The 8 Best Airport Hotels in the World

For too long now airport hotels have been gouging travelers with the overpriced, small and amenity lacking rooms, but thankfully times are changing. Hotels located in the airports and close to the airports are listening to what guests want, such as soundproof windows, a variety of dining choices and more amenities. The best airport hotels in the world offer all of these things, plus more including free Wi-Fi, award-winning spas, luxury suites and day rooms that are perfect for those long layovers. From Canada to the United States to Germany and beyond, here are the eight best airport hotels around the world.

8. Aloft San Francisco Airport, San Francisco, CA, USA

Located just half a mile from the airport, this hotel makes it easy to reach with its free and frequent shuttle service that runs 24/7. Relatively new at just two years old this hotel is perfect for an overnight stay while connecting on an early flight. An open-air lobby invites guests to enjoy a billiards table and old-time board games.

The business center is also located in the lobby, which can make it a bit noisy if you are looking to grab a meeting there. An outdoor pool and backyard patio space features live music or a DJ spinning beats on the weekend. The bar is typically busy with other guests grabbing a much-needed drink or snack. As far as downsides go, we don’t really see any considering a stay here starts at just $169/night.


7. Hilton Munich Airport, Munich, Germany

Located between terminals, travelers will quickly leave behind the hustle and bustle when they enter into the beautiful Hilton Hotel at Munich’s airport. Whether you want to book a room during the day to kill eight hours or spend the night here, there are enough amenities to keep any grumpy traveler happy. Enjoy the 24-hour fitness center that boasts an abundance of state of the art machines, or head to the heated indoor swimming pool for some laps.

The signature restaurant on-site along with two bars gives travelers the perfect excuse to enjoy a nice meal and a glass of wine. The rooms are elegantly furnished with luxury bathrooms, there is ample meeting space and the hotel atrium will simply amaze you. Make sure you don’t leave this hotel without checking out the Fit & Fly Spa, the perfect way to relax before a long day of travels.

Via Travelocity

6. Regal Airport Hotel, Hong Kong

It doesn’t get much better than this, a nice hotel directly connected to the passenger terminal of the Hong Kong International Airport, by an enclosed air-conditioned link bridge at that. Travelers who are staying here can expect to visit the OM Spa, one of the only spa facilities in Hong Kong to provide couples massages, and if you are just too relaxed to move this spa actually allows guests to spend the night in the spa. A 24/7 workout center is also available for guests along with steam rooms, saunas and an indoor and outdoor swimming pool.

Rooms are spacious, stylish and provide the perfect resting place for weary travelers. Dining here is easy with an array of distinctive dining experience from Cantonese to Japanese to Western to International cuisine. This hotel receives constant awards for its hotel spa, class of excellence and best in class in terms of airport hotels.


5. Crowne Plaza Hotel Changi Airport

This beautiful airport hotel opened in May 2008 and became the first international upscale hotel to operate with direct access to Singapore’s Changi Airport’s Terminal 3. The hotel was designed with style and high tech in mind and features open corridors, rainforest-style gardens and natural light throughout from the strategically based skylights.

Some of the favorite amenities for travelers here include a beautiful swimming pool that is designed around landscaped “mini-islands” and Jacuzzi tubs, providing natural hideaways to soak your tired body. Other travelers choose to head directly to the spa treatment center for some jet-lag reflexology. Delicious restaurants and bars, contemporary rooms with added bonuses and direct access to the airport make this hotel one of the best in the world.


4. Sofitel London Heathrow, London, UK

This airport hotel combines convenience and elegance and offers a break away from one of the busiest airports in the world.  The hotel is actually connected to Heathrow Terminal 5 via a walkway and to the other terminals via free inter-terminal transfers. Three restaurants and two elegant bars await weary travelers who are looking to grab either a quick bite to eat or sit down for a nice meal.

Every room includes in-room Wi-Fi, a mini fridge and a plush bed that offers a great sleep. Many travelers here take advantage of the award-winning Heathrow spa located in this hotel, offering over 25 innovative treatments. A 24-hour fitness center is also on-site, along with a sauna and Jacuzzi. Additional added touches include soundproof windows and an extensive champagne list that will have anyone wanting more than just one glass.

Via Accor Hotels

3. Langham Place, Beijing Capital Airport, Beijing, China

This convenient airport hotel offers elegant flourishes, modern design, and sparkling service; making travelers forget they are still at an airport hotel. Guests of this hotel should expect timeless luxury and tailored hospitality, with added bonuses throughout. Guestrooms include several lofts, townhouses, and an ultra-luxurious penthouse.

Oversized bathrooms, an abundance of gadgets and a bed you will never want to leave await you in the rooms. There are a total of five restaurants to choose from, whether you are seeking classic or international cuisine. A state of the art cardio studio, an art gallery within and spectacular meeting rooms make this more than just your run of the mill airport hotel.


2. Fairmont Vancouver Airport, Vancouver, Canada

This soundproofed, luxury hotel and spa are located directly within the Vancouver International Airport. Guests here are treated with floor-to-ceiling views, diverse dining choices, health club, spa, indoor pool and many other amenities. Dining here is a breeze and many choose the signature restaurant that offers views of the runway. Others head to Jetside Bar for live music offered five nights a week.

Rooms here are beautiful with state-of-the-art technology, views of mountains, ocean and the runway and this airport hotel offer day rooms for guests with long layovers. The Absolute Spa offers over 130 different treatments while the health center offers saunas, a whirlpool, children’s wading pool and workout area. With check-in for major airline carriers at the hotel lobby, it couldn’t be easier to choose this as your airport hotel of choice.


1. Hilton Frankfurt Airport, Frankfurt, Germany

If there were one word that could sum up this hotel it would be ‘fantastic’. From the fantastic service to the fantastic rooms to the fantastic gym to the fantastic food; it is easy to see why this hotel is one of the best airport hotels in the world. All rooms in this awesome hotel include king size beds, Wi-Fi access, soundproof windows and a large desk for any work that you may need to get caught up on.

