The Visa Collector

A blog about travelling with a Filipino passport, and life overseas

Tag Archives: SFO

Planespotting: Airbus A380 @ SFO


Couldn’t get an aisle seat for my Chicago – San Francisco flight. But I was rewarded with the following views of the largest of today’s jumbo jets.

IMG_3466 IMG_3467  IMG_3468  IMG_3469
 IMG_3470  IMG_3471  IMG_3472  IMG_3473
Filed under Airports
Jun 28, 2013

Why all the funny airport codes?


If you travel often enough, you will run into airport codes that make sense:

DVO = Davao International Airport (shameless plug for the hometown)

SFO = San Francisco Airport

SJC = San Jose Airport

The “O” in these codes were still mysterious, but at least the first two letters matched up with the host city. Then you have codes that that just come out of nowhere:

YOW = Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport

SNA = John Wayne Airport (Orange County)

ORD = Chicago O’Hare Airport

Shouldn’t Chicago be  “COH” or something?

I had just gotten back from a trip to Chicago, so its ORD was top of mind when I did a casual search of the answer. It was a fortunate choice, because it was one of the samples in the following 1994 Airline Pilot’s Association magazine article. The rest of the article is available here. The relevant portion has been reproduced below, in accordance with fair use principles.

Oh, still wondering about the world’s busiest airport, O’Hare International, and its ORD code? Well once upon a time, before the editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune, Colonel Robert McCormick suggested a name change as tribute to pilot Lt. Cmdr. Edward “Butch” O’Hare, United States Navy, there was an airstrip well to the northwest of Chicago with a quaint, peaceful name—Orchard Field

Now to find out what “MPH” means.

Filed under Airports
Mar 18, 2013

Phones as boarding passes


My wife and I flew to my nephew’s wedding in New Jersey last month. While processing our online check-in, she noticed the mobile boarding pass option. Keen to try new things, she signed us up for it. I was new to this pass, and hadn’t read up on them by the time we got to the airport. So I walked up to the security line cold . . . not a particularly good idea.

I knew my wife emailed it to me, and that it involved a Quick Response (QR) code of some sort. So when the pre-screening attendant at the security line asked to see my pass I whipped out my iPhone  confidently . . . opened my email and looked for the code . . . and kept looking. I had to step out of the line to figure out what was going on.

Turns out the mail simply contained a link to the code. The image below on the left shows the email. Tapping on the the “Get mobile boarding document” opened a browser and voila . . . the boarding pass QR code appears. See image on the right.

At the San Francisco airport, I showed the code at three points: to the pre-screening attendant at the security line, to the TSA officer at the security line, and then finally at the departure gate. The latter two locations had code readers like this:

I usually switch my phone over to flight mode before boarding the plane. So as a precaution, I took a screen capture of my boarding pass before getting onboard. These are the images is used for this post.

The boarding pass is very convenient, and I intend to use it for my flights moving forward. But as with all things new, if you don’t take the time to figure out how it works before you use it . . . you will initially lose more time than you save.

Aug 12, 2011