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Are you privy to the airport’s Code 10?

Unexpected airport announcements can raise passengers’ heckles and plumb the debts of travelers' anxieties.

C’mon, you know it’s true.

A few days ago, I was sitting in a crowd at the gate at Tampa International Airport, waiting for a flight. 
Looking up from my Kindle Fire, I was somewhat amused to see only the tops of more than 100 fellow passengers’ heads. 

Virtually everyone in the gate area was poking at an individual electronic device, be it a BlackBerry, an MP3 player, a tablet, a laptop computer, or an eBook reader.

Suddenly, a static-scrambled alert piped in over the loudspeaker.

“Code 10,” the voice said.

For a flash, heads popped up all around me. Then fingers began tapping on screens, faster than before.

“Is everyone Googling “Code 10” at once? I asked my fellow traveler.

Likely, they were doing just that. I have to admit – I was too.

Guess what we all found out, as we flushed out the answer.

In the banking world, Code 10 refers to a fraud alert. In urban lingo, Code 10 points to extreme awesomeness. Neither of those applied at the airport.

Nope, a Code 10 has nothing to do with national security, terrorism, or an escaped convict. It’s not a medical emergency, an aircraft malfunction, or a drug arrest.

OK, it’s a pot bust, but not what folks were thinking.

Code 10, in an airport, refers to a clogged toilet. It’s a distress call, for sure, but it’s aimed at the maintenance department, not the TSA officials. A Code 10 at the airport means a lavatory is 10-7, or out of service.


All of a sudden, I wanted to be in Evansville, Indiana, where the airport code is EW. Or maybe Fargo, North Dakota, whose code is FAR.

But definitely not Wenatchee, Washington, with a code that spells EAT, or Yuma, Arizona, which is tagged YUM. Not for a while, anyway.

10-4. Roger that.

Tampa Airport Outside
and Terminal
Creative Commons Licensing Photos

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  1. Tampa seems to have at least one code 10 every hour. What do people eat before going to the airport here?

  2. Lol I'm also at TPA and googled code 10 out of concern!

  3. Just did exactly the same! Love Florida!

  4. The mysterious Code 35 just announced!

  5. And boom goes the dynamite...code 10!

  6. Lol- I'm at TPA googling code 10. Seems to be a regular thing here.

  7. Here doing the same at TPA. Third one this hour

  8. I've heard 2 code 10s on a hour

  9. Also just heard a code 10 at Tampa terminal E. And googled the hell out of it.

  10. Ha, this just happened to me too! Thanks for the Post!

  11. Ha, this just happened to me too! Thanks for the Post!

  12. Code 10 and 35 during the same announcement! TPA of course.