Plane Answers: Kent’s 3 favorite and 3 most dreaded runways.

Welcome to Gadling’s feature, Plane Answers, where our resident airline pilot, Kent Wien, answers your questions about everything from takeoff to touchdown and beyond. Have a question of your own? Ask away!

Deb asks:

Are there any favorite/hated runways by pilots? Pictures and videos of the one in St. Maarten made me wonder.

I’m sure every pilot has a few favorite or hated runways, and I’m no exception. Here are my top and bottom three:

My three favorite:

LGA – New York’s LaGuardia

With its reputation for delays and cancellations, LGA might not be on the top of most passengers’ lists. But it’s often the challenging runways that are the most enjoyable for pilots. While LaGuardia‘s runway 13/31 is short at just 7,003 feet, and it has water on both ends of the runway, the expressway visual takes you over the former Shea stadium and it requires some planning to make the sharp turn and perfectly line up on runway 31. But the most beautiful approach I’ve ever flown is the ‘River Visual’ up the Hudson to runway 13. Sailing past Manhattan at night, with the buildings seemingly at eye level, and then making a right turn over Central Park to line up with the runway, is certainly a rush.

SXM – St. Maarten

You mention St. Maarten, and I’d actually have to list it as one of my favorites. Coincidently, it’s also 7,003 feet long. But the fun part about St. Maarten are the spectators that gather at the end of the runway to witness the landing airplanes fly over at less than 50 feet above the ground. It’s probably the closest spectators can get to a landing aircraft without being on board. And who knows, maybe someone like Matt Hintsa will snap a picture like this of your landing:

SAN – San Diego

Finally, I must admit to a fondness for yet another short runway. San Diego‘s Lindbergh field offers a scenic arrival, and the approach crosses rather close to a parking garage located near the field. Since there’s no ILS, you have to be right on the glidepath during the approach. If you’re precise, the radar altimeter in the cockpit will read 190 feet as you pass over the garage, making for the perfect approach to runway 27.

Three worst:

NME – Nightmute, Alaska

Ahh, Nightmute. At 1,600 feet long, you’re probably not going to find anything larger than a Twin Otter flying there. Most of the landings I remember in Nightmute were in a strong crosswind during the winter on a packed, snow-covered runway that resembled a frozen lake. Reading the airport notes from this place might give you a better picture.


I’m sure glad those days are behind me.

CCS – Caracas, Venezuela

Runway 10 at Caracas, Venezuela. It curves down, dropping 88 feet from the beginning of the runway to the end. Even if you do get a smooth touchdown, the runway is so rough that no one would realize it.

MIA – Miami, Florida

And finally, there’s Miami‘s runway 30. Nothing challenging here, it’s long, it’s wide, it’s even smooth. But I never seem to get a nice landing there. So I’m adding it to the list. Take that, runway 3-0!

I’d be curious to hear other pilots’ favorite and least favorite runways. Leave a comment and let us know!

Roger asks:

My friends & I live near an approaching flight path, and regularly get into discussions about planes and their landing or approach speeds. Do larger jets have a slower approach speed, or does it just appear that way? Do smaller ones have a higher approach speed, or does it just seem that way, or are they all flying at the same speed?

An answer to this will sort out several arguments.

I think I can help you win the argument either way.

Below are some final approach speeds for various airliners. I figured them based on the maximum landing weight for each aircraft type using the ‘normal’ flap setting, which may not be the maximum flaps.

From fastest to slowest:

747-400: 157 (174 m.p.h.)
737-800: 148 (170 m.p.h.)
767-300: 142 (163 m.p.h.)
A320: 142 (163 m.p.h)
EMB-145: 139 (160 m.p.h.)
777-200: 138 (159 m.p.h.)
MD-80: 136 (156 m.p.h.)
A300: 135 (155 m.p.h.)
A319: 132 (152 m.p.h.)
757: 132 (152 m.p.h.)

On a calm day, we’ll add five knots to the speeds above. If it’s gusty, we can add up to 20 knots to the approach speed.

Interestingly, while the 747 is the fastest, it definitely looks like the slowest on approach due to its size. At 232 feet long, it’s over 100 feet longer than the stretched 737-800.

While studying auto accidents involving railroad crossings, the NTSB attributed the problems to the Leibowitz hypothesis, which states that the speed of larger objects, like trains, is underestimated by observers owing to a normal deficiency of visual processing.

