Spotting Report & Guide: Photographing Aircraft from Hanoi Noi Bai Airport Terminal

Spotting Report & Guide: Photographing Aircraft from Hanoi Noi Bai Airport Terminal

When making my way to and from New York back in February (and on my way back), I spent a few hours taking photos at Hanoi Noi Bai airport.

I didn’t have the time to venture to spots outside the terminal. Luckily, though, it is possible to get decent photos from inside Noi Bai’s terminal 2 – both before and after passing security check and immigration.

Vietnam Airlines A350-900

Vietnam Airlines…
VietJet Airbus A321

…and VietJet dominate the traffic at Hanoi airport.

The two things that make it possible are the large windows running along the whole length of the terminal and the airport’s configuration.

While terminal 2 is used solely for international flights, given that the airport’s two parallel runways and the taxiways leading to them are right in front of the terminal, it is possible to catch all movements from there.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the three places that I was able to take photos from.

Landside Spot: Restaurant Area

The first location that I went to was a restaurant area one floor above the check-in floor of terminal 2. This location is before the security check and immigration, and so you can access it even on days you are not flying.

As for the location itself, if you are hungry, you can position yourself in one of the restaurants along the windows.

However, if you just want to take a couple of photos, you can also do so from the aisle between the restaurants. I spent about two hours there and didn’t have any issues with security.

Hanoi Airport Spotting Location

Windows in the restaurant area that overlook the airport.

Keep in mind, though, that it also seems to be a popular spot for the locals to watch aircraft and can get a bit crowded. In that case, make sure your bags, equipment, etc. are not in other people’s way.

Given that you cannot move along the length of the terminal here, you are mostly limited to taking photos of aircraft on taxiways and runways that are passing in front of you.

That said, as mentioned above, virtually everything should pass in front of you at one point or another.

Hanoi Noi Bai Airport Terminal 2 Vietnam Airlines

Overview of the parking spots from the restaurant area.
Vietnam Airlines Sky Team A321

Vietnam Airlines A321 in the Sky Team livery (120 mm APS-C).
Korean Air Cargo 747 at Hanoi Airport

Korean Air Cargo 747-400F (230 mm APS-C).

Airside Spot #1: Terminal

If you are taking an international flight out of or transferring at Hanoi airport, you can also take some photos airside, after the security check and immigration.

The departure hall features windows along the whole length of it, and so, you can take photos of aircraft at their gates and of flights being pushed back.

AirAsia A320

AirAsia A320 in the Honghe Nativeland livery (80 mm APS-C).
VietJet A320

VietJet A320.

With something to hold your camera (a small tripod, a bag, etc.) and something to block the reflections (a jacket will do), you can also take night photos of aircraft at their gates or waiting to commence taxi.

Silk Air 737 Night at Hanoi

SilkAir 737-800 ready to taxi for departure.
Vietnam Airlines 787 at Hanoi Noi Bai

Vietnam Airlines 787-9 waiting for its flight later in the night.

Finally, you can also photograph aircraft taxiing to and from the runways, as well as movements on the runways – just like from the landside spot above.

Sky Angkor Airlines A321

Sky Angkor Airlines A321 (220 mm APS-C).
VietJet A321

VietJet A321 (110 mm APS-C).

Airside Spot #2: ACV Lounge

The last spot I am going to mention is the ACV Lounge (which I reviewed here).

The views you can get from the lounge – due to its limited width – are more or less the same (just slightly offset) as from the restaurant area landside.

Lao Airlines A320 Vietnam Hanoi

Lao Airlines A320 (100 mm APS-C).

Plane Spotting at Hanoi Noi Bai Airport’s Terminal 2 in a Nutshell

Overall, as you can see above, the windows of Hanoi Noi Bai’s terminal 2 offer great views of vast majority of the activity at the airport.

Combined with the fact that the glass is fairly clean and the relatively rare movement every now and then (Lao Airlines, Sky Angkor Airlines, etc.), it makes Hanoi a good airport to transit at or visit for a couple of hours if you are a plane spotter.

Vietnam Airlines A330 Hanoi Airport

Vietnam Airlines A330-200 (80 mm APS-C).

As for choosing the best spot inside the terminal, if you have a flight to take, I would check-in as soon as possible and go airside to photograph from the gate area.

Otherwise, you will be limited to the (still very nice) landside restaurant area.


Travel Products to Consider

Disclosure: KN Aviation is, among others, a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. As such, if you purchase products or services through some of the above links, I might earn a commission.

Before you go... Here are 3 quick tips for travel:

For your convenience: Price comparison sites

When searching for flights and accommodation, use comparison sites that will summarize prices from a variety of sources including the airline sites and online travel agencies for you. I recommend HotelsCombined for comparing hotel prices and Momondo for comparing flight prices.

For your comfort: Unlimited airport lounge access

If you generally fly in economy class and don’t have an airline status, I recommend considering a Priority Pass Prestige membership which will give you unlimited access to over 1,200 lounges at more than 500 airports all over the world.

For your peace of mind: Travel insurance

Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage - whether through your credit card or through insurance policy purchased separately. This will help save your trip when you get sick or things stolen on the road, in other words, when things go wrong. In case you didn't get your travel insurance yet, I recommend getting a free quote from World Nomads. To save some time, you can also use the form below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.