In my opinion, it is really easy to see whether an airplane is a Boeing or Airbus. I usually just look at the height of the planes off the ground (most Airbus planes are higher off the ground than Boeing) the nose or something else. But talking to my friend recently, he has a harder time recognizing these two types of planes. Can you tell the difference?
One plane that is arguable is the 757. From far away, it looks like an Airbus.
I agree... I think a 757 is easy to spot from far away but a 767 looks like an Airbus (or vice versa) from far away. The 747 is probably the most recognized airplane in the world. A 727 couldn't possibly be mistaken for any Airbus.
The 717 is easy to identify at least when compared to an Airbus but not when compared against other McDonnell DC9-generation planes.
Can most people? No, probably not, unless its a 747
You'd be surprised. It's been my experience that most non-aviation types think anything with 4 wing-mounted engines is a 747... A340, DC8, 707, it doesnt matter; they rarely notice [the lack of] the upper deck.
Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre c'est impossible sans Concorde!
Personally I think most of the Boeing's look like a lot more went into making it, like it's more of a heavy duty plane then the Airbus. I don't really know how to explain that very well....I guess you'll just have to use your imagination.
Its extremely easy to tell the difference unless you've got a contrailer or something where the aircraft is bloody miles away.
Even a 757 and A321 is simple, A321's have wingtips, the windows are rounder, the nose is not as pointed... 757 is slightly longer etc etc etc. But you don't have to look for any detail when you get used to seeing aircraft on a regular basis, it just comes naturally. Even telling the difference between 737 versions etc.