The Hilton offers two choices of dining, both being open late into the evenings to cater to guests. A fitness room, steam bath, and sauna are on-site for any fitness buffs. Getting here is a breeze; simply use the pedestrian walkway from Terminal 1. With offerings of rooms, suites, and dayrooms this hotel caters to anyone who doesn’t’ want to spend hours upon hours in those uncomfortable airline seats.


8 Tips for Surviving the Airports at Christmas

Airports are extremely busy during the holiday season and often full of weary travelers, some stranded because of weather delays, some with crying kids in tow and all wanting to get to their destination as quickly as possible. Traveling through an airport during the Christmas season promises to be stressful, irritating and normally necessary. In order to make your travels worry-free, here are eight tips for surviving these crazy busy airports during the Christmas rush.

8. Baggage Allowance

Knowing the baggage allowance before arriving at the airport is essential in keeping your cool when it comes time to check those bags. More and more airlines have started charging for first bags, even if you are flying domestically. It is up to you to check with the airline before hand to see how much money you will have to cough up. Also make sure to check with weight allowances as it is often cheaper to check a second bag rather than pay for an overweight one. We can’t think of anything worse than waiting in an hour long line up only to get up to the front and them tell you your bag weighs too much and you will have to rearrange. Not only is it frustrating for you as the peering eyes of those behind you are drilling into your skull but its also frustrating to the agents who are just trying to do their jobs.

Checked Baggage

7. Arrive Early

This sounds like a no-brainer but arriving early during the busy holiday season is an absolute MUST. Gone are the days when you can show up an hour before your flight and have enough time to check in, go through security and grab a coffee. The holiday season throws everything you thought you knew about travel out the window. Lines are going to be longer for everything as the amount of travelers has just increased tenfold. From check in to security to lines to getting your coffee, expect to wait longer. There is no trick to beating these lines during the holiday season either, just give yourself enough time. Don’t despair too much though, most airports are offering holiday entertainment in terms of carolers, Santa Claus and more to keep you entertained during the long process.

Oleg Mikhaylov /
Oleg Mikhaylov /

6. Check in Online

We cannot stress this enough, seeing as it is the 21st century and pretty much everyone knows how to use the internet, or knows someone who can use it for them. The option to check in online is available through most major carriers and will save you loads of time at the airport. Not only do most companies now have kiosks that you can use instead of waiting in line, but checking in online cuts down your check in time in half, especially if you are traveling internationally. Normally the time to check in online is 24 hours ahead of your flight and not only can you check in, choose your seat and input your passport details but in some cases you can even pay baggage fees. This easy solution will save you time and frustration when you arrive at the overly busy airport.

computer research

5. Prepare for Delays

Christmas happens to fall in winter for half of the world and with winter comes snow, fog, rain and ice, which means your plane will most likely be delayed at some point. First things first, Mother Nature listens to no one which means the airlines are just as frustrated as you when there are delays and cancellations. Secondly the airport is at its busiest which means even more flights are cancelled and delayed and more people are stranded alongside of you. The best way to prepare yourself for this is to do so ahead of time. Pack snacks and activities that will keep you entertained. Make sure to snag a seat near a plug so you can charge your electronics. Bring an eye mask and try to snooze the hours away. Explore the shops and restaurants in the airport, many of them offering Christmas specials or turkey dinners. And remember, the airlines can’t control the weather.

Photo by: Twin Cities
Photo by: Twin Cities

4. Don’t Joke about Bombs

It sounds simple really, don’t joke about bombs or guns or anything that may arouse suspicion with security. Security is already heightened during the holiday season and you can bet that security guards are closely listening to passengers as they go through the check in process. Now is not the time to joke about the bomb in your bag or the envelope of anthrax you packed (although this is never appropriate no matter the time of year). In regards to guns or weapons, if you are traveling with them do make sure you are filling out the appropriate paperwork in order to travel with them. And if you happen to leave your Swiss Army knife in your pocket and try to go through security, chances are they will confiscating it and you won’t be seeing it ever again.

robert paul van beets /
robert paul van beets /

3. Don’t Forget Your Kids

No we aren’t talking about forgetting your kids as in Home Alone style when they left poor little Kevin alone over the holidays. We are talking about remembering to bring things to entertain the wee ones at the airport. Nothing is worse for kids than being stuck in an airport, lugging around a suitcase and a backpack, meanwhile having to wait in lines. Kids get bored and it is imperative to remember that when traveling through the airport at Christmas. Make sure you pack extra snacks, coloring books, iPads, mini cars, Barbie’s, etc. to keep them occupied during long waits. If you happen to have time to kill make sure you go check out the kid’s area in the airport, most big hubs have great areas designed with kids in mind. At your wits end? Find Santa and remind your kids that he is the one who decides whether or not they get presents.

child at airport

2. Check Airline Rules

This is another thing that passengers tend to forget or don’t know about, airlines actually change their rules over the holidays because of how busy it gets. For example, some airlines that normally accept large animals will no longer accept them over the holiday season. If you were planning on bringing Storm, an 80 pound Black Lab with you on holidays, you may be out of luck. Also reward programs may not be in effect during the holiday season which means if you were planning on flying on reward miles, you are also out of luck. Again all it takes is a simple phone call or google search on the airline to find out these rules ahead of time.

liquids airport

1. Be Nice

There is something about airports that turn regular people into very scary monsters and during the Christmas rush it seems to get even worse. Being nice is the number one tip on surviving your holiday airport experience and getting the most out of. Nothing means more to airport employees than a kind word from a passenger, or even a box of chocolates. And hey, we can’t promise this will happen but there is a high chance of being bumped up into first class, or escorted to the front of the line when you are nice to the employees, especially at Christmas. Wishing them a Merry Christmas, letting someone go in front of you in line because they are late or even buying a coffee for a fellow passenger are all ways to make both yours and their holiday better.

airport counter

The 6 Busiest North American Airports at Christmas

North American airports are notoriously busy, especially when you look at holiday times. It’s not just the influx of passengers that makes these airports so busy, although that helps, it’s also the weather that cancels and delays flights and the security lines that get extra slow. Luckily some of these airports do what they can to make flying over the holidays easier, such as bringing in Santa Claus to amuse the little ones or even bringing out adorable puppies for weary travelers to pet. Discover the busiest Christmas airports in North America, and which ones are the best and worst to fly through during the holidays.

