Las Vegas is the proud owner of a brand new terminal. An architectural modern cube of a terminal to be honest. This modest $2.4 billion addition gives McCarran International Airport 14 brand new gates open to both international and domestic flights. Totalling over 1.9million square feet, Terminal 3 is a state of the art building with modern technology at the forefront of it’s conception. T3 is also interestingly, the first terminal since 9/11 reinforcing possible growth in the American market. It is interesting the first terminal is in Vegas, as this was the first city to show any real sign of a recession about 3 or 4 years ago in the big dip.
McCarran’s press release states “Each check-in area is equipped with kiosks that allow passengers on participating air carriers to tag their own checked baggage, a time-saving initiative that has proven popular with travelers in recent U.S. trials and at airports outside the United States. In addition, each of T3’s 14 E gates has self check-in equipment to ease the boarding process. Nearby, 14 video pylons support multiple monitors that display imagery and weather conditions for the destination cities of aircraft the E gates serve. McCarran’s long-standing practice of providing free public wireless Internet access has also been extended to allow the Wi-Fi signal to be used by passengers on aircraft that are parked at any of T3’s gates.” A brilliant idea to open the Wi-Fi to passengers on the planes, allowing more convenience for their passengers.
I really do like the minimalist design of the airport. It’s large concrete dominant appearance holds well in the desert environment and stands its ground as a modern and simplistic terminal, no long winding corridors, dodgy lighting or dark recesses here. It’s a big statement for Virgin America to say they are moving in too, being the cool kids of the American market, wherever they touch is deemed a Google-Mac-foursquare fest of trendy-Rayban-wearing-West-Coast kids. So it’s already had the stamp of approval of being ‘cool’.
Terminal 3’s initial flights were brought in under a water cannon salute. A Virgin Atlantic Airways flight from London’s Gatwick Airport arrived first, slightly more than 12 years after the United Kingdom-based carrier implemented then twice-weekly service to McCarran on June 8, 2000. Today Virgin Atlantic operates nine weekly flights to Las Vegas, from London as well as Manchester. Its long-term success demonstrated to the industry that direct international air service to Las Vegas could thrive and since then opened up the doors to many other long haul international markets and carriers.