9 top spotting airports to reach by budget airline

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Asia, Caribbean, Dubai, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Miscellaneous Spotting, Netherlands, North America, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Sint Maarten, Spain, USA, Western Europe | Posted on 21-11-2014

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Spotting isn’t the cheapest hobby, especially if you want to do a lot of it. So I thought I’d look at a few of the best spotting airports that are easily accessible by budget airlines. Hopefully it’ll give you some inspiration for your next trips!

 

Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Palma-Vueling

By Peter Bakema [GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia Commons

Palma is one of the busiest holiday airports in Europe, particularly during the summer months. Airlines ferry holidaymakers in droves from all over northern Europe, so you’ll see charter and low-cost airlines as well as Spanish regional aircraft. Palma is a big base for Air Berlin, and plenty of other budget airlines also fly there year-round, including easyJet, Ryanair and Vueling.

 

Amsterdam Schiphol, Netherlands

Amsterdam easyJet

By Aero Icarus from Zürich, Switzerland [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Although it is one of Europe’s busiest and largest airports, and is also a stronghold of national airline KLM, Schiphol is surprisingly easy to get to by budget airline. easyJet links many destinations across Europe, whilst Flybe and Jet2 link a number of additional points in the UK.

 

Singapore Changi

Photo by Calvin Teo

Photo by Calvin Teo

A major Asian powerhouse and the hub of the large Singapore Airlines. Changi is also on the route map of many low cost and budget airlines, including home-based Jetstar Asia, Tigerair and Valuair, plus regional carriers Air Asia and Lion Air. Long haul low-cost flights are provided by Jetstar and Scoot to destinations across Asia and Australia.

 

Dubai International, UAE

Flydubai fleet

You may think of Emirates when you think of Dubai, but the second largest carrier at the Middle East hub is Flydubai, a budget airline serving destinations across Africa, the Middle East, Indian subcontinent They even fly into Europe. It makes a more affordable way to reach the airport for some spotting.

 

Atlanta Hartsfield International, GA

Southwest Airlines Heart Livery

Atlanta was known as the busiest airport in the world for many years, largely because of the huge presence of Delta Air Lines reaching across the globe and to many points across the United States. However, the airport’s second largest carrier is Southwest Airlines following its acquisition of Airtran. This means you can get to Atlanta from destinations across America at great prices.

 

Dallas Ft Worth, TX

Spirit Airlines

Another US airport which is dominated by a home based legacy carrier – in this case American Airlines – you may be surprised to find that you have good budget options that don’t require a trip to nearby Love Field. Spirit Airlines recently announced a number of new routes from Dallas to regional and leisure destinations to add to its existing network from the airport.

 

Warsaw Chopin, Poland

Wizz Air

The capital of Poland is a major hub for budget carrier Wizz Air which fights bitterly with full service national carrier LOT. You can also reach Warsaw via carriers Norwegian, Air Berlin, Germanwings and Vueling.

 

Moscow Domodedovo, Russia

By Milad A380 (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Milad A380 (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

For years it was only possible to reach Moscow via traditional full service airlines, or one of Aeroflot’s classic Soviet airliners. However, recent agreements have led to a number of low cost airlines from outside Russia offering flights to Domodedovo. Most significant perhaps is easyJet, which flies from two points in the UK. Other budget airlines flying to Moscow include Air Berlin, Germania, Niki, Meridiana fly, Vueling and Air Arabia.

 

St Maarten, Caribbean

St Maarten Jetblue

A spotters paradise which is on the bucket list of many who like to photograph airliners at close quarters. But it’s not necessary to spend mega bucks getting there with big airlines, particularly from North America, since budget airlines such as Jetblue, Sun Country and Westjet fly regularly to the island.

Greatest Flights – Winair to St Barthelemy

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Caribbean, Greatest Flights, Sint Maarten | Posted on 07-03-2014

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St Barths Tis Meyer

Tis Meyer / planepics.org

If you’re like me, you’re not easily phased by somewhat seat of the pants flying. The focus of this Greatest Flights piece is Winair’s DHC-6 Twin Otter flights from St Maarten to St Barthelemy (St Barths for short).

Flying in and out of St Maarten is an experience in itself, given the spectacular beach location of the runway. But flying from there to St Barths gives passengers the chance to experience a very steep approach to a short runway, barely skimming the tops of cars and heads of cyclists on a road close to the end of the runway. At the opposite end is the sea, so you’d better hope the pilot knows where the brakes are!

Here’s a video of the approach and landing:

You can book flights with Winair here.