6. LaGuardia New York Airport

It is one of the worst airports in the country, that we can all agree on, however you choose to measure it. Crowded and stranded travelers often pace the terminals as there is inadequate gate seating, a lack of power outlets and even a lack of restrooms for the 27 million travelers a year that cross through the gates of LaGuardia. At Christmas time this gets even worse and as the bad weather often hits, the runways become congested leaving passengers trapped in the airport. Luckily at Christmas time the staff try to make your day a little more pleasant by offering holiday greetings as you board the plane, unfortunately that’s about the only Christmas spirit you will find here. We recommend you try to avoid this airport at all costs during the Christmas season.

Photo by: Business Insider
Photo by: Business Insider

5. Calgary International Airport

Although it is one of the busiest airports in Canada around the holiday times, this airport is big on sharing the Christmas spirit with traveling guests. As the hub of WestJet airline, you can expect friendly service from these workers, donning blue Santa hats and festive Christmas sweaters. As you walk through the Calgary airport expect to find a brightly lit Christmas tree and carolers singing merry tunes. Mrs. Claus will even be offering story time in the terminal. Although security lines tend to get long here, flyers are often quite friendly and the line will pass quickly as you are swapping stories with a cowboy boot wearing guest behind you. It may be busy, but this is one of the friendliest airports to fly out of at Christmas.

Photo by: Vimeo/WestJet
Photo by: Vimeo/WestJet

4. Ronald Reagan Washington Airport

This airport promises to be busy, especially considering all the government employees that fly home to see their families around Christmas time and expect to be fighting lines and crowds of people. Luckily this airport makes it a little less stressful around the holidays with some awesome ways to pass the time. Make sure to check out the humongous Christmas tree that gets erected and this year keep your eyes out for more than just one. Kill time by browsing through more than 100 shops and restaurants located throughout the three terminals. The Gallery Walk located in historic Terminal A is a great place to view paintings, sculptures and other works of art from local artists. This airport also hosts singers, dancers and performing artists throughout the holiday season.

Photo by: Washington Post
Photo by: Washington Post

3. San Francisco International Airport

It’s no wonder this is one of the busiest airports during the holiday season as people flock to the warmer temperatures often found here. The bad news for fliers is that this airport does get overly crowded with long line ups as more than 2 million passengers come through over the two weeks surrounding Christmas. Luckily everyone at this airport is committed to making the holiday travel season as enjoyable as possible. Think festive holiday lighting, live music, social media events and mobile performers delighting passengers with music, magic tricks and storytelling. With kids spots located throughout, plenty of power outlets to charge those iPads and art displays throughout, passengers will forget it’s even the busy season, that is until they hear those carolers busting out their holiday tunes.

Photo by: SanFrancisco Airport
Photo by: SanFrancisco Airport

2. Toronto Pearson International Airport

An airport that is notorious for its long security lines, cancelled and delayed flights because of weather and its business at Christmas. Toronto Pearson promises to be busy during the holiday season but in recent years has done its best to ease stress on travelers. Airport ambassadors are now out roaming the terminals, helping guests figure out where to go, helping with bags and otherwise on hand to deal with any questions. Christmas carolers are set up throughout the airport bringing merry tunes to all who pass them and Mrs. Claus is often seen reading stories to little ones. There is even a spot set up where families can have their picture taken in a holiday setting. Yes, you will be waiting in line, yes you will be dealing with throngs of other passengers and yes you will most likely be delayed, but hey at least there are carolers.

rmnoa357 /
rmnoa357 /

1. Los Angeles International Airport

It is one of the busiest airports in North America and at Christmas time it only gets worse, although thankfully they don’t have to worry about weather delays on their end. Still snowstorms that blanket the Northeast will delay flights in LA. There are an estimated 3 million passengers that go through this airport over the two weeks near Christmas but luckily LAX is determined to make traveling a little stressful. Santa is often found roaming the terminals, taking photos with little ones and handing out candy canes. Last year members of the LAX Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUPS) program fanned out across the airport and were making their furry selves available for petting, a simple stress reliever for weary travelers. Expect to see plenty of Santa hats and holiday cheer here!

Photo by: LA Times
Photo by: LA Times

11 Tips for Getting Past TSA Quicker

You have been planning and looking forward to that great getaway vacation and now the time is almost here. If you are like most people dread sets in when you arrive at the airport and realize that you have to run the gauntlet of security known as TSA just to get past the gatekeepers and into the holy sanctum of the departure area. Once you negotiate the check in area and get that coveted boarding pass comes the long line of people with their carry-on bags, strollers and impatient kids slowly kicking their bags on the floor inching ever so closely to the front of the line. For a lot of people the TSA security check is one of the worst parts of the travel experience and if you are unlucky enough to fly during peak hours or bad weather the wait to get through the line can be frustrating. Especially if you are running late. Here are a few tips that might help reduce your anxiety and get you to the plane a little faster.

11. Pack Your Bags Right

Before you ever leave the house make sure you pack right. That means not putting anything in your bag that is prohibited. Instead of reading the list at the entrance to the security line and scrambling to dig around in your luggage for things not allowed in carry-on luggage or prohibited items in general, take some time and pack properly. Don’t put anything in your bag that isn’t allowed. There is a reason the little bins full of disposable lighters and pocket knives are always full, they are prohibited. Go to the TSA website and take a look at the list of items you can’t transport and things that can’t be in your carry-on bags. Things like aerosol cans and lighter fluid are prohibited in all luggage while safety matches are not allowed in checked bags but okay in carry-on, go figure.


