Flying to O'Hare? Then why is Chicago airport's code 'ORD'?

If you're one of the millions of people who'll soon board commercial airliners to return home for the Christmas or New Year holidays, perhaps you don't care that the three-letter code used by the aviation industry may bear no apparent relation to the name of your destination. Most often, the code - which you notice because it's on your luggage tags - makes perfect sense. Passengers going to Atlanta, for example, will be given "ATL" tags. Others, however, are less clear-cut. As airports proliferated, codes grew from two letters to three, and some curious constructions resulted. The origins of selected codes across the US that require explanation:
Baltimore BWI (for Baltimore/Washington International)
Chicago O'Hare ORD (for the former Orchard Field)
Harrisburg, Pa. MDT (airport is in nearby Middletown)
Kansas City, Mo. MKC (rearrangement of letters for city and state)
Louisville, Ky. SDF (for Standiford Field)
Newark, N.J. EWR (cities beginning with "N" may not use that letter; it's reserved for the Navy)
Orlando, Fla. MCO (airport is on former site of McCoy Air Force base)
Spokane, Wash. GEG (for the former Geiger Field)
Washington Dulles IAD (International Airport at Dulles) -

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.