Are you flying on Icelandair soon? No, the airline unfortunately has not yet decided to fly to Greenland, but you can still experience Greenland on board in two other ways!
1) Get inspired by this “Tip of the Iceberg” article about nature, gastronomy, and culture in Greenland on page 42 of Icelandair Stopover (summer 2015 edition).
2) Just look out the window! If you’re flying between North America and Europe on a day with clear skies, you can see Greenland from 30000 feet for approximately 45 minutes, and IT. IS. BREATHTAKING. Like this! (I’ve done this maybe 15-20 times and I’m still glued to the window for every second.)
First sign of Greenland! Sea ice off Greenland’s east coast, as seen from a westbound Icelandair summer flight, 45 minutes after takeoff from Reykjavík, Iceland. Time: 1815 UTC. Watch the LIVE video here!
Superglacial lakes making the Greenland Ice Sheet look like Swiss cheese, as seen from a westbound Icelandair summer flight, 60-70 minutes after takeoff from Reykjavík, Iceland. Time: 1840 UTC.
Finally, the white gives way to blue and tan again. Greenland’s west coast, as seen from a westbound Icelandair summer flight, 90 minutes after takeoff from Reykjavík, Iceland. Time: 1900 UTC. Watch the LIVE video here!
FYI: It is much more common to be able to see Greenland on a westbound flight than an eastbound flight. Part of this is due to the time of day. Westbound flights typically depart in the evening (17:00) from Reykjavík and fly into the sunlight. By contrast, eastbound flights typically depart in the late evening (20:00 from east coast USA, 16:00-17:00 from west coast USA) and fly into the darkness. Another reason is due to the flight route. For reasons unbeknownst to me, the westbound flights tend to reach higher latitudes (61*N – 64*N) more often than the eastbound flights, which just barely reach the southern tip of Greenland (59*N).
FYI: It is much more common to be able to see Greenland in spring and summer than in autumn and winter. In late autumn and winter, the sun has usually set too low to be able to see much, even though you’re flying into the sun. But in spring and summer, there is plenty of sunlight to illuminate super Greenland!
Are you interested to see more footage of Greenland’s landscape from the air? See my Through the Airplane Window: Videos of Flying in Greenland post!
Thanks for the tip. I’ll be looking this summer as we fly over 🙂