Posted by: pizzainmotion | October 28, 2012

My First Spin Through the New Terminal In Las Vegas And a Useful Tip On How To Get Through Security Quickly

I haven’t been traveling to Las Vegas as often as I used to, which has lead to a serious dent in my poker playing.  Along with a brief stop at the Palazzo a few weeks ago, I also had a chance to walk through the new E terminal at McCarran airport.

For those who have travel scheduled from Las Vegas on United Airlines anytime soon, there’s a useful tip on how to get through security quickly.  It lead to a big fight with my cab driver on the way to the airport with him almost refusing to stop the cab and drop me off (actually had to raise my voice and scream at him a bit).

See, cabbies are being instructed to drop off United passengers at the new terminal (T3).  Both United and Hawaiian operate out of the D terminal but have moved ticket counters over to T3.  So, if you print your boarding pass before you leave (or use Passbook, which I highly recommend) you can still get dropped off at T1.  The best way to do so is to ask to be dropped off in the middle lane at the departures area, then head LEFT to the baggage claim area.  A quick elevator ride upstairs and you’re outside the security for C and D.  When I blew threw it was empty, no surprise since they’ve moved all the UA and Hawaiian passengers to a different checkpoint.  And, right in between the D and C checkpoints, there’s a TSA Pre-Check line.

I was literally the only person in the entire D security area when I walked up.  Unless you need to change your ticket or checck a bag, there’s no reason you ever need to be at a ticket counter anyway.

Since I got there a bit early for my flight and took less then 3 minutes to get through security, I took the train over to the new T3 and explored the E gates.

The terminal is wide and airy with easy to read directional signs all around.

The gates themselves are a bit odd, in that when you walk up you can’t actually see the departure information, just the gate number in big letters.  Not the end of the world, but definitely different then most airports you’ll see.

The airport has also installed automated readers at the gates that are capable of boarding flights without gate agents.  These have already been around in Europe for a while and seem to work fairly well, so it was probably only a matter of time before they started popping up in the US.

The E terminal also has a couple of decent restaurants alongside the normal fast food fare, including Pei Wei and a steak house I’m not familiar with.

And, finally, they managed to find a few vintage slot machines to stick in amongst the gates.  So, you can definitely still get your gambling groove on albeit on older technology.

Anyone else been through the new terminal yet?


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