route map from American Airlines. This will give you the best idea... but flight plans can change depending on traffic & weather, so take it all with a grain of salt. Good luck!
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Seattle WA
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Joined Jan 2002
Originally posted by june1
We were wondering which side of the plane gives the best views of Mt. St. Helens and other mts. We'll be flying from Dallas on AA. Thanks in advance.
Depends which way the wind is blowing. Most of the time planes land to the south, which means they do their downwind leg to the north, then turn south for final approach. The mountains (meaning mainly Rainier - St. Helens is too far south) are to the south and east of Seattle, so sitting on the right side of the plane gives a slightly higher chance of seeing the mountains on the downwind leg, but no chance on final. The right side also will (typically) give good views of downtown Seattle, Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains on final.

However in the summer (good weather days) the wind blows from the north, so approaches into SEA are from the south, in which case you'll see the mountains out the right side on final approach. Landings to the north don't usually overfly Seattle itself.

Most but not all the time (I fly to/from DFW a fair bit) when crossing the Cascades coming into Seattle, Rainier is visible out the left side as you descend into the Seattle area. But not always.

Syracuse, New York
50,440 Posts
Joined May 2000
Usually Rainier isn't viewable. But I have seen it several times, sitting on the left- also could see Mt. St. Helen's and Mt Adams two trips. Lately my flights have been at night.
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Washington State
1,045 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
Originally posted by Budget Queen
Usually Rainier isn't viewable. But I have seen it several times, sitting on the left- also could see Mt. St. Helen's and Mt Adams two trips. Lately my flights have been at night.
She was a magnificant sight a few days this week .

I would sit on the left side of the plane, most of the flights I have been on fly close to Mt. Rainier with St. Helen's in the distance.
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Yep, I thought I was hallucinating when I saw her this morning, after not having done so for some months. 90% of the year she is invisible behind her veil of clouds.
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718 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
You will be coming from the SE. Usually, most airplanes fly real close to Mt Rainier . In the summertime it may be cloudy in the valleys, but usually the top 12,000 feet is above the clouds . You will be seing Mt Rainier on the right side and will see Mt St Helens on the left side.
Newport News VA
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This is what we saw from the left side of the plane as we approached Seattle:

That's Mt. Rainier. We couldn't see Mt. St. Helens but Mt. Rainier was huge!
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We flew south from Vancouver to Los Angeles last May, and sitting on the left side of the plane, I got beautiful pictures of Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier, Mt Hood in Oregon, AND Lake Tahoe!
Lighthouse Point, FL USA
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Joined Jun 2002
What about flying into Fairbanks from Seattle? Which side of the plane?
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