Airbus Airliner Spotting Guide


The A300 was the world's first twin-engined widebody airliner. It was also the first aircraft produced by Airbus Industrie, a consortium of European aerospace manufacturers, now a subsidiary of Airbus Group.

The basic fuselage of the A300 was later stretched into the Airbus A330 and A340, and shortened into the Airbus A310.

The Airbus A320 is a short-to-medium range, twin-engine, narrow-bodied airliner. It was launched in March of 1984, first flew in February of 1987, and was first delivered in March of 1988.

The A320 family was subsequently expanded to include the Airbus A321 (1994), the A319 (1996), and the A318 (2003). Deployment has begun on the A320neo (new engine option).

The Airbus A350 is the first Airbus composite aircraft with both fuselage and wing structures made primarily of carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer.

The double-decked Airbus A380 is the world’s largest commercial aircraft flying today, with the capacity to carry 544 passengers in a comfortable four-class configuration, and up to 853 in a single-class configuration that provides wider seats than its competitor.

With the wide variety of jet airliners serving the worldwide travel market today, identification of individual manufacturers and aircraft can be a bit tricky.

Included below is a quick and easy guide to spotting Airbus jet airliners of the day.

Airbus A300

The twin-engine, wide-body Airbus A300-600, shown here in American Airlines livery

See more Airbus A300 photographs and spotting tips

American Airlines Airbus A300-600


Airbus A310

Lufthansa Airbus A310-304
Note the two cabin doors (and one emergency exit door) along the side of the fuselage.

See more Airbus A310 photographs and spotting tips

Lufthansa Airbus A310-304


Airbus A318

Air France Airbus A318, the smallest member of the A320 family

See more Airbus A318 photographs and spotting tips

Air France Airbus A318, the smallest member of the A320 family

Airbus A319

An Airbus A319-100 of Lufthansa is shown below ... note the two cabin doors, and single emergency exit door over the wing. The A320 has two emergency exit doors.

See more Airbus A319 photographs and spotting tips

Lufthansa Airbus A319-100

Airbus A320

Air France Airbus A320-200, a narrow-body dual-engine airliner

See more Airbus A320 photographs and spotting tips

Air France Airbus A320-200


Airplane spotter's guide for the Airbus A319 and A320 is included below. The A319 has only one emergency exit door over each wing, while the A320 has two exit doors over the wing.
Spotting guide for the Airbus A319 and A320


Airbus A321

The A321 has two engines under the wings, two dual-wheel main landing gear, four cabin doors along the fuselage, and the classic Airbus nose featuring the "notched" window.

See more Airbus A321 photographs and spotting tips

The Airbus A321 has two engines under the wings, two dual-wheel main landing gear, four doors along the fuselage, and the classic Airbus nose featuring the "notched" window.


Spotting and identification guide for the Airbus A320 family of jetliners:
A318, A319, A320 and A321
Spotting and identification guide for the Airbus A320 family of jetliners: A318, A319, A320 and A321

Airbus A330

Airbus A330 spotter's guide: notched windshield window, two engines (one under each wing), one passenger deck the length of the fuselage, main landing gear fall to the rear, and a straight fuselage under the tail structure. The A330 also features a "bulged" area under the center wing section, which the similar A300 does not.

See more Airbus A330 photographs and spotting tips

Airbus A330 spotter's guide


Airbus A340

If you spot a four-engine airliner that is not a Boeing 747 or an Airbus A380, then it is probably an Airbus A340.

The Airbus A340 is a single-deck, wide-body airliner, and features two engines under each wing, and three sets of main landing gears, one in the middle of the underside of the fuselage.

See more Airbus A340 photographs and spotting tips

Airbus A340-200 of South African Airways


Airbus A350

Airbus A350 spotting highlights, including a twin-engine configuration, a single passenger deck, a distinctive nose and winglets.

More about the Airbus A350

Airbus A350-900 spotting highlights, including a twin-engine configuration, a single passenger deck, a distinctive nose and winglets.

Airbus A380

The A380 is easy to spot, with its two full-fuselage passenger decks, bulbous nose, and four engines. Shown here is an Emirates Airbus A380.

More about the Airbus A380

The A380 is easy to spot, with its two full-fuselage passenger decks and four engines. Shown here is an Emirates Airbus A380

Some Obvious Airbus and Boeing Airliner Differences

The typical Airbus airliner's "rounded nose" and notched windshield
The typical Airbus airliner "rounded nose" design

The classic Boeing airliner "pointed nose" design
The classic Boeing airliner "pointed nose" design

Comparison of the typical Boeing wide-body tail structure (top) compared with a typical Airbus structure which has more of a straight alignment across the bottom of the tail
Comparison of typical Boeing wide-body tail structure (top) compared with a typical Airbus structure which has more of a straight alignment across the bottom of the tail

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