It’s safe to say that more often than not, the worst part about traveling is dealing with the airport. And by “the airport” I mean literally any airport. All airports are the worst and every time I’m in one I can’t wait until I’m no longer in it. But while most airports are nearly unbearable because of all the people and all the waiting, some of them are just plain scary! Here are some of the scariest airports in the world that are definitely worth avoiding at all cost.
PARO AIRPORT, BHUTAN
Paro Airport’s main problem is its location. It lies between two 18,000-foot mountains which make for especially difficult landings. In fact, only a small handful of pilots are even legally certified to land a plane here. Visibility is also a major problem. Pilots literally have to maneuver between the curving mountains as they descent, they will only see the runway at the last moment, and landing is only allowed in the daylight. Oh, also, the airport has no radar system. No thanks!
LUKLA AIRPORT, NEPAL
This is a tough one if you were planning to climb Mt. Everest someday as this is the nearest airport. But there’s one major problem with this particular airport: the runway leads right to a 2,000-foot drop! No thank you. Not to mention the weather conditions in the area are so bad that heavy fog has led to climbers being started for weeks at a time. Better play it safe and just take the 11-hour bus ride from Kathmandu if you’re still determined to climb Everest.
PRINCESS JULIANA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, ST. MAARTEN
Every time a plane lands at Princess Juliana Airport it looks like something out of a Michael Bay action film. That’s because the plane has to fly so close to the public beach below that it looks like an accident and the plane is about to crash. On average, arriving planes are traveling about 100 feet above the sunbathers below. I’ll be taking my beach vacation anywhere else, thank you very much!
COURCHEVEL ALTIPORT, COURCHEVEL, FRANCE
This small, mountainside airport is mostly used to service the ski resort nearby. But the runway can be so icy and the drop at the end of the runway so deadly that any pilot hoping to land there has to be specially certified to do so. Get this; this particular airport is so fascinatingly dangerous that it was featured in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.
CONGONHAS AIRPORT, SAO PAULO
Congonhas Airport was first built in the 30’s when the city of Sao Paulo was a fairly small city. But since then it has grown dramatically and now the airport is delicately tucked within the city’s skyscrapers. Even worse, there are often drainage problems in the area that make the runways slick and has led to some planes sliding right off the tarmac. In fact, in 2007, a plane lost control and crashed into a nearby warehouse. 187 passengers along with 12 people on the ground died. I don’t think I ever really wanted to go to Sao Paulo anyway.