Dallas – Love Field Airport (DAL)

DAL Airport Map

Click the map to go to Google Maps satellite view of this airport

Live Flight Tracking
Live Air Traffic Control Audio

This page is going to cover both of the major airports in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Love Field is the original Dallas airport, located about 16 miles east of DFW in the heart of Dallas. The best spot to do any planespotting is the roof of the “A” garage. From this location 4 floors up you’ll be facing west, looking at runway 13R/31L which is the longest and most often used runway. There are other locations in the Bachman Lake Park (see map) that offer a view of aircraft approaching runways 13L & 13R.

There isn’t a lot of traffic or variety to spot though. Love Field is home to Southwest Airlines and so most traffic here is of the 737 variety. There’s a continuous flow of traffic and the parking garage offers a good, closeup location for watching; photography is good in the morning due to the sun angle. You can also visit the Frontiers of Flight Museum, located on Lemmon Ave. on the southeast side of the airport (see map), which has 30 aircraft and other exhibits.

Interesting trivia: Love Field was named for Lt. Moss Lee Love, an Army aviator who was killed in a crash in 1913. The airport was originally an Army training base in World War I, officially designated Love Field in 1917.

Southwest Airlines Boeng 737-200
Click for Photos From the Parking Garage
Southwest Airlines Boeng 737-200
Click for Photos From the Parking Garage

Dallas – Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)

DFW Airport Map

Click the map to go to Google Maps satellite view of this airport

Live Flight Tracking
Live Air Traffic Control Audio

The Dallas – Fort Worth Airport is such a massive place that it is a city in itself. There are 7 runways and sometimes 4 or 5 are active at a time! There is only one official viewing area called Founders’ Plaza, located at Airfield Drive and Texan Trail at the northwest corner of the airport. It is a new, clean, safe, and very popular place to watch air traffic. On a recent trip there, the parking lot was packed with airplane enthusiasts and families. There are picnic tables, telescopes, and even radio broadcasts of DFW tower frequencies. Founders’ Plaza is open from 7am to 7pm.

From the new Founders’ Plaza, you’ll have a nice close view of traffic landing on runway 18R or departing to the north on runway 36L as well as aircraft taxiing on the northernmost taxiway and the UPS ramp at the cargo facility. Most of the large aircraft use this runway. For photography this spot is great in the afternoon year round.

As for other areas, there are a few but your luck may vary depending on the traffic pattern. Some people have reported success with photographing from the cargo parking lot on the west side of the airport, but it might not be good depending on the attitude of the police on any given day. Another decent spot is actually off the airport property, across the John Carpenter Freeway, in the parking lot of North Lake College. To get here you would exit the freeway at Freeport Lane and go north one block to Royal Lane. From here, turn left one block to E. 14th Street and left again to the parking lot. This will be on the east side of the approach path to runway 17C and you would be close enough to watch and photograph landing traffic. Photography here is best in the morning hours.

Another location would be along SW Construction Rd.  This road runs around the south end of runways 36L/36R and if you can find a place to pull off you could have a good photo angle of planes landing on those runways.  Note that this is not an approved place to gather and watch planes so you may be asked to leave and go to Founders’ Plaza.  To get here, take N. Airfield Rd from Founders’ Plaza to W. Airfield Rd, go left, and follow it around to the south side of the runways.  See the satellite map for details.

This is the home of American Airlines and with its regional affiliates make up most of the traffic, but the strong Texas economy has brought increased service from international airlines. Qatar operates from Doha with the Airbus A350; you will also find Boeing 787s from Korean Airlines and Japan Air, as well as China Eastern, Eva, and others with the Boeing 777-300.

Examples of Photos From Founders’ Plaza

American Airlines Boeing 777
Click for Photos From Founders’ Plaza