Itâ€™s been 11 days since Vegas and I have to tell youâ€¦.for the trip that almost wasnâ€™tâ€¦..I kind of wish it didnâ€™t. Iâ€™ll start by giving you guys the backgroundâ€¦.hubby and I have been going to Vegas twice a year since 2000. Last year in October we took my parents and my kids for a couple of days. A week after we returned home, my husband got laid off from his job. I had a birthday trip planned for Feb that I had to cancel and future Vegas trips seemed out of the question. Hubby got a job in May and after finding a comp offer from MGM, we made the decision to go to Vegas for just a couple of days to get our fix. My dad is an American Airlines retiree and because the airfare prices from DFW to LAS were the highest I had ever seen them, we decided to try and fly non-rev standby. After so many cheap trips to Vegas I just could not rationalize paying over $800 for 2 tickets. This is probably the worst decision we have ever madeâ€¦..more to followâ€¦ My mom had been watching the flights for monthsâ€¦checking to see if non-revs were making it there and making it home. Every day all non-revs were getting seats so it looked promising. We proceeded with our choice to fly standby. On Thursday morning we arrived at DFW airport at 5am for the 630 flight. The flight had a few seats open in first class, none in coach but we hoped that there would be a few folks who slept too late and would miss. Not so much. We ended up in DFW airpot all day trying for all the flights. By the time the 645pm flight came around we knew we only had 2 more flights to try for and started fearing the worst and considered other plans. Maybe we would drive to Choctaw casino or Windstar in OK, only a few hours from us. Missing the 9pm flight by just 2 seats, we finally made it out on the 1035pm flight first class along with 5 other non-revs who also had been waiting in the airport most of the day. I donâ€™t think any of them had anything on us thoâ€¦.15 hours of waiting! We made it into LAS around midnight and caught the bell trans to MGM. We were the first stop thankfully and we went to check in. That weekend was the Jimmy Buffet concert and the PBR World Finals (this I did not know before hand) so most of the rooms were already given away. I made small talk with the agentâ€¦.I work at a hotel front desk and use the same system for check ins so I used that to butter her up and hopefully get a nice room. I didnâ€™t bother with the $20 trick because I thought I might be able to get by on my personality alone. Boy was I wrong. She was very nice but I guess there was little for her to choose from. She asked us smoking or non, I said smoking if you have it. She said she didnâ€™t have any more smoking rooms and no rooms left with a king bed but she would give us a room we could smoke in (a non-snoking room we could smoke in) and said she would have ashtrays sent up. She gave us our keys and told us where to go. Last time here we stayed in the West Wing on a high floor. When I found out or room was on the 3rd floor I thoughtâ€¦well, thatâ€™s ok weâ€™re not spending that much time in it anyway but didnâ€™t expect a view. We couldnâ€™t find the elevators she was talking about so we asked an employee standing near the main elevators. He walked us over by the studio walk entrance and pointed to a door that only had a key swiper on it. He said â€œthere, swipe your key and the elevator is in thereâ€. What? It was like some â€œsecretâ€ entrance to a different world. Once through the door we saw a long deserted hallway and the carpet looked like ass. Around the corner were the elevators which had definitely seen better days. Up 3 floors and another deserted hallway to our room. The room was old with old carpet and dÃ©cor. The beds were comfortable but this room was definitely not what we were used to. Being that I work in the industry, I do not complain so we just changed clothes and headed down to play for a while. Since we had burned through our whole first day waiting at DFW ariport we stayed up until around 3am Vegas time (5am Dallas time) and successfully lost around $500 in the slots. I felt as if we were in a huge rush like 2 kids let loose in a candy store after being locked up in a small room for 5 years. We hit every slot you could imagine and never hit anything worth much. I shouldâ€™ve seen this as an omen of things to come or God telling us we shouldâ€™ve stayed home but tomorrow is a new dayâ€¦. The next day we got up around 9am and made our way down to visit the new City Center complex. It was raining and cloudy, something I am not used to in Vegas. I was freezing, as I am mostly cold all the time anyway and while I was glad I brought jeans I wished I had brought a jacket or hoodie with me on this trip. It was confusing to find our way to the actual casino. Lots of walk ways and doors to go throughâ€¦there was probably another way in but we had no idea. Once inside Aria it was nice, but nothing