The lucky customer, Medford resident Molly Troup, flew in on United Airlines Flight 5398 from Los Angeles Friday afternoon. Troup said she received a phone call from the airport Thursday night.
“My kids were like no they’re just playing with you,” said Troup. “They didn’t believe it, they did not believe it!”
Medford’s Airport has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years but its history goes all the way back to 1922 on the south side of town. In the decades since, it’s seen more than 25 airlines and millions of passengers fly in and out of the Rogue Valley.
“We just know that we’re moving into that next level of airports,” said Jerry Brienza, Airport Director of the Rogue Valley International Medford Airport. “Last June, we were designated by the FAA as a small hub airport compared to a non-hub airport. So they too recognize we’re going into that next level of airport operations.”
Passenger numbers are up 12% compared to this time last year, which county leaders say is a sign of a strong local economy.
“The only issue we seem to have is that we’re growing fast and that is economically a good sign for this entire county,” said Bob Strosser, Jackson County Commissioner.
Despite the growth, it’s looking to expand services even further.
“We’re looking at new destinations constantly talking to airlines almost every day. We’re visiting airline headquarters,” said Brienza.
For the lucky one-millionth passenger, Troup will be flying again soon. She was awarded two free plane tickets and a free week-long airport parking pass.
“I’m thinking maybe Italy, actually I might as well go for the gusto, I mean I fly all the time,” said Troup.
Airport management said they’re looking at adding in a third TSA security check lane and a second jetway next year. Terminal expansion will also be discussed sometime next year.