When I fly, I like to see the airport when I take off and land. Is there a way I can know, in advance, which runway the plane is likely to depart/arrive from so I know which side of the plane to sit in?

  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean you like to see the airport terminal building? $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2019 at 0:49
  • $\begingroup$ See also Is there a way to find out which runway is used by which flight on a particular day/date? on the Travel Stack Exchange site. $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2019 at 1:02
  • $\begingroup$ @WildGurgs, What do you do when an airport has parallel runways? $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Jan 30, 2019 at 14:04
  • $\begingroup$ @MikeSowsun yes, and as many RWYs as possible $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2019 at 22:15
  • $\begingroup$ @CrossRoads Look at the wind patterns, but I'm wondering specifically about airports with cross runways like SFO - I don't know how to predict if I'll land on the 19s or the 28s for example. $\endgroup$ Jan 30, 2019 at 22:17

2 Answers 2


No. As far as is reasonably practical, planes land and take off into the wind so the runways that are in use will depend on weather conditions at the time of the flight, as well as traffic and so on.

These things probably won't be known at the time when you're picking your seat.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ While you're right, ones best guess could involve looking up the prevailing winds at an airport and booking accordingly. That gives you a decent change of being right. $\endgroup$
    – cbw
    Jan 29, 2019 at 23:44

Since you asked about "likely", then it really depends on the airport.

Some airports have prevailing winds that are quite consistent. As an example, if you were to fly a domestic flight out of SFO between May and October, you've probably got close to a 90% chance that you'll depart on 1L or 1R, with most of the airport on your left. SJC is similar.

The weather at many other airports is variable enough that this isn't as likely to work.


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