Plane-spotting at LAX

Los Angeles International Airport is a bit quirky. It is pretty much smack in the middle of town, but it is also an enormous facility that sees an incredible range of aircraft passing through on a daily basis. There are almost as many Embraer E-120s (tiny prop planes) as there are Boeing 747-400s. And there are the Qantas Airbus A380s, too. Indeed, if it is flying in the western world odds are it passes through LAX at some point during the day.

Did I mention that it is pretty much in the middle of town? The airport is wonderfully accessible and there are two prime spots where folks so inclined can hang out and watch the planes come and go. One is on the south side of the airport, up on Imperial Hill. That position is elevated and built out with benches and such to accommodate the folks watching the planes. The other location is on the northeast corner of the field. It is a small grassy park area immediately adjacent to the Parking Spot Sepulveda location and an In-n-Out franchise. I like the views from Imperial Hill, but the snacks at the In-n-Out location are better so that’s usually where I end up when I’m in town. Plus, you can take the Parking Spot shuttle (tip a couple bucks!) and drop in for a visit during a layover of 3-4 hours.

This past Sunday morning the park had a whole bunch of folks out and about. Families with kids running around whooping and hollering as the 747s came in around noon (mostly the adults, actually) and otherwise running around and having a good time. Plus, a Double Double meal is a great breakfast to follow up a night of drinking.

Without further ado, a few photos from the collection I shot on Sunday morning…

The KLM 747 did a go-around on Sunday morning, passing way high over the field on its first approach. This is from the second time around.

China Airlines was the fourth of the 747s I saw on this morning.

Singapore Air’s 747-400, with vapor trails coming off the trailing edge of the flaps.

Walk across the street from the park and you’re directly under the approach path, in the midst of all the orange towers with the lights on them. They help frame the photos nicely…

A United Airlines A320 about to touch down.

I think the KLM 747 might be speeding.

The Qantas A380 arriving as seen from my hotel room Friday morning.

A bunch more photos can be seen here.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. I was out there yesterday afternoon. lots of fun. I am going to make this a new hobby for me. The next time I go though I plan on going to both the N And Out location, and the observation deck on top of the restaurant. I did not care that much for the look-out on the South Side. It is hard to see the plans in this location. From What I have heard, the observation deck gives you the best view. However if you want to be right near the planes then the N and Out location is the Best.

  2. Plan spotting gives me a break from my job search sometime. Plus is provides a good networking opportunity.I recently discovered there is a great museum on Imperial Hwy. at the South Side of the Airport. It is called “Flight History Path Learning Center Museum”. Its address is 6661. W Imperial Highway. I hear it is a great place do do to plan spotting. Their website is,

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