This article should take 2 minutes to read.
If you’re a die-hard aviation fan, you probably know the answer to this, but if you're not and enjoy flying, then this is the article. Now there is one set feature for all Airbus and Boeing jets, but there are some simple pointers that you can see if you’re looking at the right spots.
We will start easy for you. The Boeing 747 and the Airbus A380 are very similar aircraft in terms of length and the number of engines they possess, but one of the main ways to tell them apart is the second deck. In this case, the Boeing aircraft has the iconic hump which has been seen right from their first 747s and the A380 having a full second deck. Another is the winglets on the, well, wings. The 400 variant of the 747 has a winglet that points upwards whereas the A380 has a winglet that is straight to the wing and goes both up and down. An exception to the 747 winglets is the 800 variant which doesn't have any defined winglet but instead uses the raked wingtip design.
Twin Engine Widebodies, these are usually the aircraft that airlines use for the long haul routes. The Boeing 787 is one of Boeing's latest widebodies and is being ordered by airlines all over the world. Another contender to this aircraft is the Airbus A350. Both of them are dual engined, but there are some ways that you can tell them apart. The 787s nose blends pretty nicely into the cockpit whereas the A350s is a little more defined and this one features a black border on the windows that are not seen on other aircraft, excluding Airbus aircraft of course. The 787 has been known for its amazing wings that seem to be like a bird trying to fly and doesn’t feature any defined winglets, but it is like the 747-800 in that department using raked wingtips as well. The A350 uses ones that curve upwards, think of an eagle curling the end of their wings.
Now let's move onto some narrowbody jets commonly used for domestic/short-haul flights. We will start with the most common ones, the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320. The 737s nose is very distinct and points out quite far, which is very different from the A320, which has more of a rounded nose. The 737 has cockpit windows that angle up at the back which is still used on all latest variations and use the split scimitar winglets which are more commonly seen on the MAX aircraft and some latest 737s. But the nose is probably the best way to tell these two apart. If you’re still confused, it might be worth taking a look at the next plane that you fly and then view what aircraft you’re flying on, which can usually be found on the safety card.