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Airports That Take Flying to a Whole New Level

4052991555 339b4446e3
4052991555 339b4446e3
Written by Suzy Guese

Crazy, exotic, or downright dangerous, no matter how you spin it, some airports take flying to a whole new level.

An airport’s very location could make it dangerous. For others, the amenities within turn the space into its own tourist attraction. With Portland International Airport announcing it will be adding a movie theater to its list of amenities by summer 2016, we started pondering some of the most unusual airports and amenities around. While some of these airports might leave you praying during take off and landing, others lend you those once in a lifetime type experiences.

These 4 airports are certainly more than just takeoff and landing!

1.) The Extravagant

 Changi Airport, Singapore

Lucy Liu / Shutterstock

Lucy Liu / Shutterstock

Singapore’s Changi Airport can only be described with one word, extravagant. A destination in itself, the airport might not have dangerous runways but it takes matters to an extreme level with its amenities. Filled with unusual services and features, passengers waiting between flights, can visit indoor nature trails, a butterfly garden, or even take a dip in the rooftop pool and jacuzzi!

With several movie theaters, shopping malls, and additional gardens, Changi Airport is often considered its own Singapore attraction. Kids can even appreciate a slide down the world’s tallest airport slide at Changi Airport.

2.) The Too-Close For Comfort

 Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Maarten

Stephanie Rousseau / Shutterstock

Stephanie Rousseau / Shutterstock

Also referred to as the Saint Maarten International Airport, this Caribbean airport is one of the busiest in the region.

Princess Juliana International Airport welcomes roughly 1.6 million passengers each year.
What makes it extreme however, is its very short runway. Pilots must get quite close to beach goers on neighboring Maho Beach, so much so that the bottom of planes fly roughly 10 to 20 meters above the heads of the sunbathers. The airport’s setup creates quite the photo opportunity with large passenger jets appearing to almost land right on the beach. Juliana International Airport is both terrifying for those on the beach, and those up in the air!

3.) The Daredevil 

Tenzing-Hillary Airport, Nepal

kaetana / Shutterstock

kaetana / Shutterstock

Located in the small town of Lukla, Nepal, Tenzing-Hillary Airport takes the term daredevil to a whole new level. Frequently voted the most dangerous airport in the world, Lukla Airport features a short, narrow, and sloped single runway at a steep elevation of 9,325 feet, making it one of the steepest in the world. There is little margin for error for the skilled pilots who fly here, but the risk to the many passengers, frequently hikers, is well worth it when they catch their first sight of nearby Mount Everest.

4.) The Just Beachy

Barra Airport, Scotland

Spumador / Shutterstock

Spumador / Shutterstock

If you want to land on the north tip of the island of Barra in Scotland, in the Outer Hebrides, you will need to prepare for a sandy landing.

The runway is washed away by the tide twice a day.
The short runway offers a particularly memorable experience as flights use a beach landing strip. Concrete is not required to land small planes at the Barra Airport, which is proud to be the only beach runway in the world to handle scheduled airline service. Flights are at the whim of the tides and as such, flight times have been known to vary.

Most of us try to spend as little time in airports as possible. The crowds, noise, and general discomfort can leave anyone a bit cranky. Runways are, for the most part boring, straight, and wide. Amenities like restaurants, shoe shine stands, and shops generally come standard. However, these 4 extreme airports prove that flying isn’t always a snooze!

Have you been to these or other extreme airports? Share your experiences in the comments below.


About the author

Suzy Guese

Suzy Guese is a travel writer from Denver, Colorado. She caught the travel bug after taking her very first flight at just three months old—she was headed for Disney World—and has been a total travel junkie ever since. From family car trips across North America to stints abroad in Europe, Suzy travels the globe with her redheaded temperament in search of sarcasm, stories, and travel tips to share with anyone willing to listen. She blogs about her travels at

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