How Early To Arrive At Las Vegas Airport? (Flying Home)
It’s the last morning of your trip to Las Vegas. Maybe you were up late partying and don’t want to wake up any earlier than necessary. Or maybe you want to enjoy a few more moments in Vegas before heading to the airport to catch your flight home.
Either way, you’ll need to know how early to arrive at Las Vegas Airport ahead of your flight so you don’t miss your ride.
It’s generally suggested that you arrive at the Las Vegas airport 2 hours before your departure time for a domestic flight. For an International flight, you will want to be at the Vegas airport at least three hours before your scheduled departure.
So, it is time for you to head home from a fun trip to Las Vegas. If the idea of navigating the airport and waiting for your flight home seems like a difficult chore, don’t worry; I’ve got you covered—from check-in specifics to Las Vegas airport amenities.
Continue reading this guide to learn about the Las Vegas Airport- when to arrive, and factors you should consider in order to arrive at the right time.
Table of Contents
- 1 Las Vegas Airports
- 2 10 Things You Must Know Before Arriving At The Las Vegas Airport
- 3 Las Vegas Airport FAQS
- 4 Which airport in Las Vegas serves as the primary airport?
- 5 Does the airport in Las Vegas provide TSA PreCheck?
- 6 Do seniors receive PreCheck by default?
- 7 How many airports are in Las Vegas, Nevada?
- 8 What's the busiest time of day at the Vegas airport?
- 9 How Early To Arrive At Las Vegas Airport – Final Thoughts
Las Vegas Airports
There are a total of 54 airports in Las Vegas, but the 3 airports visitors to Las Vegas are likely to fly into are:
- Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) (formerly known as McCarran International Airport)
- Henderson Executive Airport
- North Las Vegas Airport
Las Vegas’ Harry Reid International Airport is the most popular and the ninth busiest commercial airport in the United States. It was previously known as McCarran International Airport and serves more than 52 million passengers annually.
Harry Reid Airport is likely the Las Vegas airport you flew into for your Sin City trip because it is a large commercial airport located right next to the Las Vegas Strip, and so it’s the airport I’ll be providing departure information about.
10 Things You Must Know Before Arriving At The Las Vegas Airport
Photo:- Flickr Image
Here is everything you should know before arriving at the Las Vegas Airport for your flight home.
Arrange your tickets and confirmation
Check apps like Travelperk and Egencia so that you can have all the information about the trip. These help in organizing travel plans.
You can get access to flights, hotels, car rentals, activities, etc. all in one place. Download one of these or similar apps to know what time you should check in and track flights, gate numbers, hotel reservations, etc.
Check the TSA carry-on guidelines in advance.
The dreaded Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening procedure is one of the most frustrating things about flying.
Security lines at the Vegas airport are sometimes packed, so make sure you arrive early. Be familiar with the security screening procedure and learn what is permitted (and what is not). This way, you won’t have to worry about having stuff taken from your carry-on bags. After the screening process, you can get to the departure gate.
Quick tip – The liquids in your carry-on luggage must not exceed 3.4 ounces (100 mL) and must be carried in a clear bag. The official TSA website provides a more thorough description of the security screening procedures.
Download Your Airlines App and Check In
There is no need to wait in line at the Las Vegas airport check-in counter or deal with an airport kiosk covered in fingerprints unless you are checking a bag.
You can use the airline’s app to check in after downloading it and making sure your reservation information is entered.
A mobile boarding pass will let you skip the Vegas airport check-in line and head straight to security if you’re flying domestically without a checked bag.
If you’d prefer a printed boarding pass, you can print them at your hotel. The majority of resorts in Las Vegas will either print your boarding pass for you, or you can use their business center to print it yourself.
Arrival Time at The Las Vegas Airport
Officially speaking, when traveling domestically, you’re encouraged to arrive at the Las Vegas airport at least 2 hours before the scheduled departure time and 3 hours early for international flights.
Realistically, if you’re flying domestically at off-peak times and not checking a bag, arriving at the Las Vegas airport one to one and a half hours before your flight will usually do the trick.
If, however, you need to get a boarding pass and/or check in a bag at the LV airport, you should plan on arriving two hours beforehand when flying domestically.