But if that doesn’t help you win your argument, you could use this counter example:

Take the EMB-145, a 50-seat regional jet, and compare it to the surprisingly slow speed of the 757. In this example, the RJ actually does fly faster on approach, and since it’s much smaller than the 757, it really looks like it’s late for a date.

So I think you’re covered either way. Good luck!

Do you have a question about something related to the pointy end of an airplane? Ask Kent and maybe he’ll use it for next Monday’s Plane Answers.

Cockpit Chronicles: Flying around Hanna and Ike

I couldn’t believe my timing. A four-day trip to the Caribbean with Hurricanes Hanna and Ike scheduled to be right in our way for almost every leg.

Would some of the flights get canceled? And if not, how far out of the way would we be flight planned to stay away from these storms?

This job tends to stay interesting if only because no two trips are alike, even if they take you to the same destinations. Some might think there’s a lot of monotony in flying a plane, but even if the destinations remain the same, there are always new challenges such as adverse weather, different ATC requests, or small mechanical issues to contend with. Not to mention the variety of pilots and flight attendants you might be working with.

I pulled up the satellite weather before leaving for the airport, knowing that it would be impossible to see the big picture of this storm once we’re inflight. While our airborne radar can keep us away from the bumps, it can’t give us an idea of the actual conditions until we’re within a few hundred miles or less of the storm.

The first leg, from Boston to Miami wouldn’t be a problem at all. It was the second leg, from Miami to Caracas that might be interesting. Before departing, my guess was that we’d be flight planned south over Cuba and then Jamaica before turning toward Venezuela.

Sure enough, as you can see from this satellite view below, we were sent around the west side of Hanna. The ride from Miami to Caracas turned out to be rather smooth, with almost all of the clouds associated with the outer edge of the storm well below us.

After our layover of 14 hours in Caracas, Hanna was sure to move west, but would it now impact our route of flight to Philadelphia?

I looked at the weather online while watching a little of Hugo Chavez on the T.V. in my room. If I could only speak Spanish, I’m sure it would have been far more interesting. I’m very thankful for the free internet, though, even if it isn’t much faster than a dial up connection at home.

The next morning the leg from Caracas to San Juan had little in the way of weather. We deviated around a few puffy build-ups over Puerto Rico, but the ride was smooth all the way there.

But the San Juan to PHL leg looked more interesting. Was Hanna breaking up? I couldn’t imagine a great ride, even if it looked like the storm was taking a rest off the east coast.

We had the seatbelt sign on for most of our second leg to PHL, but the ride wasn’t too bad. Looking at the satellite picture above, it seemed we managed to find a nice gap between the scattered storm. Four out of six legs finished and we still hadn’t been affected too much by Hanna. But what would Ike look like when we flew south in 36 hours?

We’d be staying downtown in Philadelphia for two nights–a rare long layover–before leaving on the 4th day of the trip early in the morning. Philadelphia has plenty of great things to do, I’m sure, but I couldn’t get past the Reading Terminal, a converted train terminal that has been made into a market in the heart of the city.

If you’ve ever been to Seattle’s Pike Place Market, well, this is all that except larger. Flowers, fresh fish, chocolate, books, spices, vegetables are all for sale, mixed in with a few restaurants selling crepes, gyros and my personal favorite, a turkey sandwich shop. I even had breakfast at a diner run by the Amish. Unfortunately, the diner is only open 4 days of the week.

This market has everything. Even chocolate covered potato chips:

I passed on those.

Hanna was approaching Philadelphia on the morning of our departure, but it wouldn’t arrive until a few hours after we left. It was Ike that was now directly in our way for our leg from PHL to San Juan.

As I was doing the walk-around inspection, one of the rampers asked me how we were going to get to San Juan with Ike right on top of the island.

I told him I was wondering the same thing earlier that morning, but the latest latest satellite view that showed Ike a few hundred miles north of the island. If it were covering the area where we were landing, there’s no way we would have been flying that trip.

I grabbed my iPhone and showed him the current weather. (wasn’t there a commercial about this?)

Essentially, we’d be flying from Hanna to Ike, landing in San Juan, before flying north around Ike again to Boston. Our eventual route of flight to San Juan and then up to Boston looked like this:

We were originally flight planned to pass to the east of Ike before working our way into San Juan. Just 30 minutes north of the storm, ATC gave us the option of passing to the west of the storm. Captain Mark and I saw far more blue sky to the west, so we turned right and worked our way around it, sending messages regularly en-route to our dispatcher to let him know that we were getting a very smooth ride this way.

