Characters standing outside an airport always know exactly which plane has their beloved on it, even if they lost a Race for Your Love. At a busy airport, there might be many outbound flights, even for a single airline, but characters psychically know which one is theirs.
If there's a POV shot from the ground, you'll see the face through the window, rather than a more accurate view that looks approximately like a small dot in the sky. (Fridge Logic dictates that even if the plane were close enough to see in the window, you'd have to be right under it.)
Bonus points if they wave to each other through the window or something. See also Airplane of Love. Could be justified if it's a very small airport, but not likely if it's any kind of large passenger plane.
- In Honey and Clover, Takemoto pulls off a completely platonic Race for Your Love toward Morita, but gets there too late. He ends up behind a chain link fence outside the airfield. He somehow knows which plane it was and hurls some choice epithets at it as it goes by.
- Subverted in Inazuma Eleven:
- Subverted in Love Hina, when Naru wakes up to see Keitaro has already left for his flight. She knows it's his plane when she sees it because the airport intercom announces the flight number as it takes off, along with acknowledging it had been delayed (which is the entire reason why Keitaro and Naru could spend time together before the flight).
- The Fully Automatic Clip Show in the third act of 5 Centimeters per Second includes a flashback to Takaki leaving the southern islands for good while Kanae watches his plane take off. Justifiable in that it is a small community he's leaving.
- Amazing Spider-Man #93: Peter Parker wants to head straight to Gwen Stacy and confess his Secret Identity before she leaves (due to the death of her dad, which was somewhat caused by Spidey.) Unfortunately, a fight delays him and he rushes to the info desk. The receptionist tells him the plane is departing. Peter turns and looks out the window - sure enough, the plane's just left.
- Used in Apollo 13: When Tom Hanks' character (Jim Lovell) takes off for Florida, his wife watches from the yard as his plane flies over the house. Justified by the plane being a white T-38 Talon, and also by the likelihood that Lovell would have set up his flight plan specifically to allow the pass. (NASA has maintained a fleet of T-38s, as chase planes and astronaut trainer/taxis, for a very long time, and the agency's fleet livery is white with sky blue pinstriping which wouldn't have been visible from the ground.)
- Exaggerated in a later scene, where Jim Lovell looks down at the Earth through a window in the lunar module, and his wife stares back up at him from her living room.
- Subverted in Bitter Moon, when the evil monster of an Anti-Hero places his girl in a plane and then leaves, there's her desperate look out of the plane window,, but I can't remember his reaction.
- Played with: In Final Destination, the group of characters who just got kicked off the plane are able to track the ill-fated flight as it takes off, but get distracted with another argument as we continue tracking the plane. They start paying attention again when the shockwave from the otherwise silent explosion takes out the picture window. Justified here because they were right outside the gangway (or whatever that thing is called).
- Played straight in Miao Miao, after a Race for Your Love.
- Mr. Snuffleupagus waves his trunk up at Big Bird's airplane in an overhead shot in Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird—even though later, when Bert points out Big Bird from the vantage of a much lower-flying biplane, he has to use binoculars.
Bert: See that yellow spot down there? It's Big Bird!
Ernie: Oh, yeah! That sure looks like a yellow spot, all right.
- Adrian Mole: When Adrian's love interest Pandora flies to Tunisia, Adrian goes with her to London Heathrow Airport, and knows which plane is hers at it disappears into the clouds.
- As quoted above, Elton John's "Daniel" is all about this.
- There's a song from Yello that uses a non-romantic example. It's called La Habanera. It's on "One Second," the same album that made the "Oh Yeah" song famous.
Pedro Comacho, The former informer of the secret police is still standing outside the club. Pretending to be blind, he watches the last plane to Miami dsappearing in a flaming purple sky. Now he knows he has been left behind.
- Averted in Gary Allan's "Watching Airplanes": the narrator has to guess which plane his ex is on, calculating based on the time she left him.
- Aptly harpooned in the Filipino comedy comic Beerkada, where, after seemingly losing a Race for Your Love, the main character Glenn hangs outside the airport screaming lovelorn confessions at every plane that passes for the rest of the entire night. Later on, it turns out the girl he was looking for wasn't even leaving for another month. He mourns her loss anyway.
- Ménage à 3 has a non-romantic version, when Gary and Kiley race to the airport to prevent the unstable Yuki from flying home to Japan to confront her father — but fail, invoking the trope, with an added Big "NO!". This looks like the trope being played straight, but actually it's a Parody or at least an Aversion, as Yuki was never at the airport, her father is in Montreal, and anyway she calms down and has a fairly rational conversation with him rather than assaulting him as Gary and Kiley feared.
- On TableTop, playing out the Aftermath of a game of Fiasco, Wil Wheaton describes his character "looking out the window as the Pan Am flight to Los Angeles goes past", wishing he was on it. Alison Haislip offers a tongue-in-cheek lampshade: "And it says on the side of the plane, "Pan Am Flight To Los Angeles."
- Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends: In a non-romantic example, the Spider-Friends are hanging out at the airport watching the plane that has Kraven the Hunter being sent back to his home country.
- Parodied in The Simpsons episode "Marge vs the Monorail"; the pitchfork-wielding citizens of North Haverbrook not only know that Lyle Lanley is on the plane making an unscheduled layover in their town, they specifically know he's in seat 3F. Either it's pure Rule of Funny, or they actually engineered his plane being rerouted in order to take their revenge...
- In the We Bare Bears episode "Losing Ice", Ice Bear leaves his brothers and gets a job at a Japanese teppan restaurant after getting tired of being taken for granted. Once Grizzly and Panda have their Heel Realization, they rush to the restaurant to apologize, only for the head chef to tell them that Ice Bear left for the airport. The brothers rush there, but assume they were too late when they see a plane leaving. Except Ice Bear wasn't actually going to work as a chef in Japan; he just got a job at a restaurant in the airport.