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Sometimes your biggest issue may not be getting to the airport on time, but getting to the RIGHT airport on time.

You may find this advice to be incredibly straightforward, however I assure you that people have shown up for flights at the wrong airport before, and can assure you of this with 100% certainty because I was once “people”. Now time to convince my annual travel insurance to cover me for my own ridiculous mistake!

Thinking about it, this probably should have qualified for my top 5 biggest mistakes while traveling.

Cities With Multiple Airports

My Mistake

This post has some fabulous insight on how you can save in 2017, making sure you’re always getting the best airfare!

In 2009 I traveled with mum on a 2 month European Adventure.  Having traveled Europe quite extensively in the past,  I was our resident expert, and planned both our itinerary and accommodation.  Though let me tell you, this “expert” was quickly knocked off her high horse!

Flying from London to Rome to spend two weeks in Italy, we left ourselves plenty of time to catch the train to Heathrow Airport, and arrived a good 2 hours before our departure.  Though for some reason our flight was not listed on the departures board.

As it turns out, the flight wasn’t listed because it wasn’t leaving from Heathrow. We were meant to be at Gatwick, and and there was no way we were going to get there in time to catch our flight.

The Good News

Rome by Giuseppe Milo

The good news is, we did get to Rome that evening, though as you can imagine I’ve never heard the end of this, especially since having booked accommodation in a convent with a strict curfew, if we hadn’t made it to Rome by 8pm, we were sleeping on the street.

We were fortunate enough to cancel our flight without fees, and transfer onto a flight to Rome leaving Heathrow; proof to previous advice as to why you’ll get further being nice to airport ground staff.

Though London is not the only city in the world with multiple airports, and it’s definitely not the only city which has caused this kind of confusion.

The same thing recently happened to a guest at my destination wedding, whose father had booked flights to Hawaii for the whole family but forgot to book flights from Maui – Honolulu for his eldest daughter (obviously not the favorite child!!).

Realizing this the night before flying out, he quickly booked last minute flights, though in his haste booked from a little airport on the other end of the island without noticing. They rocked up at Kahului Airport and found there was no flight!

Photo credit: Giuseppe Milo (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

These Cities Have Multiple Airports

The majority of cities in the world only have one or two airports.  A handful of them have three, however there are some which have up to 6 operating airports!!

Here are the cities which have more airports than you would think necessary!

London

London RF

The two main airports in London are London Heathrow and Gatwick Airport. In fact, London Heathrow was named number 3 busiest airport in the world for 2012 by Airports Council International.

Though would you believe London has another 4 airports?!

London City Airport

Luton Airport

London Stansted Airport

London Southend Airport

New York

New York City Cabs.

Like London, New York also boasts 6 airports – SIX!!!  John F Kennedy International Airport is the main hub for flights in and out of New York, however flights also leave from:

LaGuardia Airport

Long Island MacArthur Airport

Newark Liberty International Airport

Stewart International Airport

Westchester County Airport

Moscow

Plane flight airport

Moscow is serviced by three international airports: Sheremetyevo (SVO, 18 miles or 29 km northwest of the city center), Domodedovo (DME, 26 miles or 42 km south of the city center) and Vnukovo (VKO, 17 miles or 28 km southwest of the city center).

When you book a Moscow airport transfer, make sure you book it to pick you up from the right one!

 Sheremetyevo

Domodedovo 

Vnukovo

Vancouver

I haven’t ventured as far as Canada yet, however I am led to believe that Vancouver International Airport is where you will generally find yourself flying in and out from.  However, you also have another 5 choices depending on your destination!

Abbotsford International Airport

Langley Regional Airport

Vancouver Harbour Water Airport

Vancouver International Water Airport

Vancouver/Harbour (Public) Heliport

Photo credit: Bulent KAVAKKORU

Los Angeles

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the sixth busiest airport in the world and third in the United States.