Needing to arrive at the Las Vegas airport so long before your flight may be a bummer, but the reason for this is no joke. The Las Vegas airport can get VERY busy, and the TSA screening and baggage check lines may be long at peak times (more on peak times below).
Photo:- Flickr Image
Why do you have to be there earlier for flights abroad?
This is because of the additional steps needed to get to the boarding area.
If you’re flying to another country, you’ll almost always have to go through immigration and passport/visa control before taking off, even while traveling between the US and Canada.
Additionally, international travelers are more likely to have more than just a carry-on suitcase, and the baggage drop-off line can extend your time at the airport.
Tip: Apply for Global Entry if you frequently travel overseas. The majority of program participants wait less than five minutes for security screening.
Know Your Terminal at The Las Vegas Airport
Harry Reid International Airport has two terminal buildings, Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. There isn’t a Terminal 2 anywhere since it was demolished in 2016.
Since Terminals 1 and 3 are not connected, travelers are encouraged to know the correct terminal in advance, so they know which terminal to get dropped off at in order to avoid taking the bus service back and forth.
Typically you’ll find domestic flights leaving from Terminal 1, including Southwest Airlines, Delta, American, Allegiant, Contour, and Spirit.
International flights will be departing from Terminal 3. Airlines include JetBlue, Frontier, British Airways, Alaska, Air Canada, United, and several others.
To conclude, there are two passenger terminals (Terminal 1 and Terminal 3), five Concourse E terminals, and a maximum of 108 different gates in the Harry Reid International Airport.
How Peak Hours at The Las Vegas Airport Can Affect When You Should Arrive
Probably the biggest determining factor on how early you need to be at the Vegas airport before your flight is whether or not you are flying at a peak time.
Las Vegas can be an extremely busy town with tens of thousands of people potentially arriving and leaving at the same time. If your departing Vegas flight happens to fall in one of these peak crunch times, you’re likely to need to arrive at the airport even earlier than generally recommended (up to an hour earlier).
There are two types of peak travel times at Harry Reid Airport. The first is the weekly and somewhat predictable weekend crunch.
Predictable Peak Hours: Week after week, Las Vegas sees a large influx of arriving flights on Friday and a huge number of departing flights on Sunday. So if you’re needing to arrive at the Vegas airport for your flight home on a Sunday morning, be prepared by showing up at least two hours in advance (if not even a little earlier).
Special Event Peak Hours: This one’s a little more difficult to quantify. Las Vegas regularly plays host to large events such as conventions, concerts, and sporting events that can bring in hundreds of thousands of additional visitors to the city. Also, be aware that holidays also account for a huge jump in travel through the airport.
So if you’re in town for a big event or just happen to be in town during an event, be aware that if the event has just ended the day or night before, you may be looking at a peak number of people all trying to fly out of the airport at the same time.
Use MyTSA App For Wait Times at Las Vegas Airport
The best way I have found to gauge this is to use the MyTSA app. Here you can select a date and a time slot, and it will give you approximate security wait times at the Las Vegas Airport (LAS).
Knowing the wait times will help you gauge how soon you’ll need to arrive at the airport.
The following table shows Harry Reid International Airport peak and off-peak security wait times by day in Las Vegas based on historical averages:
(TSA Wait Time)
(TSA Wait Time)
|Sunday||5 to 6 am / (30 minutes)||5 to 6 pm / (under 15 minutes)|
|Monday||5 to 6 am / (30 minutes)||5 to 6 pm / (under 15 minutes)|
|Tuesday||10 to 11 am / (15 – 30 minutes)||6 to 7 pm / (under 15 minutes)|
|Wednesday||4 to 5 am / (15 – 30 minutes)||5 to 6 pm / (under 15 minutes)|
|Thursday||10 to 11 pm / (15 – 30 minutes)||8 to 9 am / (under 15 minutes)|
|Friday||6 to 7 am / (30 minutes)||5 to 6 pm / (under 15 minutes)|
|Saturday||5 to 6 am / (15 – 30 minutes)||5 to 6 pm / (under 15 minutes)|
As you can see from the table above, Sunday, Monday, and Friday mornings are the busiest travel times in general at the Las Vegas Airport and will take the longest time to get through security. You can also see that the early evening times each day are the least busy.
