Yesterday I flew to New Orleans through Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. As we landed at Dulles, the pilot announced that on the left side of the plane we would pass the space shuttle, still atop the special plane that carried it, piggyback, to D.C. so it can be displayed at the Smithsonian. Pretty cool!
Of course, I was on the right side of the plane. So, as the people on the left side of the plane oohed and aahed and took pictures with their phones, blocking their windows in the process, people on the right side of the plane craned their necks to get a crappy look at the shuttle.
This happens to me all the time. Whenever the pilot announces that my plane is passing something interesting — the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the Grand Canyon, the mother ship of an approaching alien invasion — I’m always on the other side of the plane. Always! I never get to look out my window and enjoy the life-defining sight.
What’s the appropriate etiquette in that situation? Elbowing your way across the passengers on the other side of the plane to get a better view? Asking the lucky folks to talk a picture with your phone to dimly capture the moment? Insist that the pilot loop the plane around so that, for once, you can see the landmark from your side of the plane? My choice is always to sit in grim-faced silence, cursing my luck — and then hoping that the pilot stops being a tour guide and gets back to the job of getting to the destination and putting the plane safely back on the ground.