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Greetings from Las Vegas!

I’m in Vegas attending the annual conference for the National Association of Realtors. I flew out of Santa Maria for the first time on Alligiant Air. When I purchased the ticket it was $69 but a few weeks ago, they lowered the price to $29. Of course you can’t get a refund for price drops. Also, Allegiant charges for everything. Want seat selection…10 bucks. Want to check more than 1 bag, more $$$. They don’t serve any free food/drinks on the plane but on an hour flight, it really didn’t matter.

Santa Maria has free parking which is nice but I was surprised to see how few airlines there are in the SM airport. Alligiant appears to be the biggest carrier. It’s been a little over a year since I last took an airplane and I’m still not used to the change in security. They said to check in no later than 2 hours before your flight leaves. Not knowing any better, I rushed to get there after the Bank of America ATM’s didn’t work in Arroyo Grande and had to find one in Santa Maria before going to the airport. When I arrived, I was right on the 2 hour before time but was one of the first to check in. I then found out that security didn’t open for another half an hour (at 5 pm) which really shows how few planes go out of Santa Maria. There were still people checking in 30 minutes before the flight was to leave.

For checked baggage, they searched everyones bag. I had some matchbooks in a side pouch of my toiletries bag that had been there for years (I used to collect matchbooks when I used to travel a lot). They paged me and told me I couldn’t have those in my bag so I threw them out. I also packed a box of Crystal Light punch. The ones where you can add to bottle water which I’m drinking instead of diet Coke these days. When I got to Las Vegas, they weren’t in my luggage. I put them on top when I left my house so I can only guess that it must of fallen out when they went through my bag. Next time, I’ll pack things in large ziplock bags.

Once you go through security at Santa Maria, you are in a holding room. The time to board our plane soon past with no one from the airlines coming in to tell us what was going on. Luckily, I had my laptop with wireless Internet so I looked up Allegiant’s website and found that the inbound plane from Vegas was 45 minutes behind schedule. I announced this to everyone in the room (along with the San Diego Charger 1st quarter score).

But…I did finally make it to Vegas about a half hour late. Vegas is still changing. I was here about a year ago and there’s more construction going on since the last time I visited. What I really noticed was how thick the Yellow Pages is. Over 4 inches thick now. I’ve never seen a Yellow Pages so big! The news said that Clark County will be 4.5 Million residents by 2020 (in 1980 there were 500,000).

Written by Keith Byrd - Go to Keith's Website/Profile