Weather Blog: Airport Codes... Decoded!

Weather Blog: Airport Codes... Decoded!

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - In weather and in aviation, we use airport codes on a day-to-day basis. Almost all "official" weather observing stations, or ASOS stations (Automated Surface Observation System) are located at airports, mainly because weather is so critical to aviation.

When we tell you the current temperature in Charlotte on the news, that's the temperature being reported at the airport weather station.

Whenever you fly, you may notice the 3-letter code for the airports you'll be flying through on your boarding passes. Most folks don't keep them memorized, and I'd hazard a guess that after pilots and ATC, meteorologists are probably familiar with the most amount of codes.

Some of the codes are easily recognizable in terms of which city (airport) they represent. Charlotte, for example, is coded CLT. However, there are many cities whose airports codes leave us scratching our heads.

Last weekend I was home with my family, and my youngest sister, currently studying at the University of Florida in Gainesville FL, was catching her flight back down south after our visit. She quickly booked the flight back with a layover in ORD.

In her haste, she assumed that ORD meant she would be laying over in Orlando, which makes sense, because it is close to Gainesville, and in the general direction she needed to travel. Imagine her surprise when she was told she was actually flying to Chicago, well out of the way of where she needed to eventually end up! The airport code for O'hare International in Chicago is ORD, and Orlando's airport code is actually MCO.

But why are some codes so seemingly random? Well, this leads me to the point of this post. If you find this topic interesting, you'll love this relatively new website. It's called Airport Codes and gives you the code and origin behind every single airport, both national and international!

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