The Scariest Airports in The World


As a rule, airports are some of the safest places you can step foot in. The security is extremely tight, and piles of money have been invested in precision-engineered systems that are effective and robust.

From the moment you step inside the airport, all the way through boarding your plane, taking off, flying and landing, you’re statistically safer than you would be outside on the streets at home.

That said… some airports really do have aspects to them that can keep you awake at night.  Let’s take a look at some of the scariest international hubs.

Denver International Airport

Denver Airport is a conspiracy theorist’s fantasy. Engineers involved with its construction have claimed that it covers an underground tunnel network and secret government facilities.

From a bird’s eye view, the runways are positioned in the shape of swastika.

The icing on the cake is the four bizarre murals of apocalyptic scenes inside one of the terminals.  One depicts a gas-masked character in a trench coat, wielding a machete and automatic rifle, towering over assorted terrified peasants from around the world..!

It seems entirely inappropriate for an international airport, and if you ever go there you’ll see why the conspiracy theorists are having a field day with it.

Princess Juliana Airport, St Maartens

The Princess Juliana airport is famous for the proximity of its runway to a popular beach.

Tourists and holiday-makers find that their tanning session is periodically interrupted by thousand-tonne jets screaming in to land at high speed.  The jets pass just meters above their heads before touching down.

Of course, the landing paths are all precisely calculated, and there haven’t been any accidents involving beach-goers to date.  That said, if you’re not comfortable with close shaves then you might struggle as a passenger on a plane bound for St. Maartens. Once you arrive, the beach may not be your first choice destination either.

Dubai Airport

The city of Dubai is a vibrant, modern and cutting-edge place. It oozes wealth and prestige, and you’d be forgiven for expecting the airport experience to be accordingly smooth and luxurious.

However, many visitors who’ve passed through it will tell you a very different story.  Dubai customs officials have been known to impose extremely harsh penalties for seemingly very minor infringements.

One Australian man who let an expletive slip when grabbed unexpectedly on the arm by a customs official was jailed for months for swearing.

The high-tech drug detection equipment in use at Dubai can find a speck of cannabis on the sole of a shoe, something that could well have been picked up just walking along the street.  Several tourists have been imprisoned for months in very dire conditions when “caught” with small particles of cannabis on shoes or clothes.

If you pass through Dubai airport, it’s worth remembering that despite the affluence and tourism, you’re entering a very strict Islamic state, and you should moderate your behaviour accordingly.  Failing to do so can result in dire consequences.

La Guardia, New York

La Guardia serves inbound international flights destined for New York.  The airport itself is fairly pleasant – it’s the staff you want to watch out for.

La Guardia is known for its pitbull-esque Transport Security Administration (TSA) agents.

Over the decades, dozens of horror stories of families all but traumatised by the Spanish-inquisition-like interrogation at immigration have emerged.

Many a tourist has complained that they felt harassed, abused or made to feel guilty about even daring to enter New York.

Dealing with prickly officials is an art-form in itself – the best bet is to stay calm, cooperative yet assertive, and not let their attempts to belittle you


Gibraltar airport seems absolutely fine at first glance.  Pleasant staff, few queues and a well-organised airport lull you into a comfortable headspace.

That is, until you get to your gate and see that the runway directly intersects the main road.

In theory, it’s totally safe, and there have been no plane-automobile collisions to date.

The barriers look about as strong as those you’d see at a railway intersection.  Planes land at much faster speeds though, and short notice, irregular or emergency landings obviously take some sharp air traffic controllers and very responsive barrier systems to prevent disaster. Still, it’s all been fine so far.

Tenzing-Hillary, Nepal

If you’re a nervous flyer, then the Tenzing-Hilary airport is definitely not your ideal destination.  At one end there’s a gigantic mountain – and at the other, it’s a cliff-drop into seeming oblivion.

The runway is barely a mile long, and it’s also one of the highest-altitude airports in the world.

Unless you’re something of an adrenaline junkie, it might be best to just close your eyes on descent.

Marcus Falley is a contributor to Courses Direct, an Australian based Education and Training company providing online courses and distance education in a range of industries, including tourism courses.


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