1937: IATA Airport Abbreviations
|IATA Airport Abbreviations|
Title text: IATA stands for International AirporT Abbreviation.
| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Expansion needed. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.|
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.
This comic is making fun of the three-letter codes assigned to mostly all airports in the world. These codes are overseen by the IATA (International Air Transport Association). Some airport codes are very intuitive, taking letters from the city name (e.g., DEN for Denver). Other codes are somewhat intuitive, taking a letter or two from the nearby city name but adding an additional letter (e.g., LAX for Los Angeles). Other codes make seemingly no sense at all (e.g., ORD for Chicago's O'Hare International, due to it formerly being named Orchard Field). In many cases, the airport codes appear to have been chosen (or invented) because they are also common abbreviations and acronyms.
If we use the table provided, Randall's friend is flying into Edwards Air Force Base and then down to whatever. This is not a typical flight. In actuality, the friend is flying into Newark tonight and Detroit tomorrow.
|IATA Code||Actual Assigned City/Airport||Description in the comic||Explanation|
|AMD||Ahmedabad||Amsterdam||Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. Its airport (called Schiphol) has the IATA code AMS. "AMD" may also refer to "Advanced Micro Devices", a brand of computer processors.|
|ANC||Anchorage||Ankh-Morpork||Ankh-Morpork is a fictional city-state featured in Discworld. ANC is also an abbreviated name for the African National Congress.|
|ATL||Atlanta||Atalantë||Another name for J.R.R. Tolkien's fictional island of Númenor (which is in turn a reference to the sinking of Atlantis). This may also be an intentional misspelling of "Atlanta". ATL may also be an abbreviation for "above the line" - the area in an internet article or post containing the main content; as contrasted with BTL ("below the line") where readers' comments appear.|
|BAE||Barcelonnette||Beijing||Beijing is the capital of China. Its airport has the IATA code PEK (possibly from Peking, alternate former spelling of its name). "Bae" is a slang term meaning girlfriend, boyfriend, or significant other. Randall has presumably assigned this to Beijing as, when pronounced as a word, rather than an abbreviation, it resembles the first syllable.|
|BLT||Blackwater||Baltimore||A "BLT" is a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich. Baltimore is served by two airports with the codes BWI and MTN.|
|BUF||Buffalo||Sunnydale||Sunnydale is a fictional California city that serves as the primary setting for Buffy the Vampire Slayer.|
|CLT||Charlotte||[CENSORED]||The censored word may be "clitoris". Randall has used this word in the comic before (243: Appropriate Term), but it is censored here for comic effect.|
|DFW||Dallas/Fort Worth||Down For Whatever||"Down for Whatever" is an expression used to indicate that one is okay with doing whatever his or her friends are doing in a social situation, or whatever comes up during a social situation.|
|DTF||not assigned||Dartford||"DTF" is an abbreviation used to indicate "Down To Fuck". Dartford is a town in Kent, UK, about 10 miles SE of London. It does not have an airport. The nearest is probably London City Airport, LCY.|
|DTW||Detroit||Down To Whatever||See "DFW". "Down to Whatever" could indicate that one is getting on a plane with the intention of being fine with whatever the plane's destination turns out to be.|
|DWI||not assigned||Delaware International||"DWI" is an abbreviation for "Driving While Intoxicated" or "Driving While Impaired." Randall notes in the what if? book that Delaware has no airports. This entry is also a play on the nearby real airport BWI, Baltimore-Washington International.|
|EWR||Newark||Edwards Air Force Base||Edwards Air Force Base (which has the IATA code EDW) is a United States Air Force installation in southern California, about 22 miles (35 km) northeast of Lancaster and 15 miles (24 km) east of Rosamond. It is notable for its pivotal role in NASA spaceflight development.|
|FFS||not assigned||Flagstaff Station||"FFS" is an abbreviation for "For Fuck's Sake."|
