May 19
by Don

There are just so many things to talk about when talking about Vegas, so let’s begin at the beginning: Flights.

Now a couple of years ago I finally decided to consolidate my air travel to one airline.  Like most people I would always go to Orbitz and find the cheapest flight and just go from there.  That’s pretty much how I did it for the first couple of years and all was well.  Then I took a look at my miles and realized that I had a ton of miles, but they were spread out across 5 airlines.  And of course I didn’t have enough to do anything on any one of them.

So I decided to take the plunge and pick one carrier and go with it.  The winner was US Airways.  Now about a year after that decision was made I moved to Atlanta for work and of course the two players in this market is Delta and AirTran.  Not to worry though, this decision would turn out to be mint, read on.

Hopefully you do live near a rather larger airport because you will need a lot of flight options when coming to Vegas.  Luckily there are about a million flights into Sin City every day, a ton from LA if you happen to be so lucky.  If you are an East Coaster like me, the distance makes it unrealistic to do any trip less than 3 nights.  I say this because if you are trying to make a weekend out of it and you fly out on Friday night; you inevitably will stay up way to late and then be the walking dead come Saturday.  You will surely catch your 2nd wind and stay up even later on Saturday night and then just be a pile of dung for Sunday as you fly back east all day.  This makes for one crappy Monday morning that you just don’t want to put yourself through.  So you should stay that Sunday night or fly in Thursday so you don’t feel cheated.  Now back to flying…

The real reason to consolidate your air travel is so you can actually achieve some status and potentially some first class upgrades.  Now I am not suggesting that you need to fly to Vegas first class by any means, but it sure is nice.  This is especially true if you are doing it for the cost of a coach ticket.  Enter US Airways.

Since they are not the major player in the ATL, there are not that many Silver, Gold, Platinum, or Chairmen people flying on US Airways; so subsequently yours truly (along with my companion on the same reservation) gets the upgrade just about every time.  This is even more important as I have learned over the years that Lori’s back is not so great when it comes to long flights.  The difference in the seats is like night and day when it comes to her demeanor when disembarking from the plane.  Then you throw in your free adult beverages, meals, and ridiculous amounts of snacks you can easily see the benefits of a little brand loyalty.

(This is a good time to point out that I am bummed that they don’t carry my drink of choice, Johnnie Walker Black.  Sure it’s not a deal breaker, Jack and coke is a fine drink in its own right, but man it would be nice.  I am just saying…)

There are also different things that you can see depending on when you fly into Vegas.  If you take a morning flight from say Florida and you are running ahead of schedule, the pilot often times will bank the plane over the Grand Canyon and then the Hover Dam.  I have been on both sides of the plane when this has happened and the view is amazing for both. 

If you are taking the Red Eye in, well there is nothing cooler than seeing the lights of the strip for the first time.  The crazy thing is the airport could not be closer to the strip so sometimes it looks like you are going to fly right into it!  It feels like a homecoming of sorts when I see that because I know how much fun I will have.  That feeling definitely changes over the years from the excitement of the unknown to one of going home to your hometown and seeing what’s changed.  But Vegas is nothing like your hometown.  This city constantly changes with new casinos and attractions that you are always left with a sense of wonderment as to how every city in America embraces their history and historical buildings and Vegas is the complete opposite.  If it’s not making money then it doesn’t make sense, and then poof it’s gone.

Vegas, it’s my kind of town.