San Francisco Spotting [From the SkyDeck]

February 16-17, 2020

Hey! San Francisco Airport (@ran) recently opened up a “sky terrace,” which is an observation deck located pre-security for everyone, and while they closed the Westfield garage for it (which sucks), the observation deck isn’t too bad. I took a lot of pictures and the terrace is right next to runway 28L, which is where the majority of the heavies depart.

Here are a few of my best pictures:

Starting off the topic is Lufthansa’s A340-600, registered D-AIHC. This aircraft will not be around for much longer though, as when Lufthansa switches to the Summer schedule, they will fly in the 747-8 from Frankfurt and the A380 from Munich.

Next is an Air France 777, which was headed to Paris. The aircraft rotated quickly, as it was meant to go to runway 1R but didn’t due to lots of traffic for that runway.

Next up was an Aer Lingus A330, which was headed to Dublin. This route will have some competition soon when United starts flying there as well.

San Francisco used to get a lot of A380s, but Air France and British Airways either stopped sending them or reduced the number of flights per day with them. Emirates now operates now the only daily A380 to the airport! Here’s a shot of their Green Sustainability livery departing runway 28R.

San Francisco also used to get a lot of 747s, back when United still operated them. Unfortunately, British Airways is the only commercial airline that flies the aircraft to San Francisco now, but that will change once airlines implement the summer schedule.

As the largest airline serving San Francisco, United uses their 777s on many international routes. Here’s United’s first 777, named New Spirit of United, bound for Frankfurt.

French Bee operates flights from Paris to Papeete via San Francisco with the A350, which may be the most interesting route from the airport. Here’s a picture of it rolling down the runway after arriving from Papeete.

In 2019, United refreshed their livery and has been painting the new one on aircraft, but only some of them feature this one so far. This aircraft, N210UA, is one of the first 772s to feature this livery, and I also flew on this exact plane to Chicago in May of last year!

Swiss Airlines currently flies their flagship 777s to San Francisco, and they look amazing in person! Here, one of their planes is slowing down on the runway after a long flight from Zürich.

And to end this topic is N39450, a United 737-924(ER), which arrived from Chicago.

Thanks for looking at my topic, and I hope you liked my pictures!


Great Shots! Well done!


Are United going to start a KSFO-EIDW route? 😳 Not good news for our flagship airline! However I would love to fly with United someday and this route would be perfect. United and Aer Lingus have a close partnership so I’m surprised that United are going for the competition!

Edit: Superb photos btw 😉 :)

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Yup, they are! It’ll begin on June 5 with their 788 ;)

Thank you!


Just saying, Aer Lingus is expected to join the American Airlines/British Airways/Iberia/Finnair transatlantic joint venture, so there’s a chance United will drop its partnership with Aer Lingus.


If you are talking about one world alliance they have stated they intend to keep away. However they are owned by the IAG Group which own BA and Iberia. Aer Lingus were supposed to get 8/9 A350’s (hence the livery in IF) however the orders were transferred to Iberia by IAG. Aer Lingus’ ties with UA are extremely strong and Aer Lingus have stated many times they intend to remain as independent as they can be. I do not believe they will be joining an alliance or similar groups any time soon! :)


Nah, not Oneworld.

American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, and Finnair in December 2018 applied to let Aer Lingus join their transatlantic metal-neutral joint venture, meaning the five airlines will essentially act as one market by sharing revenue and switching routes depending on schedule and frequency.

Not saying Aer Lingus would cut ties with United, but if Aer Lingus joins the joint venture (good chance they will), Aer Lingus will likely launch a strong codeshare partnership with American Airlines on top of the joint venture.

And yea, last I heard, Aer Lingus plans to remain out of any major alliance.


Ahh, yes! I was waiting for this. I was actually there Sunday, after coming back from KPDX, but I didn’t bring my camera. I was kinda just hoping someone would make this. Figured it’d be @ran or @GlobalFlyer1


Cool! I was there on Sunday and Monday!


Oh, nice! I was there at around 15:00


Such a great airport!!! One of the many sparks to my dream to be a Captian on the amazing A350 at a young age!


I live in the bay area so we got SFO in our backyard, as well as SJC, OAK, and many more!!!


So was I 😯

Yup! It’s the best in the world ;)


Oh, it appears I lied. After consulting in a wonderful thing called google maps, it looks like I went AFB 17:00 ish


Actually, San Jose (KSJC) is the best airport in the world ;)

Nice pictures though! I really like the last picture and the BA 747

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Sjc is not

Yes it is

Edit: Yes

Edit 2: 😂

(Back to pictures)

By the way, Lufthansa operates a daily A380 as well


(Back to pics)

Call me when SJC gets an observation deck :)

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