One of the best experiences about travelling around the globe is getting to explore various airports… right? From the weird to the beautiful, these airports will leave a unique impression on your travels. Make sure your seat is upright and your tray tables are stowed as we make our descent into…
Qamdo Bangda Airport, Tibet
With a runway of 3.5 miles and an altitude of 14,000 feet above sea level, Qamdo Bangda Airport was, until recently, the highest airport in the world (it was taken over by Daocheng Yading Airport in China in 2013). It’s so high that the landing descent might feel more like an incline and to get to/from here, you’ll need to travel 2.5 hours along the only mountain road available.
The Ice Runway, Antarctica
Serving as the drop-off point for researchers needing access to nearby McMurdo Station, the Ice Runway in Antarctica is in a constant state of change: it gets reshaped by the weight of commercial planes that often sink into the ice and then completely annihilated again in summer when the ice breaks apart and melts! Antarctica is also one of Lonely Planet’s top destinations to visit in 2014.
Denver International Airport, Colorado
It’s artistic, it’s impressive and it’s just a little bit scary! The Denver International Airport is a strange culmination of Native American teepee design and apocalyptic wonder. There’s a 32-feet tall fibreglass statue of a horse with red eyes, not to mention various art murals depicting odd scenes from the end of the world. Many conspiracy theorists also believe that secret bunkers lie underneath the airport that have been created to protect only those “in the know” from impending doom.
JFK Airport, New York
Our nomination for the prettiest airport on Earth, JFK Airport has more curves than a Brazilian supermodel! The architects of this airport aimed for consistency in designing the TWA terminal, with contours in every direction that imitate birds’ swoops and flight paths. Definitely an impressive place to be before stepping out into the wonders of New York!
Jeddah Airport, Saudi Arabia
Jeddah Airport’s Jeddah Hajj terminal is truly a gorgeous sight, but it’s also very rare, since it’s only open for 6 weeks every year during the Hajj Mecca pilgrimage. These 210 beautiful, white fibreglass tents have received much architectural praise since their design and construction; they also serve more than an aesthetic purpose, cooling heat and air by around 50-degrees.
Changi Airport, Singapore
You’ve got your passport, your boarding pass – but what about your swimming pool ticket? Just in case you fancy a swim before, after or in the middle of your flights, there’s an outdoor swimming at Changi Airport that’s accessible to anyone for a small fee. Just don’t forget your swimmers!
Kansai International Airport, Japan
Built atop an artificial island just 50km south of Osaka, Kansai International Airport is an airport where you’re more likely to get seasick than airsick! The airport is connected to the mainland by a 3,750m sky bridge (the longest of its kind in the world), which accommodates cars, buses and trains. The sight of the bridge at night is definitely one you won’t forget.
Gibraltar Airport, UK
We’re used to sharing our roads with motorcycles, bicycles, trams and even trains… but what if an airplane pulled up next to you? Gibraltar Airport is so short on space that its runway crosses Winston Churchill Avenue, the busiest road in the district! If you happen to make it to this tiny British Territory island, seeing a plane land or take off from the roadside will be one of your trip’s coolest moments.