Beijing

Hotels

Langham Place Airport Hotel

This luxury 5* star hotel is located very close to Terminal Three, in between runways 36R & 01.

I had requested a lake view room on the fifth floor when booking the room, however, on arrival we were informed that our requested wouldn’t be able to be met as the hotel was completely full & the only room they could offer us was 5077 which was a South facing room.

We felt this room suited us better as from here we could see the approaches to all three runways. 36L is quite a distance from here so those landing on that runway can’t be read off & need to be tied up with an SBS.

For those landing on 36R (the middle runway) & 01 there is just enough opportunity to read these off using a standard pair of binoculars, however, a decent scope would give you a better chance of reading those off on runway 01.

For those that are interested in staying at the Langham Place, all odd numbered room ending in 01 up to & including 57 offer a “lake view” & anything odd higher than 59 offers a South facing room. With a “lake view” room those landing on 36R will be easily readable, even with mk.1 eyeballs & with a good scope those landing on 36L should be read off.

However, you would not have any views of those landing on runway 01. If you would prefer a “lake view” room, I would suggest asking for rooms 5019 or 5035 as these are both are the lifts which have windows which would give you an opportunity to see things landing on runway 01, providing you have an SBS to monitor things coming in on that runway.

As this hotel is a luxury five star property, I would recommend stocking up on supplies from one of the supermarkets in Terminal 3, which is an easy five minute stroll away, to save a bit of money.

Undoubtedly one of the main attractions of spotting at Beijing is the opportunity to see aircraft from North Korea, namely the Air Koryo Tu-204’s. Upon our arrival on the Tuesday one was parked up on the end of Terminal Two which we were unable to tie up. After returning from seeing some of the touristy sights a couple of days later another was parked up. We had left the SBS running in the room & left one of the key cards in the room to keep it running. However the maids had taken it out whilst cleaning the room and the SBS had drained the battery so that one went amiss as well!

Fortunately our luck took a turn for the better a couple of days later when P-633 pinged up on the SBS. Visibility was getting worse by now so a photo wouldn’t be possible. Around thirty minutes later to our surprise the other Tu-204 in their fleet, P-632 pinged up on the box. This more than made up for the previous disappointments!

With Beijing being one of the busiest airports in the world you would expect a steady stream of flights throughout the day. However, after the morning rush there are periods of the afternoon where movements can become rather slow, especially after being there for a few days and making less & less new Chinese frames, with movements really picking up after 2000 right through to 0100 where you can expect to see up to nine aircraft on final approach!

Domestic movements are dominated by Air China, for whom this is their main base. You can also expect to see a healthy helping of most other domestic carriers as well as many other Asian carriers & a decent amount of Russian airlines such as Aeroflot (A330’s + B767’s), S7 (A320’s), Transaero (B777’s + B767’s), Vladivostok Avia (A320’s) & SAT Airlines (B737’s).

Hotel information courtesy of Matt Rowlinson

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