10. Organize Your Packed Items

Assume that the TSA agent will want to open and go through your luggage. Do them (and mainly yourself) a favor and make it easy for them. Pack your belongings neatly so it will be easy to open, check and get you on your way. Wind up and tie electrical cords, put things in clear plastic bags so they are easy to see and make it easy to visually see everything in your luggage. The more cluttered things are the longer it will take to inspect and the longer it will take you to re-pack everything. If your bags do get opened, it will make things go faster and get you out of line a lot quicker. After all that is the goal, right?

Packing (2)

9. Dress Appropriately

These days you have to consider what clothes you wear when flying just as you would if you are headed out to a party. The difference is a lot of clothing will slow you down in the security line and you don’t need to dress to impress. Clothes containing any kind of metal, wearing lots of jewelry, lace up boots and more will only slow you down. Instead leave the jewelry packed in your carry-on or better yet don’t bring it. Jackets, hats and belts will have to be removed and run through the x-ray machine. Laptops will have to be removed. Before you enter the line remove coins, wallets, belts and anything else that might set off the metal detectors and put them in your carry-on. Wear shoes that can be easily taken off and put back on. Configure everything before going through security so all you have on your person is your boarding pass and ID. That will ensure you get through in one pass instead of being motioned off to the side for a pat down.

airport 10

8. Liquids

Follow the 3-1-1 rule which means containers must be 3.4 ounces or less; stored in a 1 quart/liter zip-top bag; 1 zip-top bag per person, placed in the screening bin. A lot of places sell plastic bottles this size specifically for taking through TSA security. If you have other liquids pack them in your checked bags or just buy it when you get to your destination. Medically required liquids and baby formula are allowed in excess of 3.4 ounces as long as it is reasonable for the flight and don’t have to be put in plastic bags. Remember though, you are dealing with people making decisions at the moment and may not agree with you on what is necessary.  Just a hint, if you pack liquids in your checked bags put them in a zip top bags so if the spill they don’t make a mess all over everything else.

liquids airport

7. Food Items

Some foods are allowed but limited to quantities of less than 3.4 ounces. That means the big bottle of Maple Syrup you are bring back from your trip to Vermont won’t be allowed on the plane unless it is checked. Certain things like fruit and baked goods are allowed but save yourself the hassle and buy the pie at your destination. Bottles of alcohol can’t be brought on board unless they are less than 3.4 ounces. That is why you see bags of alcohol in duty free bags being loaded on the plane on some flights only to be retrieved once you get to your destination. Be mindful when traveling internationally as a lot of things may not be allowed through customs once you arrive. Fruits and meats are routinely confiscated by customs agents. The TSA says salad dressing less than 3.4 ounces is allowed but really, why would you want to bring it on board?

OlegD /
OlegD /

6. Sharp Objects

While it should be common sense not to bring on board things like meat cleavers, axes, swords and box cutters, you would be surprised how many are confiscated. Even though items such as nail clippers and tweezer are allowed in carry-on luggage these items have been confiscated in the past by overzealous TSA agents. Do yourself a favor and leave anything that might cause the agent to confiscate an item behind. If you need a small item during your trip just buy it when you arrive where you are going or put it in checked baggage. Items such as spear guns for diving, scissors and anything else sharp can usually be safely transported in checked bags. Check the TSA site for prohibited items and you will find a list of things allowed.

ChameleonsEye /
ChameleonsEye /

5. Kids, Elderly and People with Disabilities

Children under 12 can leave their shoes on. Put all belongings, strollers and other things through the x-ray machine. Grab enough bins so you can get everything through without it spilling over. People over 75 don’t need to remove shoes either. I guess TSA doesn’t consider kids and the elderly as threats. Both kids and the elderly are allowed two passes through the metal detector before they are given the dreaded pat down. Make sure you put all objects on the conveyor belt that could set off the detector so you don’t have worry about going through more than once. Anyone with a disability should notify the security agent ahead of going through the metal detector. If you do have to get a pat down it might help from having your bad knee man handled too roughly.

Carolina K. Smith MD /
Carolina K. Smith MD /

4. Pat Downs

There are stories almost daily of people refusing pat downs and TSA agents being fired for inappropriate pat down procedures. If you do get singled out for a pat down there are a few things you can do to make it less stressful. First ask the agent to put on a new pair of gloves. They are required to if asked. If they refuse politely ask for a supervisor. Besides the fact you don’t want germ-covered gloves all over you it will insure that any residue left over from previous pat downs isn’t attributed to you. Ask for the pat down to be done publicly in front of other passengers. Most cases on inappropriate pat downs occur when people are taken to secluded areas. Agents are not allowed to grab and fondle private parts. If you feel that the agent is going too far take a step back and again firmly but politely ask for a supervisor. You can ask for another agent to do the pat down.

Photo by: CBS
Photo by: CBS

3. Going Through the Scanners

Once you have everything on the conveyor belts and you are ready to pass through the metal detector you should still keep an eye on your belongings. Keep a mindful watch on your belongings in the bins and watch them as they pass through the scanner. When it comes time to go through the metal detector do so at a steady pace. If you go through one of the full body scanners pay attention to the directions and do it right the first time so you can move out quickly. Stopping or walking extremely slow might set off a false alarm. Once on the other side keep an eye on your belongings. Intentional or not someone might grab your bin thinking it is theirs. As soon as you see your belongings grab the bin and before you do anything else make sure you have possession of all your bins before trying to get the items out.

