08/16/2012 08:16 am ET Updated Oct 16, 2012

Pilots Reveal Their Favorite Views From The Air

Sometimes the best vacation sightseeing begins before the wheels touch down on the runway.

A number of regularly traveled commercial flight paths showcase some of the nation's most beautiful vistas, from the Grand Canyon to Alaskan glaciers to historic lighthouses en route to Portland, Maine.

Pilots have their favorites views, and some tell stories of days before high fuel prices when they would seek permission from air-traffic controllers to pass close by prime sites or even double back to give passengers on both sides of a plane a great view.

A "canyon tour" of the Grand Canyon used to be a popular request to air-traffic controllers--pilots would descend to 5,000 to 10,000 feet above the canyon and fly over the top of the Colorado River for spectacular views while approaching Las Vegas.

Read more on The Wall Street Journal