The 6 Most Mysterious Airplane Terminals in the World

Whether you're an experienced jet-setter or first time flier, you won’t want to get stuck with a long layover at these spooky hubs.

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Denver International Airport
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Denver International Airport (DIA)

The Denver International Airport is said to span a whopping 140 square kilometres (that’s twice the size of Manhattan!), making it the second-largest airport in the world and the largest in America. But thanks to some of its creepiest features, the airport has remained shrouded with mystery since its opening in 1995.

First of all, the airport houses a collection of bizarre (and controversial!) statues and murals. Legend has it that the 9.7 metre-tall statue of a red-eyed horse fell on its sculptor, Luis Jiménez, severing an artery and killing him. There are also the oddly shaped runways which, as some conspiracy theorists have pointed out, resemble Nazi swastikas. And if you venture to the hub’s underground tunnels, watch out for the aliens and “lizard people” that are rumoured to be lurking there.

Check out more of the strangest unsolved mysteries of all time.

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O'Hare International Airport

Chicago O’Hare International Airport

If you glanced at a map of Chicago O’Hare, the first things you might notice are the three connected terminals for domestic flights. There is also Terminal 5, the separate hub for international flights, which travellers can access via bus. But Terminal 4 is nowhere to be seen. What gives?

Turns out, Terminal 4 actually did exist at one point—but not for long. According to a report by WBEZ, the Chicago O’Hare airport had three terminals until 1985, when it built a fourth to make room for the ever-growing number of travellers. But Terminal 4 had serious design flaws, lacking the desired extra space and causing problems with bus traffic. When the terminal was closed and replaced with the new-and-improved Terminal 5, airport officials grew concerned that confused travellers might end up at the old Terminal 4. So, they simply decided not to swap the names.

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vegas airport

McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas

McCarran International Airport hosts a mysterious airline that flies directly to Area 51, a top-secret military base in the Nevada desert. The airliner goes by the name of Janet—which some claim stands for “Just Another Non-Existent Terminal”—and its planes are marked with a cryptic red stripe. Only cleared U.S. military personnel are allowed to board the planes, doing so from a separate hangar called the Gold Coast Terminal. Even if you manage to sneak into the terminal, you won’t find these planes on any departure boards; their call signs are “XXX.”

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Terminal 1 at Heathrow Airport
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London Heathrow International Airport

When Heathrow Terminal 1 was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1969, it was the largest airport terminal in western Europe. But by 2015, only 20 flights to nine destinations passed through its doors. Outdated technology and the expansion of Terminal 2 eventually led to Terminal 1’s closure, and it now stands eerily empty. Only run-down baggage conveyor belts and rows of unused seats serve as reminders of this ghost terminal’s former glory.

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newark airport

Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey

Deep-pocketed travellers can live the high life (pun intended) at Newark Liberty International Airport’s secret restaurant, Classified. Located in Terminal C, the restaurant offers gourmet meals ranging in price from $29 to $98. But here’s the catch: You have to be a United Airlines frequent flier in order to score an exclusive invitation.

Find out the secrets the CIA doesn’t want you to know.

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archerfield airport

Archerfield Airport, Queensland, Australia

The next time you fly Down Under, watch out for the ghost of a World War II Royal Australian Air Force airman. Dressed in a uniform, goggles, and cap, and carrying a deployed parachute, he is said to haunt the Archerfield Airport in Queensland, Australia. The Southern Star reported that the ghost was a passenger on a Royal Australian Air Force transport plane in 1943, which took off from Archerfield and crashed less than a minute later, killing all 23 Australian and U.S. military servicemen and women on board.

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Originally Published on Reader's Digest

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