To start with, Airbus is a popular French aircraft manufacturer that is also a subsidiary of EADS, a European aerospace company. The Boeing Company, on the other hand, is an American multinational Aerospace Company and Defense Corporation.
Apart from the lineage, there are clear differences in their appearance. The easiest way to distinguish between the two is to peek under the bodies of the planes, where the body’s names are printed. Boeing has a slightly pointed nose, while Airbus planes have a curved and rounded nose. Cockpit windows are also different, with Boeing windows coming in a V shape while the Airbus planes having more squarish windows arranged in a straight line to the body.
Here’s a cool infographic detailing their major performance differences,
There are also differences in engine placement, with Boeing mounting engines on the forward of the wing while Airbus placing them under the wings. Another major difference is the electronics that is used in the planes, with Airbus planes being controlled using side stick, which is similar to a joystick like those used in computer games. Boeing, on the other hand, uses a central yoke and a steering wheel design as the main controller.
The control systems of the two planes are also very different, with Airbus incorporating hard protection using the fly by wire systems which mean the pilot can never assume full control and perform something drastic such as stalling the plane or overstressing the airframe, etc. In Boeing, the pilot can override the pilot system and perform all these functions.
Airbuses are optimized for certain types of operations and are a darling of pilots for their efficiency and automation. On the other hand, Boeings are robust designs but not as fuel-efficient, but are liked by the pilots for the transparency in their flight management systems and capacity to be controlled without any limits.