|FHQ||not assigned||FHQWHGADS||The string "fhqwhgads" appeared as the first part of the sender name in the email "i love you" sent to Strong Bad in the Homestar Runner cartoons; Strong Bad ended up writing a song dedicated to the "character", and, after this comic's release, Strong Bad's official Twitter account posted about the reference.|
|FYI||Fresno Yosemite International Airport||Fayetteville||"FYI" often stands for "For Your Information". Fresno Yosemite International also has the code FAT for Fresno Air Terminal. Fayetteville is the name of many cities in the United States. Fayetteville, NC is the only Fayetteville served by airports: POB and FAY.|
|HGM||not assigned||Hogsmeade||Hogsmeade is a fictional location in the Harry Potter series.|
|HSV||Huntsville||Huntsville||This is one where Randall and the IATA agree. HSV is better known as the Hue-Saturation-Value color space or German soccer club Hamburger SV. It is also Herpes Simplex Virus, a venereal disease.|
|IAD||Washington (Dulles)||Idaho (Boise)||IAD is the symbol for Dulles International Airport (which was originally "DIA" but it was felt that could be confused when hand-written with "DCA", the sign for nearby Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport). The Idaho Falls airport is IDA, while Idaho (Boise) is BOI, so it is unclear why BOI was chosen instead of IDA.|
|IUD||Doha||Washington (Dulles)||An "IUD" is an "IntraUterine Device," or form of birth control. Doha is the capital of Qatar in the Middle East and Persian Gulf. The Actual IATA code for Dulles is IAD (see above).|
|JFC||not assigned||Jefferson City||"JFC" is an abbreviation for "Jesus Fucking Christ." JFK is John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York's main airport and one of the most famous in the world. Jefferson City is the state capital of Missouri served by the JEF airport, and also the name of several other cities.|
|KUL||Kuala Lumpur||Kingdom of Loathing||Kingdom of Loathing is an online, browser-based RPG. It contains an International Airport, previously lacking a three digit code. Kuala Lumpur is the capital city of Malaysia.|
|LAX||Los Angeles||Las Angalas||"Las Angalas" is a "Los Angeles" with every vowel replaced with an "a" character. It's sometimes used as a joking nickname for "Los Angeles." The Frank Black song "Los Angeles" uses this pronunciation.|
|LOL||Lovelock||Louisville||"LOL" often stands for "Laughing Out Loud". Lovelock is a city in the state of Nevada. Louisville is the largest city in the state of Kentucky. The latter is served by the LJC and the SDF airport.|
|MDW||Chicago, IL (Midway)||Midway Atoll||Midway Atoll was the site of one of the most significant World War II Pacific naval battles and is the namesake of the Chicago airport. Its actual IATA code is MDY.|
|MIA||Miami||Colombo, Sri Lanka||MIA stands for "Missing In Action". It is also the stage name of a rapper of Sri Lankan heritage. Colombo, Sri Lanka is served by three airports: CMB, RML and BYV.|
|OMW||not assigned||Omaha||Eppley Airfield in East Omaha, Nebraska, has an IATA code of OMA. "OMW" is an abbreviation for "On My Way."|
|ORD||Chicago, IL (O'Hare)||Orlando||O'Hare was once known as Orchard Place/Douglas Field, hence ORD. Orlando is served by four airports: ORL, DWS, MCO and SFB|
|PDX||Portland||Pordlanx||Consider how LAX has a random "X" at the end. And "ORD" is an actual IATA code. Randall messes with "Portland" here in much the same way.|
|PHL||Philadelphia, PA||Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh International Airport has a IATA code of PIT. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are the two largest cities in Pennsylvania and are at opposite ends of the state.|
|SAN||San Diego|| San Diego
| San Diego International Airport has SAN; nearby airports include Montgomery Field (MYF), MCAS Miramar (NKX), NAS North Island (NZY), Brown Field (SDM), and Gillespie Field (SEE).|
There are several cities named San Juan or San Jose. Their airport codes are as follows: San Juan, Puerto Rico: SJU and SIG.
San Juan, Argentina: UAQ.
San Jose, California, USA: SJC.
San Jose, Costa Rica: SJO.
San Jose, Mexico: SJD.
San Jose, Philippines: SJI
San Francisco, CA has the airport code of SFO.
San Antonio, TX has the airport code of SAT.
