FASTEN your seatbelt for an armchair ride on some of the world’s most extraordinary flights.
Yes, most flights are grounded and airports are little more than massive car parks right now.
But Lee Cobaj has ten high-flying trips for you to marvel at . . .
1. Longest haul
The world’s longest regular commercial flight is operated by Singapore Airlines, from the island city-state to New York — a whopping 9,534 miles.
It takes a long-range Airbus A350-900 18 hours and 25 minutes.
But Aussie carrier Qantas looks set to steal the longest-haul crown, trialling a new route from the Big Apple to Sydney — a 19-hour, 10,066-mile megatrip.
2. Shortest hop
There is barely time to drop your tray table on the 1.7-mile, 57-second flight from Westray to Papa Westray in the Orkney Islands, off the north-east coast of Scotland.
The world’s shortest commercial flight is operated by Loganair, on an eight-seater Britten-Norman Islander aircraft.
The hop costs £39. It is popular with tourists, who are even given a certificate for their trouble, but also serves as a lifeline for islanders.
Delays are possible — a headwind could knock the flight time up to a gruelling 90 seconds.
3. The doubler
Feel like part of the Red Arrows display team with a synchronised landing alongside another aircraft, at the same time on parallel runways.
The unusual manoeuvre can be experienced at airports in Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai and San Francisco, where flights bank over the Golden Gate Bridge to land on runways just 750ft apart.
Pilots must maintain visual contact to land simultaneously.
4. The nail-biter
Nervous fliers should look away now.
Nepal’s precipitous Tenzing-Hillary airport is considered the world’s most perilous.
Squeezed between 3,000-metre Himalayan peaks, with a sheer drop at the end of the runway, only pilots with a specialist qualification are allowed to take off and land on the 527-metre landing strip.
Perhaps not surprisingly it has seen seven crashes this century.
5. Best eye candy
The Maldives comprise 1,200 islands sprinkled across the impossibly blue Indian Ocean.
A network of dinky red-and-yellow seaplanes criss-cross the honeymoon favourite, taking off and landing on water — with stunning tropical loveliness to gawp at.
Look out for lush green islands, pearly atolls, perfect-circle coral reefs and schools of spinner dolphins.
Return tickets cost anywhere from £200 to £500pp.
6. The weird one
North Korea’s Air Koryo flies between capital city Pyongyang, and Beijing, Shanghai and Shanyang in China, plus Vladivostok in Russia.
Books and magazines are banned on the state-owned airline.
Instead, passengers are entertained with an English-language copy of the Pyongyang Times, propaganda broadcasts and pop songs from the Supreme Leader’s favourite girlband Moranbong.
Flight attendants in tight-fitting military-style uniforms are said to be hand-picked for their looks — and loyalty to Kim Jong-un.
7. To the edge of the earth
Mataveri on Easter Island is surely the world’s most isolated airport, 2,366 miles across the Pacific from Santiago, Chile, and 1,600 miles from Totegegie airport in French Polynesia in the opposite direction.
The Rapa Nui runway has another claim to fame.
It was once the “abort” site for Nasa’s space shuttles.
8. Polar express
Santa Claus is not the only one who can fly over the North Pole.
A small number of scheduled flights do cross the frozen region.
Known among aviation geeks as the Arctic Polar routes, these flights are usually non-stop long-hauls between North America and Asia or the Middle East.
Fly in the winter months and, if you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights.
There are currently no commercial airlines flying over the South Pole.
9. Golden ticket
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