Airport #61/100: Amarillo (AMA)

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Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport · Amarillo, Texas, United States
First Visit: 24 January 2016 · http://www.flighthistorian.com/airports/AMA

I often have to travel to Altus, Oklahoma for work – and Altus is a city small enough that it doesn’t have its own commercial airport.

The closest commercial airport is Lawton, Oklahoma, about an hour’s drive away, but Lawton’s a tiny airport; there are no jetbridges, and it’s only served by a few flights a day on American Airlines to DFW. Wichita Falls, Texas and Oklahoma City are also viable options, as is just flying into DFW and driving for three and a half hours.

Basically, there are no great ways to get to Altus, so for my most recent trip, I decided to at least try a different way and fly into Amarillo, as the price wasn’t substantially different from any of the other options.

Amarillo was pretty decent for a small airport; the terminal felt modern, and it had glass jetbridges and airplane-themed carpet, both of which I like.

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On the negative side, it didn’t have a true TSA PreCheck lane; having PreCheck entitled me to a plastic card enabling me to keep my shoes on and to go through the metal detector rather than the body scanner, but I still had to take my laptop and liquids out of my bag. Signage also was not great for the rental car return; I missed it the first time and had to circle the airport before I found the entrance to the rental car lot, which still had no signs that I could see.

It’s still a bit of a drive from Amarillo to Altus (about two and a half hours, depending on route), but I’d consider using it as my Altus airport again.

2014 Year in Travel

2014 has been a record travel year.

2014 Flights

2014 Flight Map

I have flown on 86 flights this year, which has been my best year yet.

2014-flight

In particular, the last four months of the year have had me traveling about three weeks a month; I’m on a high stakes program at work, and it’s been a particularly busy travel time for that program.

2014 Hotel Nights

2014-hotel

Hotel nights are up this year, too. From 2011 through 2013, I was doing a respectable amount of travel, but the phase of my program combined with budget cuts (and the 2013 federal furloughs and shutdown) had a serious effect on the number of nights I spent on the road. However, I moved to a higher priority program in mid-2013, so while our budget still isn’t great, the priority of the program and the acquisition phase we’re in means that mission-critical travel has climbed back up. In addition, I’ve had far more personal hotel nights this year than usual, an effect of taking a good number of weekend trips when I got the chance, plus a true vacation in the summer.

These stays ended up being:

  • 97 nights in Hilton brands
  • 2 nights in Marriott brands (a stay at the Gaylord Opryland)
  • 1 night in Wyndham brands (American Airlines put me up at a Baymont at the Charlotte airport)
  • 6 nights in a VRBO vacation home in Flagstaff I rented with some friends this summer
  • 1 night in military base lodging

New Airports

I’ve visited six new airports this year:

This put me at 54 total airports visited out of my 100 airport goal. I’m over halfway there!

Elite Status

End of Year Status 2014

I was able to reclaim Hilton HHonors Diamond this year – in fact, I hit the 60 nights required for Diamond in September, and ended the year with 96 elite-qualifying nights. In addition, I was able to hit United MileagePlus Gold for the first time (in fact, it’s the first time I’ve hit the second tier on any airline’s program).

Of Note

I had six unexpected overnight stays this year: