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Home / 5 things you don't know (but should) about McCarran International Airport  

Flying into (and out of) Las Vegas isn't quite the same as flying into, say, Des Moines (my hometown).

The view entering Sin City is unlike any other. As your flight approaches the Las Vegas valley, you'll notice bright lights and massive hotels. When I fly into most destinations, there isn't much to see.

When you arrive at McCarran International Airport, you'll also notice there are some things different than your hometown airport.  

You can start gambling the moment you get off the plane

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

In Las Vegas, there are slot machines darn near everywhere – even at the grocery stores. That includes the airport. There are hundreds of slot machines throughout the airport, which is sort of nice if you have a long wait for your flight or are waiting for your shuttle. However, I suggest you hold off on gambling until you get to your hotel. I'd hate for you to blow all your vacation money before checking into the hotel.  

But you don't get any free drinks  

At nearly every casino in Las Vegas, gamblers are offered free drinks while they play. Unfortunately, this doesn't apply to the airport. This is another reason why you shouldn't waste your money on slot machines at the airport. The slot machines are just as loose at Caesars Palace. 

Spending a fortune for transportation to and from the airport isn't necessary

Taxis and limos are expensive. Those are the two most popular ways to get to and from the airport. But if you are like me and care more about getting to your hotel than getting there in style, there are some inexpensive shuttles. You'll be shuttled to your hotel in a shared small bus for less than $10 each way. Some hotels, including the Silverton, offer free airport shuttles.  

The airport doesn't like Heidi Klum  

Photo courtesy of The Sharper Image

Take a look at our recent article about a Heidi Klum ad banned from the airport. This was rather disappointing, in my opinion. The airport forced the advertiser to scale back the sexiness of the ad, removing any nudity, which is kind of strange considering the location. Las Vegas wasn't dubbed "Sin City" because of its ultra-Conservative philosophies. This city was built on alcohol, gambling, excitement, and, yes, hot naked women. If supermodel Heidi Klum wants travelers at the airport to see her naked, I say let her do so!  

It's one of the busiest airports in the world  

The city of Las Vegas isn't even in the top 50 largest cities in the world, but because Vegas attracts so much tourism, we have one of the busiest airports in the world. McCarran ranks 24th worldwide in passenger traffic, and ranks 8th in the world in number of annual takeoffs and landings. You won't find another airport with more incoming and outgoing Southwest Airlines flights than McCarran. The bad news is McCarran is often extremely busy. The good news is they have more security lines than any airport I can think of, so you're never stuck in line for too long.  

McCarran isn't an ordinary airport. As soon as you get off the plane, you'll notice slot machines and large banner ads promoting exciting events throughout the city. Just make sure you don't spend too much money at the airport. You might not have any left for the clubs.              

Jon Sofen
Jon Sofen is a freelance writer residing in Las Vegas. His areas of expertise range from sports and poker to travel and entertainment. His goal is to provide insightful commentary on his favorite activities in his favorite cities. Jon is an experienced Copywriter. You can visit his website at or follow him on Twitter.



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