Airports, aerodromes, gliderports, heliports or sea plane bases of one kind or anthor are where all our flying adventures start and end. Although one of the smaller sections of my aviation quotation collection, there are some real gems here:

The airport runway is the most important mainstreet in any town.

Norm Crabtree, former aviation director for the state of Ohio. This little quotation was told to me by a wonderful ERAU professor from Ohio, Henry R. Lehrer. I liked it a lot and included in my early aviation quotation lists, this website and the original book. From there it became the opening quote of the wonderful 2005 aviation movie One Six Right, a movie all about the Van Nuys airport in Los Angeles, California. How cool is that!


A mile of highway will take you a mile. A mile of runway will take you anywhere.

Author unknown. Like really unknown! When I was working on script development and narriation dialogue for the 2015 movie Living in the Age of Airplanes the director, Brian Terwilliger, wanted to use this line in the title or at the start or end. He had a team of researchers trying to find the origin. They never did.

Living in the Age of Airplanes

It may be merely the impatience of a woman, but is it not time we ceased to quibble over the exact amount in pounds, shillings, and pence each unit is to contribute to the cost of an All-red route and looked at the broader Imperial aspect? Trade, they used to say, followed the flag. To-day and in the future it will also follow the aerodrome, for without speedy communications commercial competition is impossible.

Lady Mary Bailey, record-breaking early Irish pilot, 1929. Cited in the 1932 book Down Africa’s Skyways.

Terminals have always been, and probably always will be the "bottle necks" of transportation, whether of ground, water, or air systems. The conduct of aircraft from the free spaces of the open airway, through a congested terminal, safely and speedily and in suffucient numbers to justify the cost of the terminal itself, offers many perplexing problems deserving the most careful study.

Harry H. Blee, director of aeronautic development of the Department of Commerce. Preliminary report of nation-wide study of the problems of controlling aerial traffic at airports, Committee of Airport Traffic Control, 1930.

The drooping grandmothers, the crying babies, the continuous, raucous, unintelligible squawk of the loudspeaker, the constant push and jostle of new arrivals … make bus terminals look like luxury … Almost all U.S. airports are utterly barren of things to to. The dirty little lunch counters are always choked with permanent sitters staring at their indigestible food; even a good cup of coffee is a thing unknown. The traveler consigned to hours of tedious waiting can only clear a spot on the floor and sit on his baggage and, while oversmoking, drearily contemplate his sins.

Fortune magazine, August 1946.

There is no other airport in the world which serves so many people and so many airplanes. This is an extraordinary airport … it could be classed as one of the wonders of the modern world.

President John F. Kennedy, dedicating the Chicago O’Hare airport, 23 March 1963

Hell, which as every frequent traveler knows, is in Concourse D of O’Hare Airport.

Dave Barry, American comedy writer. There is no concourse D at O’Hare.

Stations and airports are rehearsals for separations by death.

Anaïs Nin. Diary, August 1954. Published in the 1974 book The Diary of Anais Nin, Vol. 5: 1947-1955.

There’s nothing like an airport for bringing you down to earth.

Richard Gordon. Doctor in the Swim, 1962.

That is the trouble with flying: We always have to return to airports. Thank of how much fun flying would be if we didn’t have to return to airports.

Henry Minizburg, Why I Hate Flying: Tales for the Tormented Traveler, 2001.

It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on Earth has ever produced the phrase, ‘as pretty as an airport.’ Airports are ugly. Some are very ugly. Some attain a degree of ugliness that can only be the result of a special effort.

Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, 1988.

I did not fully understand the dread term ‘terminal illness’ until I saw Heathrow for myself.

Dennis Potter, in the Sunday Times newspaper, 4 June 1978.

The devil himself had probably redesigned Hell in the light of information he had gained from observing airport layouts.

Anthony Price, The Memory Trap, 1989.

I suspect that the airport will be the true city of the 21st century. The great airports are already the suburbs of an invisible world capital, a virtual metropolis whose border towns are named Heathrow, Kennedy, Charles de Gaulle, Nagoya, a centripetal city whose population forever circles its notional center and will never need to gain access to its dark heart.

J.G. Ballard, Airports: The True Cities of the 21st Century, Blueprint magazine, September 1997.

Airport of Tomorrow, National Geographic 1964

[London] Heathrow has been described as the only building site to have its own airport.


We recognised that just putting more flights and more passengers into the skies over southeast England wasn’t worth the environmental costs we’re paying.

Teresa Villiers, Great Britain’s minister of state for transport, regards the new government’s decision to cancel the proposed third runway at Heathrow (and expansions at Gatwick and Stansted) due to global warming concerns. Interview in The New York Times newspaper, 1 July 2010.


Didn’t find what you were looking for? There are tons more quotes on the Airline page and the Miscellaneous Aviation Quotes page. Or try a seach of the entire database: