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October 22, 2007

This airport code sucks

There are many reasons I despise Dulles International Airport, from the repellent Saarinen architecture to the distant satellite parking to the remote terminals requiring a ride in the cattle-movers to the long delays one inevitably encounters there.

But I've always been fond of the airport code, IAD, because it seemed like a bungled acronym for a birth-control device.

I guess Dulles should count its blessings. The folks in Sioux City, Iowa, have been stuck with the airport code SUX. Which Dulles really does, which makes it not at all fair that Sioux City should have to be stuck with the code.

But Sioux City has given up and decided to be a good sport about it. The city's airport site ( even sells products like teeshirts that read "FLY SUX."

Apparently, one of the reasons Sioux City gave up was this:

Sioux City officials petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration to change the code in 1988 and 2002. At one point, the FAA offered the city five alternatives — GWU, GYO, GYT, SGV and GAY — but airport trustees turned them down.

GAY? Some bureaucrat obviously had a sense of humor. But I suspect the real reason Sioux City didn't take the code GAY is that Minneapolis put in a claim for it first.

Besides, I don't think the shirts would have sold so well.