Frequent travelers may already be familiar with the three-letter codes which are used as airport designators. Knowing these codes make it quicker to search for flights and fares online, and make it easier for you to double-check that your checked bags are going to the same place that you are.
Some of the airport codes are obvious, others are not. But not paying attention to the airport code can mean you’re traveling to Long Beach, California (LGB) instead of New York LaGuardia (LGA). Before beginning any travel planning, make sure you know that accurate airport code for your departure and arrival city.
Learn Your Airport Code
Three little letters determine whether you arrive where you’re supposed to, or if you go astray. Those three little letters comprise what is known as an airport designator code.
Your ticket will use these letters, and it is important to know the airport code for your city of arrival, as well as all places where you are making a connection.
Some codes are obvious:
SEA is Seattle (Washington)
LAX is Los Angeles (California)
MIA is Miami (Florida)
AMS is Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Some are not so obvious:
GEG is Spokane (Washington)
MSY is New Orleans (Louisiana)
ORD is Chicago O’Hare (Illinois)
YYJ is Victoria, B.C. (Canada)
And some are so very close that one letter could mean you and your bags wind up in a different part of the world:
LGB is Long Beach (California)
LGA is New York LaGuardia (New York)
LGW is London Gatwick (U.K.)
LGZ is Leguizamo (Columbia)
A good reference site is World Airport Codes, which allows you to search by country name or abbreviation, city name, airport name, or airport code. With that kind of search capacity, you should never be at a loss for the correct city code.
Remember, you’re bags should be tagged with the same airport codes as your ticket. Double-check to make sure that they match up, or you and your bags will head off in different directions.
Top 30 US Airport Codes
|Rank||Airports (Large hubs)||IATA
|Major city served||State|
|1||Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport||ATL||Atlanta||GA|
|2||Los Angeles International Airport||LAX||Los Angeles||CA|
|3||O’Hare International Airport||ORD||Chicago||IL|
|4||Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport||DFW||Dallas||TX|
|5||Denver International Airport||DEN||Denver||CO|
|6||John F. Kennedy International Airport||JFK||New York||NY|
|7||San Francisco International Airport||SFO||San Francisco||CA|
|8||Seattle–Tacoma International Airport||SEA||Seattle||WA|
|9||McCarran International Airport||LAS||Las Vegas||NV|
|10||Orlando International Airport||MCO||Orlando||FL|
|11||Newark Liberty International Airport||EWR||Newark/New York||NJ|
|12||Charlotte Douglas International Airport||CLT||Charlotte||NC|
|13||Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport||PHX||Phoenix||AZ|
|14||George Bush Intercontinental Airport||IAH||Houston||TX|
|15||Miami International Airport||MIA||Miami||FL|
|16||General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport||BOS||Boston||MA|
|17||Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport||MSP||Minneapolis/St. Paul||MN|
|18||Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport||FLL||Fort Lauderdale||FL|
|19||Detroit Metropolitan Airport||DTW||Detroit||MI|
|20||Philadelphia International Airport||PHL||Philadelphia||PA|
|21||LaGuardia Airport||LGA||New York||NY|
|22||Baltimore–Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport||BWI||Baltimore/Washington, D.C.||MD|
|23||Salt Lake City International Airport||SLC||Salt Lake City||UT|
|24||San Diego International Airport||SAN||San Diego||CA|
|25||Washington Dulles International Airport||IAD||Washington, D.C.||VA|
|26||Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport||DCA||Washington, D.C.||VA|
|27||Chicago Midway International Airport||MDW||Chicago||IL|
|28||Tampa International Airport||TPA||Tampa||FL|
|29||Portland International Airport||PDX||Portland||OR|
|30||Daniel K. Inouye International Airport||HNL||Honolulu||HI|
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