With the help of an anonymous commercial pilot, Airfarewatchdog.com has compiled a list of the world’s most “thrilling” airports.
And they don’t mean those that include bouncy castles and gambling machines.
From taking off over sheer mountain drops to landings that fly just feet over beachgoers, these airports could be the most memorable part of your trip.
Toncontín International Airport, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Surrounded by mountains, the airport resembles a zigzag and pilots have to weave between the mountains as they land.
Queenstown Airport, Queenstown, New Zealand
The Remarkables, a jagged mountain range seen in “The Lord of the Rings,” make landing at Queenstown airport a real knee-knocker.
Gustaf III Airport, St. Jean, St. Barthélemy
Its runway is only 2,100 foot long, and at its end lays St. Jean Beach and the clear blue ocean.
Courchevel Airport, Courchevel, France
Located at an altitude of 6,588 feet high in the French Alps, Courchevel Airport, with a runway as short as 1,772 feet, is one of the most dangerous around the globe.
Princess Juliana International Airport, Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Pilots only get around 7,000 feet to land at Princess Juliana International Airport, meaning they have to fly within shouting distance of the sunbathers at neighboring Maho Beach.
Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport, Sitka, Alaska
Featured in the movie “The Proposal,” the Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport is located on the small island of Japonski. Almost completely surrounded by water, pilots must heed boulders that could be washed onto the runway during bad weather.
Catalina Airport (Airport in the Sky), Avalon, California
Because of its lofty elevation and sheer cliff, Catalina Airport is nicknamed “Airport in the Sky.” As its runway is lifted in the middle, pilots can have trouble pinpointing its end.
Tenzing-Hillary Airport (Lukla Airport), Lukla, Nepal
Gateway to Mount Everest, Tenzing-Hillary Airport is located in the snow-capped Himalayas. Takeoff involves speeding downhill and if you’re not airborne before the end of the runway, you plummet into a void below.
Barra Airport, Barra, Scotland
Barra Airport is the only one in the world where planes land on a beach. When the windsock is flying, locals are informed to stay away from its three runways, which are marked by wooden poles.
LaGuardia Airport, New York, New York
The runway is short and bordered by Bowery and Flushing bays, and the air space is crowded as there are two other airports — JFK and Newark — nearby. A short drive from Manhattan, approaching planes seem to touch the skyline.