Randall's plan to assign the code SAN to every place name beginning "San" would likely cause chaos for travellers.
|SEA||Seattle/Tacoma or SeaTac||[Indicates Water Landing]||This is presumably a reference to the fact that "SEA" could be interpreted as "Sea". Unlike some other major airports (e.g., San Francisco International Airport and LaGuardia Airport), SEA is not actually on a major body water, but missing the airport could result in a water landing. The SeaTac airport is located over a mile east of Puget Sound) in the city of SeaTac,_Washington, which is located between the cities of Seattle and Tacoma, in WA.|
|SMH||Sapmanga||Smithfield||"SMH" often stands for "Shaking My Head". Sapmanga is a location in Papua New Guinea. There are various cities named Smithfield around the world, none of them having airports.|
|STL||St. Louis||Silent Hill||Silent Hill is a fictional city appearing in the series of video games and movies with the same name.|
|SWF||Newburgh, New York||Sherwood Forest||.swf is the file extension for ShockWave Flash files. "SWF" can also stand for "Single White Female" in personal ads. In legend, Sherwood Forest was the location of Robin Hood's hideout, and Doncaster Sheffield Airport (IATA DSA) was formerly called Robin Hood Airport.|
|TBA||Tabibuga||Tribeca||"TBA" often stands for "To Be Announced". Tabibuga is a location in Papua New Guinea. Tribeca (original styled TriBeCa) is an area in New York City, which does not have an airport. The closest airport to it is Downtown Manhattan Heliport (JRB). Angie Tribeca is an American comedy television series. "TBA" is a similar indication of uncertainty to "TBC", which often stands for "To Be Confirmed".|
|TMI||Tumlingtar||Turkmenistan International||"TMI" often stands for "Too Much Information". Tumlingtar is a city in Nepal. Turkmenistan is a country in Central Asia which has six airports: ASB, CRZ, KRW, MYP, TAZ and URL. None of them are called "Turkmenistan International", but KRW is called "Turkmenbashi International".|
|YYY||Mont-Joli||Toronto Downtown||Mont-Joli is a city in Quebec, Canada. The small airport in downtown Toronto is Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which has an actual IATA code of YTZ. This may be a play on the below designation for the larger Toronto airport, YYZ. It could also be Randall asking "why why why" some of these codes are so odd. Aside from YTZ, most airports in Canada have IATA code designations beginning with the letter Y, as many codes were created by adding the letter Y to preexisting two letter National Weather Station city designations.|
|YYZ||Toronto||Toronto Pearson||This one is correct. The band Rush is from Toronto and named an instrumental song after the airport call sign. See YYZ (instrumental)|
The title text is a pun about the acronym IATA, stating it stands for International AirporT Abbreviation. This is as wrong as almost everything else here, because the real International Air Transport Association is not an organization only responsible for abbreviations in aviation. This acronym also leads to some redundancy in the title by making the true title of the comic be "International Airport Abbreviations Airport Abbreviations."
|This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.|
- [A list with abbreviations and their meaning is shown in two columns.]
- [On top left the header reads:]
- Confused by those airport abbreviations used by your friends who fly a lot?
- Just memorize this list!
- [On top right some social media conversation is shown:]
- I'm flying into EWR tonight, then DTW tomorrow.
- [Answer (in blue, two message bubbles):]
- Ok, cool
- I definitely know what those mean without Googling
- [The list:]
AMD Amsterdam TMI Turkmenistan International BAE Beijing LAX Las Angalas ORD Orlando EWR Edwards Air Force Base IAD Idaho (Boise) PHL Pittsburgh JFC Jefferson City SWF Sherwood Forest IUD Washington Dulles KUL Kingdom of Loathing FYI Fayetteville STL Silent Hill LOL Louisville BUF Sunnydale ATL Atalante TBA Tribeca HGM Hogsmeade SMH Smithfield OMW Omaha BLT Baltimore ANC Ankh-Morpork YYY Toronto Downtown HSV Hunstville YYZ Toronto Pearson SAN San Diego MIA Colombo, Sri Lanka SAN San Juan CLT [Censored] SAN San Jose FHQ Fhqwhgads SAN San Francisco FFS Flagstaff Station SAN San Antonio DTF Dartford DWI Delaware International MDW Midway Atoll DFW Down for Whatever PDX Pordlanx DTW Down to Whatever SEA [Indicates Water Landing]
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