I flew from Chicago Midway (MDW) to Las Vegas (LAS) recently, and the view was fantastic most of the way. There were some areas of "chop" around the Front Range of the Rockies, and these clouds show the areas of turbulence at the bottom of the fast-moving jet stream. We felt some of that turbulence up near the top at 40,000 feet. The jet stream core in winter is moving very fast. On my flight at 41,000 feet, the winds were only 70 knots. Descending through 33,000 feet, we saw 135 knots of headwind, and at 28,000, the winds were once again about 70 knots from the west. Like the eddies along the edge of a fast-moving stream of water, the edges of the jet stream are occasionally bumpy.
During the first half of the flight from Chicago, the terrain is simply one farm after another--not the most interesting view after an hour or so. Once past the Front Range of the Rockies (just west of Denver/Colorado Springs), things got really interesting. Like it or not, if you are on my flight, you are going to get the running monologue from the cockpit because, clouds permitting, the view is amazing.This is what we see from up front when looking west over Colorado Springs.
Further to the west, we saw Monument Valley dusted in fresh snow. White sure makes for an unusual contrast against the usual pink tones formed by iron in the rock.
The same was true for the Grand Canyon. Here's the South Rim from about 24,000 feet as ATC descended us into the LAS traffic flow. With the low sun angle this time of year, it is tough to look south but the rock colors just jump out at you, despite the sun's glare.
If you'd like to see gorgeous views like these, buy a seat at southwest.com!!!!