mariakraynova /
mariakraynova /

2. Once Through Security

Quickly remove all items from the conveyor belt and get out of the way. Don’t spend time trying to put on shoes. Stash your laptop in the bag and make sure you get everything out of the bins. There will be an area where you can put your socks and shoes on and re pack everything properly. You can remove everything from your bags that you want to carry on your person at that time. Standing next to the conveyor belt and trying to dress and repack everything only slows down the process and makes you rush unnecessarily. Before leaving the area ensure you have everything with you. Boarding passes, wallets, watches and more have been left behind and once you leave the area the chances of recovering them are slim.

airport security

1. Bypass the Lines and Breeze Through

Did you ever notice the one line that is empty or has very few people? That is because it is reserved for Business and First Class passengers. Paying extra has benefits besides a more comfortable flight. Some airlines also offer express screening. Frequent flier programs with certain airlines such as Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, US Airways, Delta, United and a few others offer TSA PreCheck which will allow you to get through screening quicker. The TSA PreCheck program also allows you to keep your shoes and belt on, keep your coat on and you don’t have to remove your laptop from the case. The TSA PreCheck program is available for 12 participating airlines and is in effect in over 150 airports. To qualify, you fill out an application and schedule an appointment for an in-person enrollment. The fee is $85.00 but it might be worth it if you travel more than once or twice a year.

Photo by: LL World Tour
Photo by: LL World Tour

Uncovering Airport Codes -What Those 3 Letters Really Mean

We have all seen the three letter airport codes when we book our flights, heard the flight attendants refer to an airport with them, but have you ever wondered why some airport abbreviations make sense such as Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) while others make no sense at all, such as Chicago O’Hare (ORD). Turning to experts from around the world we have discovered where airport codes came from, how they are chosen and why we even have them in the first place.

6. The History

The assignment of airport codes is administered by the Montreal-based International Air Transport Association, also known as IATA and the codes cover airports all around the globe. All airports with just a few minor exceptions have a three-letter code. But before there were three-letter codes, in the early years of aviation, the airline simply copied a two-letter system that was used by the National Weather Service to identify cities across the U.S. that had weather stations. When the airline service industry exploded in the 1930’s it was determined that cities without weather stations needed identification. The three-letter system was born and to simplify things in the beginning, existing airports simply added an X after the weather station code. Hence Los Angeles went from LA to LAX in 1947, Portland went from PD to PDX and Phoenix went from PH to PHX.

Andrey Bayda /
Andrey Bayda /

5. K, W and N

You won’t find any airports with codes that being with the letters K, W and N and no that is not a coincidence; there is actually some rhyme and reason for this. Some special interest groups actually lobbied the government to obtain their own letters. The Navy for example saved all the new N codes for themselves, and the Navy training airport in Pensacola, Florida is coded as NPA. This also explains why Newark airport became EWR. In terms of the letters K and W, cities that start with these letters are not allowed to have airport codes beginning with the first letters of their proper names. That is because these two letters are reserved for radio stations east and west of the Mississippi. That explains why Key West, Florida’s airport code is actually EYW.

Newark Airport

4. City vs. Airport

Some airport codes have been developed by using the actual name of the airport. For example Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris, France is actually CDG, a code that confuses just about anyone who flies through there irregularly. A more well-known airport that uses their name for the code is John F. Kennedy airport in New York, who uses JFK as their three-letter code. Some airports on the other hand are actually named for the city they are in. Harrisburg International airport is actually located in Middletown, Pennsylvania and is known as MDT. Salt Lake City is another example of this with their airport code reading SLC. It gets tricky when the name of the place has changed though and the airport code remains the same. For example St. Petersburg used to be called Leningrad and therefore still has the LED airport code it got stuck with. PEK in Beijing faces the same issue as the city used to be called Peking.

Leonard Zhukovsky /
Leonard Zhukovsky /

3. The Unusual

There seem to be some airport codes out there that just don’t make any sense at all. Take the Knoxville airport for example with the letter code of TYS. It turns out that the land that the airport was built on was actually donated by a family, who’s last name ‘Tyson’ was used in honor of their son killed in WWI. How about Orlando’s airport code MCO? Most of us assume that it stands for Mickey Mouse Country but that is in fact not true. The real reason is that McCoy Air Force Base used to be on the land that now holds the airport and so the code was essentially transferred. Kahului airport in Maui, Hawaii always confuses people with its OGG three-letter code. The story behind this code is that it was named in honor of aviation legend and Lihue native Hawaiian Airline Captain Bertram James “Jimmy” Hogg, using the last three letters of his last name.

Photo by: Pics Hype
Photo by: Pics Hype

2. Canada Eh

Canadians somehow made off with all the “Y” letter codes and one has to venture back into history to understand why, and even then we aren’t exactly sure how we ended up with them. Most theories suggest that Canada had locked up the entire Y for its radio transmitters and therefore it made sense to translate that into airport codes. Some of the airport codes here seem to be the most logical YOW for Ottawa, YYC for Calgary and YVR for Vancouver, which locals joke translate into Vancouver Very Rainy. Others don’t make as much sense such as YQQ for Comox or even YYZ for Toronto. The story in Toronto though, goes as follows: YTO, the code that most people would assume stands for the Toronto airport actually refers to the entire region, which encompasses a total of two airports. Billy Bishop airport is YTZ and YYZ is the larger airport, Toronto Pearson. It remains undiscovered why a Z was used and we aren’t sure we will ever know who actually made that decision.

Photo by: Youtube/Vancouver Airport
Photo by: Youtube/Vancouver Airport

1. The Funny

Some of the airport codes out there are just downright funny, some even inappropriate and although some residents have embraced the names, others hate them. Fresno, California’s three letter codes is FAT and rumor has it that the locals don’t enjoy it at all. At least they aren’t stuck with PEE which is Russia’s Bolshoye Savino Airport or Brazil’s Poco De Caldas Airport that has to live with POO as their airport code. Other names are slightly more appropriate but still amusing, such as Hot Springs, Arkansas which is HOT and Willow, Alaska which is WOW. One airport in particular has gone to great lengths to try and get their code changed. Sioux City’s Gateway Airport has the unfortunate airport code of SUX. City leaders petitioned the FAA to change the code in 1998 and 2002 but the airport trustees didn’t like any of the alternatives. It seems this airport has finally accepted its fate and back in 2007 started promoting the airport with a slogan that said “FLY SUX”.

Photo by: Sioux Gateway Airport
Photo by: Sioux Gateway Airport

How to Eat Healthy at the Airport

Healthy airport food, is there even such a thing? Over the years airports have been littered with fast food concessions, variety stores full of candy and chips and not a leafy green salad in sight. Times are changing though and as people become more conscious of what they are putting in their bodies it is up to the airports to keep up and provide us with more healthy options. But with the smells of Cinnabon wafting through the hallways we know how hard it is to walk right on by. After sitting on a plane for 5 hours without a meal understandably passengers are starving when they disembark. But what should you eat to curb your hunger and stay healthy?  These tips and tricks below will have your belly full in the healthiest of ways possible.

Pack ahead

We know it is easier said than done as most of us are too busy running around remembering to let the dog out and call the babysitter rather than thinking about snacks for the road. Packing healthy snacks is a great way to avoid that unhealthy airport food though. Toss a few granola bars, a container of crackers and some dried fruit into your purse as you dash out the door. Safety regulations vary from airport to airport but in most cases you will need to leave your liquids at home but foods are usually fine to carry through security.

Fruit and nuts

Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.

Have the willpower to walk past the bag of chips, to put down the chocolate bar from the tiny variety shop and to avoid the overpowering smell of Cinnabon that has a whopping 880 calories in just one roll. Other things to avoid include anything with mayonnaise, anything ‘stuffed’ and anything with a lot of dressing on it. Use your common sense and don’t order a quarter pounder with cheese from McDonalds; in fact you should probably just avoid that restaurant altogether at the airport. Also make sure you aren’t eating a lot of little snacks; those donuts or small ice creams can add up to a lot of calories when you have more than one or two. Avoid drinking alcohol in between flights as this will make you less aware of what you are eating and has the capacity to make you crave unhealthy snacks. Before you know it you will have drank your calories and eaten a burger loaded with cheese and bacon. Skip having the second latte at Starbucks and instead grab a bottle of water. Keeping hydrated in the dry airports and on the plane will do wonders for your mood and your ‘fake’ hunger.

TonyV3112 /
TonyV3112 /

Do Some Research

Research the airport terminals before you go to see what they offer in terms of meals or snacks. Knowing that there are healthy places to eat makes a big difference when you step off the plane, especially if you’re starving. If you don’t know what is available you are likely to stop at the first place that smells good and chances are it will be unhealthy. Research the products available at these restaurants and have an idea in mind of what you want before you get there. Look for restaurants that list nutrition facts on their menu and go for veggies and fruit over French fries. Don’t be fooled by the ‘fruit smoothies’ that are often packed with sugar and instead reach for the freshly squeezed juice that still satisfies your sugar craving but in a natural way. Some of the airports that offer the healthiest options include Baltimore, Seattle Tacoma and Los Angeles, with Baltimore offering an incredible 92% of their concessions with at least one healthy option. Healthy options include quinoa salad, sushi, organic fruit, veggie burger sliders and roasted beet salad. The key is finding these healthy options rather than just settling for the first thing you see.

computer research

Make Sure You’re Actually Hungry

Being in an airport, for even just an hour somehow seems to make our brain believe we are hungry. Something about the smells, the boredom and not knowing when you might get an opportunity to eat again makes us run for food as soon as we get there. But take a minute to figure out if you are actually hungry or if you are just eating for something to do. If you are simply struggling to find something to do than take a long walk around the airport; browse the shops, browse the restaurants and find out what the healthy options are once the time comes to eat. If you are actually starving grab a piece of fruit to tie you over while you search for the right option.

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We Know It’s Not Easy But…

Eating healthy at the airport is a lot easier than it used to be and with options such as Freshii, Argo Tea, Legal Sea Foods, and Kobo the choices are only getting better. Remember to look for leafy green salads, ancient grain bowls, veggie options and cholesterol-free, plant-based, fiber-packed meals. Don’t be overwhelmed by the sweet smells of high sugar junk food; hold that head up high and walk right by. Pack snacks ahead of time; just be aware of what you can bring in through security and customs. Stock up on dried fruits, power bars and nuts. Most of all; be smart about what you are eating. You know your body and know what is good for it. Don’t let being in an airport be an excuse to eat everything you wouldn’t normally. And if you just can’t walk by that frozen yogurt place again; just remember to get an extra small size. Trust us; your belly will thank you later.

Sorbis /
Sorbis /

The 10 Best Airport Hacks

Nobody likes airports. They’re often big, confusing and full of weary travelers and cranky staff. Delays, cancelations and outrage about overweight fees and extra charges can add to tension and generally make the airport an unpleasant place to be. Customs and security can be a stressful experience, especially when we have to go through metal detectors and have our baggage subjected to X-rays and the scrutiny of officers who are looking for threats. We understand why it’s done, but sometimes, it’s just a big pain. There are plenty of ways to make the airport, including security and customs, much less stressful. There are ways around some of the restrictions, as well as some of the extra charges that come with having too much luggage or overweight bags. We’ve gathered up some of the best tips from the travelers here at EscapeHere and others in order to bring you the 10 best airport hacks! Next time you’re traveling through a big hub, give some of these tricks a whirl and make your trip all the more pleasant.

10. Follow Signage

This may seem like a no-brainer to most people, but for some reason, people often become completely flummoxed the second they enter an airport terminal. Even though airports often have easy-to-follow signage, some people still find themselves pondering where they need to go or what to do. One thing not to do is follow the crowd; the crowd sometimes has no idea what they’re doing.

