A Working Trip to Vegas (Trip Report)

Last week, Allegiant paid for me to come out to Vegas and speak to the attendees at its annual conference for the airports it serves. This is a great event that lets Allegiant talk about its own business to the airports so that it can further beat into them the importance of low costs. My speech wouldn’t have surprised any readers here since it brought up a lot of topics I’ve written about including small city service, ancillary revenue, and airport infrastructure. But it was a fun event, and I have to thank the Allegiant folks for bringing me out.

This trip wouldn’t be complete, however, without a trip report. Allegiant picked up the tab for the flights, so I don’t have exact amounts. I had hoped to fly out of Long Beach both ways, but there wasn’t a flight early enough on the way out so I had to go to LAX. In fact, my talk was originally early enough that I had to do the 6a flight on Southwest. When my talk was pushed back 30 minutes, they moved me an hour later. On the way home, I could still fly back to Long Beach. Both flights were uneventful.

On the way out, I got to LAX at 6a and was thrilled to find the security line inside the terminal. Still, it took me about 20 minutes to get through. My new laptop case was TSA-friendly, as promised, so that was a nice change of pace. By the time I got through, I went over to the cramped gate 2 for the flight.

May 10, 2012
Southwest 2404 Lv Los Angeles 705a Arr Las Vegas 810a
Los Angeles (LAX): Gate 2, Runway 24L, Depart 1m Late
Las Vegas (LAS): Gate C5, Runway 25L, Arrive 2m Early
N762WN, Boeing 737-7H4, Canyon Blue, 100% Full
Seat 6F
Flight Time 48m

From the looks of the gate area, this flight was going to be full. It was. We boarded on time and I grabbed a window seat on the right side. This airplane unfortunately had the old seats. I was hoping to try out the new Evolve ones.

From my seat, I saw a very un-Southwest site. There was a mountain of bags outside the window, all with a pink “transfer” sticker on them. Point to point? Not quite. The flight attendants were friendly but were smart enough not to get too cutesy at this early hour. They took drink orders before we pushed back so that they would be ready to go once we were in the air on our short flight.

We took off into the shallow marine layer and you could tell these pilots were enjoying themselves. We climbed quickly and had some sharp turns in there to get us on our course to Vegas. A couple bags of peanuts and pretzels later, we were landing in Vegas. (Unfortunately, it was the lightly salted peanut’s turn instead of honey roasted.)

I was off the plane quickly and on my way to New York, New York, where the event was being held.

I stayed the night in Vegas so I could join the airport folks for dinner and a show (Ka, which is kind of awesome). The next morning, I headed to the airport for my flight back to Long Beach. The line of cars getting into the terminal area was massive. I was reminded that it was mostly cabs coming in to pick up people coming to town – Friday in Vegas. I hopped out of the car as soon as we were near the terminal.

I had checked in the day before but I didn’t have a seat and none were on the seat map except for Even More Space seats and I didn’t want to pay the $15 for the short flight. So I checked in again at the airport, and it just printed out a boarding pass with no seat, saying to go to the gate.

As usual, the security line was insane. It took probably 20 minutes to get through, however, because they move those lines pretty well. The boarding pass said gate D18, but when I walked by D16, it said Long Beach on the board so I stopped there. The agent said no, that was next door and this flight was JFK. Ok.

I went next door and asked for a seat. They had me in a middle in Even More Space. I said, “I assume there are no windows open, right?” She said there actually was one but it didn’t have the extra legroom. I was fine with that. (JetBlue’s normal generous legroom is more than enough for me.)

So I grabbed seat 21F and boarded.

May 11, 2012
JetBlue 287 Lv Las Vegas 1048a Long Beach 1157a
Las Vegas (LAS): Gate D18, Runway 1R, Depart ~15m Late
Long Beach (LGB): Gate 2, Runway 30, Arrive 8m Late
N579JB, Airbus A320-232, Blueberries Tail (name Can’t Stop Lovin Blue), 100% Full
Seat 21F
Flight Time 42m

This flight was packed, and it was hot when I boarded. Fortunately it cooled down. We were ready to go on time, but the captain came on and said we’d be delayed 3 or 4 minutes due to “stuff.” Seriously. Really helpful announcement. Despite what the JetBlue flight status showed, we actually didn’t push back until about 15 minutes late. With LiveTV to watch, it was only mildly annoying.

We taxied out to what for me was a rare departure off runway 1R. We bounced out along the desert until we climbed above the heat for the short flight home. JetBlue has an express service so I just had a bottle of water and I passed on the snacks.

It was a very hazy day in the LA Basin, as we descended, but I had still a great view of Lake Arrowhead. Final approach was surprisingly bouncy. I was half expecting a go-around, actually, but he ended up putting us down almost halfway down the runway. We used all of what was left before taxiing back to the gate.

One of the perks of being at the back in Long Beach is that I was able to come down the back stairs. For a dork like me, that’s a great way to end a trip.

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