Harry Reid International Airport (LAS IATA), formerly known as McCarran International Airport, is the main airport of Las Vegas. The gate areas are famously full of slot machines, fittingly enough for Sin City.
For departing flights:
- Allow plenty of time for security screening, especially on those days when major conventions end. Or schedule your flight at another day or time if you can.
- Curbside check-in counters can save time, but will cost you $4 per bag + tip, and if you are flying an "open" ticket, you won't be allocated a seat number until boarding time — likely an undesirable one.
The airport's former name honored Pat McCarran, a senator from the state of Nevada who had been in office for over 20 years. Noted for his advocacy of aviation, McCarran's tenure was also marked by anti-Semitic and racist policies, which generated controversy and calls to rename the airport. The airport was renamed in 2021 after Harry Reid, another senator from Nevada who had served for three decades.
- Terminal 1: Most domestic flights
- Terminal 3: All international flights, with service to Canada, Mexico, the UK, the Netherlands and Panama among other places, as well as domestic flights from certain airlines
- D Gates
- International: Aeromexico, Air Canada, Flair Airlines, Swoop, Viva Aerobus, Volaris, WestJet, Condor (D or E Gates), Swoop, Lynx (D or E Gates)
- Domestic: Breeze Airways, Frontier, JetBlue, Hawaiian, Sun Country Airlines, United
- E Gates
- D Gates
The D gates are between terminals 1 and 3. All gates are connected to each other airside (you may have to ride a people mover).
Terminal 1 opened in 1963. It has been heavily renovated since, but now looks like a dated relic of the early 1990s. It has low ceilings in several areas, especially the C Gates. Terminal 3 opened in 2012 and features a contemporary design with high ceilings. Terminal 2 closed in 2012 and has been demolished.
To travel between the airport and your Strip hotel:
- Taxis cost $19, $23, or $27 from the airport to a Strip location. The Nevada Taxicab Authority has established flat rates for trips from the airport to hotels on or near the Strip, with fares of $19 for the south zone, $23 for the central zone, and $27 for the north zone. Outside the specified zones, metered rates continue to apply. The taxi line is well organized and the city taxi dispatcher will direct you to a numbered space along the curb. You need not tip the taxi dispatcher. If you feel you have been taken advantage of by the taxi driver, take down the driver's license number and contact the Nevada Taxicab Authority.
- Limousines cost ~$35.
The Las Vegas monorail does not extend to the airport and possibly never will, but there are other options
- RTC Transit operates routes (see Airport Transit Routes[dead link] for further details):
- Bus 108 costs $2 each way (regular Residential Route fare) and departs every 20–30 minutes from Terminal 1. The bus travels along Paradise Road to the Convention Center and the LV Hilton, taking about 20–25 minutes. At the intersection of Paradise Road and the Strip (Las Vegas Boulevard), you can switch to the Deuce shuttle bus, traveling north to downtown or south to other hotel casinos.
- Westcliff Airport Express (WAX) bus runs from Terminal 1 and 3 to Tropicana and Las Vegas Blvd, the MGM Grand Casino, Excalibur, New York-New York, the Bonneville Transit Center and downtown Fourth street and Carlson. A regular one-way ticket costs $2, a 2-hr ticket $3 and a 24-hr ticket $5 (regular Residential Route fare).
- Centennial Express (CX) runs from Terminal 3 to the University of Las Vegas, Wynn resort, Palazzo, TI, Fashion Show Mall, before serving Bonneville Transit Center and downtown Fourth street and Carlson like the WAX bus.
- Bus 109 Southbound runs from Terminal 1 and goes to the South Strip Transfer Terminal (SSTT) where you have to change to the Strip & Downtown Express (SDX). Since this involves a non-residential bus, you should buy a Strip & All Access Pass (2-hr ticket for $6 or a 24-hr ticket for $8).
- At Terminal 1, the RTC Transit bus stop is located at Ground Level Zero. Take the escalator down from the baggage claim and walk towards the parking garage. The covered bus stop is on the right. At Terminal 3, the bus stop is located on the west end of Level Zero. Exit the terminal from doors 51-58, turn left and follow the orange public transport signs.
- Shuttle Buses will take you to any hotel on the Strip (around $15 return) or downtown (around $18 return). Some hotels offer their own shuttle service.
By rental car
The McCarran Rent-A-Car Center (7135 Gillespie Street) is off-site, about three miles south of the airport across I-215. Shuttle buses circulate between Terminals 1 and 3 and the Rent-A-Car Center approximately every five minutes; the trip takes about seven minutes each way (when there is no traffic).
