Travel

Stunning pics of the world's airport runways... from the sky, of course

Unless you're a commercial pilot or a dude who spent too much time in high school playing Flight Simulator II on your Commodore 64, you probably haven't given much thought to airport runways. 

Brooklyn-based designer Lauren O'Neill is neither, but that hasn't stopped her from becoming totally fascinated by them. So much so, in fact, that she took to Google Maps to find airports she's visited and -- "enamored with the imagery" -- turned bird's-eye screenshots of their runways into a series of art on her Tumblr called "Holding Pattern".

"I was so intrigued by the composition of the pavement markings and flurry of cargo carts and taxiing airplanes, I shot [the runway] on my phone and remember thinking that I’d love to see this from above", O'Neill told Thrillist, in an email. "As a graphic designer, I’m really drawn to the patterns, linework, and typography on the tarmac".

While a runway might not look like much from the terminal window, "Holding Pattern" reveals the intricacies and haphazard beauty of that overlooked, seemingly drab space. Who knew runways were actually spectacularly gorgeous? Other than O'Neill, of course.

For shots you can't post to Instagram from your window seat, check out the series below.

Zurich Airport, Switzerland

McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas

Barcelona-El Prat Airport, Spain

Austin–Bergstrom International Airport, Austin, Texas

London Heathrow Airport, UK

Madrid-Barajas Airport, Spain

Denver International Airport

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Virginia

O. R. Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa

Lisbon Portela Airport, Portugal

Perth Airport, Australia

Logan Airport, Boston

Copenhagen Airport, Denmark

Luxembourg Findel Airport, Luxembourg

Raivavae Airport, Austral Islands, French Polynesia

Charleston International Airport, South Carolina

Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Ohio

Chloe Pantazi is an editorial assistant on Thrillist's travel team. Yes, that's a British accent. No, she doesn't watch Doctor Who. Follow her on Twitter at @ChloePantazi.