I'm easy game for an alluring online headline. Show me "The World's Top 10 Unmissable, Must-see, Mad-If-You-Don't Tourist Destinations To See Before You Die" and I'm straight in there. Not so much because I want to plan a trip; more that I just want to see if I've been to any of them.
So, I was lured into investigating "The World's Top 10 Dangerous Airports". Bingo! I had even landed and taken off from one of them.
Of course, I had considered Wellington a contender and so would anyone else who had landed in that city's airport in unfavourable high winds with the aircraft lurching from side to side and the sounds of baggage being tossed around in the hold and the jagged rocks below and cabin service curtailed and people using the vomit bags and the captain saying, "We may experience a little turbulence."
But, on this list, no mention of Wellington (though it does rate a place on other freaky airport lists).
What about Queenstown? Not so much dangerous, I feel, but certainly rather concerning. It's that approach down the valley and being lower than cars on the Saddle Road and waving to the drivers who are above you.
Queenstown was not on the list either.
The one I could tick off was Gibraltar but I don't think it deserves a place on this list. What is dangerous about landing on an isthmus? It can't be harder than pronouncing the word isthmus.
A possible reason Gibraltar made it on to the list was that whenever a plane has to land or take off (which they invariably do), the road connecting Spain to the jagged outcrop has to be closed because the runway runs right across the road. Or the road runs right across the runway.
Inconvenient but hardly dangerous! Barriers come down, cars stop, planes take off or land.
A rock and a road. Yet it's in the top 10!
I investigated. Apparently, it's not really about the road but about the turbulent winds that can blow around the rock, leading to frequent diversions and go-arounds. So, I struck it on a good day.
I have even experienced a landing in Napier, which could have made its airport a contender. It was when they still flew 737s into Napier. The runway was wet so the pilot (as per the textbook) "dumped" the plane on the ground.
The fear on passengers' faces had eased a little by the time the aircraft managed to brake. At the very end of the runway and right next to some sheep and a wire fence. Most passengers were still gripping the armrests and sucking furiously on their boiled lolly. One couple were praying.
I wrote to the airport about this white-knuckle landing and, soon after, the 737s stopped coming, though I'm not claiming that my letter achieved that outcome. I feel the pilot himself may have got a bit of a fright.
AirlineRatings.com has also compiled a list of the 13 most unsafe airlines to fly. I checked that list too but fortunately, I had never graced the seats of any of them. Judging from the criteria, offering complimentary snacks and drinks service would not be enough to make up for the problems.
Anyway, if you're lured into reading a top 10 list and the rankings are a disappointment to you, search again. There are other lists with different rankings.
My only regret regarding the airport list is that, when I visited the terminal at Gibraltar Airport, I failed to purchase a Rock of Gibraltar snow globe to keep as evidence of my intrepid landing and take-off. I'm left without a memento between a rock and a hard place.
• Wyn Drabble is a teacher of English, a writer, musician and public speaker.