Flying Si recently decided to check out the Crowne Plaza Aberdeen Airport spotting hotel. He sent us this great report of the views, and the pictures we’ve included here.
Views from the Hotel
The Crowne Plaza hotel overlooks the whole of Aberdeen Airport. It has fantastic panoramic views of all four helicopter areas and the main terminal.
Once booked I contacted the hotel and asked for a high level airport view room. I was allocated room 525 on the top floor (5th).
All odd numbered rooms should give an excellent views. The higher floor you can get the better, but I would guess that 4 & 5 would be fine.
I booked the hotel via the BA website. Two nights at the hotel + flights (direct LHR-ABZ) as part of a package cost £213.00. This is an excellent way to save money. Booking separately, the cost would have been an additional £40.00.
Upon arrival you might be able to check in early. Check-in is officially from 2pm, but I was able to gain the room at 12:30pm.
SBS should not be required with decent optics, but was handy to have for easy tie ups. Free WiFi is available at the hotel, and at a decent speed.
Another major plus are the windows, which are crystal clear and allow great photography to take place. For closer aircraft a 200mm lens is OK. But for runway shots I was using a 400mm + extender. All photos attached are from the room through glass.
Aberdeen Airport Movements
Aberdeen is not the busiest of airports, but the main reason for most people visiting is making a dent in your UK Helicopter fleets. Babcock / Bristow / CHC and NHV all have bases here. You can expect to log about 30 helicopters during a visit.
I had a 2 night stay, but really one would have been enough as repeats are a problem after one day. I logged 24 on day 1, 9 on day 2, and only 1 on the final half day.
Onto the regular airline movements. Eastern Airways & Logonair have regular flights, and a good percentage of their fleets will be seen. Other carriers include Air France, Lufthansa, SAS, British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair & Flybe. Highlights for me were the four Wideroe DH8 flights and the single Air Iceland DH8 that visited. I would suggest visiting on a weekday as weekends are much slower, with almost no helicopter traffic at all. Traffic tails off after 20:00 allowing you to take a break from viewing in the evening.
Don’t eat & drink in the hotel. £18.00 for a burger and chips: no thanks! A five minute walk to the airport terminal gives you the Wetherspoons pub “Granite City” with a choice of food at a sensible price. I can recommend the Highland Burger which has haggis and whiskey sauce inside. Craft ales also available for only £2.80.
During the day also there is a WH Smiths which allows you to get supplies for the room. Rolls/drinks & crisps. Free WiFi is also available in the airport.
Thanks to Flying Si for the report and pictures!