7 Surprising Facts About The Austin Airport

Austin airport has been one of the fastest growing in the United States for several years. This past year they inaugurated 9 new gates. There’s now transatlantic scheduled service to London (Heathrow and Gatwick), Paris, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt. There’s not yet non-stop Asia service, but the airport is willing to subsidize it and there’s been talk about Korean Air serving Seoul as part of their joint venture with Delta.

Here are 7 surprising facts about my home airport.

  1. Austin served 17.3 million passengers last year which is on par with Dallas Love Field and Nashville and ahead of St. Louis.

  2. Airport restaurants served 1.6 million breakfast tacos and 71,798 pounds of brisket.

  3. Southwest is the largest carrier by a wide margin with 5.8 million passengers, followed by American at 3.09 million and United with 2.48 million. Delta is closing the gap viewing the airport as a focus city, and their new club lounge is far nicer than American’s and United’s.

  4. There’s an outdoor deck anyone can use. Salt Lick serves beer to go, pick up a Flyrite chicken sandwich and sit upstairs on an outdoor picnic bench overlooking airport operations. Follow the signs to the Delta Sky Club.

  5. Over half of all commercial aircraft serving Austin are 737s 51.4% in 2019 to be exact. Southwest flies only 737s in their fleet and American retired the MD80.

  6. Passengers bought 3017 bottles of Tito’s vodka they aren’t just buying cocktails by the glass.

  7. There were 1327 live music performances in 2019 That’s up from 995 in 2018. I’ve landed at Houston Hobby to live music but the Austin airport’s stage is unique. Austin of course bills itself as ‘the live music capital of the world’.

The airport is finalizing a deal for an Escape lounge which could be co-branded with American Express.

But the best thing about the airport is that you pull right up to the terminal, there’s security right inside the doors and gates just past security. Eventually airport growth will eliminate this convenience as they face a need for a bigger check-in hall and more gates. But for now it’s a big heavily trafficked airport with a small airport feel.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. That BBQ looks delicious, but it seems to come not from the airport, but from Franklin. Any pics of the BBQ you can actually get at the airport?

  2. So on average, 1 in every 10 pax in aggregate – at any time of day, regardless of whether inbound or outbound – is having a breakfast taco. Seems really high – impressive!

  3. @UA-NYC I’m grateful not to have iPads everywhere, and we have some good restaurant concepts, but Delaware North has its issues IMHO

  4. So now you write articles about the #33 airport in the USA? Can’t wait to see the series of click-bait “x totally cool facts” about the St. Louis AIrport, one about the San José International Airport, the one for Hobby Airport, and let’t not forget the “10 most interesting facts about Oakland International Airport!”


  5. AUS is a nice, convenient airport, but what makes it really unique is that they basically gave most of the concessions to good local restaurants serving BBQ, Tex-Mex and the like instead of to the usual corporate chains. Some airports might have one or two local names, but at AUS it is most of the options. And with the tech business, SXSW, ACL, and Formula One, it has also been adding a lot of TATL flights.

  6. This makes me feel really old. Its astounding how fast Austin has grown and outgrown this airport. It was a smart use of the air force base, and it was huge and relatively empty when first opened, coming from Mueller which was smaller than Burbank.

    Its really an unusual part of the country. Unlike the Northeast which is one megalopolis bumping into another, areas around Austin and San Antonio are rural and yet you have two major airports within a 1:15 drive of each other. SAT is expanding as well – and if my first stop is Gruene Hall I’ve often flown into SAT and out of AUS.

    And the AUS airport is practically a destination unto itself, you could attract non-travelers to the offerings if not for security. I mention that for the smart-asses like Jake who wonder about the significance, beyond the growth of the corridor. I look forward to additional destinations in the southeast and south from Delta and others, it would be a great place to connect through.

    Its the only place in Texas you’d want to live, and the growth isn’t stopping anytime soon.

  7. CW, I don’t know about you, but I eat at least 2 breakfast tacos, if I don’t have 3. So more like 1 out of 25. Breakfast tacos are why we live in austin.

  8. Did AUS announce a scheduled flight to Paris? Can’t imagine I missed that … I’ve been eagerly awaiting it, suspecting it would be a Delta/Air France flight.

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