Approximate 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 two 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.
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. A 1.9-million-square-foot expansion of Terminal 3 was completed in 2012, opening an additional 14 gates for domestic and international service, an eight-story parking garage, and more than a dozen stores and restaurants.
Also, McCarran is close enough to the Strip that, if you ever find yourself with a few hours to kill, you can easily catch a 15-minute cab ride to one of the South Strip casinos (Mandalay Bay and Luxor are closest) to 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, Nevada, 89119. 702/261–5211; www.mccarran.com.
By bus: If you're heading Downtown or to the south end of the Strip, the public bus is the cheapest, and often quickest, way from the airport. The Westcliff Airport Express (WAX) travels south- and eastbound from McCarran Airport and includes stops along the Strip at Tropicana Avenue, the Las Vegas Premium Outlets, and Downtown at 4th and Carson, about a two-minute walk from Fremont Street Experience. The service operates seven days a week from approximately 5 am to midnight. The bus runs approximately every half hour during peak hours and every hour during nonpeak hours. Note: The bus is clean and comfortable, but contains no racks for luggage. When boarding the bus, tell the driver where you're going before paying. When on board, alert him or her to your approaching stop by ringing the buzzer.
The transit stop for WAX is on Level Zero, below baggage claim, at the south end of the bus plaza. When departing McCarran Airport from Terminal 1, follow signs for Ground Transportation. Once outside, proceed across the pedestrian crosswalk, turn right toward the parking garage, and follow signs for the public bus stop. Exact change of $2 ($1 with a Medicare card, student ID (ages 6–17) or reduced-fare card from another system) is the fare for a single ride. The ticket vending machine accepts credit or debit cards to purchase a 2- or 24-hour pass, $6 and $8, respectively; passes also can be purchased aboard Deuce buses. The ride from the airport to the Strip will take 10 to 20 minutes, depending on ridership and traffic; to Downtown about 30 to 55 minutes. The transit stop for WAX in Terminal 3 also is on Level Zero. Follow signs for Ground Transportation and then for Public Transportation.
By shuttle van:First check with your hotel, because several of them, such as Green Valley Ranch in Henderson and Red Rock Resort in Summerlin, offer customers free round-trip shuttle rides. This is one of the cheapest ways to get from McCarran to your hotel otherwise. Shuttle service is shared with other riders, and costs $11 to $13 per person to the Strip or Downtown, and about $25 to outlying casinos (excluding tips). If you have a large party, group rates are available. The vans wait for passengers outside the terminal in marked areas. Because the vans often make numerous stops at different hotels, it's not the best means of transportation if you're in a hurry. For round-trip service, save time and money by booking online and printing out your vouchers beforehand.
By taxi: The metered cabs awaiting your arrival at McCarran are one of the quickest ways to get to your destination (see Taxi Travel below for more information).
By town car: These rides are a bit more expensive than the average taxicab and must be reserved ahead of time, but they are cleaner and more convenient. A chauffeur from Las Vegas Limousines, for example, will meet and greet you at baggage claim, assist with luggage, and whisk you away in a luxury sedan, with seating for four, for $50 an hour.
Bell Trans. 800/274–7433; www.bell-trans.com.
Las Vegas Limousines. 702/888–4848; www.lasvegaslimo.com.
Showtime Tours. 702/895–9976; www.showtimetourslv.com.
Westcliff Airport Express (WAX). 702/228–7433; www.rtcsnv.com.
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 a dominant airline, offering 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. Virgin America also has come on strong in recent years. Be sure to check the rates of the other airlines that serve Las Vegas, such as Delta, jetBlue, Frontier Airlines, United, and Alaska Airlines.
Alaska Air. 800/426–0333; www.alaskaair.com.
American Airlines. 800/433–7300; 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.