- Arriving passengers should follow the signs for Ground Transportation and board the shuttle at the designated bus stops at Terminals 1 and 3.
- Departing passengers should follow the signs for Rental Car Return, then board the bus to either Terminal 1 or 3 from the Rent-A-Car Center main lobby. Since travel and wait times may vary by traffic conditions and passenger volume (e.g. after a major event), passengers should allow sufficient time to return their car and catch the shuttle in time to check in for their flight.
At the Rent-A-Car Center, a clerk will assign you a vehicle and direct you to a space in the vast parking garage that surrounds the center. If they hand you a form to record existing damage, walk around the car and record all such damage before you start the car. If you don't do that, the guard at the garage exit will recommend that you do so before leaving, and while you work on that, you will annoy everyone stuck in line behind you.
As of 2023, high rental car rates due to the COVID car shortage and high overnight parking fees at Strip hotels are causing many tourists to become creative in controlling rental car costs. One common strategy (if one has a late flight) is to reserve a car for midnight on the last day of one's visit, then stay up late sightseeing and gambling the night before and then taking the Deuce bus to the Rent-A-Car center at around 11PM to pick up the car. If you try that, don't be surprised to see large crowds and long lines at 11:45PM in the Rent-A-Car Center.
By ride hailing app
Lyft/Uber pickup is on level 2 of the parking garage in Terminal 1, and on the valet level of the parking garage in Terminal 3.
A free shuttle runs every 12-15 minutes between the terminals before security. It has the McCarran logo on it.
At Terminal 1, the shuttle bus stop is located on Level Zero. From baggage claim, take the elevator or escalators down one level and exit the terminal building. Take the pedestrian crosswalk toward the covered parking garage to the courtesy shuttle stop.
At Terminal 3, the shuttle bus stop is located on Level Zero in the center of the curb.
A tram (people mover) ride is required for flights to and from concourse D. When departing from Concourse D, passengers flying with Air Canada, Cal Jet, Frontier, Hawaiian, Sun Country Airlines, or United take the Red line from Terminal 3. Other airlines take the Blue line from Terminal 1. The only other tram, the Green line, is used to speed up travel between Terminal 1 and Concourse C.
All three tram lines are airside, which means that you can move between any of the gates during a layover without having to go through security again. If you have a long layover and want to use the tram to explore other concourses, make sure you leave yourself enough time, as Terminal 1 in particular is quite confusing to navigate. Some of the signs that claim to point to other gates in fact point out of the secure area, so pay attention. If you get lost, remember that the blue line connects the D gates with the C gates, which you must pass by if you're trying to get to/from A or B. (Or look at the map.)
The airport is one of the few in the world to have slot machines in it, meaning you can lose your entire vacation budget within minutes of stepping off the plane. There's not much else to do after security... maybe that's to encourage you to waste your money at the slot machines.
There are a few small massage/spa parlors scattered around the airside area.
- Aviation Museum (Main exhibit in Terminal 1, Level 2 above baggage claim. Other exhibits sprinkled throughout the airport), ☏ .
Eat and drink
Drinking water fountains can be found throughout the airport.
- 1 Moe's Southwest Grill, Gate A15. 5AM–1AM daily. Burritos, burrito bowls, nachos, and quesadillas, surprisingly tasty as evidenced by the occasional lines stretching out the entrance. Like Chipotle, you choose which ingredients you want added to the burrito and the person behind the counter adds them. The veggie burrito is perhaps the best vegan option at LAS (if you ask them to leave off the cheese). $12–19 including a drink.
Jewelry, Vegas souvenirs, and the usual selection of travel necessities, plus "duty-free" shops with brand-name cosmetics, alcohol, etc.
Currency exchange is outside security in Terminal 1 and Terminal 3.
- Liquor Library (Terminal One Baggage Claim, across from Carousel #1), ☏ , email@example.com.
The airport provides free Wi-Fi without registration.
There's a post office in Terminal 1.
Pay phones and courtesy phones still exist throughout the airport.
Lost and found offices are on level 2 (landside) of each terminal.
Currency exchange is available outside baggage claim in terminal 1 and 3.
- There are scores of hotels across Vegas and they are used to people coming and going at all hours of the day and night.
- 1 Best Western McCarran Inn, 4970 Paradise Rd, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: Noon. Free airport shuttle (5AM-11PM), breakfast, and WiFi.
- 2 Tru by Hilton Las Vegas Airport, 6862 Gilespie St, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM.
- Zero Level Fitness. Located in the arrivals hall of Terminal 1. A 24 hour gym containing small sleep rooms. Includes access to the fitness center, showers, and towels.
Take a cab or Uber and check out the glitz and glamour of The Strip.