Just east of the famous Las Vegas Strip and about 5 miles south of downtown at Paradise and East Russell roads, McCarran Airport is busy nearly around the clock, much like the city it serves. The drive time to the heart of the Las Vegas Strip is about 10 minutes in normal traffic. Downtown Las Vegas takes about 20 minutes.
McCarran airport has two terminals, Terminal 1 and Terminal 3, each with separate parking, check-in and baggage claim areas. The two terminals are not physically connected. Airlines at Terminal 1 use the A, B, C and D gates. Airlines at Terminal 3 use the D and E gates. The A and B gates are connected to Terminal 1 and the E gates are part of Terminal 3. The other gates are reached using three separate automated people movers; one connects Terminal 1 with the C gates, another connects Terminal 1 with the D gates and the third connects Terminal 3 with the D gates.
International airlines use Terminal 3.
McCarran Airport is in the midst of a $13 million renovation of the C gates area. During construction most Southwest Airlines flights will use the B gates, though some will continue to use the C gates. The project is expected to be completed by late summer 2021.
The airport advises passengers making connections between airlines using different terminals to use a courtesy shuttle on the roadway outside of the terminals but that requires leaving the TSA secure area and being re-screened. It is possible to connect to all gates within the secure area but it can be tricky, especially when going between the C and D gates. To stay within the secure area, passengers from either the C or D gates should take the people mover to Terminal 1. Exit the train but do not follow the crowds to baggage claim, instead just before the exit use an opening in the partition that will allow you to go to the adjacent people mover that will take you back to the opposite concourse. The opening in the partition is marked but it can be easily missed.
Taxis and app-based ride services are plentiful and dominate ground transportation options at McCarran. Cab stands are curbside outside baggage claim. App-based rides are met in the parking garage. Follow signs to the walkway to the boarding area. Other ground transportation choices include limousines and rental cars. The public transit system, operated by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) has four routes that serve the airport, including two express routes. Be aware that not all routes serve both terminals.
Allegiant Air flights arrive and depart at the A gates in Terminal 1 at McCarran airport.
Southwest Airlines flights arrive and depart using gates on the B and C concourses in Terminal 1 at McCarran airport. All of Southwest’s gates normally can be reached without leaving the TSA secure area but passengers are advised that construction to renovate the C gates area could interfere. Most Southwest flights will operate using the B gates during construction, though some will continue to use the C gates. The project is due to be completed at the end of summer 2021.
Nicknamed Sin City and in keeping with the saying “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” Las Vegas is an adult playground with mega resorts and top-name entertainment. It also is a rapidly growing venue for major sports and is routinely home to some of the biggest conventions in the world. Oh, and then there’s gambling.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has information here.
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