Pilots, planespotters and aviation buffs can quickly recognize nearly every aircraft type from the ground or in the air.
But it’s not so easy for the rest of us. To help TravelSkills readers confidently recognize what they see overhead or out on the runway, we offer a series of posts dedicated to planespotting. (See below for a list of our previous Planespotting posts)
The Airbus A320 family is near ubiquitous around the world, and increasingly so in the US. Airbus factories pump out a new A320 family aircraft every seven hours!
The largest of the pack, the A321, is rapidly replacing the aging Boeing 757 at many airlines. The A320 gives the workhorse Boeing 737 a run for its money. And the smaller A319 and A318s work for short haul markets, although British Airways operates a specially configured 32-seat, all business class A318 between London City Airport and New York-JFK once per day. (That’s down from twice daily)
How can you spot the differences among these planes? Well, first, you will want to know how to spot the difference between the A320 family and the similarly-sized Boeing 737, which we covered for you here: Planespotting: Airbus A320 vs Boeing 737 differences. (Hint: Look at the tail and cockpit windows.)
Once you’ve learned to distinguish the A320 family, you should then know how to spot the differences among the four models.
The easiest way to do that? Look at the doors.
A321: Four doors
The A321 is the largest member of the Airbus A320 family, and accommodates 185-220 passengers depending on configuration.
(This is a blast from the past- a previously popular post we want to share again. Enjoy!)
A320: Two over-wing emergency exits
The Airbus A320 is the mainstay of the family, and carries 150-180 passengers depending on configuration. Virgin America flies 53 Airbus A320s. United flies 97 A320s.
A319: One over-wing emergency exit
An exception to this one-door A319 is EasyJet, which had to retrofit its A319s with an extra emergency exit because it packs so many passengers on a plane.
A318: short, stubby, super-cute- and one door
This little aircraft with only 100 seats is also known as the “baby bus” due to it’s size and cuteness factor.
How do YOU tell the difference between the Airbus A320 family? Leave your comments below.
Here are our other popular planespotting posts!
And don’t miss the TravelSkills Planespotting quiz— 7,000 readers have taken it! Why not you?