That expression “like watching paint dry” is pretty similar to how sitting in an airport feels. They are – amidst a barrage of security checks, waiting times and clinical departure lounges – the place where your relaxing holiday goes to die.
But that’s not the case for everyone. You’ve probably heard of plane spotters, those anorak wearing, coffee flask carrying spods who enthuse about the latest twin-engine passenger carrier jet and write down plane licence numbers like they were creating a literary great.
For these guys, airports are a holiday. To try and understand their passion, we’ve compiled this list of the weirdest airports in Europe. They’re almost guaranteed to make these hubs of flight seem like more than watching paint dry.
Gatwick Airport, England
While it might seem like a normal airport on the face of it, Gatwick Airport is actually home to a series of luxury features that will help you travel with ease.
There’s the Gatwick meet and greet, fine dining, shopping centres, regular events and much more.
But what really comes under the spotlight is the No.1 lounges. In various terminals, these first class lounges allow you to really relax, offering a bar, widescreen TVs and views of the runway that would be a plane spotter’s fantasy day out.
Madeira International Airport, Portugal
On a small island off the coast of Portugal sits Madeira International Airport, featuring one of the most impressive runways this side of the globe.
What’s fascinating about this flight hub is that it used to be a nightmare to land on, with a runway spanning a mere 5000 feet. For non-pilots amongst you, that’s the equivalent of trying to parallel park within a few metres of a giant cliff face and an active volcano.
The runway has since been extended to 9000 feet, turning it into a structural wonder. It’s even won an award for outstanding structure. And it’s quite a sight to stand near it and watch master pilots negotiate this intricate runway.
Courchevel International Airport, France
Located in the French Alps, Courchevel International Airport is perhaps France’s most perilous flight path. With a runway spanning a tiny 1722 feet (and it’s downhill, making it easy to accidentally glide off the end), negotiating it into a safe land is no mean feat.
Indeed, pilots must have a special certificate before they’re allowed to land at this specific airport, such is its danger. It might not be an airport for the faint of heart, but it’ll certainly get your blood pumping.
Photo Credit: Creative Commons