My flight out of Oakland today was mid-taxi, just about to turn onto the active runway and take off, when we suddenly came to a complete stop and the captain came on the PA to explain why. Space Shuttle Endeavor would be flying overhead, latched onto its special 747 on a flyby route buzzing the San Francisco Bay. The whole plane – passengers and crew – clamored for the left side windows, and I was one of the few who could get to my camera without unpacking a bag or booting up a phone so I took a couple awkward shots leaning across the window seat passenger. She was actually in my seat and I should have objected when I boarded since I pick window seats on purpose, but I was nice and let her keep it – now I wish I had been more pushy, as I could have perhaps taken a slightly better picture.
Regardless, it was an unusual moment that won’t happen again, as Endeavor’s landing marks the last time a shuttle will fly. The passengers buzzed excitedly afterward and then sat quietly without protest waiting for the runway to be opened again – a rare moment of reserved patience from modern air travelers. It was poignant and cool, a lot cooler than these pixely pictures indicate.