My 6 Favorite Commercial Airplanes

My 6 Favorite Commercial Airplanes

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Us avgeeks can often have pretty strong aircraft preferences. Sometimes our picks are rational (like based on a plane’s capabilities, passenger comfort, etc.), while other times we just like the way a plane looks or sounds. In this post I thought it would be fun to share my favorite aircraft, and then I’d love to hear what planes OMAAT readers like most.

The best airplanes to fly on (in my opinion)

In this post I wanted to share my six favorite types of commercial aircraft. Before I do so, a few things to note:

  • I’m not listing my six favorite planes in absolute terms, but rather I want to list my plane preferences across the spectrum, from jumbo jets to regional jets; in other words, what’s my favorite regional jet, what’s my favorite mainline narrow body jet, etc.?
  • I’ll only be mentioning entire aircraft “families,” so I’m not differentiating the A320neo from the A321neo, for example
  • As you’ll see, some planes I love purely for avgeek reasons, some planes I love for onboard comfort, and most I love for a combination of both

Here are my favorites, roughly in order (starting with my favorite):

Boeing 747 — forever the queen of the skies

I feel like I’d be betraying my inner avgeek if I didn’t put the Boeing 747 first on the list. While the plane is slowly disappearing from commercial service, and while it’s not the most modern jet, there’s something so special about the plane, and I can’t help but get giddy every time I see it.

Surely we can all agree the plane is gorgeous and iconic from the outside… look at those curves!

Lufthansa Boeing 747-400

But it’s not just the outside that’s a treat — the inside is awesome as well, especially if you can sit in the nose, where you’re literally seated under the cockpit.

Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 first class

The upper deck is pretty nifty as well, and if you use your imagination, you can just pretend that it’s an all-business class jet, and that there’s nothing downstairs. And while the 747 has steep stairs you have to climb to get to the upper deck, I almost prefer that to just boarding directly to the upper deck of the A380. There’s something so special about climbing up those stairs.

Lufthansa Boeing 747-8 business class

While we’re taking a trip down memory lane, anyone else remember Lufthansa’s old 747-400 first class, which consisted of both a seat and a separate bed? Ahhh, those were the days…

Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 first class (back in the day)

Airbus A380 — a comfortable whale

With its two full decks, the Airbus A380 lacks the sleek curves of the Boeing 747. Quite to the contrary, it kind of looks like a swollen Airbus A319 that had an allergic reaction to something.

Emirates Airbus A380

Fortunately the A380 delivers when it comes to the experience onboard — the plane is incredibly quiet, the cabin is wide, there are typically tail cameras passengers can watch, and the plane has incredible range.

Thanks to the cabin’s width, economy is generally much more comfortable than on planes like the Boeing 777. On top of that, thanks to the design of the A380, airlines have often installed special amenities on the planes, like Emirates’ A380 first class shower and business class bar.

Emirates Airbus A380 first class shower
Emirates A380 business class bar

While the Boeing 747 is my favorite plane to look at, the Airbus A380 is hands down my favorite plane to fly on.

Airbus A350 — the plane of the future

Double decker planes with four engines will eventually be a thing of the past, as airlines instead focus on planes with two engines that still have incredible range. That includes the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787, and personally I have a preference for the A350.

Not only is the A350 a sleek plane from the outside (I love the cockpit windows, the winglets, etc.), but it features a great passenger experience. In many ways it reminds me of the A380 — the plane is quiet and smooth, there’s typically a tail camera passengers can watch, and economy is even quite comfortable.

I also prefer the A350 to the 787 because the plane is simply more capable in terms of payload and range. For example, just compare the A350-1000 to the 787-10.

Qatar Airways Airbus A350-1000
Qatar Airways Airbus A350-1000 Qsuites business class
Qatar Airways Airbus A350-1000 tail camera

Airbus A220 — the most comfortable economy

The Airbus A220 is a unique plane, and is arguably the most comfortable narrow body jet out there. The plane is gorgeous on the outside, from the curves, to the cockpit windows, to the winglets.

Delta Airbus A220-100

Even inside, the plane is exceptionally comfortable. The cabin is only in a 2-3 configuration (rather than a 3-3 configuration), and features the widest economy seats in the industry. On top of that, thanks to the layout, 80% of passengers have either an aisle or window seat.

airBaltic Airbus A220-300 cabin

Add in absolutely incredible range and economics, and this plane is a winner that I look forward to flying more and more.

