Airport observation decks

More cool planespotting options

BWI Airport once had an outdoor observation deck

My USA TODAY “At the Airport” column about airport observation decks didn’t have room to mention the viewing areas some airports provide near their terminals.

Here are just a few that were nominated for the story. Let me know about others you’d like to have added to the list.

The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) doesn’t have an outdoor observation area connected to its facilities. But CVG does have an observation area nearby with picnic tables, benches, information boards and a play area.

Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) has an observation park near the air traffic control tower. Amenities include an elevated observation platform, audio of communication between pilots and the tower, a picnic area, educational placards and a play area.


Courtesy of the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority
DFW Founders plaza
DFW Founder’s Plaza

And Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport has an observating viewing area known as Founder’s Plaza.

In addition to offering great view of aircraft taking off and landing, the plaza has picnic tables, telescopes, historic information, a commemorative monument and a radio that broadcasts air traffic control communications from the FAA tower.

Which observation viewing areas near airports would you like to add to this list? Bonus for a photo!

The comeback (maybe) of the airport observation deck

LaGuardia Airport’s former Observation Deck – courtesy Port Authority of NY and NY

My “At the Airport” column on USA TODAY this month looks at airport observation decks in the United States. Then and now.

The full story has more than 30 photos, so be sure to take a look over there, but here are some of my favorite photos shared by airports.

Observation Deck at Friendship International Airport – now Baltimore/Washington International Airport.
Observation Gallery at BWI Airport – now
Missoula International Airport. Courtesy Dan Neuman
Oklahoma’s City’s Will Rogers World Airport once had an Observation Tower
When the Central Terminal opened in 1954, the building included an Observation Deck – look for the railings on the upper level.
SFO’s brand new observation deck has plants, art and chaise lounges. Nice, right?

Where are your favorite airport observation decks?

SFO Airport gets observation deck

We’re always happy here at Stuck at the Airport to hear about cool new amenities in the terminals.

A new addition to celebrate is San Francisco International Airport’s recently-opened post-security observation deck for travlers.

Courtesy SFO

The 2,997 square foot outdoor terrace has wooden chairs, tables, chaise lounges, bronze sculptures and a nice collection of drought-tolerant plants.

SFO Observation Deck. Courtesy of the airport.

Ten-foot bird-safe glass panels provide wind protection for passengers, but don’t get in the way of the view up into the skies to see planes taking off and landing.

Want to go?

SFO’s new outdoor terrace is open from 7:00 am to 11:30 pm every day. It is accessible to passengers in Terminal 3 via a secure connecting walkway.

Looking ahead: SFO plans to open another obervation deck in October 2019.

That one will be located pre-security in Terminal 2 and will be accessible to the general public – no boarding pass required.

Of course, now we need to make a list of all the other airports that have Observation Decks. Can you help out?