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Jimbo's 2001 trip

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Jimbo338, Jan 30, 2002.

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  1. Jimbo338

    Jimbo338 VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2000
    Messages:
    5,497
    Location:
    Laconia, NH
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    20

    My Trip Report

    This is the slightly longer version. Since it's been awhile and I'll be leaving in less than 2 weeks I will only comment on the airline and lodging.

    I usually attend a trade show for 4 days in february and stay for a total of 8 days/7 nights. Of course, the 8th day is mostly on the plane flying east against the clock. This year's trip was a bit earlier than usual 1-27-01.
    I normally start checking flights around October when the airlines have typically extended their schedules to Jan-Feb.I enjoy a morning flight from Manchester NH which puts me in Las Vegas just after noon. That way I can settle in at the hotel, go for a late lunch and enjoy the rest of the day exploring before crashing and getting used to the time change. This year all the major carriers were listing flights at about $556. and all leaving in the mid afternoon arriving in LV just before midnight (3AM EST)! so then I checked with Southwest. They are not listed by Travelocity or Expedia so I checked their site and bookmarked it.

    Low and behold, they had just the times that I wanted, and I also thought changing planes in Kansas City might be a treat since I got stuck in Chicago for 2 years in a row with United. Then there was the price.....$ 220.00. But what about SW Airlines, I thought, and the practice of not assigning seats. I turned to Travel2Vegas for advice. Sonya replied that SW was a little out of the ordinary but was a good airline and that if you get there early seating wasn't much of a problem. Others agreed so I booked my flight.
    At the airport, I checked in my bag, and went to breakfast with my wife. It was an hour before my flight and I was afraid of not getting a good seat so we parted and I went through security and there was a long line at the gate. I was nervous but when I got there I got #43. Now, if you have never flown Southwest, they board handicapped, unaccompanied children and folks with young children first. Then they start boarding 1-30; 30-60 etc. After you get get a number you can stand at the gate if you want to so you can be #30 and be the first of the 1-30 group to board etc. Well, I was in the first third of the second group to board and sat in an aisle seat 5 rows back. One thing I instantly liked about SW before I even bought my ticket is that I like the 737, and all their planes are 737's. Well, I swear this one was brand new! It was absolutely immaculate.

    It didn't take long to realize that this flight was going to be different. Something was very different from the start. MY GOD! These people seem to like their jobs!!!!!!The entire flight crew weren't just polite and accomodating......they were genuinely friendly, affable, funny and helpful. A breath of fresh air in the airline industry. As the boarding concluded they proceeded with the emergency safety instructions that are redundant, boring and we've heard a million times. NOT SO! They hammed them up, getting the message out along with lots of chuckles as well. This tended to break the tension and never have I been on a plane with such friendly passangers. It seemed that just as we leveled off to cruising altitude we were preparing to land at Kansas City....time does fly when you're having a good time. (I usually get seated next to someone who reads for 5 hours and never says boo!)
    Kansas city was nice except that I went right instead of left to go to the gates for the next leg. I had already given up the thought of lunch since I had only 55 minutes to layover and board, now I was at the end of an even longer line on a plane that was booked to capacity. KC is a nice small airport but you have to lgo through security again unlike the bigger airports where you are kept separate from unsecured areas. Well, I didn't do as bad as I feared, got #45 this time and stood there right at the beginning of line #2. I had another great idea.....go for an exit seat! We boarded and I walked right to the rear exit door and sat on the aisle side. Unlike other airlines with a bit of extra space for those occupying aisle seats, SW has 2 seats facing each other. The minute I sat down I realized that in a minute this was going to be an ocean of legs but now all the aisle seats had beentaken and the plane was near capacity.
    Well, 5 other guys sat down, 3 of them in one party and I never laughed so much in all my life. They were funny, not gross or insulting and it was another great flight. Approaching Las Vegas I realized something that was repeated on the return flight.......all 4 legs of the trip arrived early! (3 had left ahead of schedule).
    Now bag retrieval.....wow they were coming up almost as we reached the carosel! Off to the shuttle. I didn't see LVL; they had moved all the way to the end of the pick up area. Got into the stretch limo with 3 young women,and was the last to be dropped off at The Somerset House. My trade show moved 2 years ago to the Las Vegas Convention Center with seminars at the LV Hilton. I checked with the LVCC website for nearby accomodations. The first year I stayed at Circus Circus. It listed the Somerset House on Convention Center Drive. I liked the location half way between the Convention Center and the Strip.
    I could not find any independent information about them. Couldn't find a rating, and had no answers here to a post I left. I did walk down the street once last year but didn't recall the place but remembered that nothing was shabby. I called and the folks at the desk appear to be retired workers and were wonderful, so friendly compared to the usual abrupt polite service I have always received elsewhere. That seemed to be the mood of the place. I booked and got a weekly rate of 213.64 with tax for 7 nights. I sent my deposit, got a receipt and confirmation and then found someone who had stayed there many times what stated it was getting "a bit worn". I figured I would keep my reservations and give it a try. As I have stated before, unlike many who consider lodging as the focal point of their LV experience, for me it is a place to sleep 6 hours, hang my clothes and shower. I like clean, quiet and convenient. It was all of those and then some.
    There are about 103 rooms, 80 or so of which have kitchenettes. The others just have a fridge which is all I wanted. I checked in a a minute with a very friendly lady. I took the elevator to my floor and found the room to be spacious. The furnishings were not new but clean. The decor was fine. There was a nice size bathroom with full bath. It had a new vinyl carpet, tub hardware, well lighted, and a hair drier. Across was a large closet with the fridge. Bed was Queen and was the most comfortable one I have slept on in LV. The outside doors are locked after 6 or so and they buzz you in. I found maintenance to be friendly and housekeeping as well. I asked to see the twin double with kitchens. It was the quietest place I have stayed. I only heard people on the floor one night leaving at 9 pm. I don't know if they ever came back or if anyone else was on the floor. I appreciated the solitude.
    My trade show was very good and I did enjoy seeing all that had changed in LV but won't go into details.....will tell you about my trip in 2 weeks. LVL was 20 minutes early to pick me up and my flight home went to Baltimore; it seemed to be the most direct and shortest flight that I have taken, and then a quick plane change and 45 minutes to Manchester, NH. It was a nice vacation, with nice accomodations and a GREAT flight. This year Southwest was my choice of airlines and I booked at $202 RT; I am also staying at the Somerset House again but had to pay an extra $50 for the last night's stay since it is the friday of President's weekend. Still reasonable and very convenient.

    http://www.southwest.com/

    http://www.somerset-house.com/

    I will keep notes as I travel this Feb. 9th and perhaps have some useful information when I return.

    Jim
     
  2. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 1999
    Messages:
    21,860
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    18
    Hey! I remember all that. I remember wishing I knew something about Sommerset House I could tell you. :D

    Southwest is fun and very reasonable. I've had a miserable time in those seats that face each other though. You got lucky. [​IMG]

    Enjoy and I'm looking forward to hearing about your next trip.
     
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