The Thrill Of Flying Into Las Vegas On A Hot Summer Night

I've spent at least a week of the last ten years in Las Vegas. There have been times I've came with someone special and times I've came alone. One thing that hasn't changed is the joy of arriving. To those who have never flown in a commercial airliner I should tell you this : It's a wonderful thing to fly across the United States at about 35,000 feet, if you're lucky enough to do it without clouds (but looking at clouds during the DAY from above is also very cool, I'm very sorry if you had to fly at night with cloud cover), to have a window seat and see the ground below during the day is an experience you will never forget, to do it at night is to see a light show that makes you appreciate how great human civilization truly is.
I (but perhaps not you) will have a couple of drinks at the airport bar and then will board the flight to Vegas, then have a couple of more drinks, then about 3 hours approach Las Vegas at night by air is like seeing any other city at night in the middle of a desert, it looks like a jewel in the rough - a beacon for a ship lost at sea....but as you get closer you realize it's something even more special than that. You start making out the signature skyline of a city that was built on sin, pleasure, dreams, capitalism, courage, love, more specifically - the best and the worst of humanity. The Stratosphere is the thing you can't help but notice first, it rises 1,149 feet above the city, you will also notice Mandalay Bay, The Luxor pyramid and several other casinos.
You will land at McCarran International Airport, you make no mistake about it, this is one of the best managed airports in the world. I don't know if you're like me but I love to feel that heat hit my face as I get off the air conditioned flight (not that there is ANYTHING wrong with air conditioning mind you) - it makes me feel that part of my soul has been welcomed back "home". You get off the plane and immediately see slot machines and I certainly don't believe that Vegas expects you to play them but they are there to tell you "Welcome To Las Vegas !"
McCarren does an excellent job of directing it's passengers by the way of signs as to where to go, it's a pretty large airport so you need a shuttle to get to the baggage claim area, when I get there I enjoy ordering a double espresso as I wait for my baggage to come back and think about the possibilites that await me. I'll get my baggage, make it to a cab and give the driver the name of the ***** casino/hotel I will be staying at....then adventure awaits me, I'm not sure what's next, but I know I'm excited....because some of the best experiences of my life have happened after this...
Las Vegas really is one of the greatest cities in the history of the world.
41-45, M
1 Response Nov 26, 2012

Excellent story Mr, XRT. I lived in Vegas 2005 to 2008. All of its true. 35 million people/yr fly in or out of Mc Carren each yr. And yes thank God for cool air