The Bear Growls: McCarran Airport petty ripoff


Last week there was a short power failure at Las Vegas McCarran Airport, right as I was driving into the economy parking lot at the start of a playing trip. An attendant told me that no ticket could be printed because of the power outage, but that they would note when the power failure occurred and would charge me accordingly when I paid my bill upon my return from the trip. The power outage lasted from about 5 PM until about 6 PM.

The airport was surprisingly efficient during the power outage. It took only sixteen minutes longer than average from the time I left my car until I was through the TSA checkpoint. The TSA area was operating under auxiliary power, and had staff politely prodding the dawdling passengers to move along. Their efforts were appreciated.

After I returned from my trip and retrieved my car, I was charged from 12:01 am on the power failure day, instead of from 5 PM or 6 PM. The lot attendant’s computer appeared to be preset to use 12:01 am as the time for patrons who entered during the outage.

The difference between what I was charged and what I should have been charged was only four dollars. The attendant barely spoke English, and I didn’t feel like hassling him about it. I paid the four extra dollars and drove away.

I imagine several hundred people entered the various McCarran lots during the time the power was out. Even if every one was swindled out of four dollars, which they probably were, it’s a drop in the bucket to the operating fund of the airport. But it still is annoying that a public entity would so brazenly steal from the public. It sends a particularity bad message to visitors to our city — even the airport will rip them off.


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