different from every other casino. I miss the days of the themed hotels. This just seemed like another nice hotel with slot machines. My mom gave me $20 to play for her so I sat down at WOZ Ruby Slippers and on the 2nd spin Glenda appeared giving me a â€œBig Winâ€. I cashed out at $90, in fear of losing my momâ€™s money. I took a picture of her ticket and then we headed over towards Planet Hollywood. Now, the 2 times I have been to Vegas with my mom have been my best winning trips. She is definitely my good luck charm. Every time she gives me money to play on for her...it hits something. She doesn't win herself all that much but whoever is with her will do well. I should've brought her with us this trip! I forgot to mention that my husband had very old Croc flip flops on which had NO traction whatsoever. My husband is 6â€™3â€ 225 lbs and he had to lean on me (5â€™2â€ 125 lbs) to keep from busting his ass on the wet pavement. We had to get him some new shoes and quick! Safely we made it over into the PH shops. We spent what seemed like forever looking at shoes and finally he decided on a pair of sneakers. I hate shopping with my husband, he is worse than a female! I was starving so we headed over to La Salsa and ate lunch. I love this place. We had a really nice waiter and good service. The food was excellentâ€¦I had the steak burrito and my husband had the steak tacos. The bill was around $42. Afterwards we went to one of the ABC shops where I bought a hoodie for $20. The best purchase of the trip, as I hardly took it off the whole time. We played some in the casino at PHâ€¦.husband fell in love with the Lord of the Rings slot and spent about an hour playing it. The bonus rounds are really fun and we love the random free spins that you are awarded throughout the game. They show up quite frequently. Still, no big wins and I canâ€™t remember but Iâ€™m pretty sure we left some cash behind at PH. We walked over to Mirage, spent some time there on yet another LOTR slot machine and checked out King Ink tattoo shop. I had wanted to get a tattoo but when they quoted me their $200 minimum for a very small design I wantedâ€¦well, I think they are smoking crack because I could get the same tat at home for around $50. After Mirage it was over to TI for a bit and then across to Paris/Ballyâ€™s. Hubby had bought a monorail pass early in the morning so I suggested we tram it down to Sahara as it had been years since we were there last. I was hoping to sign up for their slot club and get some free play from it. We got there and I played a few hands of virtual BJ. Doubled my money, got a cocktail and headed over to the slot club to sign up. No promotion, no free play but I did get a coupon for a free beer. Ok, Iâ€™ll take it! Got back on the monorail and headed back to MGM to see what kind of show offers my room came with. I know that when we booked the room they said 2-for-1 show tickets. We went to see which shows had seats and then they showed us the prices. Now I donâ€™t know why they do this but when I looked online at Zumanity tickets we could get seats for around $70 each. I thought, this would be a good deal, $70 for 2 show tickets. Now, per their price sheet, the 2-for-1 offer was ONLY for the $130 seats. So, basically weâ€™d be paying the same. This was true for all of the shows listed. I felt cheated and a bit misleader but oh well, we just didnâ€™t go see any shows. We were getting hungry so we asked about getting a buffet comp. In less than 24 hours I racked up 1500 points on my players card and thought for sure they could give us one. But, they said we were staying on a comp so weâ€™d have to play enough to make up for the free rooms before they would consider giving us anything more. Another shoot down. Wtf? By this time we had successfully lost over $1k at the MGM properties and they couldnâ€™t give us a freaking buffet. We were incredibly hungry so I donâ€™t know what got into him but my husband persuaded me that it was ok to spend $63 on 2 buffets. It was good, but never in my life could I eat $30 worth of food on my own. I was determined to eat prime rib until it was coming out of my ears but after 3 big pieces I was done and couldnâ€™t eat another bite. After dinner we played a little more (lost a little more) and headed over to Excalibur/Luxor/Mandalay Bay for some new scenery. It was incredibly crowded as it was a Friday night and watching all the drunk, scantily clad college girls gave us good laughs. 