April 23rd, 2010
09:10 AM ET

World's scariest airlines? Sign him up

In 2008, journalist Carl Hoffman embarked on a five-month trip using modes of transportation that most leisure travelers would avoid at all costs but that many people around the planet board every day, for his new book "The Lunatic Express."

Hoffman recently talked with CNN.com about his quest. The following is an excerpt of that interview.

CNN: Did you ever fear for your life?

Hoffman: Never directly. In Afghanistan, I was kind of nervous, [but] the longer I was there, the less scared of it I got, because you start to understand what the situation is.

CNN: How do you book a hotel in Kabul? Do you just go online?

Hoffman: You sure can.

The security is very tight; there are multiple walls and gates and people with machine guns guarding you. It was expensive and a big target. I actually moved to a much smaller local hotel that had much less security but was also much less of a target and much cheaper.

CNN: In Kabul, you met a French woman who has been traveling to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen by herself. How does she do that?

Hoffman: She just does it. The world is more available than we like to think it is here. She pulls on an abaya. She dresses in black and a head scarf and puts a knife in her bag. In Yemen, she said, she carried a little pistol.

Post by:
Filed under: Life and Culture
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Geoffrey Swenson

    I recall a flight from Madras to Trichy (now Chennai) in Tamil Nadu State in a DC 3 when the pilot and co-pilot dashed past all of the passengers having a pillow fight. I guess the automatic pilot was still working.

    April 26, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. mrbrian

    once flew on Buracq in Indonesia where we waited while dogs and cows were shooed off the runway!

    April 26, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. me in NH

    another scary ride, was called Buddah Air – from Khatmandu, nepal to Circle top of Mt. Everest – we were holding on for dear life

    April 26, 2010 at 6:08 am | Report abuse |
  4. Kris Sarratt

    I flew into Kabul airport back in Summer of '03. The airplane we flew on was very old (ariana airlines), seats were missing and things hanging down. Pretty scary, but pretty neat all at the same time. Beautiful country, beautiful people.

    April 25, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John

    When I saw the headline, I immediately thought of Tower Air. If you've never thought a plane could be held together with rolls of duct tape and still manage to land at your destination in one piece, think again.

    April 24, 2010 at 3:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. desert voice

    Amazing landscape. It reminds me of Alaska, a mountain passage on the way from Glennallen to Tok on the Canadian border. People are beginning to travel to Afghanistan for fun. It sure beats the war! I think that the Taliban needs to be discredited step by step by not just the Army, but by travellers like Cark Hoffman, willing to go to the most remote places as good will ambassadors!

    April 23, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |