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Today I thought I’d share with you the story of Matt Groves, who just finished his goal of going to airports whose airport codes start with each of the 26 letters of the alphabet. Matt and I both belong to the Extra Miler Club (EMC), whose members are attempting to visit all 3,143 counties of the United States. After he posted about his accomplishment, I thought some of my PWaC readers would also enjoy reading about it.
Airports STARTING with all 26 letters?
What constitutes an airport’s name, anyways? Atlanta goes out of its way to remind you that the OFFICIAL name of its main airport is actually Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, whereas aviation enthusiasts will often refer to the 3 letter IATA code (in this case, ATL). For purposes of Matt’s journey, he went with the 3 letter airport code. While working part-time as a courier, Matt realized that he had been to airports whose codes started with 22 out of the 26 letters (missing only Q, V, W and X).
At that point, Matt made it a goal. First he went to Vienna (VIE) as a courier, Then in July of 2015 he went to Warsaw (WAW) as a courier followed by XNA (Northwest Arkansas Regional airport) to go to the EMC (Extra Miler Club) meeting a week later.
Finding the elusive “Q” airport
Says Groves, “At that point I was down to Q. I reviewed lists of “Q” airports and saw a lot of small inaccessible places in Alaska, Greenland, military bases etc. I thought it was going to be years or possibly never that I could get that last one. In November of 2015 I had the brilliant idea to open kayak.com and type the first letters of codes and see what happened. I started with QA, QB, QC …. And let the 3rd letter auto-fill. I got to QR and found QRO, Queretaro Mexico. I’d never heard of it. Turns out it’s a 3 gate airport north of Mexico City but both United and American have service from Texas a couple times a day. I was thrilled, I’d use my miles and make a weekend trip out of it. By absolute freak luck I was in Europe doing a courier trip and the guy I work for was headed to Mexico city. A last minute problem made it impossible for him to go so he asked me if I could do it. Once I got to Mexico City there was an issue with customs and I ended up being there for 11 days. I took a bus to Queretaro, spent the weekend, and then took a 25 minute one way flight back to Mexico city thereby completing my quest, and at his expense, even better!”
Looking at my flights
Always being the type of fellow that loves checking things off a list, I thought I would review my own air travel map. Though there are many sites out there, I personally use openflights.org to track all of my flights
Looking at my map, it seems that I have been to airports whose codes start with 15 letters. I am still missing E, G, K, Q, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z.
What about you? Are you a “26 letter man”? Which letters are you still missing?