Midnight in McAllen: Flying Delta’s Newest Austin Routes

In December 2023 Delta announced plans to launch three new routes from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS). These routes linked Austin to Nashville (BNA), Midland/Odessa (MAF), TX, and McAllen, TX (MFE). While Nashville makes sense to me; it is a large city with a major music scene, growing tech sector, and popular with tourists, the additions of MIdland/Odessa and McAllen were confusing.

With ATX Jr’s arrival coming up quickly, Mrs. ATX gave me a pass to “get as much flying as you can out of your system now.” That was all I needed so I texted some friends and hatched a plan to try out these new routes.

Booking Flights

When the airline initially put the flights on sale I was gassing up my truck at Buc-ee’s, a massive Texas gas station, during a road trip. A friend texted me that the previously announced routes were on sale and I booked directly through the Delta app while filling up.

Flights were extremely cheap when I booked and they stayed relatively inexpensive up until departure. I paid $88 round trip in Economy, not Basic Economy, for my AUS-MAF roundtrip and $98 for AUS-MFE.

When I booked the flights were scheduled to be operated by Endeavor Air, DBA Delta Connection, on CRJ-700 Aircraft. A few months before departure the flights were swapped to Embraer 175s operated by SkyWest. This coincided with the opening of a new SkyWest base in Austin.

a plane on the tarmac
The new routes are being operated utilizing Embraer 175 aircraft operated by SkyWest

I booked the Midland/Odessa flight for the first day of service but had to cancel after arriving at the airport due to rolling delays. The Austin-McAllen flight was scheduled for the week after which we flew with no issues.

After flying to McAllen and back, I needed to get to Dallas to meet up with Mrs. ATX. I booked a cheap cash ticket on American Airlines from Austin to Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport.

Booking Hotels

After booking flights I started looking at hotel options. I had quick turns in both cities, less than 6 hours on the ground in Midland/Odessa and only 12 hours in McAllen. Because of this, I prioritized finding hotels close to the airport. Since I’m a couple years away from Marriott Lifetime Platinum, I headed straight to Marriott.com to book.

Hotels were more expensive than the flights and I had to do some hunting to find any semi-decent options. In Midland/Odessa, I booked the TownePlace Suites Odessa for $136 for the night. I had to cancel this reservation when we abandoned the Midland/Odessa trip.

In McAllen, I booked the Courtyard McAllen Airport for $126 for my one-night stay. The hotel was close to the airport but didn’t have much around it. The hotel itself to have been in the process of being remodeled, but the owners gave up halfway through.

The Courtyard by Marriott McAllen Airport Exterior
The Courtyard by Marriott McAllen Airport Exterior

Thanks for joining as I fly around Texas to try out Delta’s new service!

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