Randall H. Walker will get you to the slots on time.
Randall H. Walker is the director of aviation for Clark County, Nev., which means he runs McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas. Walker has been on a tear to make McCarran the country's most high-tech airport, installing sophisticated baggage-tracking systems and free wireless Internet access. We asked him how to survive a trip through the country's sixth-busiest airport.
Q How many travelers pass through McCarran each year?
A About 41.5 million.
Q When is it busiest?
A From 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Thursday through Sunday. A daytime arrival is less stressful.
Q You brought in a high-tech baggage system. How does it help travelers?
A The radio tag system screens and routes the bags to the airlines automatically. The old bar code system had an 18 to 20 per-cent error rate. The new one is more than 99 percent accurate.
Q How can passengers help speed up the security screening process?
A Be ready. Take off your shoes and outerwear. Remove change and money clips; also anklet chains and belts.
Q What are you doing to help?
A We have people who work the lines to remind passengers what they should do. We have fun announcements on TV monitors to show them, using local entertainers.
Q Have a favorite restaurant at the airport?
A Ruby's, a '50s burger joint at the D gates.
Q The cheapest way to get to the Strip?
A A shuttle bus at about $5 per person.
Q And the best way?
A A limo. It's about $40 for an hour, split between up to six people. You can roll into town like a high roller, even if you're not one.
Q Do the slot machines on the Strip give better odds than those at McCarran?
A I doubt it.
Photography courtesy of Clark County Department of Aviation
This article was first published in July 2005. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.