McCarran International Airport, in Las Vegas, Nevada, is the seventh busiest airport in the U.S. with 539,866 flights in 2018, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. More than 49.7 million passengers passed through the airport in 2018, with 31 national and international airlines flying in and out on a daily basis.
The airport opened to flights in 1948 and now spans 2,800 acres southeast of the Strip. McCarran’s proximity to the Strip makes it one of the easier airports to access. J.D. Power found that McCarran International Airport ranked highest in passenger satisfaction among mega airports, tied with Orlando International Airport.
McCarran got its name from former U.S. Sen. Pat McCarran, a member of the Democratic Party who contributed to the development of aviation in Las Vegas. Two terminals serve the airport with five concourses and 92 gates. Allegiant Air operates out of LAS, and Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Spirit Airlines each have a crew and maintenance base.
LAS Code, Location, and Contact Information
Know Before You Go
Terminal 1 features four concourses connected to a central pre-security area. Travelers can find ticketing and baggage claim on Level 1, while Level 2 hosts three security checkpoints, an esplanade with some shopping and dining, and a USO lounge meant for military members. The west side of Terminal 1 houses pre-security to A Gates and B Gates, separated by a Y concourse with circular ends. To the south, C Gates, housing Southwest Airlines flights. Travelers checking in to Southwest can also find their own security checkpoint up an escalator from the ticket counter, or go through the A and B Gates security and take the Green Line tram to C Gates. The eastern side of Terminal 1 houses D Gates, accessed by the Blue Line of the tram system.
Terminal 3 handles all international and some domestic flights. Level 0 of the terminal contains customs, baggage claim, and another USO lounge. Level two has check-in, security, a second Club at LAS, and all gates. The terminal has fourteen gates, seven domestic (E8-E12, E14-E15) and the other seven international (E1-E7). The Red Line of the tram system links Terminal 3 with the D Gates.
McCarran is busy all the time with airlines flying 24/7. It’s best to plan to arrive at the airport two hours in advance for domestic flights and two to three hours in advance for international flights. The airport is serviced by many airlines, domestic and international. All major U.S. carriers serve LAS, as well as international carriers such as AeroMexico, British Airways, KLM, Korean Air, and Virgin Atlantic.
January is usually the cheapest month to fly to Las Vegas, but travelers can also find inexpensive flights in August and October.
McCarran International Airport Parking
McCarran International Airport has more than 17,000 public parking ranging from valet to economy options. Parking facilities are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
- T1 and T3 short-term parking rates start at free for up to 15 minutes, $2 for an hour, $4 for one to two hours, to $36 per day.
- T1 and T3 long-term parking rates start at free for up to 15 minutes, $2 for up to 30 minutes, $3 for an hour, to $16 per day.
- T1 and T3 valet parking rates are a minimum of $6 and a maximum daily rate of $23.
- T1 and T3 economy parking rates start at $2 for 30 minutes, $3 for an hour, and $10 per day.
McCarran International Airport is located at 5757 Wayne Newton Blvd., 2 miles from the Las Vegas Strip and 15 miles from downtown. The airport can be accessed via I-215, Tropicana Avenue, or Russell Road.
The McCarran Rent-A-Car Center is located at 7135 Gilespie St., 3 miles south of the airport with access to Interstates 15 and 215 and the Las Vegas Strip. A free shuttle bus takes passengers to and from the Rent-A-Car Center. In Terminal 1 from Baggage Claim, follow signs to Ground Transportation on Level 1. Proceed to the Rental Car Shuttle located outside doors 10 and 11. In Terminal 3, follow signs to Ground Transportation from Baggage Claim on Level Zero. Proceed to the Rental Car Shuttle located outside west doors 51-54 and east doors 55-58.
Taxis and Ride Share
Ten taxi companies offer service to and from the airport and locations throughout Las Vegas. Taxi cab service is regulated by the Nevada Taxicab Authority, a Nevada State agency responsible for issuing medallions and setting fares.
If you plan to use a credit card, notify the attendant. Some cab companies only accept cash. Every cab ride includes a $2 charge on all fares originating at the airport. Taxis can accommodate up to five passengers, including children.
Terminal 1 taxis pick up passengers on the east side of baggage claim, outside door exits 1-4. Passengers queue up to catch the next available taxi. Terminal 3 taxis pick up passengers on Level Zero. Twenty taxi loading positions on the west end serve domestic travelers and 10 loading positions on the east side of the building serve international travelers.
Uber and Lyft pick up passengers from both terminals at McCarran International Airport. The Ride Share pick up at Terminal 1 is located on level 2M of the parking garage. From Baggage Claim, take the elevator near door 2 up to level 2. Cross the pedestrian bridge on level 2 to the Terminal 1 Parking Garage. The Ride Share pick up at Terminal 3 is located on the valet level of the parking garage. From Baggage Claim, take the elevator near door #52, #54 or #56 up to level 1, then cross the pedestrian bridge on level 1 to the Terminal 3 Parking Garage.
Where to Eat and Drink
Your best bet at McCarran International Airport is to dine before arriving at the airport, especially if you're flying out from an A gate in Terminal 1, where there are few dining options. Terminal 3 has a bevy of options since it is the newest addition to the airport.
Grab and Go
- Pret A Manger offers quick bites such as sandwiches, toasties, wraps, salads, breakfast fare, and soups. It's located in the E gates at Terminal 1.
- Wolfgang Puck Express has made-to-order salads, sandwiches, and thin-crust pizzas. It's located at D gates at Terminal 1.
Sit Down Restaurants
- Jose Cuervo Tequileria offers Mexican dishes and ample tequila at C Gates, Terminal 1.
- Las Vegas Chophouse & Brewery serves crab cakes, filet mignon, and other meaty fare at E Gates in Terminal 3.
- Ruby’s Dinette offers breakfast dishes along with a roster of hamburgers, fries, and shakes at D Gates in Terminal 1.
- Sammy's Beach Bar & Grill serves American fare with an island twist.
Where to Shop
The Las Vegas airport has plenty of opportunities for shoppers, but it won't quite rival what you can find in the many luxurious malls along the Strip. Pick up beer, wine, spirits, and more at Liquor Library, grab candies and chocolates from Ethel M (a Henderson, Nevada-based company), or shop for clothings, handbags, and makeup at Brooks Brothers, Coach, or MAC. True to Vegas, gamblers can nab custom poker chips, specialty gaming products, and challenge coins from Poker Face.
How to Spend Your Layover
The Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum on Level 2 of Terminal 1, above baggage claim, showcases some of the early history of aviation in Las Vegas, along with a the 1958 Cessna 172 that set the World Endurance Aloft flying record in 1959 after flying for 64 days, 22 hours, 19 minutes and 5 seconds without touching ground. Additional exhibits are located at the A, B, C and D Gates
American Express card holders can go to the Centurion lounge (D gates) while the Club at LAS is available to all passengers for a fee (D and E gates). United also has a club, located in the D gates.
WiFi and Charging Stations
McCarran offers free WiFi throughout the airport and travelers can find electrical outlets and laptop charging zones throughout the airport. The ChargeCarte Rapid Charger will charge iPods, cell and smart phones up to twice as fast as a standard outlet for a fee.
McCarran Tips and Tidbits
- The airport has more than 1,000 slot machines dotted throughout its two terminals.
- To watch planes take off and land, head to a small parking lot on the south side of the airport located on East Sunset Road between Las Vegas Boulevard and South Eastern Avenue.