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Thoughts from a Quick Trip to Las Vegas

The new American
The new American

I recently was in Las Vegas for a wedding and had a few random travel thoughts that I thought I’d put down on paper. Nothing earth shattering, but maybe a useful tip or two nonetheless.

Let’s cut to the chase:


On this trip I had the chance to compare two domestic first class flights, though both had their downsides. On the outbound I flew United first BOS-EWR-LAS. My major issue here? On the BOS-EWR, United was happy to have me pay $6 to watch half an hour of Direct TV (I was in the back for that leg), on the five hours EWR-LAS leg, there were zero IFE options. I know a lot of people don’t care about IFE, but I do and that was downright annoying.

On the return, I knew there wouldn’t be IFE, but I got hit by a bunch of delays due to traffic reduction in Boston. I was stuck in Charlotte for two extra hours, which I didn’t mind. What I DO mind a little bit is when they say that your flight is delayed to 4:40 PM and it is 4:45 PM and they still haven’t updated the time. I assume it’s some operational thing, but I’d love for someone to enlighten me as to why they don’t just tell the truth and say “we’re not sure how long this is gonna be”, or at the very least, update the estimated departure time to a time that isn’t BEFORE the actual present time.

Lake Mead from the air (I think)
Lake Mead from the air (I think)

To US Airways credit, the pilot was very up front when we were hit by a further delay on board – in fact he gave us the up to date minute we were supposed to be wheels up (from ATC) and it was right on the money.

A couple other travel related thoughts: Autoslash is awesome. Not only does the service just automatically rebook you into cheaper vehicles, on my literal day of travel I need to make a few adjustments. I just e-mailed Autoslash and they took care of it for me. It’s like having a travel agent that you don’t have to pay.

I ended up using a IHG free night at the Palazzo (and then paying for my last three nights). I was staying with friends and we had a bunch of various parameters so that was the best fit for us. Now we have my wife’s IHG free night floating around with no real way to use it, which I’m sure FQF will be delighted to rub in my face! Jk…sorta.

Oh almost forgot – when we landed in Las Vegas United wouldn’t let us get off the plane because apparently the baggage in the rear cargo hold was too heavy and they were afraid if people got out the plane would tip over. So many thoughts about that, but mainly – if they’re so afraid of the imbalance, was it safe to fly? Seriously never heard that one before…


Las Vegas remains a wonderful place to eat. Some thoughts:

– We have a tradition of going to Fatburger. We decided to try out Fuku Burger instead. Mistake and a lesson – never try new things. 😛

– The Wicked Spoon buffet at the Cosmo was thoroughly underwhelming. We went for weekday brunch, but it definitely didn’t live up to its lofty reputation. I had read that it had dropped off a bit in the last couple years but we might as well have eaten at the Flamingo (okay maybe that’s extreme). Just my two cents on the matter.

Anchor Bar is a branch of the place where Buffalo Wings were supposedly invented. It didn’t disappoint (and we didn’t have to go outside to get there, score).

Carnevino remains one of the finest steak houses I’ve ever been to, though the markups on the cheaper wines are pretty nuts (5X). Still…what a steak.


Grimaldi’s pizza is pretty good but goes down way easier than expected (four of us split two smalls but were still hungry). The sauce is slightly on the sweet side as well.


What’s Vegas without a little bit of gambling?

– A lot of the casinos only pay 6 to 5 on blackjacks at the lower limit tables. This is straight up horrible, the difference between 3 to 2 and 6 to 5 is significant for your bottom line (aka how much money you lose). I could only find $10 minimum tables paying 3 to 2 at the Flamingo and the Cosmopolitan (and maybe Harrah’s?). Venetian/Palazzo for sure did not have any.

– That being said, there are these new (to me at least, it’s been two years since I’ve been) blackjack machines where five people can sit down with a cartoon dealer. It’s not as fun as interacting with a real human dealer (well, the ones that are not robots), but most of these machines pay 3 to 2 on blackjack. Just check the pays table. As an added bonus, some of these machines even use four decks instead of six. The biggest drawback is that at a real table, if you do something stupid like try to double down on a twenty, your dealer will ask “are you sure?” The computer just happily takes your money. This is something I actually saw happen, except I think the person thought they were making a brilliant play. DOUBLE DOWN ON A TWENTY. Still cracks me up thinking about it.

Double down. Too hilarious
Double down. Too hilarious

– Don’t expect to win any money while gambling. Duh. So fun though.

– Parlays are evil. Soooo evil. Yet I still can’t resist.

– Roulette has horrible odds, but I love it. What can I say, I’m a sucker.

– We drove to the Palms to watch Mission Impossible. A good movie with the added benefit of only costing $8 for two hours of entertainment.

Final Thoughts

These were just some random thoughts from my last trip. Thanks for indulging me. Back to parenting!


Just an average joe trying to fly his family for less

3 thoughts on “Thoughts from a Quick Trip to Las Vegas

  1. Sounds like you had a fun trip to Vegas. Glad you found some $10 3:2 tables. It’s crazy how nearly the entire strip has moved to 6:5 tables, but you can definitely find 3:2 if you look around. According to the Wizard of Odds (great website), the difference in “house edge” is only 1.39% … probably not statistically significant for as little as I play … but a BIG amount for the casinos I’m sure! As for parlays and roulette, I’m a sucker too … in moderation. While the house edge is pretty big in roulette, it’s a nice mindless game (it’s nearly impossible to make a mistake and lower your odds). Those blackjack machines are brutal … play hands really fast, and the potential for mistakes as you point out! Double-down on a 20?!

  2. hey joe,

    check out downtown the next time youre in vegas. they have really good odds and there are some pretty interesting sights. the table limits are also very low (i want to say 5 dollars at some). i also wanted to check out SW steakhouse at the wynn. it’s supposed to have pretty good steak. i think they have authentic kobe beef (actually from kobe japan). i’ve been meaning to go, but i can’t tear myself away from carnevino either.

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