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NEWS Last modified on October 1, 2015

The truth about plane spotters

Plane spotters, love or loath them, are arguably every airport's biggest fan because come rain, wind or shine they are inevitably around and seeking out the best vantage points to view incoming/outgoing flights.

But who are this hardy breed? Where do they come from and how far are they prepared to travel in pursuit of their favourite pastime?

Well, London City Airport (LCY) has possibly become the first airport to try and find out the answers by conducting its own research about plane spotters.

And it claims to have uncovered some surprising information that will bust some myths.

It says: "Mention a plane spotter and you might imagine the clichéd older gentleman in an anorak with a pair of binoculars around their neck, a thermos of tea in one hand, and a pocket guide to planes in the other – but you’d be wrong."


It says that its survey of 233 plane spotters – or AV Geeks as they prefer – has revealed that far from being a hobby of older generations, it’s actually a popular activity for the young as almost half (43%) are under the age of 25 with only 6% of retirement age.

As for how it all started, over half (56%) said they took the hobby up as a child, and 30% got into it as a teenager.


Whilst train spotters might find different stations to try and spot different trains, AV Geeks are no different with 56% revealing they have travelled abroad to spot planes.

Indeed, one in three travelling long distances to locations including the US and Australia, and one in seven venturing out to Asia.

An amazing 30% of those asked said they had visited 21 or more airports, so there’s no hanging around at the same one day after day seeing the same old planes time and time again.


The average AV Gee, the survey claims, is dedicated to the cause with 35% of them admitting that they go spotting at least once a week, and 70% said they did it for more than three hours at a time.

A London City Airport spokesperson said: “Our airport sees a number of AV Geeks visiting us every week and we thought it was about time that the public got to know what the hobby is really like, and to challenge some perceptions.

“It’s fascinating to learn that it’s a hobby of a younger generation at the moment, and that AV Geeks are so dedicated.

"Many people may not visit 21 or more airports in their lifetime by travelling on business or going on holiday, yet a large number of AV Geeks take the time and put in the effort to go to as many as possible.”

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Joe Bates

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