Airbus A320neo family — better than Boeing

The Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 are the backbone of short and medium haul global commercial aviation. Between those two planes, I have a strong preference for the A320.

JetBlue Airbus A321LR

For one, the A320-family product offering is much more diverse. Not only does it stretch all the way from the A318 to the A321 (in terms of size), but Airbus has also done an incredible job with improving fuel efficiency and range on these planes. In 2024, Airbus will launch the A321XLR, which will be the longest range narrow body plane in the world. Boeing hasn’t even announced a competitor to that.

But even beyond that, it’s awesome to see what airlines have done with the Airbus A320-family. For example, it’s what JetBlue uses for its transatlantic flights, and the Mint product is gorgeous.

JetBlue Airbus A321LR Mint business class

In economy I also find the Airbus A320 to be more comfortable than the Boeing 737. The cabin on the A320 is several inches wider than on the 737, and that translates into wider seats, even in economy. Every inch (or portion of an inch) counts!

JetBlue Airbus A321LR economy class

Embraer E175 — the king of regionals

The Embraer E175 is in a league of its own among regional jets. Unlike planes like the CRJ-700, the Embraer E175 really feels like a big jet, in terms of the cabin, overhead bins, etc.

American Eagle Embraer E175

Once onboard, I like the 1-2 layout in first class, as it’s always nice to be able to sit alone if you’re not traveling with anyone.

American Eagle Embraer E175 first class

Even in economy the 2-2 layout is pleasant, since there are no middle seats.

American Eagle Embraer E175 economy class

While I’d usually try to avoid regional jets, the Embraer E175 is one plane I don’t mind flying, even on longer flights.

Bottom line

The truth is that I’m happy flying just about any plane, because I love flying. Even so, there’s no denying that not all planes are created equal, and we all have our favorites.

Personally I love the 747 and A380, and refuse to decide between them, because they’re different beasts to me. Aside from that, for me it’s Airbus ahead of Boeing for all mainline jets — I prefer the A350 to the 787, the A320 to the 737, and I love the A220. Then if you’re going to be flying a regional jet, the Embraer E175 is the way to go.

What are your airplane preferences? Are you also #TeamAirbus for the most part?

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  1. MV Guest

    380 ten times better than the crappy 787 noisy and crappy compared with 350 AB

  2. Jerry Rohr Guest

    Being on the upper level of a 747 for a number of trips to Hawaii was a true pleasure. And I miss the DC-10. I know it had its troubles, but what comfort.

  3. JetBlueFanboy Gold

    My favorite planes to fly on in no particular order:

    787. The only widebodies I've flown on are the 777, A330, and 787, the latter of which is my favorite. It's quiet, the mood lighting is beautiful, and the large windows give it an airy feel. I mostly like the dimming window system, except for the fact that F/A's can lock them. It's also a pretty good-looking aircraft, although it's strange how McDonnell Douglas...

    My favorite planes to fly on in no particular order:

    787. The only widebodies I've flown on are the 777, A330, and 787, the latter of which is my favorite. It's quiet, the mood lighting is beautiful, and the large windows give it an airy feel. I mostly like the dimming window system, except for the fact that F/A's can lock them. It's also a pretty good-looking aircraft, although it's strange how McDonnell Douglas named it using the 7x7 system and not the "MD-" prefix ;)

    MD-80. I love the engine sound, 2-3 configuration, the rear airstairs, and the look of the wing. Such a fun aircraft to fly on. Most importantly, it reminds me of my childhood, as I flew on several of them when I was a little kid.

    Avro RJ-100. It's not often you get to fly on a 4-engined high wing commercial plane. I flew on two of them on Brussels Airlines when I was a little kid, and I loved it.
    A330. Gotta love the 2-4-2 configuration in Economy. I don't like the small windows and the dry cabin air, but otherwise it's a solid, comfortable aircraft that I wouldn't hesitate to fly on.

    Dash 8. Yes, you read that right. What's not to love about seeing the landing gear right outside the window? I also really love the sound of the turboprops. It just looks and feels very rugged.