2 girls specifically were walking (or trying to walk) on the moving walk way between Luxor and Excalibur. I wonder if it was as fun for them as it was for us to watch. One of them looked as if she was going to hurl and I kept my distance. I swear Iâ€™m getting to old for this stuff! We went to the Chris Angel shop to buy something for my son because he loves magic and watches him all the time. We left with a cold-weather cap and the floating card trick that he had asked for. Then over to Mandalay Bay to give the MGM enterprise more of my hard earned cash. When we were done we waited for the tram to Excalibur/Luxor for 15 minutes before someone finally came over and told us and the rest of the crowd that it closed 30 minutes ago and we had to trek it back. Great. We stayed up at MGM until 5am after finding a couple of penny slots that stretched our money for hours. Mine was the one with the butterflys and 7â€™sâ€¦.I hit many times for $8 at a time. Went up to almost $100 but then lost it all in the end. Hubby ended up winning what I lost so after all that time we left even. What pissed me off tho, is that we were there for a very long time and not once did a cocktail waitress come around. The whole trip it seemed like they were few and far between and unless you were playing tables, you could not get a drink to save your life. Because of this I was totally parched when we were done and got some tea at Starbucks. Lord love Vegas and the 24 hour Starbucks! The next day we got up later than we wanted to (around 10am) and tried to do as much as we could because we knew we would be leaving at 9pm in order to start trying for standby on the red-eye back to DFW. We walked down to Mirage to have lunch at Carnegie Deli. While waiting my husband went into Sugar Factory and bought our daughter a $22 â€¦.yes, $22 lollipop. What a gimmick! He fell for it and thought it was the coolest thing. I wondered how long it would be before she lost it in the dark abyss we call her bedroom. My husband had the French toast and I had grilled cheese and tomato. I asked for fries, not realizing that it doesnâ€™t come with the sandwich. They brought me a separate plate FULL of fries. No, I canâ€™t eat all that! So, I left almost the whole plate behind. We spent some more time playing at Mirage and decided to head over to TI and then the Wynn. My luck is usually pretty decent at the Wynn and this was no exception. I had some good hits on one of the WOZ machines and husband had a good run on some other machines there as well. We left with the same amount we went in with. It wouldnâ€™t be long before we donated it all back to the Palazzo/Venetian. The slots at Palazzo were brutal. We couldnâ€™t hit a damn thing there. By this time it was getting late and I still needed to pack up our things and we needed to eat dinner. We went back over to Mirage and had dinner at BLT Burger. This was pricey but totally worth it. I love a good burger and this was no exception. Nothing fancy, just a burger, fries and a coke but cooked to perfection and exactly the way I like my burger. It was getting really crowded as we watched all the parrot heads flocking out onto the strip to make their way down to the MGM for the concert. Not able to walk back after that huge burger we got a single ride monorail pass and rode it back to MGM. Once inside we were surrounded by middle-aged parrot heads. They looked like they were having so much fun. It was a nice break from watching all the scantily-clad drunk 20-somethings we had seen the night before. This was much more our crowd and for a brief second I was jealous that we werenâ€™t going to the concert. One lady in particular had a necklace on in which the beads were actuallyâ€¦.little sets of boobs. She was probably in her 50â€™s and it was hilarious to watch her ask all the men on the tram to touch her â€œboobiesâ€. MGM was crazy crowded because of the concert. We tried our luck one last time at the Majestic Lions with no luck this time. Then we headed back to the room to pack up for the trip home. I was trying to call my mom to get an update on how the flight looked but I could not get any reception. I tried in the hallway and still no reception. I had to go down and out into the studio walk before I could pick up a signal. This was a real pain in the butt because it was so crowded and loud I couldnâ€™t hear a damn thing. We got everything ready to go, went to the desk to get my deposit back and caught a cab to the airport. One more Vegas trip over and done with â€¦.. Less than 48 hoursâ€¦just like that. Here is where hell began. Earlier in the day there were bad storms in Vegas. And although other airlines successfully were flying and landing at DFW, AA thought it would be best to cancel 2 over booked flights there back to back. This put us to about #60 on the standby list on a red eye flight which under normal circumstances we wouldâ€™ve been able to get on no problem. We spent the night at the airport waiting on the 6am flightâ€¦.then every flight after thatâ€¦one after the other, hour after hour. Our place on the list never moved, it just got worse. All of those passengers on the cancelled flights were trying to get out as well. All flights were oversold that day so even they couldnâ€™t get on a plane. People were buying tickets on other airlines just to get home. We continued to try and thought for sure we could make