Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Air Travel (
-   -   Most obscure airport you've flown into? (

rkkwan Apr 18th, 2007 07:59 PM

Most obscure airport you've flown into?
So, I was organizing data this last weekend to input into

I have flown into or out of 93 airports so far, and there's one that wasn't even in the FlightMemory database. And since I was only about 6 at that time, I have to consult another witness (my dad), and satellite photos on Google Earth to find out.

So, what airport and why?

The airport is called Lingayen, in the Philippines. ICAO code: RPUG. <b>No IATA (3-digit) code!</b> It has a paved runway of 3,422 ft.

We were on a tour from Hong Kong to the Philippines. We rode on a long coach ride from Manila to the mountain resort town of Baguio in Northern Luzon, and were supposed to fly out of the Baguio airport (BAG) back to Manila.

However, BAG was fogged in, and instead of busing back all the way to Manila, somehow they found a charter plane to fly us out of a tiny airport down the hill from Baguio. It's definitely a prop plane (no idea if it's piston or turboprop). I remember it pretty large inside, so probably some kind of cargo or military transport plane. There weren't enough seats for everybody, so I think some of us sit on <b>folding chairs</b>!

[One of my travel companion, Fodorite <b>yk</b>, who was ~4 at that time, threw up the whole way, according to an unnamed eyewitness. :p ]

So, it was an unsolved mystery for me for many years where we actually flew out of. But thanks to Google Earth, I found Lingayen, about 35 miles SW of Baguio, to be a candidate. And it is listed on wikipedia as one of the regional &quot;feeder&quot; airports in the Philippines. The final confirmation came from my dad. When asked, he remembered the airport to be next to a beach - and Lingayen (RPUG) has to be it.

So, a 30-year old mystery was solved, thanks to modern technology.

Carrybean Apr 19th, 2007 02:59 AM

Saba in the Netherlands Antilles. It didn't scare me but it sure does frighten some people. Little tiny speck in the sea (only about 5 square miles) but the airport is an engineering marvel. Winair flies into it from Sint Maarten &amp; those are some great pilots. Check it out:

Carrybean Apr 19th, 2007 03:03 AM

BTW, that's not my site but was the best I could find to show the landing strip &amp; island.

AnselmAdorne Apr 19th, 2007 03:53 AM

Interesting thread, rkkwan, and poor yk!

In 1967 I flew into Natashquan, Quebec. It's a tiny community on the north shore of the Gulf of St-Lawrence, about 1000 kilometres north-east of Quebec City.

I think that was the first time I was on an aircraft. It was a DC-3, but I can't recollect who operated it.

Natashquan is YNA, by the way. Had to look it up.


NoFlyZone Apr 19th, 2007 05:33 AM

Probably Wellsboro, PA, but that was in my own plane so it probably doesn't count.

Saba is fun. But the absolute best is probably Assomption Island in Seychelles. Sort of just barely paved (well, it was about 40 years ago) but with baking hot sun, no maintenance, and maybe, just maybe one flight a week, it is not in the best of conditions.

Jed Apr 19th, 2007 07:49 AM

Most obscure - Any dirt strip in Kenya to get to the safari camps. The animals have to be shooed away to land or take off. ((*))

AAFrequentFlyer Apr 19th, 2007 08:14 AM

XQP - A grassy landing strip in Quepos, Costa Rica. A shack with a lemonade stand :-D. Security? what's that???

KBL - Kabul, Afghanistan. The most radical landing/takeoff EVER!!! (it's done to avoid missiles). Armed airport shuttle. Security? you bet your behind!!! ATMs work....:-D

LT Apr 19th, 2007 09:13 AM

Shiraz (SYZ) &amp; Esfahan (IFN), Iran. This was in the pre-revolution days. Took IR to both. I remember that all IR flights were delayed, and on one flight, after sitting at the ramp for 2 hours, the FA said the reason they were delayed is because they were &quot; . . . cleaning the toilets.&quot; Gotta give 'em an &quot;A&quot; for originality!

Patty Apr 19th, 2007 10:33 AM

What are we counting as airports? I've flown into/out of several grass/dirt strips that didn't have a lemonade stand ;) At minimum, does it have to have an IATA or ICAO code?

wally34949 Apr 19th, 2007 10:41 AM

I flew from Ciudad Bol&iacute;var to Kavac in Venezuela. The twenty seat plane flew over Angel Falls and landed on a dirt landing strip. There was one gas power car in the village and no electricity. Everyone on the plane had a window and an isle seat; Now that doesn't happen when you fly to Australia!

rkkwan Apr 19th, 2007 10:45 AM

Good point by Patty. Yes, I think let's limit to facilities with at least an ICAO code, if not IATA.


