Today, I created five small airports in one session, and an overview map to show them in relation to each other:
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.
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 has been a record travel year.
I have flown on 86 flights this year, which has been my best year yet.
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
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
I’ve visited six new airports this year:
|#49||ICT||Wichita, Kansas, United States|
|#50||TUS||Tucson, Arizona, United States|
|#51||FLG||Flagstaff, Arizona, United States|
|#52||LAW||Lawton, Oklahoma, United States|
|#53||SAN||San Diego, California, United States|
|#54||SJU||San Juan, Puerto Rico, United States|
This put me at 54 total airports visited out of my 100 airport goal. I’m over halfway there!
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).
- Longest Flight: MCO – SEA (2554 miles)
- Shortest Flight: FLG – PHX (119 miles)
- Least Direct Layover: ORD – DEN – ICT, 122.5% (720 miles) longer than ORD – ICT
I had six unexpected overnight stays this year:
- 14 – 15 Apr, Newark (EWR): High winds cancelled my connecting flight.
- 27 – 28 May, Chicago-O’Hare (ORD): Thunderstorm cancelled my connecting flight. Also had to take an extra layover in Denver the next day.
- 5 – 6 Jul, Orlando (MCO): A mechanical issue led to a delay as the airline brought in a replacement aircraft; the replacement aircraft ingested a bird into the engine, leading us to wait for a second replacement aircraft. By that time it was after 22:00, so we accepted a flight change to the following afternoon.
- 25 – 26 Aug, Chicago-O’Hare (ORD): Air Force Two closed the ramp at Chicago, followed by a thunderstorm. This one was quite a trip.
- 10 – 11 Oct, Charlotte (CLT): A stuck cargo door at Lawton led to a chain of delays that ended up with me being stuck overnight at Charlotte.
- 11 – 12 Dec, Chicago-O’Hare (ORD): I was delayed leaving Orlando by a late incoming aircraft, causing me to miss my connection in Chicago.
First Visit: 6 October 2014