Home Miscellaneous Spotting The Best Plane Spotting Trips For After Covid

The Best Plane Spotting Trips For After Covid

by Matt Falcus

If you’re anything like me, you’ve found the various lockdowns and restrictions on travel imposed by the global Covid-19 pandemic to be very frustrating.

But it’s also got me thinking about the places I want to visit, the airlines and aircraft I want to fly on, and the airports I want to go spotting at.

Here’s a little encouragement to think big. Why not start off – when restrictions allow – with that trip you’ve always wanted to take, or visiting an airport you’ve always wanted to visit?

Some suggestions for the best plane spotting trips to take post-Covid are:

 

Tour of Japan’s Airports

A41X0261_2000

Japan has a really dense air network, with domestic travel very popular. It is also well connected from all over Asia and worldwide. The country’s airports are almost all designed with viewing aircraft in mind, and many feature more than one observation deck. So it’s a great place to go spotting, and airports like Tokyo Haneda, Narita, Osaka Kansai, Itami and Fukuoka are excellent for logging and photography.

 

Relax at St Maarten

St Maarten, Maho Beach

It’s probably one of the most obvious spotting locations in the world; Maho Beach on St Maarten is the spot where some of the best low-flying aircraft shots have been taken. But we can’t argue with quality. Although Princess Juliana International Airport is still recovering traffic levels and rebuilding after the 2017 hurricane, as well as the Covid-19 downturn, this is a great place to enjoy some sunshine and relaxation, combined with spotting. You can even take a short flight to other local islands and airports.

 

US Desert Storage Hubs

Photo (c) Erik Ritterbach

The downturn in aviation has sadly resulted in a huge reduction in airline fleets, and sadly some airlines have also gone out of business. This has left the world’s storage airports have been overrun with aircraft. These often will have no certain future, and may end up being scrapped.

Some of the best storage airports are in the desert of the United States. Airports like Mojave and Victorville in California, Roswell in New Mexico, and Marana, Tucson and Goodyear in Arizona are the most famous and have the most aircraft. You can often spot from the perimeter, or organise a light aircraft flight into these airports for a closer look.

 

Round the World Flight

Air fares are so low at the moment, and there are lots of incentives like free Covid insurance and date changes if necessary. This makes it a great time to book long-haul flights. One thing you might consider is a round-the-world trip, taking in some of the best hub airports and spotting hotels.

It could be a good chance to try out some airlines or aircraft types you haven’t flown before – maybe give the Airbus A380 a try before it’s too late, or check out business class products that you’ve heard a lot about.

 

European Weekend Trips

Airlines are still facing overcapacity and are thus reducing ticket prices in a desperate bid to sell seats. This makes it a great time to book some quick trips for spotting. If you’re based in Europe, airlines like Ryanair and Wizz Air are growing their networks and selling tickets pretty cheap, so you can take your pick of destinations, whether it’s holiday airports like Palma, Alicante or Antalya, or big hub airports, like Amsterdam, Frankfurt or Paris Charles de Gaulle. Even the more traditional airlines have some great deals at the moment.

 

Chinese Favourites

Comac ARJ21

By Peng Chen (Flickr: China ARJ-21) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Asia’s aviation industry has largely fared better than Europe during the Covid-19 outbreak, and traffic levels are still quite high in places like China. The country has many big hub airports and its airlines continue to grow, with new deliveries of Airbus jets in particular. There’s also the chance to see the new indigenous COMAC ARJ21-700 airliner which has been delivered to many airlines and is only really flying on domestic routes. Head to Beijing Capital, Shanghai Pudong or Shenzhen for some great number crunching!

 

Explore Florida

The United States has also maintained a high level of air service through Covid-19, and is still particularly busy for general aviation, cargo and private jets. Florida is one of the best places for these kinds of aircraft and is still quite busy. Whether it’s cargo or private flights out to the Bahamas or Caribbean islands, or flight training, there’s lots going on and plenty of airports to explore.

Try places like Fort Lauderdale Executive, Opa Locka, Pompano Beach, Lakeland and Punta Gorda. Then for the airliner traffic head to Miami International, Orlando International or Fort Lauderdale Hollywood. Plus, the weather is always great, and the beaches are open!

 

Turkey and Greece

Antalya Lara Hotel

View from Lara Hotel Antalya

Both Turkey and Greece are top holiday spots in Europe, and both are keen to attract people back to their beaches and resorts as soon as travel is allowed. As a result, many leisure and low-cost airlines are increasing their routes from countries like the UK, Netherlands and Germany to Greek and Turkish airports.

Our favourites are Corfu, Skiathos and Athens in Greece, or Antalya in Turkey.

 

What are your plans for getting back into spotting? Have you booked any trips? Are you staying local, or just plain staying indoors? Leave a comment below.

 

 

 

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7 comments

Diogo Monteiro April 2, 2021 - 5:14 pm

Indeed these are some tempting suggestions! Exploring the US desert storage hubs would be a huge adventure!

Reply
Graham Schooling April 7, 2021 - 5:33 pm

Hi Matt
I had booked to go spotting at Schiphol in March 2020 that was cancelled and I then re booked for last September that was cancelled too.
Then re booked for March 2021 and surprise that was cancelled too.
I ‘m hoping to go up to Manchester and possibly Edinburgh.
Schiphol will have to wait I think till 2022
Regards
Graham W Schooling.

Reply
Billy P April 9, 2021 - 7:59 am

Living in Guernsey I’d be happy with a trip to LHR once local travel restrictions are lifted. Fingers crossed it will be soon.

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Darren Scott April 9, 2021 - 9:32 am

The only negative will be the lack of planes at the mainstream airports.
I think 2022 or 2023 will see an improvement of movements……..Hopefully

Reply
Paul Turner April 9, 2021 - 6:37 pm

My friend and I had planned an 11 day spotting trip to the US for Sept 2020. We were planning on visiting JFK (staying at the TWA hotel of course!), then ATL, an Arizona tour, and ending up in BOS for the last couple of days. Sadly, all of it was cancelled. Even the airline we were due to fly there and back with are no more, Norwegian.
Anyway, personally I’d love to do an Asian tour, Japan, China, Vietnam, Korea (South and North if possible), but for me a good weekend at AMS or FRA is always a treat, and pretty inexpensive too. Can’t wait for the restrictions to ease, I’ve got loads of MAX’s, NEO’s and other stuff to be logged!

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Matt Falcus April 9, 2021 - 7:44 pm

Thanks Paul. I think we’re all itching to get back out there!

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Alison Woodrow June 22, 2021 - 8:04 am

My last trip was a Far East one in 2019 and I flew Manchester/Copenhagen/Bangkok 6 hour layover then to Singapore for 2 nights then the red eye to Seoul with a 9 hour layover before flying to Narita for a 7 night stay did 2 day trips to Haneda whilst there and then flew back Narita to Beijing with 6 hour layover (was dark as from 21.00 – 03.00) Copenhagen/Manchester. The layovers made me plenty of new numbers especially in Seoul and Beijing. I have a trip booked to Aberdeen for the 15th July, which was originally May 2020 and then April 2021 which both got cancelled and now looks like this might be being cancelled due to the Scottish Governments new ban on people from Manchester. I can’t wait to get flying again and logging big numbers. Here’s hoping we will be free to do so soon.

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