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Hidden in “Plane” Sight: Secret Planespotting Destination at OKC Airport

Welcome to Will Rogers World Airport (OKC), a gem of an airport that often flies under the radar. If you’re a fan of aviation, especially the behind-the-scenes action that typically requires a boarding pass and a TSA search to see, then you’re in for a treat. Nestled within this unassuming airport terminal lies a spot designed with AvGeeks in mind, perfect for planespotting while you await an arriving passenger.

As you step into the main atrium of WRWA, your eyes might catch a glimpse of an intriguing glass hallway on the level above. It’s a sight that’s common in many larger airports – reminiscent of the sterile passageways used to prevent comingling of international arrivals with TSA-screened passengers. Curiously, though, this airport doesn’t currently offer scheduled international passenger service. So why the setup?

If you’re arriving on any of OKC’s zero weekly international flights, they’ve got a beautiful setup for you!

The answer becomes apparent when you read between the lines. One can simply look at how that part of the terminal is laid out and easily conclude that this clever infrastructure was put in place to future-proof the airport, ready to welcome international flights whenever the time comes. A keen observer might note that several nearby gates are already set up to be closed off to funnel arriving passengers upstairs.

But the airport wasn’t content with just letting that space collect dust in the meantime, so instead, they’ve done something really cool with it: amidst the ongoing airport remodeling, this hidden space was unveiled to the general public as an observation area. This unique space allows access to a vantage point typically reserved for ticketed passengers, while maintaining separation from the sterile area below.

Now, here’s the kicker – almost nobody knows about this hidden treasure. It’s like a secret sanctuary for aviation enthusiasts, a space that’s camouflaged in plain sight. If you’re up for the adventure, here’s how you can find it: before heading through TSA, take a left and ascend the staircase in the glass lobby. Alternatively, you can reach it by an elevator located near the exit from the sterile area near gate 22 (press the button for level “M”). Once you’re on the upper level, follow the signs for the Mezzanine Observation Gallery. No, you won’t get in trouble for being up here, despite the off-limits feel to the place.

Take that staircase, adjacent to TSA, upstairs to reach the observation deck.

One level above the airside concourse, you’ll have your very own vantage point of the tarmac and two of OKC’s runways. Whether you’re seeking a cozy spot to relax or a quiet corner to catch up on work, the observation area has a variety of seating options to suit your needs. And the best part? You might just have the place to yourself. TWD has a video tour on YouTube. Bear in mind that all food and beverage vendors at WRWA are airside, so if you aren’t ticketed, it’s best to plan ahead on that front.

For a public space, it feels nicer & more exclusive than some Priority Pass lounges!

You can even wave (through the glass, of course) at your loved ones as they make their way through TSA – a rarity in a post-9/11 world. It’s a bit like discovering a hidden clubhouse, exclusively for AvGeeks who know where to find it.

But, as with all good things, change is inevitable. If and when international service arrives at OKC, it’s likely that this area will be walled off, and transformed into the purpose it appears to have been built for. So, enjoy this spot while you still can, as it likely won’t be forever.

As aviation enthusiasts, we often seek out the hidden gems. Will Rogers World Airport’s observation area is one such gem, a place where you can soak in the airport ambiance, watch planes take off and land, and wonder about the future of travel. So, next time you find yourself at WRWA, go upstairs and take it all in.

One thought on “Hidden in “Plane” Sight: Secret Planespotting Destination at OKC Airport

  • Trinidad!

    Wow I had no idea! Very well written, my friend 🌺🌺

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