His perspective is similar to the photo you see above, so he sent us a message which prints out in the cockpit.

“Your view of Ike must be spectacular.” His message said.

But it really wasn’t that impressive. I snapped a few pictures at that moment, which shows how the view from a satellite picture versus actually being there can be very different. In a sense, the dispatcher had a better view of the intensity of the storm, but we had a more detailed understanding of how we could stay out of the rough air with our weather radar and simply avoiding any of the clouds associated with the storm.

Here’s the view from our radar:

And this was the view out the window as we approached Ike. Not really that impressive, is it?

Amazingly, I came across this picture which shows Ike from the International Space Station taken around the same time we were flying around it. It’s hard to imagine a tiny little airplane passing on the left of the storm as seen from that space shot. Note the less clear route to the right in that NASA photo.

Staying to the west of the storm turned out to be a great move. We heard a Continental flight complain about moderate turbulence east of Ike on the air-to-air frequency, but we were in the clear with a smooth ride to the west.

Unfortunately for the flight back to Boston, we would have to go around Ike to the east, since the storm had moved further to the west, closing off our earlier route.

We spent the fi
rst hour in and out of some high clouds, and while the ride was worse, it wasn’t anything more than annoying. I’ve learned from some of the questions submitted to the Plane Answers feature that many passengers are extremely nervous while flying in any kind of bumps. So we really do our best to find a better altitude or different route for a smoother ride, even if it means using more fuel for that leg.

In all, I learned that maybe it’s better to be flying around Ike and Hanna than sitting on the ground in your non-moveable home praying that the storm misses you. I really feel for those people from Haiti to Houston that were affected by these two monster hurricanes.

In the next Cockpit Chronicles, we’ll go to Port-au-Prince Haiti, which may have seen the worst of Hurricane Hanna just a few days earlier.

I’m thankful to live in New Hampshire, a state that rarely sees any significant weather other than the occasional ‘noreaster’ that dumps a few feet of snow. And while Hanna did make it through our area, it only managed to give us a few inches of rain before finally breaking up over the Atlantic.

Cockpit Chronicles takes you along on some of Kent’s trips as an international co-pilot on the Boeing 757 and 767 based in Boston.

Cockpit Chronicles: Caracas and New York

Being the only pilot on reserve, I figured I’d be getting a call to fly over the weekend. Sure enough, Camille called on Thursday to tell me I’d be departing at 6:30 the next morning. It was a new sequence that I hadn’t flown yet. They took away our Panama City and Caracas trip and replaced it with a Caracas and New York layovers.

While I wasn’t really itching to fly to Caracas again, the idea of a day in Manhattan sounded like fun. We seem to get N.Y. layovers every year or two for a few months at a time.

John K. was the Captain and he was yet another one of the Boston pilots I enjoy flying with. I know I’m constantly pointing out how nice it is to fly with the Captains I’m paired up with, but I sincerely believe that Boston has the most good-natured group of pilots at the company. I have no scientific proof of that, but I’m sticking with it.

John and I had a great time in Paris a year ago, when he showed me that some bread, cheese and wine at the local grocery store can be the perfect way to enjoy Paris on a summer evening. So I knew we could find something interesting to do in New York.

He gave me the early morning leg down to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The sun was just coming up while we were waiting our turn to takeoff, affording a good opportunity to snap a shot of an airplane crossing the path of the rising sun.

Four hours later we were on approach to Puerto Rico. In the past, when you landed on runway 10 (pronounced “one-zero”) in San Juan, it would feel like you were about to lose a few fillings in your teeth. After a construction period that lasted at least a year, we were ready to give the freshly-restored runway a try. For whatever reason they used the more expensive concrete instead of asphalt on the runway this time and the results were excellent. There’s one less thing I can blame a poor landing on.

When you sign into the computer in operations at the beginning of every trip, it tells you how many hours you have on the type of airplane you’re flying and the number of landings you’ve made. The records indicated I had 2994 hours. I did the math and realized that I’d be reaching 3000 hours just after we took off from Miami on our way to Caracas. I figured I’d note the time and celebrate to myself after we leveled off.

