I recently took a trip to Las Vegas. My flight out of
Detroit left at 6:20 PM on 4/10 (Saturday) and got into Phoenix at 8:00 PM and
the connecting flight to Las Vegas left at 8:50 PM, getting in at 10 PM. The
flight out of Detroit was delayed 20 minutes due to storms but still got in
When we landed in Phoenix, I put my phone on and had 3 texts
from Southwest. Your flight is delayed til 10 PM. Your flight is delayed til 11
PM. Your flight is delayed til 12 midnight.
I call Budget (my rental car company for this trip) and
explain the situation. I was scheduled to pick up my rental car by 11 PM and
told them I would not get to rental car facility til about 1:30 AM. At first,
she said she would have to cancel my reservation and then make a new one. I
knew I would not get my $82 rate on a rebooked rental so I protested, and she
said ok, she can just move the time. Then she tells me that Budget closes at 1
AM in Las Vegas rent a car center. I was not expecting that. I said, “what do I
do?” and she says that Budget re opens at 7 AM. Not good.
I call the Golden Gate (where I am staying the first 2
nights), explain the situation and they tell me, as long as I check in by noon
on Sunday, everything will be fine. That was nice to hear.
I now go to the Southwest customer service, explain the
situation and ask what they can do. The lady tells me I can catch a flight in
the morning. I ask about a hotel for the night and she said they can offer a
discount, but not a freebie, since the delay was weather related. Transportation
would be on me and Uber/Lyft are difficult to get.
I decide to think about my options over a bite to eat. It is
now 8:30 PM and almost everything is closed at Sky Harbor airport. 8:30 on
Saturday and they are locking up? I finally find a place and they tell me we
have one hot sandwich available. I take it, give him a few dollar tip and thank
him for being open, and enjoy my meal.
After thinking about my options, I decide to keep my
midnight flight and just wander around LAS for 5 hours til I can go pick up my
rental car. This will give me plenty of time to machine hustle at the airport.
We touch down about 1 AM and after taxi and deplane, it is
1:30 AM. There is no one at the airport. I may not have seen 10 people,
including workers. And to top it off, all the slot machines are roped off
because they are moving them around. I decide to wait at the rent a center, hop
the shuttle and get to the facility about 1:45 AM. For kicks, I walk over to
the Budget desk and it is dark and roped off, but I see a worker in there, so I
go it. He asks if I have a reservation, I say yes, and he says okay I’ll take
care of you. Very, very nice of him. We finish the paperwork, I leave him a tip
so he and his co worker can grab a coke, and head on my way.
I finally got to bed about 3:30 AM so the trip was off to a
rough start, but it could have been much worse.
- Avoid the last flight of the night.
- Be aware that not all rental car facilities in
Las Vegas are open 24 hours any more
- Do a little scouting on the last airport you
will be in to see what is open and what isn’t, in case there is a delay.
- Since rental cars are now grossly expensive and
Uber/Lyft are difficult to get, securing your car rental is way more important
than it used to be.
- Put a non-perishable snack in your backpack.
Delays will happen and sometimes, there are no good alternatives except to wait
- Review travel protection offered by your credit
cards. Two things worked against me on this trip. It was a frequent flier
flight and I used a gift card for the 911 security fee. For future, I should
use a credit card for the fee and make sure that I am offered travel protection
if only a portion of the trip is paid for with a credit card. Also, this was a
weather delay, so it is very tough to get compensation. Especially since the
actual delay was 3 hours and 15 minutes.
Travel nowadays is not very accommodating to delays/issues
and I don’t see it getting much better. You now have to prepare in ways that
you didn’t have to worry about previously.