the next red eye flight. We started out Sat night. Now it was Sunday night and that red eye was over sold too. I was at my limit. I had only had about 30 minutes of sleep since Friday morning and I was starting to lose it. While my husband slept peacefully on the cold McCarran floor, I got more upset than ever and had to figure out a way to get us home. He had to go back to work and I wanted to get home to our kids. Thank God for McCarranâ€™s free wi-fi, I was able to locate a flight out of LAX with a ton of open seats. I just had to figure out how to get to LAX. Checking Southwest, they had one way tickets from LAS to LAX for a decent price. Not that I wanted to spend the little money we had brought home with us on airline tickets but we had no choice. We booked a flight from LAS to LAX on Southwest leaving at 230pm and would catch the 645pm flight out of LAX to DFW standby. Another long morning at McCarran airport, I was still exhausted and an emotional mess. Even though the end was in sight, I just couldnâ€™t stand it there anymore. We thought about cabbing it to NYNY for a little while because it was closest but just were too tired and irritable to do so. More airport food for breakfast and lunch and finally over to the SW terminal. All the SW flights were delayed. We had never flown SW before so I was getting very nervous that we were going to be so delayed that we would miss our LAX flight and have to spend another night in the airport, but this time it would be LAX. I just couldnâ€™t so that so we decided to try to fly standby on a flight that was actually the one before the one we had tickets for but it was leaving on time, as ours was terribly delayed. The SW people are so very nice both at the ticket counters and on the flight. Our flight attendant kept us laughing and did more of a stand up routine while we were in the air. After all we had been through, I needed a laugh. This was an absolute contrast from the AA staff which had treated us like crap for 2 days. Seriously, fly non-rev standby on American and you are treated like a 2nd class citizenâ€¦.like the lowest of the low. Almost as if you are invisible. I have never been treated so rudely in my entire life. It was unbelievable. Once in LAX, we landed at terminal 1 and had to run our asses over to terminal 4 because we only had about 30 minutes before boarding time. We mustâ€™ve walked 3 miles to get there and made it through security. There was no line but they had TSA agents in training so it took about as long as it wouldâ€™ve had there been 50 people there. At this point I had no patience, I just wanted to scream. I ran (literally) to the gate counter and the agent had just got there. The flight was half empty so for what seemed like the first good thing to happen in 3 daysâ€¦.he issued us first class boarding passes. Thank the Lord. Then, to top it offâ€¦.picture thisâ€¦.my husband and I had been in the airport for 3 days. No shower, no change of clothes and very little sleep. My husband points at the guy checking in at the gate and I know right away who it is from the back. Now this might not seem like anything for most of you but my husband and I are huge soccer fans. It was Kevin Hartman, the goalie for our FC Dallas MLS team. They had just played against LA Galaxy the night before. He was out on injury but was at the game and now headed home. Now since I havenâ€™t mentioned it, Iâ€™ll mention it nowâ€¦Kevin Hartman is extremely good looking. I mean he is borderline man-beautiful. My husband had actually met him before because the company he works for does sponsorship events at FC Dallas games. Of course my husband has to start talking to him so weâ€™re just standing there shooting the beeeze about the game, etcâ€¦. Iâ€™m just staring at him like some crazy person straight out of the psych ward, mesmerized by his handsomeness. We get on the plane and he is seated across from us, one aisle back. I would periodically â€œstretchâ€ so I could catch a glimpse of him throughout the flight. The only good thing to happen to me this entire trip! So, for those of you who have read this farâ€¦.thanks. I donâ€™t think I would ever say this but this was not the best trip to Vegas. It started off as a light rain then developed into a full blown storm. We shouldâ€™ve taken the hint and went to OK instead. Iâ€™m not saying that we didnâ€™t have a good time but the 3 days spent in the airport really overshadowed any fun I had while we were actually in Vegas. No winnings were brought home because we had to pay to get home, pay more to board our dogs extra days and airport food isnâ€™t cheap! Yes, we shouldâ€™ve known betterâ€¦.never fly standby to Vegas. We were warned but we didnâ€™t listen. We learned our lesson and will never, ever do that again! Iâ€™m planning a trip in Febâ€¦with my mom for a little change of pace on my birthday. Iâ€™ve already started saving because I will be BUYING my tickets this time!