Monday, July 30, 2012 | 4:30 p.m.
Let the confusion begin at McCarran International Airport.
One month after opening the airport’s new Terminal 3, the second round of airline move-ins begins Tuesday — a shuffle that will reduce airport congestion but is bound to confuse passengers who have always gone to Terminal 1.
Five airlines — Alaska, Frontier, JetBlue, Sun Country and Virgin America — are moving their ticket counters, check-in and baggage claim facilities to the new $2.4 billion terminal building east of the main concourse.
The five airlines will join 16 international carriers at Terminal 3 and use Gates E8 through E15.
Terminal 3 is a 14-gate, standalone terminal that has its own parking garage, ticketing lobby, baggage claim, security checkpoints and 16 stores and restaurants. It opened June 27.
The five busiest airlines at McCarran — Southwest, Delta, American, United and Allegiant — are staying put for now, and customers will continue to park and check in where they always have.
“Relocating some domestic airlines to Terminal 3 will improve our customers’ airport experience by enabling us to ease peak-period congestion with Terminal 1’s departures roadways, ticketing lobby, baggage claim and passenger pick-up areas,” said Randall Walker, director of the Clark County Aviation Department.
“We recognize local travelers have long been accustomed to finding nearly all of McCarran’s domestic carriers at Terminal 1, so this will be quite a change,” Walker said.
McCarran officials have instituted a “Know Before You Go” awareness campaign to encourage airport users to figure out which terminal they are flying out of before reaching the airport. Electronic signs on Eastern Avenue, Russell Road, Paradise Road and the ramps from Interstate 215 to the airport tunnel will identify which airlines are at which terminal.
The airport’s newly redesigned mccarran.com website also has maps showing the best routes to Terminal 3.
For passengers who err or park at the wrong terminal, there’s a shuttle service between the two terminal buildings.
Terminal 3 will have one more move-in next month.
On Aug. 22, United and Hawaiian airlines will shift their ticket counters and baggage claims from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3, though flights won’t leave from there. Passengers will depart the D gates, accessible via an underground tram from the new terminal.