Travel shutdowns in Vegas: What you should already know

This is a very strange time for travelers and Las Vegas aficionados. Everyone on the Internet has turned into an infectious disease expert, it seems, and a lot of people expect those random “experts” to know more than the companies involved about where the future is going.

For now, what we know is that Las Vegas is pretty much on pause through April 17 at the earliest, due to emergency directives from Governor Sisolak and the state health department. Seven such directives have been issued in a two week period in March already.

All casinos in Nevada were ordered closed by the end of the day on March 17. All hotels and motels were ordered closed by noon on March 18 for 30 days. All non-essential businesses were ordered closed as well, and on March 24 all gatherings of ten (10) or more (excluding people who live together, are patronizing an essential business, or are providing essential services) were forbidden .

Airlines have drastically reduced service as well, so expect some ramp-up time for them as well when it’s over.

It’s too early to know what this will all mean to Las Vegas. Some businesses will not reopen after the mandatory shutdowns. Others may open in different forms or at different rates. Even if everything starts up on April 17, you don’t turn a star back on instantly.

Common questions, and common sense answers

Some commonly asked questions I’ve seen on the forums and Facebook groups and so forth:

Will the hotels, resorts, casinos, and restaurants open before April 17? No, almost certainly not.

Will they open after then? At least most of them, yes.

What exact date will they all be open so I can go to Vegas? Nobody knows.

Will your rewards, promotions, offers, and reservations be honored? Mostly yes. All the brands we have seen have committed to making their best effort to compensate for a month (or more) of downtime. Most of them are not committing to exact time frames since nobody knows when they will be open and back to normal.

Do we have 100% permanent and final details on how those things will be honored? Absolutely not.

Will this pandemic cause all resort fees and parking fees and minibar rates and number of steps from the elevator to my room to go to zero immediately and forever? No. Many brands will probably make changes, adjustments, and offers to entice business back to Nevada when it’s safe to go, but even if you see “experts” on the Internet saying that this will totally be what ends resort fees, don’t believe it until you see it.

So what should I do now?

Be patient. your vacation or getaway being postponed or cancelled should be the least of your worries. Focus on your health and well-being.

Keep an eye out for the brands in Vegas that commit to their employees. Patronize them if you can when you go back. While some brands have decided to provide health coverage during the closure, others have gone beyond that.

Wynn and Encore are a great example of this; the CEO has committed to paying salaried and hourly employees, including estimated tips, through the closure. Yes, I’m a bit of a Wynn fan, but if you find any other brands going that far, give them some of your vacation budget as well.

Be patient with customer service people. Consider waiting to deal with reservation or ticket changes, if your plans are farther down the road, so that they can take care of people with the most immediate needs. If you do communicate with reservations or customer service in the near future, be patient with them. It’s 100% certain that nobody you talk to on the phone invented the virus behind this pandemic; none of them are happy about this situation; and taking out your frustration on them helps nobody, and will hopefully get you trespassed from any properties whose staff you abuse.

Help out Las Vegas if you wish to. If you want to support those in need in Las Vegas. There are a number of places to find relevant charities.

Help out in your own community if you can. Some of us have day jobs that will survive and even continue through the pandemic. Others are not so lucky. If you are healthy and able to do so, patronize local restaurants that are providing carryout/delivery (go directly to the restaurant if you can, as opposed to delivery services that may take up to 30% of the money off the top). Donate to local food banks, homeless service organizations, and the like. Donate blood, plasma, platelets if you are healthy and eligible. Spread the word on ways people can help. Check your local community forums (on Facebook or Nextdoor) and see if you can help seniors or other people in your neighborhood not able to fully help themselves.

Fact-check things before sharing them. Thirty seconds on google may keep you from spreading dubious or outright false items, or causing more harm than good.

Las Vegas will still be there when this pandemic subsides. As much as you might despise some of the brands and companies, the people of Las Vegas will need our help when we’re able to return. And so will our own communities.

Stay safe out there. Keep an eye out for national, state, and local orders and regulations, follow them, and take care of yourselves and each other.

Trip Report: Learning Experiences with LAX lounges and Southwest Airlines

Last week was a busy week for us at rsts11travel, with a few topics around a two day trip to Los Angeles, California.

This was going to be a “quick take” post, but like the trek to an available lounge, it ended up longer than expected. Here’s why.

For the last 8 years or so, we’ve had a pretty consistent airline plan for various reasons. For flights from the Bay Area to Southern California airports other than LAX, or to Las Vegas, we generally fly Southwest. Otherwise, we fly American.

And when flying American into or through LAX, the lounge choices are pretty obvious; with Admirals Club membership through the Citi AAdvantage Executive MasterCard, we visit one or more of the three Admirals Clubs here: Remote Terminal’s mini-lounge, or Terminal 4 or Terminal 5 full size lounges. They’re pretty good, with predictable offerings and reasonable space. Last year we started using Priority Pass for the restaurant credits at Campanile (which has since left the program).

The terminals that American Airlines flies to are all connected airside by walkways, tunnels, or the Remote Terminal shuttle. So we’ve never had to go through security more than once, even if visiting more than one lounge.

This trip was a bit different, in that we flew into LAX on Southwest, a barely-over-$100 round trip fare from SJC which left some budget space for other things. Arriving at Terminal 1 was a bit of a change.

Continue reading “Trip Report: Learning Experiences with LAX lounges and Southwest Airlines”