Where to bring your binoculars and camera for a look at aviation in action.
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If your heart races and your palms sweat and your stomach is all a-flutter at the mere thought of getting up close and personal with some big, slick airplane bodies, then you should probably check out our series on Prime Planespotting. But wait just a moment, as we've got a huge addition to it right here: the Observation Deck at Germany's Düsseldorf International Airport.
First off, even without the deck the airport is awesome. It's our favorite alternative (when the price is right) to other airports like Frankfurt, Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam, being a totally reasonable train ride away from all of those (and the airport has its own long-distance train stationchaching!). Second off, it's elegantly designed and a pleasure to travel through.
Our only issue comes from arriving at DUS from the US, which usually means tromping through a terminal at 6am, bleary-eyed and with no desire to go "explore" until hotel check-in time. What to do?!
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We have a little secret, and it involved airplanes, seafood, blue waters and, if you've got 'em, binoculars. It's the secret to what is probably the best place to plane spot on the exotic Indonesia island of Bali: the south seafood warungs of Jimbaran Bay.
Finding it was a total fluke. We weren't even trying to plane spot, we swear! We were hungry. We heard the Jimbaran seafood warungs (super casual, mostly outdoor cafes) were good. We heard the ones on the southern end of the big beach were great. Now what makes them excellent: a perfect viewing angle for watching all variety of airplanes take off from Bali-Denpasar Airport's runway that juts out in the ocean.
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In our Prime Plane Spotting series, we've discovered quite a slew of odd places to get right up near the big jets; there've been coffee shops, a pool, Venetian water taxis and even an IKEA, but never before have we found a golf course.
At Bangkok's Don Mueang Airport, an entire 18-hole, par 72 golf course sits between the two runways. It's called Kantarat. Seeing it is believing it, and even better is crossing from hole to hole in a golf cart, waiting for a red light to change so you can drive across the tarmac for your next shot.
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Welcome to Amsterdam Week here on Jaunted! Each day, we're coming at ya with a Double Dutch of features: two stories on a city (and its airport) that stuns with its beauty and nearly overwhelms with everything there is to do. Got any Amsterdam tips of your own? Share with us in the comments!
Today at Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport, we're visiting the Panorama Terrace
Believe it or not, the Panorama Terrace is accessible to the public! That's right; whether you're traveling or not, you can head up to the extremely ginormous deck on top of the terminals for the best views in the area (and for free)! Just follow the signs from the departures area and ticketing desks, and a few flights of stairs will bring you to it.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport might not be one of the mighty hubs for Northwest Airlines any longer, but Delta is still around sending plenty of planes to and from the Twin Cities each day of the week. There’s a slew of windows at the airport to check out the aviation action, but there’s actually a somewhat secret observation deck within Terminal 1-Lindbergh.
We say it’s a secret because anytime we’ve visited, there has been no one there, and it’s not even on the airport maps. It’s located in Concourse D up some stairs and kind of behind one of the gift shops in the area—we think it’s called Airport Express or something like that.
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If big 747s or even 737s are not your cup of tea and you instead prefer to see the smaller regional jets, private jets and a few Airbus A320s scattered in there, then plane spotting at Vermont's Burlington International Airport is for you. Aside from the concentration of regional jets that visit BTV, the airport is unique in that the public can come up to the old Control Tower to enjoy the best view for free.
The trick is to go to the second level of the terminaldon't go through securityand there's a hallway with a simple sign pointing to the "observation tower." Up a few flights of cramped stairs and you're in the old control booth. Now all it's got are stools, but a wise plane spotter will bring the binoculars and professional camera lenses to capture shots of the planes taking off with the mountains in the background.
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If you're ready for the big leagues of plane spotting, then the place to do with a cup of hot cocoa in hand is just outside the fences a Germany's Hamburg International Airport, at a little food stand called "Coffee To Fly." This shop, which also will happily sell you little sandwiches, muffins, beer and even a 2 Euro glass of Glühwein (a hot, mulled wine), occupies prime plane spotting property on a hill known as the "Fotografenbrücke," or "photograph bridge." From here, Hamburg's runways are laid out in front of you.
If, on the day you go spotting, there's a some exotic aircraft expected, like perhaps a giant Antonov cargo plane or a surprise visit from an A380, you'll be elbow-to-elbow with photographers for whom this a true passion. Read a great story about these guys here.
The next time you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, hold off on immediately heading to your hotel downtown and take a little detour right outside the airport. On the border of Millbrae and Burlingame sits a park with the opportunity for some prime plane spotting.
Bayfront Park is just one stop along the San Francisco Baytrail. There’s several parking spots, but just make sure that you don’t accidentally take a ticket and park in the Marriott’s paid lot. There were several taxis and shuttle vans waiting for their next assignment, so you might have to circle the block a couple times to score a spot in the lot.
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We bet you would never think that a place exists where you can both planespot Continental jets by the buttload and also chow down on some meatballs by the forkload. But lo, such a place does exist andsurprise, surpriseit's in New Jersey, as the IKEA near Newark-Liberty International Airport.
Long a favorite haunt of local plane spotters, we were only turned on to the place recently when, after taking off from EWR ourselves, we looked out the window to see the big blue ox that is Elizabeth, New Jersey's IKEA store. It was right across the highway from the tarmac! Later investigations uncovered that not only is IKEA ideally positioned for catching most of EWR's runway action, but that the store's cafeteria conveniently offers the best views.
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Typically when you talk about going plane spotting, it usually involves some stealth tactics like parking far away or camping out on a barren hillside for the perfect picture. Never do you dream that plane spotting could instead involve chilling beneath a palm tree, with a Cinnabon in hand, but it does if you're hanging out at Punta Cana International Airport in the Dominican Republic.
Since the majority of the airport is open-air and thatched-roof, you have a view of the tarmac from almost every angle, but no better place than at the outdoor viewing area. It's a quick walk away from the food court (with its Wendy's, Cinnabon, Nathan's Famous and other more local chains), but it's close enough to the gates so that you can stand out there almost the whole time before your flight without missing the boarding announcements.
So how does Baryshnikov enter the pictures? Find out after the jump!
Over at our awesome sister site, HotelChatter.com, they're discussing a very important matter: What are the best airport hotels to get stuck staying in? This is a topic we can get behind, especially when it includes the glorious picture above, of the indoor pool at the Marriott Renaissance Concourse Hotel at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. And you know what, this looks like the ideal plane spotting location for ATL.
Headed down under? While it's the thick of winter in our hemisphere, they've got the sun of summer coming down on beaches like the ones at Botany Bay, which happen to be positioned within awesome viewing proximity to the jet action at Sydney's Kingsford-Smith Airport.
Pack your camera, swimsuit and towel and head to the following prime spots to catch A380s landing and taking off, and a whole slew of Qantas planes. After the jump!