Planespotting in Zurich, Switzerland

One of the best places to spot widebodies in Europe is in Zurich Airport (IATA code: ZUR) Switzerland. There are a variety of airlines flying to and from Zurich. It also has a wide spot within Terminal B that is both spotter and family-friendly.

Some Facts about Observation Deck B

How to get there: Within Terminal B departure level, look for signs leading to the Observation Deck. There will be security check after you purchase your tickets.
Fees: CHF 5 (adults), CHF 2 (child aged 10-16), free for younger ones, and those with valid boarding pass of arrival or departure that same day
Operating Hours: 9am to 7pm (summer), 10am to 5pm (winter)
Best viewed runway: Take-off from runway 16, the longest of its three runways

The deck is highly entertaining and educational. The kids and adults alike who are interested with aviation will surely find it fun. It has a mini airport playground, a small trampoline, a small plane installation and binoculars. It’s a nice place to spend a day with the whole family. And you don’t have to be an aviation fan to enjoy the place.

Useful Tips
Best time to bring in the family to the Observation Deck B is from just after opening to around 4pm where most of the long haul departures to Asia, North America and Middle East take place. That means you will chance upon interesting widebodies and narrowbodies. But if you have limited time, I would suggest doing it from 11:30am to 2pm. The main action is around 1-2pm, but you don’t want to miss the Singapore Airlines A380 departing just before or around noontime.

Here is a list of departures and planes to spot within that period with their scheduled time of departure:

0935 – Air Canada AC879 to Toronto-Pearson (Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner)
0955 – Air Serbia JU371 to Belgrade (Airbus A320)
1000 – United UA135 to Newark (Boeing B767-400)
1010 – Delta DL408 to New York-JFK (Boeing B767-300)
1015 – American Airlines AA to New York-JFK (Boeing B767-300)
1025 – Air France AF1115 to Paris-Charles de Gaulle (Airbus A319)
1025 – British Airways BA711 to London-Heathrow (Airbus A319)
1055 – Finnair AY858 to Helsinki (Airbus A319)
1120 – Etihad Airways EY074 to Abu Dhabi (Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner)
1145 – Singapore Airlines SQ345 to Singapore (Airbus A380)
1150 – KLM KL1958 to Amsterdam (Boeing B737)
1150 – Iberia IB3477 to Madrid (Airbus A319)
1155 – United UA053 to Washington-Dulles (Boeing B767-400)
1250 – Swiss Air LX086 to Montreal (Airbus A330-300)
1255 – Swiss Air LX014 to New York-JFK (Airbus A330-300)
1300 – Swiss Air LX160 to Narita (Airbus A340-300)
1305 – Swiss Air LX188 to Shanghai (Airbus A340-300)
1310 – British Airways BA713 to London-Heathrow (Airbus A319)
1310 – Swiss Air LX038 to San Francisco (Boeing B777-300ER)
1310 – Swiss Air LX040 to Los Angeles (Boeing B777-300ER)
1315 – Swiss Air LX008 to Chicago (Boeing B777-300ER)
1320 – Swiss Air LX064 to Miami (Airbus A330-300)
1330 – Thai Airways TG971 to Bangkok (Boeing B777-300)
1330 – Air China CA782 to Beijing (Airbus A330-300)
1330 – Royal Jordanian RJ153 (Airbus A319)
1335 – Cathay Pacific CX382 to Hong Kong (Boeing B777-300ER)
1335 – Aeroflot SU2391 to Moscow (Airbus A320)
1355 – TAP Portugal TP931 to Lisbon (Airbus A320)
1400 – Icelandair FI569 to Keflavik (Boeing B757-200)
1415 – KLM KL1960 to Amsterdam (Embraer E170/190)
1440 – Turkish Airlines TK1914 to Istanbul (Airbus A321)
1525 – Emirates EK088 to Dubai (Airbus A380)

Note however that above is not an exhaustive list.

While most of the narrowbody are not likely to take off from runway 16, but they can still be seen from the observation deck when they take off from runway 28. Most regional intra-Europe and some US flights use runway 28 during take off. You have a good view of the runway when you are inside terminal A at that side facing terminal E (not facing airside/terminal B).

You can find more information here from Zurich Airport’s official website.

Here are some photos I took during my layover in September and short stop by the observation deck in October 2016:

The next time I get the chance to stop by in Zurich, I’d love to visit the Observation Deck B again, and perhaps try the other spots closer to the runways.

-FR

Francis

Author: Francis

Francis is an aviation fan. He loves to travel for the flying part of it and to plane spot during stops. He likes to express his views about some aviation industry news, from the perspective of a regular traveller. Finally, he writes anything that he thinks can help others make the most out of their flights.

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