January 18, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy...

"LONDON, Jan 18 (Reuters) - London's Heathrow airport, the busiest international airport in the world, struggled to return to normal on Friday, one day after a Boeing 777 crash-landed, causing travel chaos but only minor injuries". (in a recent Reuters news article).

When I lived in London, there wasn't a Londoner on earth who didn't "know" that Heathrow was the busiest airport in the world. In Britain it's a "fact" that's repeated casually in news stories, conversations, documentaries, etc. over and over without the slightest doubt that it's true. But Heathrow isn't the busiest airport — or even international airport — in the world, not by a long shot (that would be Atlanta, followed by Chicago and sundry other US airports; even — sacre bleu! — Paris's Charles de Gaulle is usually busier). Sure, Heathrow might have the most international flights or passengers, but that's only because you really can't fly more than a short distance from Heathrow without crossing an international boundary. For a short while in the late 1990's even the airport I learned to fly at (Oakland International) was busier in terms of aircraft landing and taking off (etc.) than Heathrow (flying a small Cessna on busy approaches shared by 747s, 777s, etc. surely gave me a rather warped perspective on GA flying, but it's served me well over the years).

(I passively collect bogus instances of the "biggest | busiest | fastest | etc." things I see around me like this; the whole obsession started when, within a month or two, I passed signs advertising "the biggest IMAX screen in the world!" for cinemas in, respectively, LA, Sydney, New York, Denver, and Atlanta (if I remember correctly). My guess is they were all exactly the same size…).

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At 1/18/2008 4:24 pm, Blogger Pauline said...

How should they then be described?

"Biggest equal"

"No smaller than any other"

or perhaps

"As big as it gets"

At 1/18/2008 6:31 pm, Blogger Jimmy Little said...

"None Larger!"


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