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The Best Airport Livestreams: Now Landing All Day on a Screen Near You

Airports can induce a sense of foreboding in even the most optimistic travelers. But if you could subtract all the terminally awful stuff about terminals—the crowds, the gruff treatment, the spiritually defeating cuisine, the helpless dread of delays—most travelers would admit there’s still something about the airport atmosphere that sparks excitement. 

That may be why people now spend hours watching footage of jet planes taking off and landing. 

If you doubt that, the numbers will correct you. YouTube now hosts a crop of accounts that support themselves by livestreaming from airport runways for hours on end, and the best streamers have six- or even seven-figure subscriber bases.

Airport streamers set up locations near the tarmac, outside the security perimeter of the terminals, and train expensive zoom lenses to follow aircraft after aircraft as they transit in and out of the world’s airports.

Airport livestreams are essentially long-form TV shows that can last up to 10 or 11 hours a day, partly funded by YouTube’s advertising system.

Many of the most popular streamers host the arrivals and departures like DJs, narrating unfolding weather events and runway changes and getting viewers jazzed about expected arrivals and departures. Followers feel like they know their favorite broadcasters, who cultivate engagement with hordes of other plane spotters through chat boxes, offering paid benefits such as members-only streams and occasionally accepting monetary tips to help fund ongoing coverage. 

You don’t have to catch the broadcasts live, either. Most streamers make footage available for re-viewing at all hours, although older videos may be restricted to people who pay a few bucks for memberships.

Now arriving: Some of my favorite English-language runway streamers who have built huge followings via extended broadcasts from airport runways. Put one or two of these on in the background during your day and tell me you don’t find the experience strangely soothing.

Runway streamers often move archived videos to membership-only access. If an embedded video below isn’t working, go directly to the streamer’s YouTube channel by clicking the account’s name.

Airline Videos

@AIRLINEVIDEOS; 767,000 subscribers as of early March 2024
Airline Videos, based in Los Angeles, probably has the most elaborate production quality on YouTube: multiple cameras for multiple angles, nimble attention to breaking news like accidents or the comings and goings of planes carrying celebrities (TV newscasts often ask to use the account’s clips), and, sometimes, even a separate behind-the-scenes livestream of the Airline Videos team doing their work. The number of batteries they use as they shoot from the rooftop of an airport hotel could power a small carnival. Most streams last over 8 hours.

Airliners Live

@AirlinersLive; 1.1 million subscribers
Broadcasting four times a week from either Manchester, England, or Vancouver, Canada, Airliners Live is the rare plane spotting livestreamer to achieve the elite level of 1 million subscribers. This team’s equipment is so good you can practically watch the flight attendants’ safety demonstrations through the windows as the jets pass. The account also runs a second channel, Airliners Lounge, that specializes in fun, short aviation-themed videos. 

Aviation TV

@AviacaoTV; 30,000 subscribers
Running since 2014, Aviation TV is very active, posting something from the airport in Lisbon, Portugal, on most days. Sometimes a static camera is simply aimed at the runway for half the day, but at other times a fully manned broadcast features chatty commentary in English.

Big Jet TV

@BigJetTV; 404,000 subscribers
Britain-based Jerry Dyer, the son of a pilot, began his channel in 2016. Dyer is known for his irascible, ebullient live commentary. The folksy host especially relishes the entertainment value that bad weather brings, rushing to the airport to shoot tricky landings on blustery days. In January 2024, his capture of an American Airlines jet’s hair-raising landing, broadcast during one of his regular streams from London’s’ Heathrow, went viral and might as well be required viewing for lovers of white-knuckled plane spotting. Dyer occasionally takes his show to other world airports, too. 

Cali Planes

@caliplanes; 15,000 subscribers
This is a smaller stream that has a wide remit, bouncing between San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles LAX, and Burbank. On March 7, 2024, Cali Planes’s cameraman, Salvador Gonzalez, happened to capture unobstructed video of a wheel falling off a United Airlines plane just after departure. An hour later, the Los Angeles-based streamers on this list managed to shoot the plane safely landing, all as part of their normal live coverage.

EU Plane Spotters

@euplanespotters; 5,500 subscribers

When you watch a runway stream from Dublin, where this channel is based, you’ll see a parade of colorful foreign-flagged carriers you’re unlikely to spot on the tarmac of your home airport. 

Flight Focus 365

@FlightFocus365; 36,000 subscribers
Flight Focus 365 might be my favorite of this bunch because of one essential feature: No one ever talks. Its YouTube bio describes itself as a “state-of-the-art A.I. camera.”  All you get is the calming aural ritual of jets taking off and landing at London’s Heathrow, making this streamer ideal for playing while you sleep—which is easy to do for North Americans, since many of the livestreams unfold during overnight hours on the western side of the Atlantic. It’s airplane ASMR.

Happy Landings

@HappyLandingVegas; 34,000 subscribers
Happy Landings, which covers the main airport in Las Vegas, is distinguished from its colleagues by using a live feed from air traffic control for the soundtrack, a perk that will delight some purists. The channel is only active a few times a month, but it goes the distance by staying online for more than 11 hours at a time (YouTube won’t archive any stream longer than 12 hours). Also great: Happy Landings leaves many of its past streams online without requiring memberships to watch.

Macc Aviation

@MaccAviation; 67,000 subscribers
Although host Arek is based in Manchester, England, he ventures to a good variety of other European airfields, including in Scotland and Poland.

Madeira Airport Spotting

@MadeiraAirport; 401,000 subscribers
Tickets for flights that land on the windswept runway of Madeira, a vertiginous rocky island off the coast of Portugal, ought to come with fresh underpants for the passengers. That nonstop sense of barely contained disaster is one of the reasons Madeira Airport Spotting has such a healthy following of rubberneckers. Pedro, who runs the channel, is on hand to catch the tension several times a week for 5 to 8 hours at a time.

L.A. Flights

@L.A.Flights; 312,000 subscribers
Peter and Joshua host livestreams mostly from LAX but sometimes from elsewhere. Their radio-quality voices make this one of the more pleasant streams to leave running while you do other things.

Plane Sailing Aviation

@PlaneSailingAviation; 6,500 subscribers
Your go-to channel for the greenery-lined runways of Edinburgh, Scotland (home of the U.K.’s fifth-busiest airport), and Newcastle in northern England. Mark and Eddie’s streams are calm, light on the overtalking, and worthy of more subscribers.

Runway Action

@RunwayAction; 40,000 subscribers
Retro jets! Rather than stream live, Runway Action caters to nostalgists by pulling from its library of plane spotting videos from around the world, some of them dating back to the 1990s. Bet you never thought you’d watch the Concorde fly again!


@SydSquad; 100,000 subscribers
This Australian channel, which operates from Sydney, is a hobby for its owners, who stream three or four times a month in both daylight and nighttime conditions. Production values are high, and the project is popular enough to support its own line of merchandise (SydSquad is not the only channel on this list that sells stuff to fans, but these sales go to charity). For more quality plane spotting in Australia, look to Julia Flights (Brisbane and Sydney; 10,700 subscribers) and Only Planes Network (Brisbane; 6,900 subscribers).

Think Planes

@ThinkPlanes; 46,000 subscribers
Although their home airfield is Manchester in the U.K., the relatable broadcasting duo of Simon and Lizz frequently takes the show on the road to places as diverse as Innsbruck, Austria, and Corfu, Greece.

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