Case in point: On a flight into Geneva, I witnessed a number of passengers with U.S. passports heading into a line up clearly marked for EU passport-holders. Some of these passengers waited just as long as I did in the correct line-up, only to be turned away when they got up to the window. A similar thing happened to passengers arriving in New Jersey from Europe; EU citizens attempted to go through the lanes designated for U.S. and Canadian citizens. Some of those people were just “followers” and ended up in line because they followed the person ahead of them, rather than reading the signs themselves. Read the signs and avoid standing in line for double the time!

airport signs

9. Dress Sensibly

This probably seems like another no-thinking-required point, but you’d be amazed by how many people still arrive at the airport dressed in a completely impractical get-up. While some people insist style should always trump comfort, I say you’re going to be stuck in a flying tin can for the next few hours, so you might as well be comfortable. I’m not saying you should show up to the airport in your pyjamas, but you also don’t need to break out the waist trainer and the 5-inch heels, ladies.

Not only is some attire uncomfortable, some of it is actually impractical for traveling through an airport. You know you need to go through a metal detector, so why would you wear chains or additional metal jewelry that you don’t normally wear? U.S. customs makes you remove your shoes (and EU airports definitely prefer it), so why would you wear the most uncomfortable pair of shoes you own, knowing you’re going to put them on, then take them off and not be able to get your now-swollen feet back in them? A cute pair of flats or nice dress shoes will suffice.


8. Use the Priority Lane

Okay, this might run contrary to the “read the signs” point, but sometimes, it’s okay to break the rules. Most airlines reserve 1 or 2 check-in lanes for their first-class customers. These priority lanes are available to passengers who paid extra in order to ensure them better and faster service. However, since there are fewer customers flying first-class or business-class than there are economy passengers, the attendants on these lanes often aren’t nearly as busy. Sometimes, if there’s no one in their queue, they’ll even wave you over.

First-class passengers also have a tendency to show up very early (so they can hang out in the lounge – free food and drinks!) or as close to the flight as they can, in part because they know they have priority check-in which means these lanes are often empty for long stretches. Since there are also fewer passengers to check-in, and many of them are experienced travelers, there are fewer cases where the line gets held up by, say, an overweight bag or a confused customer. While it won’t happen every time, if you see the priority lane is free, hop it!

CaseyMartin /
CaseyMartin /

7. Wear Your Extra Luggage

Extra luggage is perhaps one of the banes of any traveler’s existence. With airlines charging more and more for checked baggage, often including the first bag, more people are attempting to get around these fees by using a carry-on and a personal item. Of course, carry-ons have size and weight limits, so this isn’t a perfect workaround. I’ve even seen flights where there was too much luggage in the cabin, so the crew actually had to force people to check some of their baggage (for free, of course) in order to free up space.

Let’s say you’re coming back from vacation and you’ve picked up a few extra things. You only brought a carry-on and you loathe to pick up (and check!) another bag. You just don’t want to deal with the carousel routine at the other end. But your carry-on is overweight. What to do? The easy answer is wear some of your luggage. Layer your clothes, put on some jewelry, or pick your running shoes over your flip-flops, because the sandals take up less space in your luggage. After all, they don’t weigh you! (Yet.)

joey friends
Photo by: YouTube/Comedy Central

6. Use a Shopping Bag

We’ve all been there: you picked up too many things while you were on vacation and now you face a difficult dilemma. You must either face overweight fees for your luggage or check a bag (or perhaps a second bag). Either way, you’re going to have to pony up some extra money for your extra stuff, right?

Wrong! There is a solution here, and that’s to get an airport shopping bag. Chuck all your extra stuff into the shopping bag and, voila, it looks like you made some purchases at the gift shop before getting on your flight. Most airlines don’t require you to check these items, nor do they weigh them. Most will even gather them right up and put them on the cabin. Grab a bag, fill ‘er up, and avoid the fees. If you’re really stuck, however, you can usually check a second bag at a discounted rate over the first. And, if the cabin is really crowded or there’s too much luggage, you might luck out and have the airline offer to check your luggage for free.

duty free bag

5. Rub Elbows to Get into the Lounge

First-class and business travelers get perks at the airport, not just on the flight, and one of those on-the-ground perks is access to the priority lounge. First-class flyers can hang out in the lounge, which is generally furnished with more comfortable seats and also offers complimentary food and drink. Some lounges also offer showers.

Another perk? They’re also usually allowed to bring a friend or a guest with them into the lounge. If you’re dying for a comfortable seat or some free grub, hang out near the lounge and see if one of the lounge-goers would be willing to admit you as their guest. Some might not want to and others might already have traveling companions, but you might find someone who is willing to sign you into the lounge. If you’re having difficulty, but still dying to get in, don’t be afraid to spin your story—interesting conversation, adventures, or even a little bit of “woe is me” can go a long, long way.

Sorbis /
Sorbis /


Flying can be extremely traumatic for some people. Some take a couple of pills in order to deal with anxiety, while others use everything from deep breathing techniques to meditation to help relax on the flight. Others resort to alcohol, often taking advantage of the drinks served on the flight. While most of these people don’t get plastered, a drink or two might dull the edge of their fear and make the flight slightly more enjoyable (or at least tolerable).

The big problem, of course, is that airline drinks don’t come cheap. If you’re flying economy, chances are you’re on a budget anyway, so if you need a drink (or more), you may not have the funds to fork out for it. What to do? Well, remember that you can bring up to 100 mL of liquid onto the plane. That means that, yes, you can bring the little bottles of alcohol into the cabin with you. Grab a soda or some juice from the beverage cart when it comes by and make yourself a cocktail!

liquor bottles

3. Freeze Liquids

We all know that there are restrictions on how much liquid a person can carry with them into the cabin of the plane. While some restrictions have been loosening up in the past couple of years, most airports still play by the 100 mL rule, which means you can only have 50 mL of any given liquid in your carry-on.

