Travel cheats: Airports and cities

Richard Mellor 

Low-cost flights are great—until you realise that the airport is miles from your desired location. Here are the world's most accurately and inaccurately-named landing spots

Fabulously central

London City Airport

London city airport
Image via Luton Airport Taxis

In these silly days of London Southend and London Luton, how nice to find one of London’s six international airports far inside the M25.

Not just that, but it’s positioned plum in the capital’s fast-emerging Docklands, and a short jaunt on the DLR to London transport’s Zone 1.


Geneva Airport

Geneva airport

Only three miles from the centre? Such statistics are virtually unheard of for premier European city airports, but that’s the case in Geneva.

Airport trains to the central Cornavin railway station take six minutes; or you can even walk into town—imagine doing that from Heathrow—in about 45 minutes.


McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas

McCarran International Airport

Good news for those who can’t wait to gamble. Vegas’s airport sits at the southern end of its famous Strip, with the first super-casinos—Mandalay Bay and the Luxor—just a chip’s throw from the McCarran’s runway.

Las Vegas Boulevard is amazing from the air, too: a vivid neon streak across the scrubby desert.


San Diego International Airport

San Diego International Airport

This hub is so centrally located that westward descents come frighteningly close to nicking downtown buildings.

The three-mile taxi ride into town along Harbor Drive takes just 10 minutes. That’s ample time to impress fellow passengers with some trivia

Did you know San Diego’s airport boasts the world’s second-busiest single-use runway? The first? London Gatwick.


Tallinn Airport

Tallinn Airport
Image via World Airport Codes

Europe’s most central airport is that of Estonia’s handsome capital, up in the Baltic. Located scenically on the eastern shore of Lake Ülemiste, it’s just three miles from central Tallinn.

Current public transport options for that journey are bus or bus-and-train, but a tram service is due to begin in late 2016.


Nowhere near

Paris Vatry

Paris Vatry
Image via Wiki

Given Ryanair’s name for it, one might reasonably expect ‘Paris Vatry (Disney)’ to be vaguely near a) Paris and b) Euro Disney. No and no.

The Louvre, Pompidou and co are over a hundred miles away, a two-hour-plus drive, while Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are a barely-closer 70 miles.


Munich West Airport

Munich West Airport
Image via Travel Addicts

West, west and west some more. ‘Munich West’—another dubious Ryanair christening—is some 70 miles from Munich, in fact, and barely in Bavaria at all.

Better known as Memmingen, the terminal is a sobering 90-minutes drive from Oktoberfest’s home by coach.


Frankfurt-Hahn Airport

Frankfurt-Hahn Airport
Image via Wiki

Six times. That’s how many times one has to zoom out on Google Maps from Franklin-Hahn Airport before Frankfurt itself belatedly appears, 68 miles to the north-east.

Data-analysts heading to the financial city won’t be impressed as precisely 84 minutes of their precious meeting time will be used up reaching central Frankfurt.


Barcelona Girona and Barcelona Reus

Barcelona Girona
Image via Snip View

These two ‘satellite’ airports—that’s aviation speak for low-cost hubs—represent more cases of mischievous Ryanair nomenclature.

Both are 58 miles away from the Catalan capital and significant towns in their own right. Girona is home to El Celler de Can Roca, regularly voted the World’s Best Restaurant.


Toyko Narita

Toyko Narita airport

Tokyo is famously huge, but it isn’t that huge. As the name suggests, its predominant international airport is actually located in the adjacent city of Narita.

Tokyo itself is some 37 miles away, and even the predictably speedy Narita Express train takes 55 minutes to reach downtown.