St. Maarten Aviation Photography Competition

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Caribbean, Miscellaneous Spotting, Sint Maarten | Posted on 27-02-2013

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If you’re going to be in St. Maarten any time over the next month, there’s an aviation-themed photo competition with a serious prize that you can take part in.

Photographs must depict an aviation-related action, with an aircraft visible amid a St. Maarten backdrop. The photographer of the winning image will receive a US$2,500 cash prize.

This comes on the heels of St. Maarten’s airport being just named the most stunning airport approach in the world by PrivateFly.com. The airport is located on the scenic shores of Maho Beach, offering passengers on incoming flights breathtaking views of turquoise waters and white sand beaches. Spectators looking to get a unique view of low-flying incoming planes frequent Maho Beach daily. This one-of-a-kind setting lures tourists and photographers from around the world to the island to capture exclusive shots of arriving planes.

7 Most Bizarre Airport Runways

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Asia, Caribbean, France, Japan, Portugal, Sint Maarten, Thailand, Western Europe | Posted on 30-11-2012

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David Eaves at Private Jet Charter has compiled this great selection of some of the most bizarre airport runways around the world.

How many of them have you travelled to? Are they as crazy in an aircraft as they look from the outside?

 

1. Funchal Airport’s Extended Runway

Above: When engineers were looking for a viable way to extend Funchal Airport’s dangerously brief runway, they cleverly opted to ‘rest’ the enormous structure on 180 pillars, each measuring 230ft, rather than using landfill to support the strip. – more info.

2. Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport runway

Image Source

Above: This is the only airport on the Caribbean island of Saba and because it is so short it is extremely difficult for even very experienced pilots to land on. – more info.

3. Princess Juliana International Airport runway

Above: The beach pictured can be found on the island of Saint Martin in the Caribbean and is unfortunately located directly underneath the landing path of planes approaching the airport runway.

 

4. Gibraltar Airport’s Runway

Image source

Above: This airport runway located in Gibraltar is one of the only airport runways to intersect a public road. The runway operates similarly to a train crossing so traffic is put on hold whilst planes take off.

 

5. Don Mueang International Airport Runway

Above: The bizarre thing about the runways at this Bangkok airport is that there is about this an 18 hole golf course situated between the two different runways.

 

6. Courchevel Airport Runway

Above: Courchevel Airport is a French airport that serves Courchevel, which is located in a ski area in the French Alps mountain. The airport has a very short runway of only 525 m (1,722 ft) with gradient of 18.5%. – more info.

 

7. Kobe Airport Runway

Above: The picture above is of one of Japan’s custom made runways on an artificial island just off the coast of Kobe which can be seen on Google maps. More info can be found on Wikipedia.

Best of the Web – Airport Spotting Videos – Air France A340 Go Around!

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Caribbean, Sint Maarten, Spotting Videos | Posted on 31-08-2012

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This video has been doing the rounds this week, and it’s pretty spectacular. If you’ve been to St. Maarten in the Caribbean, you’ll know how low big jets come over Maho Beach just before landing. Well, throw in a tropical storm and things get interesting! Enjoy…

St Maarten – an alternative hotel for spotting

Posted by Matt Falcus | Posted in Airport Spotting Guide, Caribbean, Sint Maarten, Spotting Hotels | Posted on 14-05-2012

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The Sonesta Hotel at Maho Beach has become known as one of the great plane spotting destinations in the world, due mainly to the dramatic low arrivals of huge airliners only inches above peoples’ heads.

The hotel itself has great views, with balconies overlooking these final few seconds of the approach, and also of aircraft lining up for takeoff.

However, the place can be quite expensive. Therefore, you may be surprised to know that there is an alternative for spotting at Sint Maarten.
It is a smallish hotel, with 40 rooms. It includes free internet in guests’ rooms, and on-site restaurants, as well as other nearby shops and restaurants.This is the Travel Inn Hotel at Simpson Bay. It is around 2 miles from the airport terminal

Views from even-numbered rooms on the 2nd floor are the best options as they face east, towards aircraft traffic. You will be able to see aircraft departing the runway and turning right, away from the mountains.

Whilst this is not as close or dramatic as Maho Beach, it is a more affordable option. Plus, it is only a 10 minute drive to the beach, or the Sunset Bar which pipes in ATC over its speakers, and is the spot that most great photographs are taken from.

Book the Travel Inn Hotel at http://www.travelinnhotel.com/

Have you stayed in any other good hotels at St Maarten with views of aircraft movements?