Anyways, looking through my list, here's one's that's kind of interesting: <b>DET</b>

That was the airport Southwest uses for Detroit in 1989. Tiny old terminal. Car rental place is ugly building across the street from the airport. But the scariest was the drive down Gratiot Ave towards downtown. I have only lived in the US for one year at that time, in a decent part of Houston. So, what I saw along that route was pretty shocking.

[Kind of off-topic, but the flight was a same-plane, same flight number, HOU-STL-IND-DET.]

Gardyloo Apr 19th, 2007 11:01 AM

I'm not concerned about &quot;obscure&quot; but am about &quot;airport.&quot;

Numerous trips into KQA (IATA for Akutan, Alaska.)

Either the world's longest runway or the wettest - only access is on amphibious plane (usually a Grumman Goose) that lands in the bay (either Pacific Ocean or Bering Sea depending on your point of view.)

No strip, no control tower, no navaids, no jetways, no nuttin. Just VFR and hang onto your tuckus. Get out on the beach if the driver remembers to turn the door toward the dry side. Oh, and watch out for whales as you taxi.

rkkwan Apr 19th, 2007 11:08 AM

I guess the next poster will ask if a helipad counts? ;)

Or what about his trip on the Hindenburg that berthed on top of the Empire State? :p

Really, it doesn't matter. All kinds of answers are welcomed. Interesting posts by all of you already!

rkkwan Apr 19th, 2007 11:11 AM

Hm... I wonder how should one enter into the database if he jumps out with a parachute? :)

BUT! If you're already dead, like those people who died on AA/BA flights, please don't post. Dead people shouldn't be replying to posts on this website. Go somewhere else. :D

Patty Apr 19th, 2007 11:21 AM

With that limitation, I think mine would be HTBB Kibambawe, Tanzania (where do I find runway stats?). We were flying into a safari camp. It was a private charter so I got to co-pilot part of the way from DAR (but for some reason he wouldn't let me take off or land :p ). That was my second time flying a plane. The first time was 2 days prior to that on another charter from an airstrip quite literally in someone's backyard. So I was able to tell the second pilot that I had previous experience ;)

And while I haven't had to sit in a folding chair, I have helped physically push the plane around to get it lined up with the runway.

Patty Apr 19th, 2007 11:40 AM

Gardyloo's post reminded me of my only water take off (CXH Vancouver Coal Harbour) and landing (YWH Victoria Inner Harbour).

rkkwan Apr 19th, 2007 11:50 AM

I can't find any detailed info on HTBB. If you can find it on Google Earth, you can measure its length manually! ;)

Jed Apr 19th, 2007 11:54 AM

We were on a 6 passenger seaplane taking off from Iquitos on the Amazon. As we started to move, the compass fell off the front panel. The plane kept going on the water for a long time. Then the co-pilot said to lean forward. We did, and the plane took off. I'm not sure if he did that just to be funny, or if was necessary.

The pilot and co-pilot then took out their maps to try to figure out where to go. After some discussion, they landed on the right river. It was an interesting experience. ((*))

Patty Apr 19th, 2007 01:00 PM

The coordinates I took were S7 44.754 E38 00.158 but it comes up kind of fuzzy in GE, so I don't know if I'm measuring right ;) Best guess - somewhere around 3500 ft. There were stones on the ground spelling out K I B A but you can't see that in GE either.

J62 Apr 19th, 2007 02:25 PM

Not obscure, but surely out of the way and bizarre trek.

SJC to AUS a few years ago. Storms and dense fog in AUS, so circled the airport for 30min waiting for a window. Started final approach, could see the ground so started to relax. Wind gusts, gusts, aborted landing and climbed again.

No ILS a the old AUS airport, so diverted to SAT. Same fog, headed bee-line to ABI (Abilene). Airport terminal closed but runway open. Sat 2hr waiting for AA personnel to show up.

Got luggage and waited another 1hr for buses to show up. I think they had to wait for the bar to close before they could locate enough bus drivers.

4-5hr drive to AUS on 2 lane roads, in dense fog. Trucks coming at you at 150mph (75+75) and could not see them till they passed by in a rush and shook the bus.

The worst part was a chatty couple in the back of the bus who talked the entire way, at 1am, about absolutely nothing. grrrrrr.

Arrived at AUS around 5am, Hertz was open and waiting. Got to meetings fine.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:41 AM.