600+ flights depart daily to 91 domestic cities and 58 cities in 32 countries on nearly 75 air carriers!  So you will more than likely find yourself in LAX if visiting LA.  However, you can also choose to fly from/to:

Bob Hope Airport

John Wayne Airport

Ontario International Airport

Long Beach Airport

Sydney & Melbourne

Top 10 things to do in Melbourne

Both of these Australian cities offer travelers and tourists 4 airports to choose from.  You’ll want to try and stick to using Sydney Kingsford Smith and Melbourne Airport Tullamarine, however if you’re planning on  booking regional flights or flying domestically on low cost carriers these could be a better option for you:

Bankstown Airport (Sydney)

Camden Airport (Sydney)

Rose Bay Airport (Sydney)

Avalon Airport (Melbourne)

Essendon Airport (Melbourne)

Moorabbin Airport (Melbourne)

Paris

Eiffel Tower Paris

Compared to the above cities which run flights out of up to 6 different airports, Paris is keeping things simple with only 3!

Charles de Gaulle Airport

Orly Airport

Paris-Beauvais Airport

Other

Other cities with 3 airports include: Toronto, Milan, Osaka, Oslo, Manila, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Vegas, Miami, San Francisco and Barcelona.

Meg Jerrard is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging around the world for the last 7 years to inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure!  Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Follow their journey on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

Featured Photo Credit: CC Grempz

    26 Comments

  1. Horray for Manila with 3 airports! Hahaha!

    • Lol happy to include the Philippines!

  2. Being a Native New Yorker, I’m highly aware when I book flights because of this issue. Yes, It’s happened in my family too, a mistake I hope we never make again. Our airports are not near each other and traffic is always ridiculous. Great reminder for everyone, Meg.

    • So glad to hear it’s not just me :D! You got that absolutely right though – after it happens once it will never happen to you again!! We got lucky in that we weren’t out of pocket from this mistake, but we could easily have been!

      Thanks Brenda!

  3. Hi Meg,

    That London experience must have been harrowing ;)

    Actually, Newark Liberty is in New Jersey, but is typically bunched in with New York City, and State. Had to note because I’m an NJ guy ;)

    But each is typically seen as a NYC airport.

    We do JFK almost every time since we’re usually flying to Bangkok, to start off another exciting trip through SE Asia.

    We find it easy to get there by train these days. But at times, it could make sense to do the car bit if you have to do LaGuardia, which is in the middle of nowhere, and quite archaic too.

    It’s lost in the 80’s. Strange that a NYC airport is lost in a time warp but it doesn’t do the traffic JFK does.

    We hit it once or twice, for flights to Central and South America.

    Thanks Meg, neat read.

    Tweeting from Fiji.

    Ryan

    • Lol duly noted re Newark Liberty – Ive heard about NJ v NY pride :D!

      I’ll definitely be sure to test out the train system should we have to head back to JFK – taxi was an absolute nightmare the last time we were there and really dont want to have to go through it again. Thinking you’ve got the right idea with the train!

      Going to try and avoid LaGuardia at all costs if we can help it – doesn’t sound like the smoothest airport to fly into or out of. Thanks for the heads up!

      Hope you’re enjoying Fiji!!

  4. I almost went to the wrong airport in San Francisco. I realized the morning of my flight!! Thankfully I realized with enough time to get to my flight. I have accidentally showed up to the wrong train and bus stations in China though, which has been more of a hassle than an actual major issue.

    • So glad you did end up making your flight! And can totally understand hitting up the wrong train station in China – it’s very difficult with a language barrier, especially when cities have more than one hub!

      Glad everything worked out for you in the end though and there were no major issues!

  5. Thanks for this post! It’s easy to get used to knowing where you are going out of habit and it’s also super easy at home when you know what airport you want to fly out of (I’m a Dulles girl-just outside Washington D.C.). But until moving to Europe and checking discount airlines, I never knew about so many airports in one area! I was going to go to the World Travel Market in London and noticed that the City London Airport was right next to where WTM was being held. In addition to knowing where your airport is when you are getting to it, it’s helpful to also know what might be a bit cheaper based on getting from the airport to your final destination too! It would have been a pain to fly to Heathrow and take the train (which isn’t all that cheap from what I saw) or take a budget airline to right where I was going! So many options can be good, but also very confusing.

    • Very good point about knowing where the airport is based compared to your final destination – I think that’s a highly underrated tip, because I’ve osten found myself in a situation where I end up spending a fortune just to get halfway across town when another airport was closer!!

      All the best at WTM – I know you’ll have such an awesome time! I’ll be there in spirit!

