Everyone has seen a flight information display screen (FIDS) before. You know, those screens at airports that everyone looks up at, open mouthed, waiting for their gate number?
Well, imagine seeing the words “Generic City” in place of where you’re actually going. A recipe for confusion, certainly, and this is exactly what happened recently.
Just Where Is Generic City?
Most people are aware that an airport has a three letter code, such as DEN for Denver, SYD for Sydney, DUB for Dublin and so on. Where there are multiple airports in a single city, there is also a group code.
In London, there are several airports such as London Heathrow (LHR), London Gatwick (LGW), London City (LCY), London Luton (LTN) and London Stansted (STN). Due to this, there is also a group code assigned to the region covering all the airports, which is LON. The same thing happens at other cities with multiple airports.
Recently, Berlin Brandenberg Airport opened and it has the code BER. However, historically there were three airports in Berlin – Berlin Tempelhof (THF), Berlin Tegel (TXL) and Berlin Schönefeld (SXF). As a result, the city had a group code, which was, you guessed it, BER.
Now that there is just one airport, the former group code is now the airport code. As you can see from the image of the FIDS above, Edinburgh Airport did not update their computer software. The Ryanair flight to “Generic City (Ber)” apparently confused people at boarding time, which is no surprise.
Considering it has been known for quite some time that BER would become Berlin Brandenburg, it is mildly surprising this was not ready when the changeover occurred. I’m sure it didn’t ruin anyone’s life though, even if it was confusing to the Ryanair passengers in Scotland.
Happily the people running the show were using the PA system as usual to announce boarding and so on. Presumably that meant everyone made it on the plane and off on their trip.
Have you ever seen anything strange on a flight information display screen to rival “Generic City”? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.