On my most recent excursion to Las Vegas, I flew into/out of Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport. This airport has been in service for over 50 years, so who cares? Well, in late-July all international and some domestic operations started in Terminal 3, or T3 for short. Upon arrival, the terminal still smelled like new paint. Although, it may have been ‘new terminal euphoria’ since I knew that it was less than a week old and I wanted to take it all in. Knowing I would have more time to do so on my way home, I stuck with my friends and went to our hotel.
When arriving at the airport by car/bus/shuttle, T3 has a different schema than the rest of the airport. The rest of the airport has the roadway on one level with arrivals and departures facing each other. It only made sense for T3 to do what almost all other airports do and have departures on the upper level and arrivals on the lower level. This makes for a lot less traffic congestion, in my opinion.
Getting through security was a breeze. They had almost all of the lanes open so there was only 2-3 people in each lane. However, I don’t trust those new backscatter machines or whatever they’re called so I asked for a pat-down. While I probably could have gotten through security in less than 5 minutes, the pat down really isn’t that bad. They tell you what they are going to do and it doesn’t take that much time. Well worth it considering the health risks involved with the new x-ray machines. And usually, the TSA officer is fairly friendly.
At T3, airlines do not have assigned gates so you have to look at the electronic departures board to see what gate your flight is leaving from. However, it seemed to me like all of the international departures were at one and and domestic at the other.
It was pretty cool walking around and catching a glimpse of a Virgin Atlantic 747 bound for London-Gatwick. The terminal is light and airy, though I would have preferred the windows overlooking the tarmac to be a bit taller (but that’s personal preference). There were your standard shops, coffee shops, and restaurants though no McDonalds!
As you can imagine, overall I had a good experience at T3. It was clean, had an ample amount of seats, etc. However, one thing that I can’t say was a good part was the boarding process. T3 is piloting a self-serve boarding process. You scan your boarding pass and a turnstile lets you through. It may be more efficient when compared to standard boarding procedures, when it works of course. When I went to scan my boarding pass, it didn’t scan. Even the gate agent who was standing there couldn’t get it to scan. I have no doubt this new procedure helps the boarding process become more efficient and therefore lowers costs. Can someone tell me how it does that? There was still the gate agent standing there that had to look at my boarding pass. The line was held up because the machine wouldn’t do what it was designed to do. I’m not a fan.