Airport #61/100: Amarillo (AMA)

2016-01-28 12.19.56

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:

#49ICTWichita, Kansas, United States
#50TUSTucson, Arizona, United States
#51FLGFlagstaff, Arizona, United States
#52LAWLawton, Oklahoma, United States
#53SANSan Diego, California, United States
#54SJUSan Juan, Puerto Rico, United States

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: