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.

My Airport History: Cleveland (CLE)

CLE

Flight Log: http://www.flighthistorian.com/airports/CLE

Nearly every time I’ve flown through Cleveland, I didn’t want to; one time when I did want to, I couldn’t.

My first trip through CLE was traveling from a family Christmas party in Chicago to visit a friend in New York for New Year’s week. I’d been hoping to find a direct flight between the cities, as I wasn’t yet looking to visit new airports, but a direct flight cost six times as much as flying through Cleveland on American Airlines. Cleveland wasn’t even an American hub, but their schedule that day had a single regional jet fly from O’Hare to Cleveland and then from Cleveland on to JFK, which ended up being the first known time I’ve flown on the same aircraft twice.

Cleveland's giant
Cleveland’s giant “paper” airplanes

It took over four years before I would visit the airport again; I had a trip home from Oklahoma City through Denver to Dayton, but the OKC-DEN leg was delayed and caused me to miss my second flight. United only has one DEN-DAY flight per day, so they offered me a second layover in Cleveland.

A few months later, I actually intentionally booked a flight with a layover in Cleveland, but my flight to Cleveland was cancelled, and I got put on a flight to O’Hare instead. So it was with great astonishment that for my next trip to St. Louis, I booked a Cleveland layover… and actually ended up with a Cleveland layover!

Well, my intentionally-flying-to-Cleveland streak apparently wasn’t meant to last.

It’s unlikely that I’ll see much more of Cleveland in the future; United has dehubbed the airport, which means that CLE no longer serves my home airport of Dayton. CLE is about a three hour drive away from home, which leaves it in the awkward position of being too close to fly to as a destination, but too far away to act as a practical origin airport, particularly with DAY, CMH, CVG, and IND all within two hours of home.