Return Of Old-Style Las Vegas Junkets, Why Is Airfare So High?

I live in Ontario, Canada about 50 miles north of Detroit Michigan which is where we fly out of when going to Las Vegas.

My wife and I love going to Vegas, we try to make it at least 2 times a year. Our main problem now is the cost of airfare from the east. It has gone through the roof,and even if you get a cheap flight by the time you pay baggage costs it’s not cheap any more.

I can’t believe the casinos can’t get hooked up with an airline that would provide reasonable flights to Vegas from the east, if not maybe they should start to charter their own planes and go back to the old junket style deals they had years ago with the champagne flights.
Anything would be better than the price gouging going on today.

Wouldn’t know what percentage of Vegas traffic is from the east but I’m sure the numbers would warrant some thought to finding an affordable way for us too come to your great city. Spent the first week in March this year in Vegas but as of now we are looking at Atlantic City for our next trip this summer NOT VEGAS by any means but for $55.00 each it will have to do.


Rick O’Rourke

Ted Responds:

Years ago in the travel section of a U.S. newspaper, you’d read about free flights to Las Vegas. The only catch? You had to board with X amount of cash. Or sometimes pay it up front and you’d get casino chips at the specific casino running the junket (or variations of such).

The problems with doing that now are many:

1. The cost of flying is really high. (Jet fuel was cheap back them). So… you really would have to tank some money for the casino to even be able to offer you that junket. The minimum for you to get on and bring would be higher than people would be comfortable with. They’d just go ahead and book their own trips.

2. With so much to do and see here now, boarding a plane with X amount of cash doesn’t mean it is going to be gambled away. Casinos on the Las Vegas Strip used to be few and far between back then, were smaller, and your host could see that you are tanking the money you brought on the plane with you (and keep you off of future trips if you didn’t play). Now what are they going to do? Track you with your players card and make you take the bus home if you don’t gamble?

3. Serious players are now tracked with their players card. The hotel knows exactly who to fly out here for free and depending on your level of play, they can take care of coach, first class or even send a private jet (or give you the equivalent in free play or other perks). So… they really still are flying people out. Just not the way they used to.

4. Three million people are coming here a month (equal to 2004 numbers). The gaming companies are hurting because of debt and bad decisions they made during the boom. Not from a lack of interest or lack of visitors. 2004 was a great year here for all involved.

5. The absolute fire sale prices on rooms (because way too many new rooms were built during the boom) literally makes airfare irrelevant. So you have to pay $400 to get here. Your room cost is about what you’d pay at a Motel 6 anywhere else for a name brand hotel in a good location here (and a nice room is completely free if you are good gambler).

Having said all of that, summer should be a beautiful time to visit Atlantic City. I wish you so much good luck that you can take the winnings and pay for the airfare to come visit our way soon!

Ted Newkirk
CEO, Managing Editor

4 thoughts on “Return Of Old-Style Las Vegas Junkets, Why Is Airfare So High?”

  1. We too love visiting Las Vegas and use to go twice a year. We are from Oklahoma and have started taking longer vacations and choose to drive. People may think we’re crazy, but it’s a 16 hour drive each way, we take turns and sleep along the way and love to see the country.

    We belong to several casino players clubs and usually get our rooms comped for more than half our stay. Plus, driving we don’t have to rent a car. We usually stay for 8 to 10 days at a time and really see the sites and all Las Vegas has to offer.

    We also take advantage of some of the free comps we get from the casinos cards and go to Shreveport, Kansas City and Tunica all year around.

    I truly feel the Casinos players cards are the way to go and try if possible to either drive or take a train, it will save you a lot in the long run and the Casino’s really love their loyal players.

  2. The flights to Vegas are still a bargin up front but the added expenses are what adds up. Extra charge for baggage, extra charge for seating, extra charge to get on plane 1st to ensure a spot for your carry on. What’s next?
    If you don’t want to pay to have a bag checked then you have to pay to ensure there is room for your carry on so either way that bag is not going to nothing. I think 1 bag should be free and charge for extra bags after all what else is going in the bottom of the plane. Vegas wants more visitors but it is getting more costly to get there thus spending less while there.

  3. Good points, but Las Vegas can’t control what/how the airlines charge. They can only make rooms cheap to make up for it (which has happened).

  4. You can fly Southwest Airlines out of Detroit. No bag fees. The cost is about $ 325.00 mid week with advance purchase. Only drawback is you have to go to their web site for fares. Also they have some great vacation packages.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *