6 Things You Didn’t Know About Airports or Were Afraid to Ask

Even the most frequent travelers can be surprised at the number of things they don’t know about airports. We’ve elucidated some facts that you’d never know were true just by going about your flight routine.   

1. It’s Hard to Get Free Upgrades

Though people dream of getting a free upgrade to first-class upon arrival at the check-in counter, the reality is that doesn’t happen terribly often. First of all, there aren’t unlimited numbers of seats in the privileged cabin, but also the tricks that people say to use simply don’t work. Smiling pleasantly, being well-dressed, or complimenting the staff member is a nice touch but won’t necessarily get you what you wished for. The only surefire way of getting the upgrade is if you are an airline frequent flier.

2. Guess What Item is the Sold the Most!

It’s increasingly difficult to bring liquids through airport security, so the most sold items are actually bottles of water. Be them purchased from duty-free or from over-priced cafés, people swarm towards their H2O, forgetting the fact that they’re paying between $3 and $4 for a bottle. Some airports have fountains so that passengers can fill up their canteens, making for an environmentally friendly and economical solution.

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Airports or Were Afraid to Ask

3. Watch Out For Subliminal Messages

Most airports are designed for passengers to get around easily without getting horribly lost. This goes from excellent quality signage that is clear and regularly placed to good landmarks. This is called wayfinding, which is a collection of shapes, colors, and lights that come to the brains of people trying to get around. For example, the signs in Terminal 1 might have sharper edges, while those in Terminal 2 might have more rounded ones.   

4. Don’t Exchange Money at the Airport

One of the most entertaining parts of international travel is fighting with currency. Shuffling around coins while carefully reading the edges for the denomination is humiliating at best, though it’s fun to see what sort of logic system was used to design them. However, you should never acquire said currency at the airport because the exchange rate will be up to one and a half times what you would find at a currency exchange place in the city. Even better is to withdraw all the money you need at an ATM as soon as you arrive at your destination.

6 Things You Didn’t Know About Airports or Were Afraid to Ask

5. Watch Your Position at Baggage Drop-Off

One way of ensuring you don’t spend all year at the luggage carousel hoping your bag didn’t get lost is to deposit it last at the drop-off point. Because it’s true, it’s really not fun to try to keep yourself entertained while watching rounds and rounds of black bags roll around in a circle.This means that you’ll need to be sufficiently organized to have checked in to your flight ahead of time so that you can run to the bag drop and power through to security while hoping the line isn’t too long. Checking in early is a habit you should get into anyway in order to sit with your loved ones and ensure your place on an over-booked flight.   

6. The X Code

Being one of those people who has memorized all the airport codes, you might have noticed that many of them end in X. Surprisingly enough, the X doesn’t actually stand for anything, though it makes sense when you see examples such as PHX (Phoenix). However, if you look at LAX (Los Angeles), it’s clear that the X has no business being there. The only reason it’s there is to respect the change in the 1940s wherein airport codes went from two to three characters.