Las Vegas’s sleek new $2.4 billion (£1.5bn) Terminal 3 at McCarran International Airport opens its doors today with self-service technology that will see passengers printing their own baggage tags at check-in and boarding their planes without agents.
The new “T3″ will also feature free Wi-Fi, power outlets and Nevada’s largest public art works.
Airport officials say that the new terminal, which has taken over five years to build, is the biggest single investment in its 63-year history.
Until now, passengers flying into and out of McCarran either travelled domestically through Terminal 1 or internationally through Terminal 2.
The new facility will replace the outdated Terminal 2 – which will be demolished – and serve mostly international airlines, taking the pressure off Terminal 1, which will continue to serve most domestic flights.
British Airways, Korean Air, Air Canada, Virgin Atlantic, Air Berlin and AeroMexico are among the first airlines to move over to T3 today, with domestic carriers including Alaska, JetBlue and Virgin America migrating over on July 31 and United and Hawaiian Airlines following in early August.
The common-use technology introduced at T3 is designed to offer passengers a faster and smoother journey through the airport, airport officials say.
Passengers of the airlines who choose to use the technology can expect minimal interaction with airport staff, as most processes – except security – will be automated.
This will allow passengers to print off their own baggage tags and scan their printed or mobile boarding pass at the gates to unlock the turnstile and board the plane.
Self-service bag tagging is common at airports in Europe, Asia and Canada, with airports in the US showing more interest in the technology.
Similarly, self-boarding gates – used by airlines worldwide including Air New Zealand, Japan Airlines and Air France – are expected to become more common at airports Stateside in future.
Self-boarding is, however more difficult to roll out on international flights, where regulations require passengers to show their passports to agents along with boarding passes.
Click here for more information on which airlines are serving Terminals 1 and 3.