Category Archives: McCarren International Airport

TSA Upgrade for Screening; Leaving Las Vegas

All of us that travel by flying have to endure the TSA line.  One of the most despised federal agencies  has devised a way to help speed up the screening process.  One way is the TSA Pre-Check which I have taken advantage of and I feel that it was money well spent.  Just this past May, we were able to leapfrog a very long at LAX to make our Southwest flight to Phoenix.

TSA has installed conveyor belt type of bag screening process at McCarren International, O’Hare International, John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, and Los Angeles International Airports. 

At Terminal 3, passengers on Hawaiian Airlines and other airlines will see a new system in place that :

  • Stainless steel countertops designed specifically to enable several passengers to place their items in bins simultaneously;
  • Automated conveyor belts that move bins into the X-ray machine tunnel and return the bins to the front of the security checkpoint;
  • Automatic diversion of any carry-on bag that may contain a prohibited item; this diversion to a separate location allows other bins containing other travelers’ belongings to continue through the screening process uninterrupted;
  • Bins that are 25 percent larger than a typical bin and are able to hold a roll-aboard bag;
  • Unique Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags that are attached to each bin, allowing for additional accountability of a traveler’s carry-on property as they move throughout the security screening process;
  • Cameras that capture photographic images of the contents of each bin and are linked side-by-side to the X-ray image of a carry-on bag’s contents.

 

source:  https://www.tsa.gov/news/releases/2017/08/31/automated-screening-lanes-come-security-checkpoint-terminal-3-las-vegas

Will this speed things up?  Not sure yet as this was just debuted at McCarren International on Aug. 31, 2017.

Just in case; a medical anxiety when visiting Las Vegas

My biggest fear of traveling to Las Vegas is needing medical attention. If you have a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan such as HMSA, your good but I have Kaiser Permanente and believe it or not, Kaiser Permanente has no facilities in the State of Nevada! I always thought that Las Vegas has everything, but I later found out that Kaiser Permanente is not one of them. Several years ago, co-worker told me that her brother had Kaiser Permanente, but when he was visiting Las Vegas, a situation came up where he had to see a doctor and the closest facility to Las Vegas was in California. He had to make a two hour drive, one way, to see a doctor! Just that story alone made me worried every trip I took to the 9th Island.

I know that it were an emergency that would be taken care just like any other person would be taken care of. What I was dreading was getting sick or injured, but not bad enough for an emergency room visit. The drawbacks to an emergency room visit are:

  • It can be depressing because every sort of illness and injury comes in
  • If it’s busy and your not that bad off, every severe case that comes in pushes you to the back of the line to be seen
  • You could be there for hours because even if the doctor has seen you, the rest of the emergency room staff is busy with other patients and they will get to you when they get to you
  • Lastly, it is very expensive compared to a regular doctor visit

My anxiety would soon change. Here’s what I found out by accident: I had to go for a doctor’s visit the other day and while waiting in the examining room, I see a flyer with the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, (which will always catch my eye). I opened it up to find out that Kaiser Permanente has now contracted with Concentra Urgent Care and Walgreens Healthcare to treat their patients when traveling.

I started to read the flyer and found that Concentra Urgent Care might be the best bet. There only four locations and three of them are open Monday-Friday 8:00 am to 5 or 6:00 pm. The fourth location at 5850 Polaris Avenue near McCarren International is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Concentra Urgent Care is staffed by board certified physicians and clinicians. Most of the centers also have X-ray and lab facilties.

Walgreens Healthcare has 13 locations with two right on the Strip, one near the Venetian and the other near MGM Grand. They are staffed by either a board certified nurse practitioner or physician assistant, but all locations have a pharmacy.

Hopefully you or me will never need to use these facilities, but it’s nice knowing that there are options.

My experience on the campaign trail

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Now that the elections are behind us, I will not bore or agitate the readers with how I feel about the results. That issue is left to be discussed, debated and fought over on other sites and forums. I do want to share my closest call I had to both candidates this past October 2016. I was in Las Vegas and scheduled to fly back to Hawaii on October 19 at 6:20 pm from McCarren International on Hawaiian Airlines.

I knew enough ahead of time that the Presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was to be held at UNLV on the same date at around the same time. From experience, I know that the area around McCarren International and UNLV will be swarming with Secret Service and police. When the candidates land and start moving, all roads and air traffic surrounding WILL be shut down, no movement at all. With that in mind, I planned to be at the McCarren Rental Car Center by 4:30, which would give me almost two hours before my flight.

As I was driving to the center, I saw that Paradise Road and the intersection of Tropicana Blvd were lined with mostly Donald Trump supporters. Many “Make America Great Again” banners and other signs of support as well as negative messages directed toward Clinton. I have to assume that the Clinton supporters were closer to the UNLV campus? Considering the City of Las Vegas overwhelmingly voted for her, they had to be visible somewhere. The officers of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department were out in large numbers at each intersection. Up to this point, I was grateful that I was ahead of the motorcades and that I would be at the gate with about an hour to spare.

After dropping off the car at 4:40pm , I went out to the shuttle and found that the Secret Service had just given the order to “lock it down” meaning all affected roads and air space are stopped. There were about five shuttle buses full of people just sitting at the rent a car center, idling. We ended up sitting there until almost 5:50!! Luckily, there were other Hawaii people on my shuttle, hoping to make the same flight so I know that I was safe because there must have been 20 or 30 of us that still needed to make it. A lot of other passengers for other airlines were getting nervous too. One man asked if it would be faster if he and his wife walked to the airport!! And his flight wasn’t until 8:00 pm!!!

When the all clear was given we made it to the gate and to walk very briskly to gate 35. As soon as we boarded, the doors were closed and we off! Right on schedule!!

When I had booked my flight back in August, if I had known about all this, I would have arranged to leave either the night before or the next day.

What I was hoping for was would bump me out and I would HAVE to stay another night in Las Vegas!