However—and this might seem like a weird exception—the TSA in the U.S. has no guidelines about frozen liquids. So if you want to bring a 500 mL bottle of water with you on the flight, just freeze it first. Of course, you have to ensure that it’s frozen at home, so if you happen to grab a bottle of water while you’re at the airport, you’re going to need to ditch that or drink it before you go through security. And if you’re traveling on a hot summer day, your water might unfreeze faster than you anticipate, so don’t be surprised if you’re asked to remove it and dispose of it anyway.

frozen water

2. Bring an Empty Water Bottle

We all know that we can’t bring more than 100 mL of liquid through security, so that 500 mL water bottle you brought from home is going to have to be emptied in a sink or tossed in the trash. Trust me; I watched a nun get frisked and be led off to additional security checks just because she refused to give up her bottle of water. Surely none of us want that; it’s too much hassle.

But why pay for overpriced water bottles on the other side of the security checkpoint, especially for non-reusable plastics bottles? If you know you won’t be able to wait until the flight attendants bring around the beverage cart after take-off, but you want to save money, bring an empty container from home. Once you’re through security, you can fill the bottle up at a water fountain or, if worse comes to worse, in a bathroom sink. Sometimes, you can even ask staff at airport restaurants to fill the bottle up for you; many are happy to oblige.

Water fountains

1. Fly Red-Eye

Need to fly, but dread the hustle and bustle of busy airport terminals? Do yourself a favor and book a red-eye flight. The later your flight departs, the more likely the terminal is to be quiet, as there’s both fewer flights and many of the airport amenities will have closed for the day, which means there will be fewer people queuing up for food or thronging around overpriced gift shops. Security and flight check-in desks will also be less crowded. While you can’t be guaranteed a quiet flight, flying through the night also allows you to (try and) sleep on the plane, instead of spending your waking hours stuck in a flying metal box.

A red-eye also gets you into the arrivals terminal early, which means the airport is often just as quiet, as few flights are arriving, staff is at a minimum, and most services and amenities are just opening up. You can be in and out almost in a flash.

Jeff Schultes /
Jeff Schultes /

12 Most Annoying Things Travelers Do in Airports

Few travelers would argue that dealing with their stay at the airport is like running the gauntlet. There are numerous reasons to hate it, ranging from enduring security measures to navigating the vast expanse. That said, the most irritating part of being at the airport is other travelers. Many also exhibit some pretty outlandish behavior. Here are the 12 most annoying things travelers do in airports.

1. Conversing Loudly

You’re sitting in the lounge at your gate, just trying to enjoy a book or catch a few winks. Meanwhile, the person next to you is having the world’s noisiest conversation. They don’t seem to get that nobody’s interested in their dirty laundry. It’s almost as if they think that nothing you’re trying to do could possibly be more fascinating or important than hearing about their personal business.

talking airport

2. Loud Music

The day they came out with cell phones featuring speakers was the day the world let out a collective groan. As if hearing loud, awful music from passing cars wasn’t bad enough, you’re now forced to endure it in airports. Maybe it’s the rise of social media that causes people think it’s okay to make spectacles of themselves, but that doesn’t make it any less rude. Nobody wants to listen to your music. That’s why headphones exist.

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3. Disgusting Food

While a tuna and limburger sandwich might seem delicious to you, it makes everyone else want to vomit. Bringing your own food is a wise decision, but please leave the stink at home.

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4. Misbehaving Children

Every parent knows that kids can be difficult to control. However, that doesn’t make it alright for parents to let their children go nuts. Few things are more grating than small children running around and screaming. What’s even worse is when no real attempt is made to control them. Sorry parents, but politely asking little Brittany to use her “inside voice” isn’t going to cut it. Furthermore, kids running amok poses a hazard to other travelers. Hot coffee is hot, and all it takes for someone to get third-degree burns is for an unruly child to crash into them at full speed.

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5. Joking With Security

Shockingly, this happens a lot. When asked whether they packed their own luggage, someone just has to get smart. What happens then is that security, bound by law, must thoroughly inspect that person’s bags. As a result, everyone else gets held up. It might be tempting to crack jokes, but it’s not worth it unless you like being embarrassed.

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6. Crazy Attire

While it’s ridiculous that you can’t wear whatever you want on the plane, that’s the way things have become. The news is awash in stories of travelers being denied boarding rights because of short shorts, low-cut blouses and shirts with potentially offensive messages. Body piercings also present a problem. All that metal is going to set off the detector, and the more you have to take out, the longer you hold everyone up. Do everybody a favor and leave the shocking attire at home.

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7. Obnoxious Chewing

Eating and chewing gum are all fine and good, that is until it gets obnoxious. How many times have you been seated next to someone who insisted on chewing with their mouth wide open or incessantly popping their gum? If you’re like most, once was too much. Even in a crowded airport, a certain level of table manners should be displayed.

chewing gum

8. Argumentative Passengers

There’s always somebody who feels the need to argue with staff about their baggage or some other triviality. Besides making a scene, this also forces everyone to wait longer.

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9. Slow Walkers

This is understandable for the elderly or disabled. However, there’s no reason why a young, able-bodied person can’t get a move on. Airport goers are already in a hurry and slow-pokes just make matters worse.

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10. Carousel Crowders

Standing as close as you can get to the baggage claim isn’t going to make your luggage come out faster. Nor are most people interested in taking whatever might be in them. Crowding just makes everything more inconvenient, especially for people with large or many bags.

airport Carousel

11. Not Paying Attention

There are always people in the security line who, despite what everyone else is doing, don’t realize they need to remove their shoes or empty their pockets. When they finally get to the checkpoint, they’re surprised and annoyed that they must follow suit.

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12. Public Diaper Changes

Many a horror story circulates the Internet about parents changing their kids’ diapers right there in the terminal for all to see. Dirty diapers don’t just smell putrid. They’re also unsightly and unsanitary. Plus, who wants to sit in a seat that a poopy baby has been changed on? There are changing stations in the bathrooms for a reason. Try to use them.

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