If you're into photography at all, or just plane-watching, head over to Concourse A or C. You can get to all three concourses without exiting security. Northwest has three daily banks at MEM
- morning, afternoon and evening. If you're flying through on the morning bank, you can go to Concourse A and see lots of FedEx and Northwest activity on Runway 18R/36L. Lots of activity on the other side, too, but the view to the east is bad for lighting. I doubt you'll see much FedEx activity in the early afternoon bank, but things really get hopping at the airport in the 4-6 p.m. timeframe. They have this thing timed down to a science - FedEx has a huge push that runs up until about 5, and as soon as that wraps up the Northwest evening bank starts arriving. This operation is really worth seeing. I was there on Thursday afternoon when a huge storm rolled through at the height of the FedEx rush (about 4:30). The controllers had to switch the airport from south to north configuration during the storm - then switch to a primarily west configuration (Runway 27) when the storm tapered off, then back to a south configuration when the whole thing blew over. FedEx and NW
planes were scattered all over that airport.
The two most interesting NW
flights are NW
57, the Amsterdam A330 that arrives at 4:55 p.m.; and NW
444 from MSP
, the only 757-300 currently scheduled into Memphis. 444 is scheduled to arrive at 5:15 p.m. Concourse C, with good views of Runways 18C/36C and 18L/36R, is your best bet for the afternoon flights for lighting reasons. In my experience, 57 almost always uses 18C/36R and 444 is normally on 18R/36L.