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LaGuardia among world's 'scariest airports'

Planes line up on the tarmac for takeoff

Planes line up on the tarmac for takeoff at LaGuardia Airport in February 2009. Credit: Newsday File / Julia Gaines

Our very own LaGuardia Airport has been named one of the 10 scariest airports in the world. In the WORLD.

It isn't haunted, as far as we know. And the designation wasn't earned because of threatening, shady characters harassing passengers. No, the reason it was deemed scary by SmarterTravel is truly scary in itself: landing there can be a white-knuckle experience because of its short runways and proximity to the water.

"The main, 7,000-foot runways at New York's LaGuardia Airport were extended back in 1967 — over water. In case gliding over Flushing and Bowery bays isn't enough of a thrill, pilots have to avoid interfering with flights from two other extremely busy airports nearby: JFK and Newark. Plus, the airport is located a mere eight miles from midtown Manhattan, sometimes creating the illusion that the plane is skimming rooftops," writes Patrick Smith, author of the Ask the Pilot blog. "On one approach to runway 31, the plane makes a steep, continuous low-altitude turn around what was Shea Stadium, now Citi Field, from south to northwest; it's very low to the ground and a short final approach."

The rankings don't necessarily imply the airports named are dangerous, per se, just scary. The website notes that "uninitiated fliers may be in for an unexpected journey," adding that  because of everything from "limited-visibility landings and super-short runways to inconveniently placed volcanoes, thrill seekers will want to get a front-row seat on these flights." 

Alrighty, then.

Here's the complete list of "honorees":

1. Toncontin International Airport, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
2. Gibraltar Airport, Gibraltar
3. Nantucket Memorial Airport, Nantucket, Mass.
4. Paro International Airport, Paro, Bhutan
5. Yeager Airport, Charleston, West Va.
6. Barra Airport, Barra, Scotland
7. La Aurora International Airport, Guatemala City, Guatemala
8. LaGuardia Airport, Queens, New York
9. Wellington International Airport, Wellington, New Zealand
10. John Wayne Airport, Santa Ana, Calif.

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