Setting foot on a plane can be scary enough for some people, but these terrifying runways get our nerves all jumbled just by thinking about them. From narrow runways perched on top of a mountain to those that stretch into the middle of the ocean, these landing strips provide a thrill for any adventure-seeking passengers.

Strap yourself in for some mild turbulence as we take you through the world’s scariest airport landings.


We’re starting this list off with what we consider to be one of the scariest landings due to the fact that the McMurdo Station runway is completely made of “white ice” (four inches of compacted snow).

McMurdo Station isn’t the only runway on Antarctica, but it’s the one we’re mentioning because it’s the only main airport on the continent, and during the winter is dark 24 hours a day.

Yes, that means no lights on the runway, and during a whiteout, pilots are trained to land blind.

Leh, India

Leh airport is the 23rd highest airport in the world, sitting at 10,682 feet above sea level. But don’t be fooled by its 23rd position; this airport is surrounded by mountains and an extremely short runway. Not to mention the extremely strong afternoon winds, which means flights are restricted to morning landings and departures only.

Any pilots going to this location receive special training.

Lukla, Nepal

Thinking of heading to Mount Everest Base Camp or summiting the mountain? First, you’ll have to survive the first leg of the trip, arriving at Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Nepal. It’s located 2,842 meters above sea level and is surrounded by mountains and chasms. Plus, you have to land on a terrifying airstrip that is a mere 527 meters long with a straight drop into an abyss at the end and is only accessible by helicopters and small aircraft.

Barra, Scotland

When we said we wanted a beach vacation, we didn’t mean we wanted our vacation to start before we even got off the plane!

The Barra International Airport on the Outer Hebridean Island of Barra in Scotland took that literally and its runway is the beach. That may sound cool, but landing on sand can make for a bumpy landing, and if the tides haven’t behaved that day, it can make for bumpy taxiing.

Speaking of the tide, the Barra airport can only operate during low tide because the runways are underwater during high tide, meaning the schedule can change from day to day.

Courchevel, France

The last contender on our list is in a beautiful location, but that beautiful location comes with its own set of challenges. Courchevel Altiport is located in the towering alps and has one of the world’s shortest runways, coming in at only 1,761 feet (537m) long.

Furthermore, the runway is sloped upwards to a gradient of 18.66% (making it the highest gradient in the world). This slope makes taking off difficult and is only reachable with certified pilots through deep valleys.

And That’s Only Some of the Scariest Airport Landings!

Can you believe that these 5 airports are only SOME of the scariest airport landings in the world? The list goes on and on, and we want to visit every single one of them. Are there any locations you have or haven’t been to, where the runway was especially tricky?

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