  6. Dubai has 4 airports within 60mins reach: Dubai International DXB, Dubai World Central DWC, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi…. Especially Dubai ones could be confusing, DXB is located in city center and DWC far away…

    • Thanks Johanna! We love Dubai, but I had no idea it was another one which had multiple airports! Thankfully for us it worked out well for us in the past, though will make a note not to fly into DWC when we eventually find the chance to head back!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. A fair few of the airports on this list are (almost) exclusively for private aviation, and if you were looking to figure out where to fly home/away from you’d never even come across them. If someone went to Rose Bay Airport – a little seaplane port mostly for small private planes – in an attempt to catch an international or even a tiny domestic flight, then I’m not sure how they made it all the way to Australia in the first place. :p

    Facetiousness aside (sorry – I’ll admit I’m never sure what to make of lists for lists’ sake), London can be a bit of a confusing one and I’ve heard of people going to the wrong airport out of Heathrow/Gatwick a fair few times. Southend only recently became a “London” airport – I’m flying from there for the first time in December…:)

    • Hi Jonathan! Lol you make a good point – definitely in Sydney’s case it’s almost impossible to get lost because 95% of the flights arrive and leave from Kingsford Smith.

      This post was definitely an idea sparked from my mix up in London and the rest included because I thought it was a fun idea :)

      London is definitely the most confusing with so many airports which are commercially operational – glad I’m not the only one who has made the Gatwick/Heathrow mistake!

      Happy travels – have an amazing time in London – Christmas there is truly magical :)

    • Heh, thanks…I guess! I know I’d rather be in the opposite situation. I’m working on growing my blog to the point of making a living out of it – and also starting up a photography business on the side. Not easy to juggle with a 9-5 job, but hoping to be out of that world sooner rather than later :D always nice to see people who’ve made that jump, too.

    • Well, best of luck with your endeavours – don’t listen to anyone who tells you it’s an unrealistic dream, because people are making it happen every day and I’m confident you can too!

      Feel free to reach out or shoot us an email if you ever have any questions about making the jump :)

  8. Good advice to always check your booking information.

    My business flights are booked by our company travel agent and the information I get to choose from is fairly limited in detail. It is only when I get the confirmed ticket information from our department PA do I get the full breakdown.

    The only mishap I had was about 3 years ago going to Houston Texas. I always seem to fly into Houston Bush International Airport. So naturally I arranged my car hire from this airport. On flight day I noticed that my ticket said Houston Hobby. I wasn’t familiar with “Hobby”, in fact I didn’t know it existed. Thankfully once I realised I was at a different airport I was able to revise my car rental booking without charge. Being a frequent renter with Hertz also helps :-)

    • So glad you caught it in time! I imagine that would have been a nightmare especially for a business trip with missed meetings and such!!

      Just goes to show it happens to the most seasoned travelers as well – lol glad I’m not alone :D

  9. The ‘London’ airports can be very confusing as the only airport actually in London itself is the City airport which isn’t as well served as the others. Heathrow (Middlesex) is next closest being just over 15 minutes by train connection from central London, then Gatwick (West Sussex) is 30 minutes train ride away. Stansted (Essex) is 45+ minutes train ride away and Luton (Bedfordshire) between 40 mins and an hour+. Southend (Essex) again is something close to an hour away by train to central London.

    Gatwick and Heathrow are easily the two best served airports for London.

    Good read! :-)

    • Glad you enjoyed it Adrian, and thanks for the extra info! London is definitely incredibly confusing at times, and I figure if I can mix it up after having traveled extensively through London in the past, then other’s have probably done the same!

      I’ve flown into/from the majority of the airports surrounding London, but haven’t used the city airport before. I usually try and just stick to Heathrow and Gatwick to be safe :D

  10. Fabulous post, thanks for sharing x

    • Glad you enjoyed it Angelica. Happy travels!

  11. I almost went to the wrong airport in New York – JFK & LaGuardia. I realized the morning of my flight!! Thankfully I realized with enough time to get to my flight on time.

    • Narrow miss then! Glad you made your flight … it can be really confusing when there are more than one airport … has caught out the best of us before :D! Happy travels Gordon, thanks for stopping by :)

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