Coming in for landing at Los Angeles International Airport, LAX, there is an airplane arrival route called the Santa Monica Arrival.
On a clear day, if you typically sit on the LEFT side of the airplane by the window you will have a great view of downtown Los Angeles.
Many arrival-patterns at airports
Every airport has their own designated arrival patterns. You can compare that to when you want to drive from point A to point B in your own town.
There are many routes you can take to get to your destination.
In the air your arrival route is predetermined and depicted on aeronautical arrival charts. You follow the chart’s depiction, combined with the possibility of necessary off-path arrival needs, either by local weather or vectoring by Air Traffic Control’s dynamic needs for safety and practicality.
The Santa Monica arrival views
At some point after that your airplane will be making a roght turn, which gives you a great view all the way to the San Gabriel Mountains, Glendale and Pasadena.
Then you turn final for landing. Now you can enjoy a view of Long Beach and the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
Then, you can expect a smooth landing into LAX.
…That is, if your pilot is a true “
And that is something every pilot always strive for :-).
Arriving LAX Airport from other directions
Coming from the West or the North
The Santa Monica arrival is just one out of many arrivals into LAX that offers you an excellent opportunity to get a glimpse of the Los Angeles Basin.
Your arrival pattern is based on where you are coming from.
The arrival coming in over Santa Monica is a typical flying pattern you will experience if you are coming from points from the west or the north of the airport.
Examples of such points from the west include inbound flights from Honolulu and Asia.
Coming from the north you may be arriving from San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, Portland, Anchorage, and any other location north of
Coming from the East
Are you coming from places east, such as New York, Houston, or Chicago?
Then, chances are you’d arrive over the Palm Springs or the Big Bear area.
If you sit on the right side of the airplane you’ll get a fabulous view of the San Bernadino and San Gabriel mountains. On the left side you’ll see all the way to Orange County if the visibility is clear.
As soon as you are over Ontario you’ll feel your plane making a left turn for a straight-in approach to LAX.
On the right, you’ll see Pasadena and Los Angels downtown. If you sit on the left side you will see Long Beach and Palos Verdes Peninsula.
Coming from the South
Depending on where in the south you’re coming from, you may be able to have a great arrival view of the coast from San Diego to Orange County.
From there you will feel the airplane turning right to get aligned with an landing on the runway located south at the airport.
Tell us about your LA-views from the air
Have you flown into LAX? Questions? What views impressed you the most? You can comment below.