Features

The world’s most dangerous airports

They say that, statistically, the safest way to travel is by air. Not if you’re flying into one of these…

Princess Juliana International Airport, Sint Maarten

Flights arriving at this Caribbean island make a low approach over the water, causing disorientation and meaning instruments are essential. It’s one for experienced pilots; countless Youtube videos show aircraft barely clearing the roofs of passing cars below as they touch down.

Kai Tak, Hong Kong

At Hong Kong’s now defunct Kai Tak airport, approaching aircraft had to make a sharp turn before skirting the tops of buildings and landing on a narrow runway in the harbour. A spectacular approach, but one which led to a string of fatal crashes during the 73-year period from its inception to its closing in 1998.

Skiathos, Greece

Many airlines require their pilots to undergo additional training for landings at this Greek island. Such is the shortness of the runways – built on reclaimed land between two islands — that some flights departing Skiathos for the UK can’t take off with enough fuel to complete the trip without a refuelling stop en route.

Lukla Tenzing-Hillary, Nepal

Lukla’s remote but well-used (on account of it being the place where most people start their climb of Mount Everest) airport offers surrounding mountainous terrain, thin air, highly changeable weather and a short, sloping runway: in short, an absolute nightmare for pilots.

Toncontin, Honduras

An approach to runway 1 at Toncontin International Airport involves circling inside a basin below the surrounding mountaintops, after which the pilot has around 100 ft to line up in front of the rapidly looming runway.

The greatest travel films

No time to get out on the road yourself? Watch someone else doing it instead. Here, in no particular order, are our top five travel films…

Into the wild

After graduating from university, Emile Hersch abandons his possessions, gives his savings to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska in order to live in the savage wilderness. In true road movie fashion, he meets a series of colourful characters, who shape his way of thinking. A classic travel tale, and an inspiration to those wanting to up sticks and set off into the unknown.

North by Northwest

An astonishingly dapper Cary Grant is the victim of mistaken identity, and finds himself abducted by a group of foreign spies. From New York he is subsequently pursued across the US in a deadly game of tag, via a remote rural highway, where he is attacked by an armed crop-dusting plane (one of Hitchcock’s most famous scenes) to Chicago, and culminating in an unbelievably tense final scene on the side of Mount Rushmore. As well as being an incredibly entertaining film, it’s also a paean to a golden age of train travel.

Vanishing Point

A car delivery service worker named Kowalski is asked to take a 1970 Dodge Challenger from Colorado to San Francisco. Soon after picking up the car, he takes a bet to get to his destination in less than 15 hours. After a few run-ins with the police they launch a chase in order to bring him into custody. Throughout his epic flight, Kowalski is aided by Supersoul – a blind DJ with a police radio scanner.

Lost in translation

Washed-up actor Bill Murray travels to Tokyo to film a whiskey advertisement. Himself tolerating a mediocre marriage, he meets Scarlett Johanssen, visiting with her photographer husband and unsure of her place in life. The two weary, disaffected travellers live the experience of the westerner in an eastern land.

Asiemut

Olivier Higgins and Melanie Carrier travel from Mongolia to Kolkata, passing through Xinjiang, the Taklamakan Desert, Tibet and Nepal. During their 8000km-long journey, they discover the world, but also, predictably, discover themselves.


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