Arriving Early at The Las Vegas Aiport is Not The Worst Thing
While no one wants to spend extra time at an airport, arriving early and having some extra time at the Las Vegas airport is not the worst thing in the world. The Las Vegas airport has plenty of things to keep you comfortable and entertained while you wait.
You can find shops, eateries, bars, and even slot machines at the Las Vegas airport. Here’s some brief information about each.
Shopping at The Vegas Airport
Shopping at the airport is one of the best options if you have some free time before your departure. Some of the shopping opportunities at Harry Reid International Airport are just as good as those in the city!
You can buy presents or keepsakes from renowned brands, including Victoria’s Secret, Pandora Jewelry, Michael Kors, etc.
For more information, see: Shops in Las Vegas Airport (Stores & Brands at LAS)
Eating at The Las Vegas Airport
If you’re limited on time, there are many well-known fast food restaurants, including Burger King, Shake Shack, and Starbucks. If you are in the mood to have some delicious barbeque, try Brookwood Farms Barbeque.
Check out the cuisine at Village Pub and Las Vegas Chophouse & Brewery if you have more time, or Jose Cuervo Tequilaeria for sweet margaritas.
Rachel’s Kitchen, a healthy casual restaurant located in Terminal 1, is a good option if you are craving something local.
Photo:- Flickr Image
From a quick bite to a sit-down meal, find out what’s available at the Las Vegas airport in each of the two terminals here: Las Vegas Airport Food (Where to Eat at LAS).
Slot Machine at The Las Vegas Airport
Unlike any other airport in the United States, the Las Vegas airport has several areas where you can pass the time waiting for your flight by playing the slots.
There are approximately 1,400 slot machines inside the two Las Vegas airport terminals.
While many say that the airport slot machines have worse odds than those on the Strip, I’ve personally heard from more than a few people that they have managed to walk onto their waiting plane with more money than they had when they came into the airport.
So, it’s up to you, but it could be a fun way to spend your time.
Las Vegas Airport FAQS
Which airport in Las Vegas serves as the primary airport?
Harry Reid International Airport serves as Las Vegas’ main commercial airport. The nearby Henderson Executive Airport and the North Las Vegas Airport are airports you may fly into if you’re flying private.
Does the airport in Las Vegas provide TSA PreCheck?
Yes, in Terminal 1, outside the secure area on level 2, LAS offers a TSA PreCheck Enrollment Center where applicants can schedule their interview after receiving conditional approval.
From Monday through Friday, the enrollment center is open. 7 to 9 a.m., 9:20 to 11 a.m., 11:30 to 12:30 p.m., and 1:20 to 3:30 p.m.
Do seniors receive PreCheck by default?
No. PreCheck is only accessible to those who apply.
TSA does, however, grant access to those who are 75 years of age or older to a streamlined screening procedure in the standard screening lines: You can keep your light jacket and shoes on.
How many airports are in Las Vegas, Nevada?
In the greater Las Vegas, NV area, there are a total of 54 public airports. The majority of these airports, however, do not serve commercial flights. If you’re flying into Las Vegas commercially, you will likely be flying into Harry Reid International Airport (LAS).
What's the busiest time of day at the Vegas airport?
In general, the Las Vegas airport (LAS) is busiest in the morning between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. Early mornings are when many flights are scheduled to leave Las Vegas, and these are the times that the check-in and TSA security lines can get especially long.
How Early To Arrive At Las Vegas Airport – Final Thoughts
There are many factors to consider when determining how early to arrive at the Las Vegas Airport to catch your flight home.
In general, the regular airport guidelines apply. You should arrive at the Vegas airport 2 hours before your domestic flight and 3 hours before an international flight. Las Vegas, however, can have large surges of flights departing close to the same time if it is a holiday or just after a large event.
You’ll need to be aware of these things to help determine peak hours at the airport. If you know that you’re going to be departing the Vegas airport during peak times, it makes sense to arrive slightly earlier than you otherwise would.
I hope that this post has helped you plan how early you should arrive at the Las Vegas airport.