Like many California families we tend to drive to our vacation destinations. This time though, for our trip to San Diego we boarded a plane and took to the skies. My wife and I haven’t flown since before our kids were born and they’ve never even been on a plane, let alone flown in one. All of our airline experiences are pre-9/11 based.
The sierra mountains viewed from 32,000 feet. (Camera: Canon 20D. Lens: Canon 70-200mm @ 70mm. Exposure: 1/500sec., @ f/9. ISO: 200)
We got to Sacramento International Airport about 1-1/2 hours before our flight on Southwest at 9:30 a.m. We had to stand in line just to remove our shoes, belts and keys to get through airport security. Then it was just a matter of sitting and waiting for our plane to arrive.
With boarding procedure intricacies being what they are, we were nearly the last ones to board the plane. My kids and I were able to find seats together, but my wife had to sit a row away. Tins of sardines came to mind as the seating definitely reflected the economy nature of our flight. Still it was less than 1-1/2 hours of flying, complete with soda and peanuts.
A aerial view of San Diego. (Camera: Canon 20D. Lens: Canon 16-35mm @ 16mm. Exposure: 1/400sec., @ f/8. ISO: 200)
The kids were wide-eyed and awe-struck as the 737 revved up and rumbled down the runway. The ride smoothed out as we became airborne. The view from 32,000 feet up was spectacular to say the least. Clear skies followed us. I recall seeing a only one wisp of a cloud on our trip. My son marveled at how everything looked ant-sized and my daughter thought it was a kick to see the swimming pools in the people’s backyards.
We arrived in San Diego at about 11:00 am. and it was a relatively smooth touchdown. Our flight path took us so close to some tall buildings near the downtown area of San Diego, it looked as if we could almost reach out and wash the windows as we flew by.
A view of downtown from a Boeing 737 on approach to San Diego International Airport. (Camera: Canon 20D. Lens: Canon 16-35mm @ 35mm. Exposure: 1/500sec., @ f/7.1. ISO: 200)
It would have taken us an estimated 9-10 hours of driving had we traveled by car. We were able to catch our flight, get our rental car, check in at our hotel, eat lunch, and tour the mission in less time that it would have taken us just to drive. With all the quirks of flying, it was still better than driving.