Trip Report: Southwest Airlines Reno to Las Vegas

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01. Introduction: San Diego to Reno on Southwest Airlines
02. Southwest Airlines San Diego to Las Vegas
03. Southwest Airlines Las Vegas to Reno
04. Two days of skiing at Heavenly / Lake Tahoe
05. Southwest Airlines Reno to Las Vegas
06. Southwest Airlines Las Vegas to San Diego

After a fun-filled long weekend of skiing at Heavenly, it was time to head back home to San Diego. Our flight was scheduled to depart at 10:30am from RNO, and the cabin we were staying at in South Lake Tahoe was about an hour away. Considering that we also had to refuel / return the rental car and check bags, we left the cabin at 7:40am.

The drive to RNO was beautiful, and we arrived at the Southwest Airlines check in counters at about 9am. The bummer was that they are located all the way down at the end of the long ticketing area that all the airlines at RNO use, so it was quite a trek to get all the way to the end.

The check-in counters at rno

The check-in counters at Reno International Airport. Southwest is all the way at the end!

And once we had checked in our bags and got our boarding passes, we had to do the same long walk back to the ticketing area. Thankfully, the lines were short and we didn’t even have to wait to use one of the self-serve check-in kiosks.

I still get a kick out of seeing slot machines in Nevada airports, and RNO is no exception:

slot machines at the reno airport

Slot machines just before entering the security checkpoint at RNO

We were through security in a matter of minutes and at our gate (B1) shortly thereafter. I love the “small town” feel of the Reno airport, even though it’s actually quite a big place. The decor is very outdoorsy, with flashing slot machines mixed in everywhere you look.

b concourse at RNO

Entering the B concourse at RNO

WN695
Reno (RNO) – Las Vegas (LAS)
Sunday February 23 2014
Aircraft: Boeing 737-700
Seat: A window seat (D) somewhere just behind the wing. Yeah, I forgot to take note of my seat number!

Southwest Airlines 737-700 N212WN illustration

Southwest Airlines 737-700 N212WN

southwest 737-700

Our Southwest Airlines 737-700 to LAS sitting at gate B1 at RNO

We had boarding cards for B20 and B21 this morning, which still made me a bit anxious about being able to score a good window seat. I really wanted to get some in-flight photos of the scenery as we departed, so I crossed my fingers as I boarded the plane. Luckily, I’m happy to report that the aviation photography gods were looking out for me and I was able to grab a window seat located just behind the wing.

interior of this southwest airlines 737-700

Boarding WN695 to LAS

We pushed back right on schedule, and made a quick departure on runway 16R shortly thereafter. Climb-out was smooth and scenic, though the sun position wasn’t what I had hoped – so the pics I took aren’t all that great. But hey…I’m definitely not complaining.

16R takeoff at reno international airport

Beginning our take off roll on runway 16R at RNO

view of reno nevada from the air

The view of Reno from the air as we depart to LAS

climbing out of RNO

You can clearly see how dry it’s been in this part of the US this winter. Those mountains should be completely covered in snow this time of year!

view of lake tahoe from the air

Climbing higher out of Reno with a great view of Lake Tahoe in the distance

This was a short one-hour flight, and just like always, they managed to serve drinks and snacks to everyone onboard in that short amount of time. Props to Southwest Airlines!

in flight beverage on southwest airlines

No orange juice for me this morning – I opted for water instead.

peanuts and pretzels on southwest airlines

Unfortunately, they were slow with the peanut and pretzel delivery – my water was nearly gone by the time they got to me.

Our approach into LAS seemed long and complex, turning so many times that I actually lost track of which direction we were headed. It must have been a busy flow that morning, because I don’t ever recall so many twists and turns landing in Las Vegas before. Anyway, we eventually lined up for runway 25L and made one of the smoothest landings I’ve experienced in a while.

descending into LAS

Starting the gradual descent into LAS

25L arrival into LAS

Overflying Sam Boyd Stadium as we line up for a 25L arrival into LAS

approaching LAS

As you can see, Las Vegas is truly located in the desert. Getting closer to LAS…

touchdown on runway 25L at LAS

Touchdown on 25L with the Las Vegas strip in the distance

Waiting our turn to cross 25R

Waiting our turn to cross 25R

We docked at gate C14, and were shocked upon deplaning – the terminal was a total zoo. Standing room only for as far as we could see. It was going to be a long two hour layover…