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Finding Alternative Airports

Mark Orwoll, seasoned traveler and Travel + Leisure's Managing Editor, is here to help you with your travel questions. To ask a question, send an email to

** Please note: Mark can answer questions in his column only; the volume of mail he receives makes it impossible for him to send personal replies. Check back here daily to see if your question was answered, or search the Ask Mark archives to see if a similar question was previously answered.

Q: Here's a question I hope you can answer, Mr. Web Expert! I once saw a Web site that lists all the alternate airports, with mileage between them and the big airport. I remember I used it to find the distance between the Fort Walton, Florida, airport and the Mobile, Alabama, airport. Any clue what that site might be? I asked Johnny Jet, and even he didn't know about it. I thought he had everything on that site. Let me know if you know that alternate airport Web site, or if you know anyone who might know where it is.

A: My respect for Johnny Jet's site ( is profound, but you should always check first—especially the Ask Mark section!—whenever you have a travel question. Many of the major online booking services like Travelocity and Orbitz give you the option of checking prices at alternative airports when you check airfares. But if you just want to browse through the possibilities, here are a couple of Web sites that might help you. The first, a site designed for pilots, lets you type a zip code or a city name into a search box, and then provides you with all the airports in the vicinity—not just major passenger airports, but also small private airfields. In other words, it's good, but may give you more information than you want or need. It's called iPilot, and you'll find it here. Perhaps more germane to most commercial airline passengers is a list of airports in more than 100 U.S. cities and the closest alternative commercial airports, including their distances (in air miles) from the major airport. You'll find it on the Andetur Brazilian Travel Club Web site.

The information in this story was accurate at the time it was published in September 2002, but we suggest you confirm all details and prices directly with the service establishments before making travel plans.
Mark Orwoll, managing editor of Travel + Leisure, is a veteran travel journalist and the author of Sams Teach Yourself e-Travel Today (Macmillan). He appears frequently on network and cable television (Today, Good Morning America, CBS Saturday Morning, as well as CNN, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, among others).

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