It’s that time of year again, so we thought we’d give you our opinions on the best airlines for spotters over the past year.
What qualifies? You may ask. Well, read below and you’ll see what has earned each airline it’s Top 10 placement.
This airline just goes from strength-to-strength. In recent weeks they became the world’s largest long-haul airline, overtaking Lufthansa’s crown. They also fly the A380 to more destinations than any other airline, including regional airports, making it much easier for us spotters to ‘spot’ them, and fly on them to far-flung destinations.
Controversial as they are, Ryanair are still one of the best airlines for European spotters to use when going on a short spotting trip for the day or the weekend. And despite their hidden costs and fees, the airline seems to have a sale every other week that is still pretty darn cheap if you can find the right fares. Their coverage of Europe is extensive, so there’s plenty of choice.
The most recent large merger in the USA offers those spotters who’ve seen it all something new on their days at the airport, with hundreds of aircraft now being repainted into a revised colourscheme, combining Continental and United’s own schemes. Bless them for giving us something new to see!
4. Saha Air
We thought it was gone, and pretty soon it definitely will be, but for the time being Saha Air are still flying the Boeing 707 in passenger configuration. And as long as tensions are kept at bay, Iran is a safe and welcoming country to visit. So go get that 707 flight before it’s too late!
5. Royal Air Force
Not strictly an airline (unless you wear combat pants for a living), but the Royal Air Force do fly passenger aircraft and what a mixed and interesting bag it is! Their VC-10s are still making appearances at various airports, and the mix of sub-contracted airlines and types used for troop movements has had UK spotters drooling on a weekly basis (Air Tahiti A340 anyone?).
Well, they’re efficient, huge and fly the A380 to train at regional airports and to holiday islands. Not to mention the fact that they’re responsible for keeping Swiss Air Lines and bmi going when all looked bleak.
The sheer size and force of this carrier now it has merged with Northwest Airlines means that any spotter from outside the USA can spend a couple of days at Atlanta’s Renaissance Hotel and add hundreds of frames to their logbook without barely lifting a finger.
8. Fuji Dream Airways
FDA are one of the most colourful airlines to emerge in recent years. Their fleet of little Embraer 170 and 175 aircraft are all in a different colour scheme, and are a photographer’s dream as they ply their trade on the domestic routes of Japan.
This Caribbean airline soldiers on with a rich variety of aircraft. Of particular note are its single IL-62, and its IL-96 aircraft which are wonderful to see in the skies, let alone fly on!
10. Buffalo Airways
Stars of their own TV show, Buffalo Airways fly a fantastic mix of elderly propliners in northern skies, keeping them in passenger and cargo service long after most have been scrapped. For spotters around the world, the TV show enabled them to watch in awe.