Arriving at an air terminal is rarely a memorable event.
All the more reason to book a flight touching down at one of these hairy or awesome air strips.
Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Maarten, Caribbean
Vacationers flock to the Caribbean for a laid-back vacation.
But arriving at the region's airports can have the opposite effect -- the compact, rugged nature of many of the islands forces runways to be built in inventive locations.
Perhaps everything feels all the more serene after landing.
On St. Maarten, Princess Juliana Airport -- named after Dutch royalty -- has people gnawing their fingernails in the air and on the ground whenever a plane lands.
The runway starts mere meters from the edge of the ocean, with aircraft coming in almost low enough over the beach to spike a volleyball set.
Courchevel Altiport, France
Unlike Caribbean-bound passengers, skiers and snowboarders touching down at Courchevel are usually geared up for an adrenaline fix.
They'd better be.
In winter, the tarmac air strip at the French resort's altiport, more than 2,000 meters above sea level, is often the only thing not covered in snow.
Aircraft fly in through a channel between mountains, landing on a short, steeply sloping runway, complete with vertical drop off, that could almost double as a ski jump.
The scene is so dramatic it was featured as a stunt location in the James Bond movie "Goldeneye."
Matekane Air Strip, Lesotho
There's little chance of extending this runway very far -- it ends abruptly at the edge of a 600-meter drop.
Only light aircraft use the airstrip on this remote tabletop plateau in the tiny southern African kingdom.
Planes sometimes fail to ascend at the end of the runway, conjuring images of a Wile E. Coyote hover and fall (before, thankfully, achieving flying speed and soaring away).
Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, Saba, Caribbean
Rivaling St. Maarten for Caribbean airport thrills, Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, on the island of Saba, has one of the world's shortest landing strips.
Wedged on a rocky outcrop at the foot of a mountain and with the end of the tarmac plunging into the sea, touchdown here is a dramatic experience.
Gibraltar International Airport
Flying toward a gigantic limestone monolith on a landing approach is never easy on the nerves, but in the 6.2-square-kilometer British overseas territory of Gibraltar there's nowhere else to put an airport except in the shadow of the Rock.
Space is so limited on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula that the runway bisects the territory's main highway.
As aircraft get priority over automobiles in the vehicular pecking order, the road is closed every time a plane takes off or arrives.