What Are The Favorite Airlines Of Alabama Residents?

Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

Alabama residents are returning to the air. Data from the state’s two international airports shows commercial passenger traffic approached or even exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time in 2023.

Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport reported serving 3,056,215 passengers last year. That was up 14% from 2022, and it was the second time the primary airport in Alabama’s largest metropolitan area exceeded 3 million passengers. In 2019, 3,090,604 departed or arrived.

While Birmingham just missed a record, Huntsville International Airport achieved one by accommodating 1,473,629 passengers last year. That was an increase of nearly 23% from 2022 and beat the previous record of 1,445,365 set in 2019.

With air travel now back to normal levels, BetAlabama.com put its Alabama sports betting coverage on standby for a bit to find out which airlines piqued the interest of Alabamans. Using Google Trends, our researchers found the airlines that Alabama residents searched most frequently over a 90-day span from Dec. 2, 2023, to March 1, 2024. The “interest over time” score represents search volume compared to other topics.

Most Searched Airlines of Alabama Residents

Rank Airline Interest Over Time
1 Delta Air Lines 100
2 American Airlines 64
3 Spirit Airlines 34
4 Southwest Airlines 28
5 Breeze Airways 22

Southwest Taking Off In Birmingham

Delta had the most Google searches over the three months that we researched, but data from Birmingham’s airport officials shows that more people choose to get away via Southwest. In January, the low-fare carrier handled 65,392 passengers, a 31% market share. American Airlines had 62,027, while Delta was close behind with 60,935. That meant the big three were responsible for 89% of the commercial traffic.

For the most recently completed fiscal year, ending in June 2023, Southwest reported a passenger total of 885,601, up 22% from the 2021-22 fiscal year. That increase vaulted Southwest over both Delta (844,856, up 7%) and American (821,826, up 5%).

Travelers departing from Birmingham can travel to 17 cities nonstop. Southwest offers eight connections, American features seven, and both Delta and United Airlines can connect passengers to three apiece.

In Huntsville, American and United offer nonstop service to four cities. Delta and Breeze provide service to two, and Silver Airways also flies out of the northern Alabama airport.

Starting next month, Breeze will also offer service out of Mobile International Airport in late January. The state’s newest airport is expected to open its terminal late next year. The Gulf Coast city is a short drive from Mississippi, which has retail sportsbooks and casinos, and Florida, which is home to Hard Rock Bet online sports betting. Alabama has three Class II casinos, but wagering on legal Alabama sportsbook apps (or even in person) is not allowed in the state.

Interestingly, Spirit Airlines makes our top five at No. 3 but does not offer service to or from any Alabama airport.


Steve Bittenbender

Steve is an accomplished, award-winning reporter with more than 20 years of experience covering gaming, sports, politics and business. He has written for the Associated Press, Reuters, The Louisville Courier Journal, The Center Square and numerous other publications. Based in Louisville, Ky., Steve has covered the expansion of sports betting in the U.S. and other gaming matters.

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