by Allen J. Sheinman | February 17, 2012
The list

The next time you're tempted to complain about some irritating snafu at JFK or O'Hare, consider the following five airports, relatively obscure to be sure, where to land in one piece is to instantly reconnect with religion. Thanks to the folk at eclectic website AceCabana for finding these facilities.

Toncontin Airport
Tegucigalpa, Honduras
The name of this airport sounds vaguely like some kind of narcotic, which many passengers might wish they were on to get through a descent where the plane has to thread a zigzag course through mountains. Pilots on this route usually get a manic round of applause upon landing.

Ice Runway
Ross Island, Antarctica
As the hardy scientists who actually elect to work here will tell you, a paved road is rarer than a lifeguard's chair around these parts, so the runways are all ice, ice baby! If by some twist of fate you need to come here, upon safe landing you'll be prying the rosary beads out of your frozen palms, gratefully.

Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport

The Caribbean island of Saba
This facility is said to have bragging rights as the shortest runway in the world at just 1,300 feet in length, just as passengers who deplane here get bragging rights just for deplaning.

Paro Airport
Paro, Bhutan
Reportedly only eight pilots around the world are certified to land here and, considering the forbidding mountain peaks surrounding the strip, sanity evidently is not a requirement.

Lukie Airport
Khumbu, Nepal
This facility has got it all: large mountains bearing right down on it; a climate so zany it could get its own sitcom; a bracingly short, sloping runway; and air so thin it could trade clothes with Calista Flockhart. It all adds up to a uniquely stimulating landing experience.