Monday, July 25, 2011

US Summer 2011: In Flight, Mc Carran Las Vegas!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Date: July 9, 2011
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Once again I was in the neon - lit desert city of Las Vegas, Nevada last July 9, 2011! This time though, I didn't do a 5-day vacay like in 2002 visiting The Strip , watching exciting free shows at the casinos or enjoying this so - called Sin City's own versions of the roller coasters, gondola rides, or Eiffel Tower! I was just there for four (4) hours!

So where I could possibly be? Here are some clues: (i) I have taken these two pictures there(ooops no scrolling down yet, pls. haha), (ii) I was bombarded with slot machines after slot machines upon exiting the gate, (iii) the bright "Welcome to Las Vegas!" sign instantly put me in a great mood, and (iv) I have spotted a sign that says "what happens here, stays here (just a friendly reminder)! Nah. Not at one of the hotels or casinos (although the place looks so much like both a hotel and a casino!).

Drum roll... For the first time, I found myself inside the Clark County's Mc Carran International Airport! I have a four - hour connecting flight to Newark, New Jersey from San Francisco, California. How boring could that be!

To my chagrin this airport sure isn't boring! In fact, from a traveler's standpoint I enjoyed having to wait (eventhough,as initially intended for that long lay over, I wasn't able to meet friends who live in this so-called Entertainment Capital of the World).

McCarran International Airport consists of two separate terminal buildings with 95 aircraft gates, including four (4) international. It is unique in the sense that if offer's me another side of the "Vegas experience" as soon as I stepped off the plane.

Although not the top awardee for the best big airport in the US, Mc Carran is, to date, my favorite airport (among those more popular others I have flown in the US including the modern and spacious SFO). All the things I hope for in an airport is here! I listed the Ten Reasons Why I Love Mc Carran (not the Senator,but the airport!!):

1. Plenty of Seating

As I stepped off my flight, I saw plenty of seating options in front of tv screens in addition to the ubiquitous slots machines (which doesn't attract me coz I don't gamble!) but fascinating to see anyway. Besides,it wouldn't be the main Vegas airport without a view of The Strip (called Air Strip) and slot machines.

2. Free Public Wifi

Nothing like killing time in the terminal without paying a premium for it. Yes, this airport has a FREE Wifi (anywhere at the terminal!). I was able to take advantage of the free internet to get all of my work done.

3. Plenty of Laptop Stations

Laptop browsing on the airport chairs sans a table isn't very comfortable. So the real plus in this airport is plenty of laptop stations with wide individual table cubicles and comfortable chairs! Also at no cost!!!

4. Wall of plugs!

Speaking of plus, what would be a better way to enjoy the free wifi on a free, wide comfortable laptop station than having a great amount of free outlet plugs! That's what all airports need a charge up wall. I was able to charge my netbook, camera and my cellphone, all at the same time!

5. Cellphone Plugs

But if you only need to plug in your phone (or other electronics) and you forgot your cable wire, there are easy-to-charge outlets to plug in for a fee. Rapid Chargers is everything for $10!

6. Smart Lockers

After doing all my contract reviews/FBing and blogging, I felt inclined to go around and eat and shop. But I have a huge,heavy, backbreaking backpack to carry around!Not FUN! Good thing Mc Carran has plenty of lockers beside the laptop stations where I stored my bag using Smarte Carte's state-of-the-art biometric technology. Smarte Locker is a self-serve locker using the touch screen rental point. For a $2, I was able to roam around for an hour!

7) Well - Marked, Flat and Well - Kept

These adjectives refer to the airport being well - marked that makes it easy to navigate despite being big, having escalators that are flat(my pet peeves), and bathrooms that are spacious and well-kept. For me these are the three must-haves for an airport - coz I suck at directions, escalators and need bathroom fix!

8. Pretty decent shops

The airport has more than 50 retail shops which are pretty decent and make the 'get- it- now and leave' kinda gifts readily available. And for chocolate lovers like me,the 'in' thing in Mc Carran is the Ethel Chocolate Lounge where you can splurge on this sweet sensations! (why I didn't buy some? my next post will explain haha)

8. Decent Restaurants

The airport also has a good selection of places to eat with its nearly 30 restaurants, lounges, and snack bars. Whether you want a sandwich, quick lunch, sit down meal, sit at the bar, have a drink and watch the game, or just grab a snack, this airport seems to have all the choices.Granted, they are expensive, but I can't think of any airport where this isn't the case.

9) Airport Museum

Located on the Esplanade, Level 2 is the Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum. This small museum is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no cost! I visited the small branch of the museum located at the D gates where I exited, and was really fascinated with the displays. This is my first airport museum visited!

10) Place To People Watch

The people at this airport is quite a scenery. So if you are like me who loves to watch people, this is the place to be since travelers from all over the world arrive and depart through this airport for many reasons. I got to observe a diversified mix of human behavior!

Quite a pleasant experience for an airport. At Mc Carran International Airport!, a longg lay over comes with some perks!

(This is part of the 5-week US Summer Vacation series, which took place from June 30, 2011 to August 3,2011 and my first post on US airports In Flight series)

For other US Summer 2011 post please click:
US Travel Posts


  1. The airport museum is a nice idea, it gives you something else to see if you get bored people watching or surfing the net. Wish all airports would do the same - the free wifi at least :)

  2. yes Claire dear I too kinda like the airport museum concept which I believe aren't very many at present but would be good to have in most airports where delays occur more often or the hub for some airlines.thanks for dropping by.


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