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    Cleared for Departure

    July 24, 1998

    Those three-letter airport codes aren't just for airline geeks; after all, the code on the tag on your suitcase determines whether it goes to, say, ORD (Chicago) or ORF (Norfolk). And knowing the right code also saves time at fare-finding sites — "LGA" is a lot easier to type than "LaGuardia" — and can lend you a seasoned-traveler air when you refer to your destination as "HKG" instead of "Hong Kong." The International Air Transport Association keeps a list of these codes at its site, where you can search by code or city; the latter option, among other details, reveals exactly how many heliports operate in New York City.

    – Rob Pegoraro

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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