10 of TPG U.K.’s favourite airport approaches and takeoffs in the world

Feb 2, 2020

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Most people are bound to have a favourite country or city to visit. But have you ever thought which your favourite airport for landing or takeoff? Whether it’s because of beautiful scenery, nostalgia or true AvGeekery, we came up with quite a variety of favourite airports from all over the world.

In no particular order, here are our top 10.

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1. Seychelles (SEZ)

TPG U.K.’s Head of Video Jean Arnas loves the Seychelles. He says both departure and landing during the day are best. Jean, who has has visited more countries than anyone else at TPG U.K. “Seychelles Airport is such a beautiful landing, seeing all of the super lush islands coming out of the big Indian Ocean”, he said.

Related reading: Why your family should visit the Seychelles

Landing into the Seychelles. (Photo by Jean Arnas/The Points Guy)

2. Cork (ORK)

Features Editor Hayley Coyle opted for Cork Airport in Ireland as her favourite place to land, especially during the day. She lived there for many years so has very fond memories of that particular city.

Hayley says, “Flying into Cork is lovely as seeing all the rolling green fields reminds me of coming home. Also it’s such a dinky airport. You can land, go through security, get your luggage and be home with a cup of tea in your hand within half an hour!”

The rolling green fields of Cork. (Photo by Rach Murphy /The Points Guy)

Related reading: A review of Aer Lingus on the A321neo in business class from Dublin to Philadelphia

3. Rio de Janeiro (SDU)

TPG U.K. Content Producer Dan Ross nominated Santos Dumont Airport in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro as his top airport for a takeoff — both day and night.

“There are many perks of flying from a city’s smaller, more central, domestic airport”, he said. “It’s less busy, easier to get to and you’re sometimes treated to spectacular views of the city. It’s for this reason that taking off from Rio’s Santos Dumont airport is my favourite — it’s just magical. Whenever taking internal flights in Brazil through Rio I always use SDU and try to time my departing flight for around sunset. Does it get much better than this?”

Departing Rio’s Santos Dumont airport just as the sun is setting. (Photo by Daniel Ross/The Points Guy)

Related reading: 6 reason Sao Paolo is Brazil’s most exciting city

4. Tel Aviv (TLV)

TPG U.K. Director of Content Nicky Kelvin says landing in Tel Aviv during the day will always have a special place in his heart. Landing there is not only nostalgic, but provides a stunning view of the city and the Mediterranean.

“Tel Aviv was my home, and as the plane races towards eastern shores of the Mediterranean, the beaches of the Levant come into view and all the memories of my Israeli life come rushing back”, he said. “I have been visiting Israel since I was a child, and each and every time I have an overwhelming sense of coming home on this approach, which takes in the beach, the city, and if you time it right, a gorgeous Med sunset”.

A stunning approach to Tel Aviv. (Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

5.  San Francisco (SFO)

As General Manager of The Points Guy U.K., AvGeek blood runs through Christian Kramer’s veins. Not surprisingly, his favourite approach, San Fransisco Airport during the day, has nothing to do with views of the city, but rather the plane-spotting opportunities.

“I love landing in San Francisco because of the parallel runways”, he said. “I love being on a parallel landing with another plane landing right next to you”.

Parallel landing into San Francisco. (Photo by Zach Hong/The Points Guy)

6. Newark (EWR)

Global News Editor Emily McNutt elected Newark Airport as her favourite, arriving either day or night.

“If the weather and surrounding airports’ traffic patterns are working in your favour, you could be in luck for some good views flying into Newark”, she said. “If you’re landing on runway 22, you might be able to catch a glimpse of the iconic Manhattan skyline out the left side of the aircraft. Better yet, if your flight’s been placed in a holding pattern, you could be graced with even more options at viewing NYC from afar.”

Related reading: JFK vs. LaGuardia vs. Newark: Which NYC airport should I fly into?

Short finals before touching down in Newark. (Photo by Daniel Ross/The Points Guy)

7. Chicago (ORD)

Similar to Hayley, Lori Zaino, Senior Writer, loves flying to her old hometown and the views of the city on approach just so happen to be pretty spectacular — on a good day, that is. She loves flying into Chicago O’ Hare day or night.

“I love flying into Chicago on a sunny day”, she said. “Although sunny and perfectly clear days can be rare in the region, especially in the winter months, there’s nothing like gliding over Lake Michigan and cruising above the gorgeous Chicago lakeshore and skyline before landing at O’Hare, which is northwest of the loop. Plus, I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and never get tired of attempting to spot my childhood home before landing. I don’t think I ever have, but am still forever trying”.

Approaching Chicago O’Hare airport from Lake Michigan to the east. (Photo by Lori Zaino/The Points Guy)

8. Male (MLE)

TPG U.K.’s Family Writer Kathleen Porter Kristiansen says that Male is her favourite — either arriving or departing — during the day. 

“No amount of research prepared me for how breathtaking it would be to fly over island after island surrounded by cerulean Indian Ocean in the Maldives”, she said.

Related reading: These are the best times to visit the Maldives

(Photo by Kathleen Porter Kristiansen/The Points Guy)
Landing into the St Regis, Maldives on a sea plane. (Photo by Kathleen Porter Kristiansen/The Points Guy)

9. Sydney (SYD)

As an Australian, TPG U.K. Senior Writer Ben Smithson has flown many times in and out of Sydney — and for him, it never gets old. But he prefers the approach during daylight hours.

“For me, it has to be Sydney because you can often see amazing views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House”, he said.

Related reading: Second cities: The best destinations to visit from Sydney 

(Photo courtesy of Qantas)

10. London (LHR)

TPG U.K.’s Social Media Editor Liam Spencer says that despite flying more last year than he ever has before, from places as far-flung as New York to Budapest, coasting home to London Heathrow during the day is his favourite.

“Last year was my first year working at The Points Guy U.K., and what a journey”, he said. “It’s always nice to land back home after a work trip to views of home though.”

Related reading: Why you should always sit on the right side of the plane when landing at Heathrow

Approaching Heathrow, flying low just south of central London (Photo by Emily McNutt/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

Next time you’re flying to any of these destinations, make sure to snag yourself a window seat to be able to take some breathtaking views. In fact, why not join the TPG U.K. Lounge on Facebook to share your favourite approach snaps, too!

Featured image by Daniel Ross/The Points Guy

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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