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Frontier Hotel 1942-2007

Frontier Hotel 1942-2007

"This is the end result of all the bright lights... and the comp trips, of all the champagne... and free hotel suites,
and all the broads and all the booze. It's all been arranged just for us to get your money.
That's the truth about Las Vegas. We're the only winners. The players don't stand a chance. "

-- Sam "Ace" Rothstein, Casino, 1995

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cab ride from LV airport to the Strip

I am writing this post as a public service to all you folks from all over the world who fly into Las Vegas and then have to take a cab from the airport to your hotel on the Strip.  The odds are already against when you gamble at a casino in LV, so why should you get ripped off by a cab ride from the airport to your hotel?

Do not, I repeat, do not let yourself get "long hauled" --
ripped off on the cab ride from the airport to the Strip. 

Long hauling is when a cabbie takes you on a longer route to your hotel instead of the shortest and most direct route.  Unfortunately there are a number of unethical cab drivers in this city who will take on you a ride to bump up the fare, which of course increases their total tip at the end of the ride.  The long hauling issue has become so bad from the airport, that the LV Taxi Authority is now considering just going on a flat rate charge from the airport to the Strip hotels.  Until that happens, then you need to be an informed consumer about taking a cab ride from the airport.  As proof of how bad long hauling is in LV, here's a story from the LV Sun about a Nevada Taxicab Authority Administrator who got long hauled:

Before you do anything, go on Google maps and find Las Vegas, NV.  Find McCarran Intl. Airport.  Then find the hotel you are staying at.  Guess what?  The airport is right next to the LV Strip.  50% of the Strip hotels are literally within 3 miles of the airport.  The rest are under 5 miles.  Unlike some airports in the United States, the airport in LV is right in the middle of the city.  Here a link to Google maps.

So, you just got off the plane, you have collected your bags and you are ready to get to your hotel.  You get in line and wait to get a cab -- there are literally hundreds of cabs lined up at the airport waiting to take visitors to the Strip.  The problem is that a large percentage of the cab drivers waiting to pick up a fare are like sharks and you are like a baby seal who has just entered the water for the first time.  You are "fresh meat" just waiting to get long hauled.  Do not, I repeat, do not, let yourself be a victim and get long hauled by these predators.  When you tell the cabbie your hotel do not get into a discussion with him/her about taking the route with the least amount of traffic.  If you agree to go on the route with the least amount of traffic you will get long hauled.

Here's what you say to the cabbie to avoid any confusion:  "Hi, I am staying at _______________ hotel.  Do not take me there using the airport tunnel or the freeway.  Exit the airport on Swenson and take me to my hotel using surface streets."  Now, what cabbies do is try and persuade the customer that taking Swenson will "take longer" and "cost more" because of traffic and signals.  This is complete nonsense.  Do not fall for it.

It is critical that you know the location of your hotel in relation to the airport once you are on Swenson.  Just because the cabbie has followed your directions does not mean they still can't drive you around and jack the fare up.  There are 5 major streets that connect to all the hotels on the Strip.  These streets are as follows:
Tropicana, Harmon, Flamingo, Sands, and Desert Inn.  Taking Swenson from the airport to every hotel on or near the Strip connects with these 5 streets.  However, it is not that simple.  Keep reading.

If your hotel is on/near Tropicana or Harmon then the route is very simple from the airport:  Exit the airport on to Swenson, take Swenson to Tropicana or Harmon, make a left, take Tropicana or Harmon to your hotel.  Done.

If your hotel is on/near Flamingo, Sands, or Desert Inn then it slightly more complicated.  Exit the airport on to Swenson, take Swenson to Harmon.  The driver should take a left on Harmon and then a quick right on to Paradise. Paradise then connects with those three streets.  Make a left on Paradise and you will get to your hotel.  You want the driver to be on Paradise, not Swenson!  If the cabbie continues on Swenson past Harmon, you are getting long hauled.  After Harmon, Swenson becomes a longer route and more out of the way to get those three streets.  To see what I am talking about, you have to look on a map.

Good luck.


  1. I second the statement about actually saying "Don't take the tunnel." You might get yelled at by a snarky cabbie for implying that they're dishonest, but it's better than getting longhauled. I used to try to avoid the confrontation by simply giving street directions, and it always worked...until my last trip, when the cabbie said there was construction on that route. I had no way of knowing if that was true or not. Naturally, I wound up being longhauled. Which is embarrassing for someone who has been to Vegas as many times as I have. From now on, confrontation be damned, I'm telling them no tunnel.

  2. Thank you for the commentary -- excellent.

    Yes there is road/bridge construction on Swenson right now due to the airport expansion. And yes there is a touch of traffic exiting the airport -- but it so minimal. Trust me -- I have driven through it at least 10x (at all different hours) since the construction has started. It backs up a bit there -- but not even enough to justify taking the tunnel/215.

    Don't let the cabbies use the "construction" as an excuse to long haul you to the Strip. What makes this issue so maddening is that there really is construction and some minor traffic in the area -- so it's a free for all for these cabbies to long haul unsuspecting tourists. JH.

  3. Thank you for this important public service message! Your instructions are very detailed & helpful.

    It would be great for the Authority to go to a fixed rate to solve this rampant problem once and for all. I admit I've been long-hauled even after learning the hard way to specify "No tunnel" and Swenson-to-Paradise. Just got complacent and too busy yakking with my companions until it was too late, and our cab was descending under the tunnel....

  4. I have always use the Airport Shuttle for a fixed price.

  5. I always take a limo/town car from the airport. Since I'm usually with a group anyway, the cost is reasonable (a limo is usually in the 50-60/hour range) AND you get the use of the car for a full hour. I enjoy stopping for a cold beverage as soon as we leave the airport (ask him/her to go to an actual STORE instead of a bar where the prices are jacked up, and where the limo driver is getting a finder's fee) and then get him or her to take you to the Fabulous Las Vegas sign at the South end of the strip for a photo. You can have a nice, leisurely drive up the strip afterwards and get everything done in 1 hour from my experience. Much more pleasant than sitting in a shitty cab.

  6. I actually had a cabbie admit to me, after I told him not to take the freeway, that he would have longhauled me if I hadn't told him not to. He justified it by saying that money was tight and it was the only way for him to make a living.

  7. i agreed with you there are many And taxi driver mostly they just take time and dump trip only to get tip especially in folk days. We must care about that. Other hand your post is much effective Detroit taxi

  8. thanks for sharing public message i am also agreed
    airport taxi service

  9. It is really very nice post, you describe the reality of bad Taxi drivers. Thanks for sharing this information.