Typically I do not see O’Hare as a Plane Spotting friendly airport.   I usually am in the airport anywhere from 40-50 times a year and seldom found myself taking photos of any of the traffic.    This is primarily due to the fact that O’Hare to me is a transit airport when connecting to other flights so there is typically little time.   Additionally, with all of my travel to and from O’Hare being either on Lufthansa or United, I’m departing from terminal 1 or 2 which are not conducive to great spotting.

    However, my opinion did change last week when I was flying to Europe on extremely short notice (18 hours) and needed to be in Slovakia ASAP.    In order to get there in the fastest way possible I flew on AUSTRIAN which enable me to arrive in Vienna first thing the next day.   For those not familiar with O’Hare, most international non-US carrier departures take place from Terminal 5.  I say most because Lufthansa and ANA depart from terminal 1 making it convenient for United Airlines passengers.   You don’t have to re-clear security when flying with them.

    By flying Austrian, I had to go to terminal 5 in order to board my flight.   I had not been in terminal 5 as a departing passengers in nearly 12 years and this was certainly years before plane spotting became somewhat of a habit.   Once past security, I found to my surprise a great venue to watch arriving and departing aircraft along with aircraft taxiing to their Terminal 5 gates which create a nice mix of International and Domestic heavies.

    I spent about 2 hours near gate M13 as well as in the SAS Lounge with camera in hand.   I happened to be there during the peak arrival time for International flights so the variety was quite good.    Enjoy!



    SAS’ A330 approaches her Terminal 5 gate.


    United’s 777


    American’s 777 arriving at O’Hare


    AeroMexico arriving from Mexico City


    Iberia’s A330 arrives from Madrid


    Cargolux’s 747-8F prepares for departure


    United’s 747 begins her takeoff roll.


    American (and United) Embraer aircraft are EVERYWHERE at O’Hare!


    Virgin Atlantic’s A340 being prepared for her flight to London.


    Speedbird as well being prepared for a flight to London.


    Korean Air’s 777


    ANA’s 777 taxiing to the runway for her flight to Tokyo.


    And of course there are my favorite shots of the day.   Lufthansa’s 747-8i, D-ABYI, dressed in her Fanhansa livery arrived from Frankfurt while I was taking my photos.    As luck would have she would pull up right in front of me as if she knew where I was! 🙂

    This aircraft would fly back to Frankfurt and then immediately turned around to fly to Rio de Janiero to pick up the German Soccer Team who had won FIFA’s World Cup.



    Arriving from Frankfurt.


    Approaching Terminal 5.



    Right place at the right time for this shot, but unfortunately photo-bombed by a United 777!






    You can’t get much closer without being aboard!