John was explaining to me about the ‘issues’ he had with some beavers that had taken over his pond. He now has an otter that has been feasting on the fish. The image in my mind of an otter clearing out John’s half frozen pond of largemouth bass was all I needed to completely forget about my little milestone until the next day. The only way to properly celebrate the moment would have been to snack on some mixed nuts. I guess I’ll have to wait until 5000 hours now.

John flew the leg into Caracas. We’ve been landing there for the past few months only at night, so it was nice to have a chance to see it in the daytime. But I was a bit surprised at the smog that was coming from a series of smoke stacks along the shoreline. After we landed it took a while to get used to the smoke in the air.

After a quick nap, we met at the hotel pool before eating at the restaurant a few feet away. This is pretty much the only option, as we’re ‘encouraged’ not to leave the hotel. I had my favorite ‘pizza margarita’ and John had a steak. It almost seems like the prices had doubled since the last time we were there. I can’t remember what I paid before, but the pizza and an iced tea were $17.

The next morning I was checking my emails through the painfully slow internet connection when I got a message that my card had been ‘frozen.’ It seems the account was flagged with “unusual activity” just because I used it in Venezuela. I’m sure the fraud department at credit card companies must really wonder about a card that might see use in Panama one day, Venezuela later that night and then Miami or Boston the next day. I frantically tried to log into the banking website, but I could only load a page or two before the browser stopped responding.

Pickup was at 7 a.m, which was an improvement over the 3 a.m. wake-up time the day before. We made it through Miami and landed at LaGuardia by 2 in the afternoon. John made a perfect landing in the howling wind aboard the U.S.S. LaGuardia. (A nickname referring to the short runway surrounded by water just east of Manhattan.)

I had recently seen Nathan Lane on the Jon Stewart Show plugging his latest Broadway comedy, November. For a moment, I pondered the feasibility of flying down to N.Y. from Boston with my wife just to catch this show. I immediately came to my senses when I thought through the logistics involved in even a short outing like that. Not to mention the cost of a New York city hotel.

It hadn’t even dawned on me that I might find myself in New York just a few days later. I told John about the play and I could tell he wasn’t so sure about spending the $80 to see this play. I convinced him that we could find a good deal at the TKTS booth in Times Square. He was up for it.

The TKTS booth has temporarily moved to the Marriott at Times Square. Fortunately I looked up the TKTS entry on Wikipedia which mentioned that they only take cash. After convincing my bank in person that I wasn’t an international credit card thief, I was able to take some money out.

Amazingly, ‘November’ is one of the plays that’s available at the booth, even on a Friday night. It payed off to get the booth early, since some of these shows are sold out months in advance, and often the TKTS booth has only leftover or returned tickets. After we picked up our discounted tickets, we went to Johns favorite place to eat–appropriately enough called ‘John’s’.

John’s Pizzeria’ is located in a converted theatre. I couldn’t resist trying out the margarita pizza, even if I had it the night before in Caracas. I didn’t regret a single bite.

We had plenty of time before the play, so what else is there to do in New York city? Visit one of the city’s most famous landmarks; the Apple Store on 5th Avenue of course! John and I played with the super thin and feather light Macbook Air a bit before walking to the theatre on 47th street.

We had no idea if the seats we were given were any good. I figured they’d be ‘obstructed view’ seats or something way in the back. We were rather shocked that they were 11th row orchestra (floor) seats perfectly aligned in the center of the theatre. Not bad for 35% off.

‘November’ is a play about a fictitious U.S. president, played by Nathan Lane, who is universally disliked by the people. He’s not ready to leave after his first term, but he’s completely out of money to continue his campaign. So he manages to blackmail the turkey industry by threatening to pardon every turkey before Thanksgiving unless the industry group coughs up $200 million for his campaign.

The best line of the show: “I’m thinking of a number so high, dogs can’t even hear it.”

We had a lot of laughs and John and I both gave it a solid 8 out of 10. Hopefully I’ll fly some more of these trips to sample some other plays in N.Y.

Leaving the theater, we marveled at the low clouds that looked as if they were caught on the tops of the buildings. I managed to snap this picture on Madison Avenue. We were almost expecting the “Bat Sign” to illuminate on the clouds at any moment.

