Bored at the airport? You should go plane watching at Cape Town International Airport. Picture: Clinton Moodley.

After taking a 6am flight from Durban to Cape Town, and having to wait two hours until the rest of the travel group arrived, there was nothing better to do than head to one of the restaurants for a quick breakfast. 

The restaurant I chose overlooks the airport parking and runway. 

I immediately recognise some of our South African carriers - some dressed in bright orange while others look glamourous in green. One airline kept it simple with hints of blue and pink. 

The larger international airlines land and depart freely, and I could not help but wonder how these pilots flew such big planes. 

I could never be so brave!   

There is something tranquil about plane watching. 

I sip my chai latte and smear some rich butter on the freshly baked scones on my plate, all while my eyes remain fixed on the many aircrafts entering and exiting the runway. 

Time flew quickly that morning. I will arrive at the airport a few hours earlier when I fly back home, I think to myself as I join the other group. 

A day later, I saunter into Cape Town International Airport, where I check my luggage and head towards the airport lounge. I had three hours to spare before my flight. There was no better way to spend it than indulging in some sweet treats while watching the planes land. 

The experience is quite cathartic. 

Observing the planes from the airport lounge. Picture: Clinton Moodley.

I noticed that when a plane lands, the staff at the airport immediately make a beeline for the aircraft. 

While the passengers hastily wait for the doors to open, a team on the ground is working around the clock to ensure everything is safe before travellers enter their new destination.

It usually 5 to 10 minutes before the doors open and you see travellers rush out- their heads held up high as they manoeuvre the impatient crowds. 

Long after they have left, the staff continue their work- checking the aircraft again, from the wheels, the fuselage and turbine engine. 

They do the mandatory checks before new passengers enter the aircraft. 

The process repeats with other planes for the next few hours. 

Before I know it, it is time to board one of the orange coloured planes. Time sure does fly when you plane watching! 

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