Spotting from the Plane Window

You know what the best way to spot is? While sitting on a plane! This is a collection of pictures I’ve taken from various planes with my iPhone 13.

Let’s start off with this IcelandAir special livery I saw at BIKF, celebrating 100 years of flying. This plane I believe was preparing for a flight to Orlando, Florida.

Through the rain specked window of an IcelandAir 737 MAX 8, I grabbed this shot of a Sun Country 737-800 on the ground at KMSP, after a 5.5 hour flight in from Anchorage.

At MRLB, we have this lovely Southwest 737-700, getting ready for a flight to Baltimore.

Thanks to @Harrison_S for identifying this Frontier A320neo as Miracle the Seagull!

Caught this FedEx MD-11 on approach to Minneapolis from my Sun Country 737-800. It was very high, and ended up going around.

Sun Country 738 pushing back with a bunch of Winter Breaking passengers heading to Cozumel.

This Denver Air Connection Dornier 328 Jet heading over to Ironwood, Michigan.

Not exactly an active plane, but Minneapolis Airport Fire Department’s training plane. They do light it on fire and practice. You can find some of those videos on YouTube.

Alaska Airline’s More to Love 737-900 on the ground at Seattle, about to leave for Austin.

This Hawaiian A330 is about to take off for Honolulu.

Hope you enjoyed!


I think most of us spotters would disagree quite considerably…

For me, the best way is with a nice cold beer in one hand, radio and camera in the other. On a deck chair. On the runway. Am I wanted by the police? Perhaps. Did I have a great time? Definitely.


You’re also probably dead or close to it.


But you get to be on a plane yourself!

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Spotting in ground is better imo

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But you have the excitement of being in a plane. And you get views that you couldn’t from the ground, unless of course you were airport personnel.

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I’m pretty uninformed about plane spotting. I was wondering if there are rules of etiquette(?). I’ve always looked towards whatever aircraft appears in my peripheral vision or withing hearing range. Then I’d spot it and identify it if possible. Cameras required? With trainspotting too or just plane spotting? Wikipedia shows this correctly for plane spotters?

When I was a kid a relative said they didn’t want to go to the airport if I was going because they knew I’d have to “watch every #$^&* airplane takeoff.” I had wondered if that was spotting.


The only real etiquette of plane spotting is to respect the property. Climbing fences, blocking roads, or otherwise being a nuisance is how we get spots shut down. You can use phone/camera/eyes/whatever (for spotting at least, if you want to do aviation photography that requires a camera but most people don’t draw the distinction).


So, some airports have actually taken action shut down spotters? I just remember I had read somewhere about an airport that welcomes spotters (something about providing a record of security or bird activity records or something, I don’t remember). But then I saw: 5 Airports That Love Plane Spotters - Airport Spotting

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There are whole countries that shut down spotters (mostly middle eastern) but of the ones where spotting is not entirely banned some are a bit more difficult than others. For example, a lot of airports in Japan encourage spotting by building multiple pre-security decks on the property. Airports in Switzerland are also super tolerant and encouraging of spotting (Zurich has a couple decks, Meiringen has like a 4 foot fence and friendly military police). On the flip side, a lot of American airports can be stricter, and cops will often come talk to you and/or kick you out. Paris doesn’t even allow spotting unless you have some sort of permit for it. At YYZ, we’ve essentially gotten our spots cut in half because some people who will go unnamed keep climbing the fences.


In Barbados you have to be lucky you don’t encounter a security guard that had a nasty week.

Some of them will tell you it’s illegal to film/take photos but others encourage it.

On the topic of spots, it’s not great at all as there’s always some obstruction. Me personally, i go to an abandoned house adjacent to the airport. It’s good for catching aircraft arriving and departing.


Indeed. But on the ground you get to enjoy using a proper camera and the like. Unrelated, but did you use the camera on a Nintendo DSi or something for these?

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I thought there was a topic for this? Or is it separate because it is the planes out the window

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No! Some of them had to be zoomed in a lot. The one’s towards the bottom are older, so we’re on an iPhone XS Max, which doesn’t have the greatest camera.

No, this isn’t about the plane/scenery that I’m on, rather other planes that happen to be spotted from a plane.

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Although a majority of my plane spotting pics are from an airplane, some of my best shots were taken from the terminal. Like this Delta a350 in KDTW and a shot of KMSP from their “secret” observation deck.

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A 737, 787, A321neo(s) and a Citation taken from an A321neo


Those are some great photos there!

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Same thing, same device, but not same airports:

Beirut (OLBA):

Geneva (LSGG):


That MEA winglet looks cool.