The next morning those same clouds had reached the ground and fog enveloped the LaGuardia airport. To make matters worse, our airplane was located over at JFK and they were waiting on a reserve captain to get to JFK to ferry the airplane to LaGuardia. We were a bit confused as to why they didn’t call us a bit earlier to do the ferry before flying to Miami and then home to Boston. They probably thought that it would be faster to have a reserve pilot called out to bring the airplane over to us. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. We left LGA late and tried to make up as much time getting to Miami, but we landed just as a connecting flight to Belize was departing. This meant that ten of our passengers, including a really nice family that visited us in the cockpit while we were parked at the gate in New York wouldn’t make it to Belize until the next day.

We were in a bit of a hurry in Miami while we changed from one plane to another. We refer to this as the “bag drag.” When I got to the next airplane, I realized that I left my aluminum Sigg water bottle in the previous airplane. I knew we didn’t have time for me to run back to retrieve the bottle, and I was resigned to the fact that I had finally lost it. Amazingly, after we closed the door the agent showed up with the bottle, standing on top of a belt loader to get to my window. While the ground crew was still loading a few last minute bags, our incredibly helpful agent managed to toss me the bottle through the window. But it took two attempts:

Fortunately the bottle is well padded in a neoprene casing. After a quick turn in Miami it was back up to Boston. The whole northeast was covered in fog, and as we approached the Logan airport, there were reports of thunderstorms in the area. These are two conditions that don’t usually occur at the same time. The visibility lifted a bit, and the thunderstorms were well off to the west by the time we arrived. Still, the Logan tower reported a wind shear advisory to us while we were on short final. The major airports have equipment that looks for rapidly shifting winds. An alert means you may see a gust of plus or minus ten knots while landing. As ugly as it sounded, we had no issues getting in and we didn’t see any of the gusts that were advertised. Still, it was nice of them to let us know that the possibility existed. Technology has gone a long way to improve the level of safety in this industry.


Cockpit Chronicles takes you along on each of Kent’s trips as a co-pilot on the Boeing 757 and 767 out of Boston.

Cockpit Chronicles: Taken for a ride in Panama City

I called my friend Captain Dave the day before our trip.

“Dave, we’re going to hit the ground running in Panama City so we can check out the canal. I’ve got it all figured out. Just get to bed early,” I said.

Dave was up for this. He actually traded one of his Barbados layovers to fly this trip with me. Sometimes it’s worth it to fly an ugly trip with a good friend. We’ve been flying together for about five years and we always have a good time discussing current events and hanging out on layovers.

I studied up on the Wikitravel Panama City entry and figured we could get a taxi over to the Miraflores Locks where there was supposed to be a decent restaurant overlooking the canal.

When I met up with Dave in operations, he had quite the story to tell. He went to bed the night before at 7 p.m. and, you guessed it, woke up at about 10 p.m. After tossing and turning a while longer, he figured he might as well come into work a few minutes earlier than normal for what he thought was a 5:30 a.m. departure. It wasn’t until he arrived at the Boston airport that he realized the flight departed at 6:45 a.m. He was almost three hours early. He tried to nap on a recliner in the crew lounge, but I imagine it’s hard to get much sleep when you’re kicking yourself all the time.

%Gallery-17310%I showed up on time and relatively well rested. I have to give credit to Dave. He was as determined to see the canal as I was, even after what would be a long day of flying. We left on time from Boston to Miami and continued on to Panama City just an hour later. Flying south to Panama took us directly over Cuba, which has excellent controllers, then through Jamaica’s airspace before finally talking to Panama control.

We landed in Panama City at 2 p.m. and made it to the hotel an hour later. Surprisingly, Dave was still willing to take the trip to the canal. We changed clothes and checked with the concierge about getting a cab to the locks. The Wikitravel entry mentioned a flat rate of $25 if you want to hire the cab for the entire day. The concierge spent a few minutes talking to a cab driver before deciding that we’d be better off with a private taxi since the cabby couldn’t speak much English.

Louis was probably close to eighty years old and he looked harmless enough. We hopped in the car and he drove about 50 feet before he turned to us and said, “No drugs!”

“What’s that?” I said, while sitting in the front seat.

“No drugs. I can take you anywhere you’d like, show you anything, just nooo drugs.” He said.

I know we’d been awake for close to 14 hours at this point, but how bad did we look?

“We’d just like to go to the Miraflores Locks for dinner.” I told Louis.

Louis said he’d be willing to do that, but he could also take us to Casco Viejo and some other interesting locations as well. And for all that, the total would be $80 for the day.

