Photos of the Week: Uplifting Excitement

Planespotting, travel hacks bring fun to aviation

By BlueSkyStaff

Published March 4, 2024

Read Time: 2 mins


Maho Beach at St. Maarten is one of the most famous planespotting locations worldwide envied by aviation enthusiasts, offering incredible views of planes landing at Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) thanks to its close proximity to the airport’s single runway.

Many photos of planes overflying the beach while on the airport’s iconic final approach can be found and viewed online. But did you know Maho Beach isn’t so bad for watching departing aircraft, either?

Typically, planes flying in and out of SXM will either arrive or depart to the island’s west. But on some occasions, the airport will operate on a reverse flow due to changing wind patterns, with planes instead landing and taking off toward the east.

That means departing flights soar right over Maho Beach shortly after liftoff from the runway, allowing planespotters and beachgoers to experience a different kind of thrill that aviation has to offer at St. Maarten.

On a recent trip to St. Maarten, Ethan Minnich shot this spectacular photo of an Air France Airbus A330-200 lifting off from SXM’s RWY 10/28, during reverse operations, bound for Paris-Charles de Gaulle. Air France is one of a small number of carriers that operate widebody aircraft into SXM connecting the small Caribbean island to Europe.

Meanwhile, Chelsea Howell shares with us a cool parenting hack when traveling with children, decorating her son’s window with art on a Southwest Boeing 737-700. We love seeing genius hacks that make travel easier – and more fun – for us all.

Thanks for sharing, Ethan and Chelsea!

Our readers continue to pass along shots of unique aircraft, international airports, historical events, gorgeous views and even family vacation photos for this feature. We love them! Keep them coming — you can click here for submission guidelines.

Window decorations on a Southwest 737-700 while in flight. (Photo submitted by Chelsea Howell)

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