Flying times to Las Vegas: from New York, 5 hours; from Dallas, 2 hours; from Chicago, 4 hours; from Los Angeles, 1 hour; from San Francisco, 1½ hours.
If you're leaving Las Vegas on a Sunday, be sure to arrive at the airport at least three hours before your scheduled departure time. Though the TSA has improved its operation at McCarran International, security lines on busy days still seemingly stretch forever, and inevitably, travelers miss flights.
A couple of Vegas hotels, including MGM Grand, offer off-site baggage check-in on the baggage-claim level, which allows hotel guests to obtain boarding passes and check their luggage directly at the hotel. Of course, even where off-site luggage check-in is not available, you can always save time by checking in online and printing out your boarding pass (or accessing it via app) before you depart for the airport.
Airline Security Issues
Transportation Security Administration (866/289–9673. www.tsa.gov.)
The gateway to Las Vegas is McCarran International Airport (LAS), 5 miles south of the business district and immediately east of the southern end of the Strip. The airport, just a few minutes' drive from the Strip, is well served by nonstop and direct flights from all around the country and a handful of international destinations. The airport is consistently rated among the most passenger-friendly airports in the United States. In June 2012, a 2.4 billion expansion of Terminal 3 was completed, opening an additional 14 gates for domestic and international service.
Also, McCarran's close enough to the Strip that if you ever find yourself with a few hours to kill, you can easily catch a 5- to 15-minute cab ride to the Hard Rock or one of the South Strip casinos (Mandalay Bay and Luxor are closest), and while away some time. Additionally, as you might expect, McCarran has scads of slot machines to keep you busy.
McCarran International Airport (LAS) (Paradise Road, Airport, Las Vegas, NV, 89119. 702/261–5211. www.mccarran.com.)
By shuttle van: This is the cheapest way from McCarran to your hotel. The service is shared with other riders, and costs $5 or $6 per person to the Strip, $7 to $15 to Downtown, and $10 to $30 to outlying casinos. The vans wait for passengers outside the terminal in a marked area. Because the vans make numerous stops at different hotels, it's not the best means of transportation if you're in a hurry.
By taxi: The metered cabs awaiting your arrival at McCarran are the quickest way of getting to your destination.
By town car: These rides are a bit more expensive than the average taxicab, but are much cleaner and nicer.
Bell Trans (800/274–7433. firstname.lastname@example.org. www.bell-trans.com.)
Gray Line (800/472–9546 or 303/394–6920. www.grayline.com.)
All the major airlines operate frequent service from their hub cities and, as a whole, offer one-stop connecting flights from virtually every city in the country. In addition to nonstop service from the usual hub cities (e.g., Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Minneapolis, Newark, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Francisco), nonstop service is offered to many other destinations, sometimes by smaller airlines. Southwest remains the dominant airline (carrying nearly double the number of passengers as its closest competitor, United), and it offers frequent flights to many cities in the South and West, including San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, Salt Lake, Denver, Albuquerque, and Phoenix. Be sure to check the rates of the other discount airlines that serve Las Vegas, such as, jetBlue, Frontier Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Horizon Air.
Alaska Air (800/252–7522. www.alaskaair.com.)
American Airlines (800/433–7300 or 800/223–5436. www.aa.com.)
Delta Airlines (800/221–1212. www.delta.com.)
Frontier Airlines (800/432–1359. www.flyfrontier.com.)
jetBlue (800/538–2583. www.jetblue.com.)
Southwest Airlines (800/435–9792. www.southwest.com.)
United Airlines (800/864–8331. www.united.com.)
Virgin America (877/359-8474. www.virginamerica.com.)
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