Now here’s a tip. Don’t get INTO a taxi until you have the price negotiated. Since we were already in the cab, our negotiating leverage was pretty much nil.

“$40 a person, OK, fine, I suppose.” This better be one heck of a tour, I thought.

Louis drove us toward the locks and explained that it was a great way to see the canal. Had we gone to the observation deck, it would cost $16. But if we went to the restaurant, we could eat at a buffet for $21. That worked for us. I was happy to save some money after agreeing to pay for Louis’s car payment for the month.
The traffic northbound out of the city was really slow going. It was the Friday before Mardi Gras and the celebrations were just starting, which meant a main road was closed in the city. Our drive took about 45 minutes, but Louis did his best to give us some of the details of his city. But it was hard to hear all the stories over the snoring that Dave was doing in the back seat.

Dave hasn’t stopped nagging me about the time I took him on a packed subway so we could find my favorite bathroom in Paris, so I knew I’d be hearing about this extravagant cab ride for many months to come.

We made it to the Miraflores Locks, which are the last locks before the Pacific Ocean. After climbing a few flights of stairs, we picked up some free passes that would get us past the guards to the restaurant. It was 5:30 p.m. when we sat down for dinner by ourselves on the balcony overlooking the locks. The view was spectacular and we soon realized that we needed to stay there for a full dinner, even if we had to miss out on touring any other parts of Panama City.

In order to see how the canal works, take a look at this 30 second animation showing the entire canal, and then this one that illustrates the way a lock operates.

Any visit to the canal wouldn’t be complete without a few mind-blowing facts about what some call the eighth wonder of the world:

  • 27,000 workers died during the construction.
  • On a New York to San Francisco trip, the canal saves 7800 miles.

  • Each canal door needs to be replaced every ten years and weighs 750 tons (the same as 12 Boeing 757’s).
  • Ships are prioritized by a bidding system. The more you’re willing to pay, the sooner you can enter the canal.
  • The canal averages 40 ships per day or 14,000 a year.
  • A typical passage by a cargo ship takes 9 hours to go from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.
  • Crossings cost as little as $650 for a sailboat to $141,000 for a cruise ship.

Dave and I watched three or four huge ships pass through during our two-hour dinner there. I’ve included a gallery showing the view from the restaurant as well as some aerial shots of the canal I took when we passed overhead earlier in the day.


The buffet dinner couldn’t have been better and we enjoyed the local Balboa beer as well. Every country we fly to in the Caribbean and Central America seems to have their own beer and surprisingly they all taste exactly the same. I’m not complaining as I do like them all, but I can’t tell the difference.

Louis came up twice to check on us; probably to be sure we weren’t skipping out on his taxi bill, but also to let us know that we were going to miss seeing the other parts of town. We knew we’d be back, and we had found the perfect place to eat and enjoy the monumental view.

The drive back to the hotel took an hour because of the traffic. I marveled at all the construction and found a few open wi-fi spots with my iPhone as we crept through the city. Dave slept in the backseat. Fortunately we didn’t have to leave for another eighteen hours, so he could catch up on a lot of sleep back at the hotel.

The next day we flew to Miami and then on to Caracas, Venezuela where we laid over for sixteen hours. The rest of the trip was uneventful, but I did manage to get some nice shots of the sun going down on the way from Caracas to Miami.

One of the benefits of this job has been the ability to travel to some interesting places that I might have otherwise missed. If you don’t think you’ll ever make it to Panama, at least you can check out this webcam from the top of the building where we had dinner. It’s the next best thing. If that’s too slow for you, take a look at this almost hypnotic video below of a week’s worth of traffic through the Miraflores Locks compressed down to a few minutes.

Cockpit Chronicles takes you along on each of Kent’s trips as a co-pilot on the Boeing 757 and 767 out of Boston.

The Price of Gas Around the World

The next time you pull into the station for a fill-up, keep this in mind before you curse the prices: People elsewhere have it a lot worse than we do in America (and we tend to gripe about it the most, it seems!). Take Asia for instance — Hong Kong averages a whopping $6.30 per gallon, with Seoul, South Korea, not too far behind. Europe also pays well above what we do in America. London, Berlin, Oslo, and Paris are all well above $6 a gallon. On the low end of the spectrum, places in the Middle East like Kuwait City and Tehran, Iran, pay under 79 cents for their gas. Big surprise there!

The lowest, however, is reserved for Caracas, Venezuela. 17 cents per gallon! [via]