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The Southwest Airlines Flight To Las Vegas
Fall Amtrak Vacation 2007:
The Flight To Las Vegas
On Southwest Airlines
Thursday, October 4th, 2007
Southwest Flight #1898 was my flight to Las Vegas.

A view of the San Francisco Bay shortly after takeoff. I thought those clouds looked interesting!
   After riding BART, I arrived at the San Francisco International Airport, though the only stop on BART is at the International Terminal. Thankfully, an employee at the airport who was also riding BART gave me directions to get to Terminal 1. This airport has a monorail train that will take you to the proper terminal. Today, I would catch Southwest Airlines Flight #1898 to Las Vegas. Now you're probably wondering, this site is about Amtrak travel, so why am I flying? Simply put, when I put together this trip, I had 2 options to get to Vegas using Amtrak and not flying. I could either ride the Southwest Chief to Kingman, AZ and take a 3 hour bus ride from there and arrive in Vegas after 3am. The other option was to take the California Zephyr to Salt Lake City then have an 8 hour endurance test bus ride to Vegas. The mere thought of having to use a bus on a vacation only brought back not so nice memories of my Amtrak trip that almost never happened in 2003 when I had no choice but to take a bus or not go on vacation at all (I didn't have a driver's license then so renting a car on that trip wasn't an option). I also prefer to cover the entire length of a Long-Distance route so even using the bus option would have meant not seeing things like Reno and Donner Pass on the California Zephyr or had I rode the Southwest Chief, not seeing the Mojave Desert or Los Angeles. I finally decided, the best way to enjoy Amtrak and get to Vegas with the least amount of hassles was to just fly there from San Francisco. Thus in the end, a $48 flight on Southwest was the best option. I'd also be flying home from Vegas due to time constraints. I truly wish Amtrak still had service to Vegas but as you may or may not know, this ended in 1997 after a major cut in funding and regular service to Vegas hasn't returned since.
    Now back to the flight: After checking in at the counter and going through security (had no problems getting my film hand-inspected), I was now waiting in the terminal. I had a breakfast burrito and some home fries from some restaurant in the terminal (food was average at best) and made some phone calls to my Mother and Sister as my Parents and Sister were already in Vegas and I would meet up with them once I got there. I boarded my plane and we left San Francisco on time. The flight was relatively uneventful until just before arriving in Vegas as we ran into some turbulence just before landing. The flight arrived about on time in Vegas. I rode in a Boeing 737-700 and outside of the turbulence (which we have no control over) everything on the flight went as planned. Below are photos taken on the plane.
I'm fairly certain this is Lake Mead (near Hoover Dam) as we had to make a big "U-Turn" when fling into Vegas as we approached the runway from the East.
Lake Las Vegas
On final approach to land, check this out, you can see the shadow of the plane in this photo! OK at least I think it looks cool!
Just before landing, you can see the Las Vegas Strip from this view. Las Vegas McCarran International Airport is conveniently located next to the Las Vegas Strip!
Having landed safely, Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas!!!
   Upon arrival in Vegas, I picked up my luggage and took the shuttle bus over to the Rental Car facility which is located nearby to the airport.  Once arriving there, I signed the necessary paperwork and proceeded to select my rental car.  I told the employee from Enterprise Rent-A-Car that this was the second car I'm renting on this trip. She asked where I rented the first one, and I said in Sandusky, OH. It turns out she was from Ohio and thought that was neat that I had come from there on this trip. I ended up getting a 2008 Pontiac Grand Prix which was literally so new, it had no plates on it!  There was a waiver taped to the front windshield allowing it to be driven until the registration was done.  The car had 145 miles on it, so I may have been the 2nd or 3rd person to rent it.  The car also had a "bonus" that wouldn’t have otherwise been included.  Because it was so new, it had a trial subscription to XM Satellite Radio so I not only had a car that probably should have been classified as a "Premium" car rather than a "Full Size" car, the car also had XM Radio as a "freebie", YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (I have XM in my personal vehicle so this is awesome!!!).  The Enterprise representative gave me a map and I was on my way to checking into my hotel.  This is my first visit to Vegas and I would stay at the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino located on West Flamingo Road, a quick drive from the Las Vegas strip.
   I checked into the hotel and found that, in the custom of Vegas, you have to walk through the Casino in order to get to the hotel rooms. My room was #667 on the 6th floor of the hotel (hotel had 8 floors). I had a room with a King-sized bed, and after dropping off my luggage, I took the rental car over to a Super Wal-Mart to get some groceries after having not found the Albertsons Grocery Store that the hotel gave me directions to. I picked up a case of Bottled Water, a six-pack of Sierra Mist and a 12 pack of Diet Pepsi along with 3 bottles of V8 Fusion juice. (On a side note, I managed to lose 45 pounds in 5 months by drinking lots of V8 Juice and bottled water, and I still ate whatever I wanted!). After a quick lunch at a nearby McDonald's, where I nearly witnessed a good old fight between a couple other people, I drove back to the hotel. The High-Speed internet in the room didn't work at all so I ended up using my NetZero account (still $9.95 a month and it still works, so dial-up isn't dead yet!) and checked my e-mail. Overall, the hotel was very clean and neat but I wasn't overly impressed with it. Eventually that evening, I met up with my Parents and Sister and we had dinner at Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino. I also played some Roulette which is my game (not that I'm very good at it, but it's still my game)! We took a walk up the strip afterwards and eventually I drove back to my hotel and called it a day.