    E-Jets. They combine the best of regional and mainline flying, thanks to the 2-2 configuration and spacious cabin.

  4. SuperBonk 3000 Guest

    737s are by far the worst narrow-body that isn’t a CR2 or ER145. Noisy, cramped, and such an old airframe.

  5. RockKitty New Member

    Solid list, except, I prefer the 787 over A350 and the E175 bins are too small on the right hand side in First Class. You can only get backpacks in that side. Much prefer the A220

    1. Jason Guest

      I loved Ben’s article and the sincere, pleasant, thoughtful comments, unlike your supercilious, tedious, sarcastic and nasty one. For the life of me I cannot understand what makes certain people so gratuitously negative, mean-spirited and falsely superior.

  6. John Guest

    Flew numerous round trips from US to Asia on Northwest 747-400 upper decks, namely because they had the best routes and schedules from my midwest home base. Truly an experience. That aircraft is my absolute favorite! Service was even better back then.
    I achieved Platinum status and became a million-miler in no time when using my WorldPerks VISA. Sadly, when they were taken over by Delta, things changed, and not for the better, in...

    Flew numerous round trips from US to Asia on Northwest 747-400 upper decks, namely because they had the best routes and schedules from my midwest home base. Truly an experience. That aircraft is my absolute favorite! Service was even better back then.
    I achieved Platinum status and became a million-miler in no time when using my WorldPerks VISA. Sadly, when they were taken over by Delta, things changed, and not for the better, in my opinion.
    I have not been on a 380 yet, so I can't make an honest comparison.
    Hopefully, soon.

  7. Magnifico Guest

    What has happened to Boing? Seems it really started going downhill when it moved to Chicago.

    1. OCTinPHL Diamond

      More accurately when it merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Different corporate cultures. Finance won out over engineering.

  8. Jesper Guest

    The A220 has a design flaw which is pretty glaring. The seating is 2-3, but the bins are the same size on both sides. Meaning the aisle is off-set from the centre between the bins. So when the bins are open on the AC side of the aisle they stretch beyond the 2 seats making it super easy to hit your head on them as you walk down the aisle. Especially if you walk past...

    The A220 has a design flaw which is pretty glaring. The seating is 2-3, but the bins are the same size on both sides. Meaning the aisle is off-set from the centre between the bins. So when the bins are open on the AC side of the aisle they stretch beyond the 2 seats making it super easy to hit your head on them as you walk down the aisle. Especially if you walk past a number of closed bins and suddenly come to an open bin. All the bin space is nice, but it does come at a price. It is in many ways a great ride, but there is design flaw for the passenger comfort here.

  9. tom Guest

    The Upper Deck on the Korean Air 747-800 is so much nicer than Lufthansa. It features 22 seats with all aisle access seats versus Lufthansa's cramped 36 passenger seating and no aisle access for window seats.

  10. Azamaraal Diamond

    1. All versions of 747 (caveat - upper deck/business class)
    2. 787 - the ride is excellent and with the cabin pressure/humidity control I always arrive fresh as a daisy.
    3. A380 - almost never feel turbulence in the whale. But temp/humidity is very uncomfortable compared to 787
    4. 777 - old, noisy, bouncy but it always gets you there without a problem - unless Qatar screws up your ticket.
    5....

    1. All versions of 747 (caveat - upper deck/business class)
    2. 787 - the ride is excellent and with the cabin pressure/humidity control I always arrive fresh as a daisy.
    3. A380 - almost never feel turbulence in the whale. But temp/humidity is very uncomfortable compared to 787
    4. 777 - old, noisy, bouncy but it always gets you there without a problem - unless Qatar screws up your ticket.
    5. C300 - er A220 - good solid Canadian airplane with great performance equivalent to or better than A32x series.

    1. mauipeter Guest

      Only 777 OS throne seat, done it four times, including the chef.

    2. DeeCeeEss Guest

      The 767 is too small and feels unsafe in my himble opnion.

    3. SuperBonk 3000 Guest

      767 mid-cabin is LOUD. A horrible plane for long haul.

  11. mauipeter Guest

    Love the 747, especially LH seat 1A, but also enjoyed upper deck Business, even upper deck Swissair eco in the 90's. Don't like the 380, but flown them only once on AF on a rock hard Premium Eco seat, and waited an hour for luggage. Europe regional OS Embraer 195 is my favorite up front, with 1 : 1 staggered seating.

