Updated: May 21, 2015

McCarran International Airport - LAS:

One of the fastest growing cities in America over the last decade has consistently been Las Vegas, Nevada. With mega hotel/casinos that draw in tourists year round, Las Vegas Airport handles millions of passengers each year. I have flown into the airport many times over the years and it does appear to be able deal with all those people pretty well. They have a tram system that shuttles passengers back and forth from the check-in area to the C Gates and the D Gates. The ATS Guideway, as it is called, it a great transfer system that hauls 100's of people back and forth every few minutes and makes getting into or out of the Vegas airport rather easy. Actually the airports official name is McCarran International Airport (airport code LAS) and it's located just a few blocks from the world famous Las Vegas Strip with all the big hotels like Luxor, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Wynn, Monte Carlo, MGM, and New York New York. It's really cool flying into the airport at night when all the lights from the casinos are lit up and you can see the Strip from miles away.


The one thing that Las Vegas is synonymous with is hot weather. This place gets up above 100 degrees on almost everyday in the summer months so expect that heat to hit you when you walk off the plane. I always fly in from Portland, Oregon and it takes me a little while to adjust to that extreme temperature. McCarran Airport even has slot machines so you can get in that one last pull before taking off to go home. I have always found the baggage claim to be efficient at LAS airport and all the ground transportation works quite smoothly given the # of passengers that use it each day. You can literally jump in a taxi and be on the Strip within about 10 minutes time. I would suggest flying into Vegas midweek to avoid the weekend crowds and definitely don't try flying home on a Sunday night or else expect the flight to be completely full. I just took a return flight home in May (2009) and the terminal was totally packed on Sunday night. Our flight had 1 empty seat so I know that even during a recession that the Vegas airport still does some impressive traffic on weekends. The airport itself has restaurants to eat at, sports bars, shopping, and even those slots I talked about above. I guess they just can't pass up the chance of taking more of your money. Be sure to watch out your window when you take off since the scenery is pretty amazing as you lift off over the massive hotels and get to see Sin City from above. The official website of the airport is at McCarran.com.

Directions to LAS (Las Vegas Airport):

I grew up in California going to airports like LAX and SFO, Vegas seems like a quiet airport overall with excellent access no matter which way you approach it. We have supplied a Las Vegas airport map down below to give you an idea of just how far it is from the Strip and I-15 and I-215. Give yourself a few extra minutes if you plan on returning a rental car as the shuttle is efficient but still requires some extra time.
For a more detailed page with driving directions and maps of LAS, then go HERE. As you get near the airport you will see signs posted on all major roadways that lead you right to McCarran International Airport. You will see on the map that you can get to the main dropoff and pickup spots at the airport by taking Paradise Rd.

Las Vegas Airport Map - Terminals and Airlines Served:

The airport map of Las Vegas below shows you the basic layout and the 2 terminals that the airport currently has. Terminal 2 is the international one and Terminal 1 is where the majority of the passenger traffic comes through with Concourse A, B, C, and D. International flights include airlines like Korean Air, Mexicana, Virgin Atlantic, and Air Canada. On the domestic side of things airlines that come and go from Terminal 1 are American, Southwest, Alaska, Northwest, Continental, JetBlue, United, Delta, and several others. Southwest Airlines flys mainly from Concourse B & C gates and Alaska and American Airlines are out of the D gates.
You will be required to take the tram between the C gates and the main terminal when you arrive. Just follow the signs to baggage claim and ground transportation and you will see everyone else getting on the tram that literally takes 1 minute to transfer you to the luggage area and rental car shuttle buses.

Parking - Short Term vs Long Term:

Parking at any major airport can be a hassle depending on day of the week and time of the year. The short term parking lot at McCarran Airport is very convenient and rates are roughly $4.50 for 3 hours (maximum time allowed). The long term parking garage at LAS is actually much cheaper than many of the other airports out on the west coast in terms of daily rates. It's $14/day compared to almost $25 that we pay here at PDX. The first hour is $3 and each additional hour is $1 or until you reach the daily max. You can read up on all the details HERE. They take VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club and Discover as forms of payment in the long term lot at McCarran. The new economy parking lot on Gus Guiffre Drive is now open and it's only $8/day to park there. That's the best deal if you have time to park your car, catch the shuttle, and still check in for your flight. If you are so inclined, they do offer valet parking at the Las Vegas airport where you just drive up to the terminal and they take your car and park it for your. Cost is $21/day.

Airport Shuttles and Ground Transportation for Las Vegas:

Taxis are a great way to quickly leave the airport and get to the hotel you are staying at in Las Vegas. They may also be the most expensive option depending on how many in your party and how far away your hotel is. The airport shuttle services out of Las Vegas airport as a great deal and worth it if you are traveling with a group. Reservations are recommended on airport shuttles from LAS so that you can efficiently get from the airport to your final destination and not waste time. Expect to spend about $12 for a roundtrip ticket that gets you to almost any Strip hotel. It's more like $15 for a roundtrip pass to downtown hotels. Off-Strip hotels are a touch more and true limousine service will cost you $50 and up for an hour of their time. I did that one year with my wife when all the new hotels were being built back in 1997. We took a limousine down the Strip and took in all the sights and people for that hour. Check out all the shuttle and limousine service at McCarran Airport here.