Wednesday, June 20, 2012 | 3:49 p.m.
Every day, approximately 970 flights arrive or depart from McCarran International Airport. And every day, they service an average of 114,000 people for an annual total upwards of 41 million. That means every year, 41 million people watch videos of Klingons at security, wait at overcrowded ticket counters and navigate an airport that feels dated, from the carpets to the baggage claim. As far as rolling out the Las Vegas welcome mat, we can do better.
Starting on June 27, we will. That’s opening day for McCarran’s shiny new Terminal 3, a $2.4 billion addition that will house 14 gates (including seven international gates) with 100 percent Wi-Fi access and an added eight levels of parking. While you might enjoy breathing in that new airport smell and marveling at 15,000 square feet of skylights, for people charged with bringing new players to Las Vegas, Terminal 3 is more than a pleasant detour on the way to the Strip—it’s a crucial first impression.
“Traveling’s tough on you already,” says Larry Altschul, Wynn’s executive VP of player development. “Anytime you can make something more convenient and enhance the experience, it will enhance the return.”
For international visitors, added airlines and flights at Terminal 3 could eventually make the standard LA or San Francisco stopover a thing of the past. For domestic tourists, a better airport experience means a better impression of Las Vegas on the way out of town, a better chance that they’ll come back soon.
“I’m just excited about the expansion and room for growth,” Altschul says. “Numbers are my life. The more chance I get to talk to 100,000 people instead of 80,000, I like that propensity, I like that chance.”