The world may be wrapped in a net of air routes, but there are still vast empty spaces between hubs. Whether tropical or freezing -- most are one or the other -- the world's most remote airports provide travelers with access to the previously inaccessible whether they are on an expedition to see the giant stone heads of Easter Island or the giant bears of Greenland.
There are, of course, two ways to define the remoteness of airports -- their distance from civilization and their distance from the nearest airport. One must weigh both of these factors when measuring remoteness because, in the modern world, distance is often measured by inconvenience rather than mileage: It is easier to get from New York to Atlanta than from Baltimore to Stone Mountain.
The airports that make our list may run the gamut between small and large, trafficked and nearly empty, even moveable and fixed, but they each provide arriving fliers with the unique experience of visiting a distant corner of the world and joining the club that forms around having been somewhere few others have.
Prepare to land in the middle of nowhere.
The uncontested champion of remote airports is <a href="http://www.easterislandtourism.com/">Easter Island's Mataveri Airport</a>, which is not only extraordinarily far from any other airports but from any other civilization as well. Located smack dab in the middle of the Pacific on Easter Island, it still sees a lot of tourist traffic thanks to LAN flights and the majesty of its giant stone heads.
The airport at McMurdo Station, the U.S. research station on the southern tip of Antarctica's Ross Island, is notable not only for being remote and for being the last stop for flights headed to the South Pole, but also for being portable. <a href="http://stratocat.com.ar/bases/41e.htm">The airport's control tower can be pushed around the normally solid sea ice.</a>
The capital of Western Australia is a strange city: <a href="http://videos.huffingtonpost.com/entertainment/top-5-travel-attractions-of-perth-australia-396442867">The town is lovely and metropolitan</a>, situated on the ocean in wine country, well-suited to tourists and near absolutely nothing. The vast desert that separates Perth from most of Australia's population centers is so large that the city is actually closer to parts of Asia than it is to Sydney.
<a href="http://flightaware.com/live/airport/CYLT">The world's northernmost airport</a>, Alert sits a little over 500 miles south of the North Pole in Nunavut, Canada and is operated by the Canadian Armed Forces, who are apparently standing by in case Narwhals stage a coup.
It may not be the world's remotest airport, but it is certainly the world's most barren. Z23L, known to the limited number of locals as <a href="http://fs-duenna.com/flights/ShowAirport.php?id=Z23L">Kourou Arkenne</a>, is a paved airstrip that straddles the Libya-Niger border in the middle of the Sahara.
Kulusuk Airport is the gateway to eastern Greenland, which means it doesn't see very much traffic. Kulusuk, a small island town in the Sermersooq municipality, is actually dependent on tourism. Travelers arrive at the Hotel Kulusuk ready to <a href="http://126.96.36.199/">explore the freezing wastes</a>.
Los Cabos International
Los Cabos may be a popular vacation destination, but its location at the southern tip of Baja California means that <a href="http://sjdloscabosairport.com/">its airport is shockingly far from Mexico's other cities</a> and airports.
Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station
<a href="http://www.usap.gov/videoclipsandmaps/spwebcam.cfm">The easiest way to get to the South Pole</a>? Fly. The catch? Your plane will leave shortly because if it turns of its engines, they will freeze solid.
Eareckson Air Station
Another remote military installation, <a href="http://www.adb-airfield.com/news.aspx?id=6422">Eareckson Air Station perches on the edge of Shemya</a>, one of Alaska's Aleutian Islands. It is largely used to refuel Air Force planes and was considered of greater strategic importance during the Cold War.