Spotting Report: Lagoon Drive Parking Lot at Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye Airport

Spotting Report: Lagoon Drive Parking Lot at Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye Airport

After arriving in Honolulu on the AirAsia X inaugural flight from Osaka and making a quick stop at Pacific Marina Inn hotel to drop off my bags and take a quick shower, I headed out to do some Honolulu spotting.

Honolulu Spotting: Lagoon Drive Parking Lot

The spot of my choice was a parking lot at the end of Lagoon Drive – a street that runs along the southeastern perimeter of the airport. To get there, I walked from my hotel. The walk took about 40 minutes, and offered some nice views along the way.

[one_half padding=”010px 10px 10px 10px”]Walking to Lagoon Drive

The “sidewalk” leading to Lagoon Drive.


[one_half_last padding=”010px 10px 10px 10px”]Seaplanes

There were also some sea planes in the lagoon.


[full_width padding=”10px 10px 10px 10px”]Lagoon

A nice view of Honolulu along the way.


From the Lagoon Drive spot, it is possible to photograph movements on the “Reef Runway” – 08R/26L. As I got closer and closer to the spot, I tried to capture some of the 08R departures in a “Hawaiian way.”

[full_width padding=”10px 10px 10px 10px”]Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu Spotting

A Hawaiian Airlines A330 departing the “reef runway.”


The spot itself is a little dirt area between the airport fence and the parking lot. There are some concrete blocks that one can stand on to photograph over the fence.

[one_half padding=”010px 10px 10px 10px”]Honolulu Spotting

The Lagoon Drive spot.


[one_half_last padding=”010px 10px 10px 10px”]Honolulu Lagoon Drive Spot

The concrete blocks can be used to shoot over the fence.


Besides 08R departures, it is also possible to catch landings on 04L and R. The light is only behind ones back in the early morning, though.

Finally, the spot also offers an up-close view of aircraft taxiing out of the cargo and general aviation area spread along Lagoon Drive.

[full_width padding=”10px 10px 10px 10px”]Aircraft Taxiing Out

A Gulfstream taxiing by the spot and a Mokulele Grand Caravan landing on 04R. Sorry for the backlit photo.


Photographing the Regular Honolulu Traffic

The first couple of movements that I saw were United Airlines 767 and Virgin America A320 departing back to the mainland. There were also some Hawaiian Airlines aircraft including a couple of A330s and a 717.

[full_width padding=”10px 10px 10px 10px”]Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330-200

Hawaiian Airlines A330-200 departing Honolulu bound for New York as HA50.


Unfortunately, due to fairly strong heat haze even around 3:30PM, many of the photos turned unusable. Still, some were OK. The Japan Airlines 777 below is one of those.

[full_width padding=”10px 10px 10px 10px”]Japan Airlines OneWorld Boeing 777-200ER

JAL 777-200ER in OneWorld livery departing Honolulu bound for Tokyo as JL789.


For the rest of the afternoon, some of the “heavy” highlights included Hawaiian Airlines 767s and a FedEx MD-11.

[full_width padding=”10px 10px 10px 10px”]Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 767-300ER

Hawaiian Airlines 767-300ER departing bound for Pago Pago in American Samoa.


[one_half padding=”010px 10px 10px 10px”]United Airlines Boeing 777-200

United Airlines 777-200 departing to Chicago.


[one_half_last padding=”010px 10px 10px 10px”]Delta Air Lines Airbus A330-300

Delta Air Lines A330-300 departing bound for Minneapolis.


[full_width padding=”10px 10px 10px 10px”]FedEx McDonnell Douglas MD-11F

FedEx MD-11F departing to Oakland.


The smaller aircraft included Hawaiian Airlines 717s as well as some Island Air turboprops which – by the time they passed in front of me – were too hight to photograph.

[one_half padding=”010px 10px 10px 10px”]Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 717-200

Hawaiian Airlines 717-200 departing to one of the neighboring islands.


[one_half_last padding=”010px 10px 10px 10px”]United Airlines Boeing 737-900

United Airlines 737-900ER departing bound for Los Angeles.


Finally, there were also some general aviation aircraft including helicopters, as well as military aircraft due to Honolulu airport also being a United States Air Force base.

[one_half padding=”010px 10px 10px 10px”]Helicopter

One of the many helicopters that flew above my head that day.


[one_half_last padding=”010px 10px 10px 10px”]C-17

One of the two C-17s that took-off in the afternoon.


Two Highlights to End the Day: AirAsia X & Batik Indonesia

While the above could be summarized as “standard traffic,” that day, there were also two special movements. They also happened to be the last two aircraft I photographed on the day.

The first of those was flight D7 2 – AirAsia X’s return flight to Osaka. While it is scheduled to depart at 4PM, that day it departed with a delay of two hours. Not a pleasant experience for the passengers. However, in terms of photography, it was hard to complain as the light was getting better with each minute of the delay.

[full_width padding=”10px 10px 10px 10px”]AirAsia X Airbus A330-300

AirAsia X departing Honolulu for the first time.


The second special movement was the departure of Batik Indonesia’s first Boeing 737 MAX 8. The aircraft arrived earlier in the day from Boeing Field, and in the evening it continued its journey towards Indonesia. First, though, it stopped in Guam.

[full_width padding=”10px 10px 10px 10px”]Batik Indonesia Boeing 737 MAX 8

Batik Indonesia 737 MAX 8 taxiing for departure from 08R.


[full_width padding=”10px 10px 10px 10px”]Batik Indonesia Boeing 737 MAX 8

Batik Indonesia 737 MAX 8 departing bound for Guam.


Interestingly, upon delivery, the titles were changed to Lion Air, and so the above two photos became even more precious.

Given that there were no more interesting departures scheduled after Batik Air, I headed back to the hotel.

First, I stopped to grab a couple of pictures of a little “light aircraft graveyard” that could be seen just a couple of meters down Lagoon Drive.

[full_width padding=”10px 10px 10px 10px”]Light Aircraft Graveyard

A mini “light aircraft graveyard” along Lagoon Drive.


Then, I just continued the 40 minute walk towards my hotel, bringing the Honolulu spotting session to an end.

[full_width padding=”10px 10px 10px 10px”]Lagoon Drive

One final view of Lagoon Drive, taken on my way back to the hotel.


5 thoughts on “Spotting Report: Lagoon Drive Parking Lot at Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye Airport”

  1. Hi Keishi,
    This is an excellent report. I am going to HNL in March 2018 from the USA mainland and have been doing some research using Google maps and Flightradar24. My findings match exactly your report above including the hotel and walking along Lagoon Drive. Google indicates the walk is about 2.2 miles.
    I also plan to walk to the terminal and explore the parking structures as I may be able to get some pictures of planes on the inter island ramp on the north west side. Using Google maps street view it “appears” you could get some photos of the small carriers from Elliott Street. Most of the heavy Pacific non American traffic seems to depart on the 08R reef runway starting at 8am through 3pm in the afternoon

  2. Hi Keishi…nice report that one 😉 Which lens did you used ? Any trouble with police ? Was it a safe place to be ? I’m planning a trip next year to HNL..

    Best wishes,


    1. Hi Edgar, thanks for the comment. You should have no problem spotting there. I used 70-200 on a crop body. Keishi

  3. Aloha Keishi??
    I’m a local girl born and raised on Oahu and I’m sad to say I’ve never been to the end of lagoon drive to watch planes??‍♀️ Your description of your time was well illustrated and photos was really nice! I have my grandson here visiting from vegas and he loves planes! So this is a definite place to take him before he goes back home? Mahalo!!!

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