There are views, and then there are views – and these are the airports which make a window seat is a must.
Private jet booking service PrivateFly recently polled over 3,000 high flyers on their favourite spot to land. And the winner? It's just across the Tasman.
#1: Queenstown Airport, New Zealand
Topping PrivateFly’s list is none other than New Zealand’s own Queenstown Airport, with views of the snow-capped Southern Alps, pristine lakes and national parks welcoming its guests – along with an approach which skirts jagged mountain peaks.
One traveller commented that “I've flown to many beautiful locations worldwide but nothing even comes close to comparing with the thrill and beauty that stuns you as you come in to land at Queenstown.”
Watch this cockpit video shot by a pilot to showcase the stunning approach and landing to Queenstown:
#2: Las Vegas McCarran Airport, USA
Lucky travellers can spot the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas Strip as they descend into Sin City, which looks all the more impressive at night.
And let’s not forget mountain ranges so close that you could put your arm out and be close to touching them.
#3: Nice Cote D'Azur Airport, France
Move aside Paris, it’s Nice’s turn to shine.
Gateway to the French Riviera, enjoy the views of the sparkling blue water and distant hills, which can sometimes be snow-capped.
#4: Barra Airport, Scotland, UK
As one of the world’s only beach airstrips, the runway here disappears twice per day with the comings and goings of the tide.
The approach itself isn’t too shabby either, says PrivateFly, with aircraft passing majestic mountains, stunning coastline and a historic harbour castle. Australia’s own Gold Coast Airport just isn’t the same.
#5: Princess Juliana International, Caribbean
Better-known as Sint Maarten Airport on the Dutch side of Saint Martin island, the airport approach here speaks for itself.
Whether a plane nut or a regular beachgoer, it’s sure to feel as if the incoming aircraft are landing right on top of you.
#6: Juancho E Yrausquin Airport, Caribbean
Close behind and also from the Caribbean, Saba Airport – one of the most challenging landings a commercial airline pilot can accomplish.
“You seem to fly straight into the cliffs, correcting at the very last minute before touchdown,” said one traveller surveyed. “Even then, it's not over, with the sea ready to meet you as the plane stops just short of the end of the runway and the open sea!"
#7: Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, Canada
Forget the usual taxi lines, airport trains or expensive chauffeur-driven transfers: the CBD is quite literally a moment away from Toronto City Airport.
With breathtaking views of Lake Ontario, Toronto’s skyscrapers and Canadian parkland, skip Pearson International and have your private jet land here instead.
#8: Gibraltar Airport, UK
Similar to Billy Bishop Airport, Gibraltar Airport is just 500 metres from the city’s centre – but with an interesting twist.
One of the island’s main roads actually crosses paths with the runway, so you’ll see motorists waiting to cross as your aircraft arrives.
#9: London City Airport, UK
Heathrow. Gatwick. Two airports that don’t provide London travellers with picturesque views of the River Thames and downtown London as you touch down, which awaits at London City Airport.
"The cockpit windows frame the perfect shot of the world's financial hub, appreciated by many, but adored only by pilots,” said one respondent. “Come rain or shine, the city pulses beneath you during every landing."
#10: Cape Town Airport, South Africa
Rounding out the top 10 is Cape Town Airport and its view of Table Mountain and False Bay.
Add to that Robben Island and the beaches of the Cape Peninsula and you’ll wish Qantas flew straight to Cape Town rather than Johannesburg.
Have you experienced any of the ‘top 10’ landings? Is there another airport more deserving than one above? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
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About Chris Chamberlin
Chris lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, an opera ticket and a glass of wine!