  12. Bert Doornmalen Guest

    in my opinion, nothing to beat the Boeing 747 SP which was used by SAA ( when they were in their heydays) it was used a.o on the none stop between Bombay and JNB, travelling in their first class on top of the crew cockpit was a true experience and the 747SP's used by Pan Am on flights 001/002 were examples of old fashioned flying, not too crowded,normally pretty good service on these planes.We were...

    in my opinion, nothing to beat the Boeing 747 SP which was used by SAA ( when they were in their heydays) it was used a.o on the none stop between Bombay and JNB, travelling in their first class on top of the crew cockpit was a true experience and the 747SP's used by Pan Am on flights 001/002 were examples of old fashioned flying, not too crowded,normally pretty good service on these planes.We were a frequent user of PanAm RTW until their end, their coach fare in those days was US$1699 on the 747SP. Unfortunately it all ended when PanAm sold their routes ( and their soul) to UA.

  13. Susan J Guest

    What about the Air France Concorde for pure excitement?

  14. Kathy Sterling Guest

    Without question the tripple seven in first class!! And zero airplanes in coach.

  15. Florida suneshine Guest

    Go vote Biden Ben. And ur are only making money bc republicans. Ur disgusting and disrespectful. And if not posted I’ll sue on our rights. And u fly around world free. But cheap to pay breakfast. Ur loser. I’m 36 have 10 million delta. And black card I got personally.

    1. Azamaraal Diamond

      I just do not understand a RANT like this. I can't even understand what the problem is. Must be his diet?

    2. OneAlphaTwo Gold

      A foreign troll attempting to further stoke division in the US (on a travel blog, no less! LOL). I can think of only two countries you could possibly be from. Your cyber handlers should fire you; your grammar and spelling are atrocious.

    3. RockKitty New Member

      I'm embarrassed for Florida. No one with a AmEx Black card advertises (no need to) and no one with anything above a 9th grade education writes like that in a post.

  16. Emiya Shirou Guest

    The only regional jet for me is the CRJ 550

  17. IrishAlan Diamond

    Generally I agree with these, Lucky. Oddly I haven’t been on an A220 yet. Generally I’m an Airbus guy all the way. There are some notable exceptions though:

    I hate the noisy old A319. It’s the one Airbus narrow body I’ll happily take any 737 over any day.

    I prefer the overall magnitude and silence of the A380 but nothing will beat the iconic status and curvature of the 747.

    I agree that the E175...

    Generally I agree with these, Lucky. Oddly I haven’t been on an A220 yet. Generally I’m an Airbus guy all the way. There are some notable exceptions though:

    I hate the noisy old A319. It’s the one Airbus narrow body I’ll happily take any 737 over any day.

    I prefer the overall magnitude and silence of the A380 but nothing will beat the iconic status and curvature of the 747.

    I agree that the E175 offers the best domestic F experience if you’re in one of the single seats. Particularly if the cabin isn’t full it can feel close to a private jet experience.

    1. Azamaraal Diamond

      You "must" fly the C300/A220 to discover what a great experience it is compared with the E175/!90

    2. asprino Guest

      Too young for the Concorde....

  18. Tom Guest

    I had an Emirates flights two weeks ago, first leg 777, second A380. I did fly both of them before but not back to back, so could not really compare. Taking off with 777 was pain for my ears. A380... WOW, could not believe the difference. And also, flying economy, comfort, wider seat, everything.... 777 feels like an old Ford and A380 is brand new Mercedes.

  19. Harry Guest

    Agree - 747-400. Recently flew 380 Singapore apartment. Yes the plane is very quiet or at least in the apartment. The best domestic first class seat, Lockheed L1011 by Delta. A true recliner in the sky. Problem for FA as the L1011 never leveled off - trimmed nose up slightly. The best narrow body is 757 in first class. It starts with first class turn left off the jetway and the rest right. Then you...

