What’s that code? The ultimate airport decoder lists

I wrote a few weeks ago that I have been to  212 unique airports in 48 countries. Each of these airports, like most airports across the world has a three letter code which appears at ticketing, on documents and in airline routing procedures. Some codes are obvious eg SYD for Sydney or SFO for San Francisco and some of these codes can be quite obscure. eg EZE is Buenos Aires or IAD is Washington Dulles or ORD is Chicago O’Hare.

a man standing in front of a large screen with a sign

MEL departures board- flights are going to BKK, HKG, HKT, SIN, LAX, DPS, WLG, AKL

If I am ever unsure of an airport code, there are two places I  turn:

  1.  The website  airportcod.es, is a lot of fun. The work of two people Lynn Fisher and Nick Crohn, it lists over 1000 airport codes in the world in a very attractive and informative format. The site gives advice on why the airport has that name and sometimes other relevant information. I must admit, I like playing and dreaming!Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 9.58.51 PM
  2. The other is IATA’s own site:  www.iata.org/publications/Pages/code-search.aspx which is much less “pretty” and gives more basic (but still useful) information:Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 10.03.07 PM

In my post back in April, I mentioned that I’ve visited airports with airport codes starting with 23 of the 26 letters of the English alphabet. The three that I am missing are Q,U or X.

airportcod.es has one airport starting with Q that would be useful in getting to airports whose codes start wih all 26 letters:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 10.08.57 PM

They have identified quite a few beginning with U! My aim is to travel to Koh Samui (USM) in September this year to get my 24th letter! 

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 10.22.27 PM

Most of the airport codes beginning with X are in China except for Christmas Island, Australia:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 10.28.15 PM

How would you go if you listed all of your airport codes: A to Z? Where has been the most obscure airport(s) you have been to?

a man standing in front of a sign

At BKK, flying to HEL

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  1. Nice post. I usually just enter the code in Google or maybe the code and “airport” and it pulls it right up with a map, photos, etc. but I can see why other sources might be more fun.
    The most out of the way place I’ve been is GDT which is Grand Turk I’d guess. I’ve also been to Garden City Kansas, GCK.

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