Labor Day is the bittersweet holiday that marks the end of the summer, and what better way to commemorate hard workers who have helped this country prosper (?) than to get out of town and party!?!
I’m headed to one of my favorite airports this weekend, McCarran International Airport (LAS) serving Las Vegas, Nevada. You could not get me to drive on the 15 during a holiday weekend, and so I’ll pick flying to Vegas every time…especially because it is a fun airport. There’s a lot to do here on a layover, like gamble! I’m not sure I’ve ever flown internationally from here, but I would say I average 6-8 domestic connections per year. It’s a huge hub to and from the west coast with 110 gates.
First of all, it’s fairly close to the strip (less than 5 miles), and it’s cool to see Las Vegas boulevard from an aerial view as you start your descent. This part always gets me pumped. However, because Las Vegas is hella hot, both takeoffs and landings can be very turbulent. This part makes me hesitant. That’s Las Vegas in a nutshell.
The worst thing about flying into Vegas is that inevitably, one of your flight attendants will call it “Lost Wages.” This is the worst joke, it needs to be retired. Please.
The confusing thing is that it is split into Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. There is no Terminal 2. Not sure if Lance Burton (a Vegas deep cut reference) made it disappear or what, but it’s not there. Terminal 1 (concourses A-D) has a lot of domestic, but not all. Terminal 3 (also D along with E) has international and some domestic.
I love people watching here. There’s no other airport where the arrivals and departures are so bipolar. When people get here, they’re ready to party, all bright-eyed and bushy tailed. And then when they leave…well they look more like Conor McGregor after 10 rounds with Floyd Mayweather.
The security lines are always a bit hairy, and you’ll watch the TSA video featuring celebrity impersonators/Vegas entertainers like a hundred times, but once you’re in, there’s chimes and flashing lights and all sorts of commotion from the slot machines!
They have good fast food options, it’s easy to get from one concourse to the other (although from the Southwest C gates takes half your life). You have to take a tram from the gates to baggage, but it’s quick. The baggage claim area is huge. Their rideshare waiting area can be tricky to get to (have to cross the street into a parking structure whose elevator levels have the weirdest designations–random mezzanine level, huh?). But overall, if you had to have a layover here, it wouldn’t be a complete loss (unless you do get tempted by the shiny machines with the flashing lights).
Remember: ✈️ = lost wages to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ = viva, las vegas!
Ease of navigating through terminals: ✈️✈️✈️ (good signs, it’s a long walk)
Convenience of security lines: ✈️✈️ (get there early)
Dining: ✈️✈️✈️ (mostly fast food, great hours, and there’s Coffee Bean and Starbucks)
Bathrooms:✈️✈️ (always crowded, need more)
Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️ (free wifi available, not enough charging stations in the gate areas, but have designated areas that are always packed)
Amenities: ✈️✈️✈️✈️ (Gaming facilities. People watching can occupy you for hours. Only a few lounges (AmEx and United), some Xpress Spas, weird B list mall stores, no luxury purveyors because I think they want you to spend the money in their casinos instead)