    Agree - 747-400. Recently flew 380 Singapore apartment. Yes the plane is very quiet or at least in the apartment. The best domestic first class seat, Lockheed L1011 by Delta. A true recliner in the sky. Problem for FA as the L1011 never leveled off - trimmed nose up slightly. The best narrow body is 757 in first class. It starts with first class turn left off the jetway and the rest right. Then you have true domestic first right from the start. Also a hot rod in the sky. That sucker would come out the hole like now.

    The worst is the 321 neo or at least AA version. Flew first from ANC to DFW 6-1/2 hours of the worst domestic flight ever. The pitch in first about like premium economy on most airlines.

    1. XPL Diamond

      Another vote for the 757, my favorite narrowbody. United sometimes flies it to my home airport and I have annoyed my wife more than once by changing our travel days just to get it.

  20. Eskimo Guest

    Still waiting for the gym and casino on the A380.

    1. Azamaraal Diamond

      With a zip-line from cockpit to rudder.

  21. Bruce Member

    Mostly team Airbus. But I have to say, I don't find the A380 that fun to fly on. Sure, it's spacious and comfortable and huge, and there's a novelty to that. But the windows are so thick that it almost makes you feel trapped given how little you can look outside, and with the quietness I forget I'm actually flying. I'd rather stare out a big window and imagine I'm actually sitting on the wing.

  22. tjp74 Guest

    Absolutely agree on 747 and 380. I've been on many 380s including F in Emirates and apartment in Etihad. It's a speal place to be... then there is the queen. I was fortunate enough to be able to sit at 1A on Korean Air 747-8... ahead of every soul on board including pilots! Hard to describe the feeling... very memorable.

    While I like A350 but I prefer 787 for a reason. A350 cabin is wider...

    Absolutely agree on 747 and 380. I've been on many 380s including F in Emirates and apartment in Etihad. It's a speal place to be... then there is the queen. I was fortunate enough to be able to sit at 1A on Korean Air 747-8... ahead of every soul on board including pilots! Hard to describe the feeling... very memorable.

    While I like A350 but I prefer 787 for a reason. A350 cabin is wider but 787 also competes with narrower A330-900neo and I prefer 787 hands down over 330 and even A350-800 because of the windows. Yes the dimming feature has pros and cons but I love how huge windows are especially compared to tiny holes on 330. I think 787 windows are like twice tall as 330s. But 777 vs 350, it's hands down 350. 777X doesn't count yet. oh plus 787 has higher cabin pressure and humanity level even compared to A350... or at least it felt that way. may be its just me be but I tend to feel better getting of a 787.

    1. tjp74 Guest

      I meant a350-900 not -800. as for -1000, not fair to compare it to 787-10 and picking 350 because of the capacity. they are for totally different market and duty. -1000 is competing 777-300ER and eventually 777x series.

  23. BAS Guest

    You’re spot on …I’m a flight attendant for an Atlanta based airline who before that was with Northwest Orient…at our peak we flew over 50 747’s….nothing will ever compare to this engineering marvel…I loved working on it and passengers loved it as well…I was astounded every time I walked on board….never will another plane change air travel like this fantastic flying machine did….

    1. Matt Guest

      Hi. I am not aware of an Atlanta-based airline. Can you clarify?

  24. AnishReddi Gold

    I do also prefer the a350 over the 787, even though I've never flown either but comparing the A350-1000 to the 787-10 is unfair, the the 78X's competition is the A359, even though it has 2 more rows the new MTOW upgrades will give it more range.

  25. BAS Guest

    Ben…you are spot on when admiring the 747….I’m a flight attendant for an Atlanta based carrier but before that was Northwest Orient…At our peak flying over 50 747’s….I was thrilled each and every time I stepped foot onboard…and so were our passengers….I love working on it and for me there will never be another engineering marvel that will change air travel the way this diamond changed it….

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

OCTinPHL Diamond

More accurately when it merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Different corporate cultures. Finance won out over engineering.

6
OneAlphaTwo Gold

A foreign troll attempting to further stoke division in the US (on a travel blog, no less! LOL). I can think of only two countries you could possibly be from. Your cyber handlers should fire you; your grammar and spelling are atrocious.

4
Jason Guest

I loved Ben’s article and the sincere, pleasant, thoughtful comments, unlike your supercilious, tedious, sarcastic and nasty one. For the life of me I cannot understand what makes certain people so gratuitously negative, mean-spirited and falsely superior.

2
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