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How to Tell Different Airplanes Apart

Different Types of Commercial Airplanes

Here is an overview of different commercial planes and how to tell them apart.

Boeing 747

Two of the main types of Boeing 747 planes are the 747-400 and the 747-8. The Boeing 747 airplane has a curvier body than most other commercial planes, and features both a lower deck and a partial upper deck. The Boeing 747-400 has a smaller lower deck, along with more traditional winglets that stick sharply up at the end of each wing. The Boeing 747-8 plane has a longer upper deck than the 747-400, with winglets that do not stick up as much as traditional winglets. They curve smoothly up, instead of creating a sharp angle. The 787-8 also features engines that have zig-zag cut outs in the back, or chevrons, which reduce engine noise.

Boeing 767

The Boeing 767 has two wheels on each side at the base of each wing. Including two wheels at the nose of the plane, it has a total of 10 wheels. Boeing 767 airplanes can be difficult to recognize because many airlines have modified their planes by adding extra doors or adding winglets to the original aircraft, so there are fewer standard attributes for a Boeing 767 plane than many other commercial planes.

Boeing 777

Boeing 777 airplanes have two large engines on either side. Unlike most other commercial planes, the wings do not have any winglets. They have three sets of two wheels at the base of each wing, giving them 12 wheels on the entire aircraft. There are two specific types of Boeing 777 planes: the Boeing 777-200 and the Boeing 777-300. Boeing 777-200 planes feature four doors on each side: one in the front of the plane, one in front of the wing, one behind the wing, and one in the very back of the plane. Boeing 777-300 planes have five doors on each side. Boeing 777 planes can be difficult to differentiate from Boeing 767 planes because they share many similar aesthetic qualities.

Boeing 787

The most recognizable aspect of a Boeing 787 airplane is its engines. The engines feature serrated chevrons in the back, similar to the Boeing 747-8 airplane. The wings are also different than other commercial planes. Boeing 787 wings stretch farther and higher than most other wings. They also do not have the abrupt winglets many commercial planes have on the end of their wings.

Airbus A340

The easiest way to differentiate an Airbus A340 from other planes is by the engines. Airbus A340 planes have a total of four engines, with traditional winglets on the ends of each wing. There are two main types of Airbus A340 airplanes: the A340-200/300 and the A340-500/600. The A340-200/300 has engines that look especially small in comparison with the airplane, with four doors on each side. The A340-500/600 looks longer and skinnier than other commercial airplanes, with engines that look larger than the A340-200/300 and five doors spread out on each side of the plane.

Be Safe When You Fly

Whatever kind of plane you board, take some time to understand the various safety regulations before you take to the skies. It’s unlikely your plane will have any type of issue, but it’s best to know what to do in case of the worst eventuality.

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