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.

2016-01-24 11.34.37

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.

2015 Year in Travel

2015 was a relatively strong year for me for business travel, with the first and last thirds of the year being particularly busy. Due to that, my total flights and hotel nights just edged above 2014’s numbers, for another record year.

2015 Flights

2015map

I had 89 flights this year – 79 for work and 12 personal.

2015-flights

I didn’t take as many personal flights this year, but travel for my job more than made up for the difference.

2015 Hotel Nights

That’s not to say that I didn’t do a lot of personal travel, but a lot of those personal trips were by car. I came out with 30 personal hotel nights and 79 business nights, for a total of 109 nights.

2015-hotels
2015-portfolio

New Airports

I’ve visited six new airports this year:

#55LITLittle Rock, Arkansas, United States
#56YVRVancouver, British Columbia, Canada
#57YYZToronto–Pearson, Ontario, Canada
#58SPSWichita Falls, Texas, United States
#59COSColorado Springs, Colorado, United States
#60BNANashville, Tennessee, United States

I ended the year with 60 total airports visited, and am well on my way to my goal of visiting 100 airports.

Elite Status

2015-status

My flights were much more spread out among airlines this year, so I ended up getting the lowest tier status on two airlines (Gold on American Airlines and Silver on United) rather than last year’s mid-tier status on one airline. For hotels, I was easily able to pick up the 60 nights required for Diamond status with Hilton, and I even managed to pick up enough Marriott nights to get Silver. (Last year, my United Gold status gave me Marriott Gold status as well, even though I barely stayed with them.)

Trivia

2015-10-23 13.17.33

Airport #58/100: Wichita Falls (SPS)

2015-10-23 10.22.28

Wichita Falls Municipal Airport · Wichita Falls, Texas, United States
First Visit: 19 October 2015 · flighthistorian.com/airports/SPS

SPS is the first airport where, after a flight cancellation, I’ve been given a van instead.

2015-10-23 13.17.33

Our flight was cancelled due to weather, and SPS had several factors going on at once:

  • SPS only has a few commercial flights per day, all on regional jets
  • SPS is only served by American Airlines, through DFW
  • SPS is a two hour drive away from DFW

So with all of the above, a flight cancellation meant that it would take a very long time for AA to find vacant seats for all 50 passengers on future flights, as SPS only gets a few hundred airline seats per day total. There was no option to put them on another airline, as no other airline serves SPS. So the most logical thing for AA to do was to hire several taxi vans, and shuttle all of the passengers directly to DFW.

I had a long layover at DFW anyway, so this didn’t end up being a problem for me – and I now have a “flight” that never left the ground.