The origins of the world’s airport codes don’t always make sense

The world’s airports are identified by three-letter codes known as IATA station identifiers. You’ve no doubt seen them on your baggage tags when you were flying somewhere.

Some of them are abbreviations of the cities they are located in like MEX for Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juárez in Mexico City while others are derived from the airport’s name like JFK for John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City.

Some, however, seem to make no sense, but they are often references to historical names like ORD for O’Hare in Chicago. It’s former name was Orchard Field. And in the case of Canada, it gets complicated with which one has a weather station and which one does not.

It’s all explained on this Wikipedia page.

Listen to live air traffic control radio on

Listening to air traffic controllers on the radio is not an activity that appeals to everyone, but there are enough aviation geeks out there that it has spawned an entire website that collects dozens of live streams from airports around the world. Get your #avgeek fix on

Flight Connections shows you all the flights from any airport

You can pretty much fly from any one point on Earth to another within a day or two, but chances are you’d have to make multiple connections to do so. Flight Connections shows you the direct flights from every major airport so you can plot your travels most efficiently.

Remembering Solari boards

Before the advent of TV monitors, airport terminals presented arrival and departure times on electro-mechanical split-flap displays. They were commonly known as Solari boards after their Italian manufacturer or as Pragotrons for those who bought them from their Czech competitor. Travellers old enough to remember the displays can tell you they made a distinctive clatter whenever the times were refreshed.

City Hook helps you figure out your non-taxi options for getting from an airport to downtown.

Check The Airport gives you information about airports around the world.

Love hotels and watching airplanes? Combine the two by booking a Plane Spotting Hotel.

Ever take a close look at the carpetting at airports? This guy does.

Have a long enough layover at the airport for a workout? Airport Gyms has you covered.

Where do those three-letter airport codes come from? tells you.

<a target=”_blank” href=””>Where do those three-letter airport codes come from? tells you.</a>