Heathrow Hotel Plane-Spotting

Lots of A380s at Heathrow, including this British Airways bird being towed across the field

When in doubt, go watch airplanes. Or, in my case, given a rare half day off after crossing the Atlantic, rest in my hotel room and watch the Heathrow departure pattern.

The Queen of the Skies takes flight, headed to the USA
An Egyptair 777 departs Heathrow to Cairo
Back to Doha for this Qatar Airways A380

This time around I stayed at the Ibis Heathrow Airport on the northeast corner of the field, just opposite the threshold for 27R. Departures were running to the west on the southern runway (i.e. 9R in use) which meant the planes were a little further away but also that I had some fun opportunities with the foreground as well.

I love the variety of planes in this shot, including the VS A340-600 headed to NYC
A British Airways A380 lifts off at Heathrow
Air New Zealand’s 777 headed to Los Angeles and Auckland
A Virgin Atlantic 787 flies over the company’s hangar at Heathrow

Suffice it to say, while I was tempted by the idea of a nap I managed to avoid it in favor of just watching the planes all afternoon.

The Emirates anti-poaching livery departs Heathrow

Royal Brunei’s 787 is headed to Dubai for a pit stop en route home from Heathrow
An IranAir A300 departing Heathrow; how much longer will these old birds fly??

As hotels go this one sits squarely in the “cheap and sufficient” category. Small-ish room, friendly staff, decent beers in the lobby bar and a reasonable pub a 15 minute walk up the road; McDonald’s is a bit shorter walk.

A TAROM A318 departing Heathrow with a BA jumbo in the background
An American Airlnes A330 heads back to Charlotte from Heathrow


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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’ve stayed up and down bath road, and still can’t find a hotel I really like. The (newish) Hyatt Place is pretty good, but still not in love with any of them…

  2. The best I can do in Utah is watch the planes to/from LAX/LAS as they hit the Fairfield VOR…some days are so nice and clear I can see livery colors at altitude! Throw in SLC traffic much lower and I’ve got a nice little layered experience. Not quite as awesome as next to a runway but FlightAware completes the experience πŸ™‚

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