DL 3568 Flight Report : Las Vegas - Orange County

Los Angeles is merely an hour's flight away from Vegas. There are plenty of options flying to LAX which are very affordable, but the number of airlines dwindled as I needed to get to Orange County in the suburbs. Santa Ana's small airport seemed a comfortable facility as opposed to the massive LAX. The first airline that came into mind for a cheap fare was Southwest, but they were surprisingly more expensive than Delta. Delta's Basic Economy had an interesting proposition that resembled an even more bare bones version of a low-cost carrier. As if flying Economy is not suffering enough in the United States, this one is even worse - Basic. But at just over USD $100 all-in and for such a short flight, the experience could be survivable. Las Vegas' airport is a stone's throw from the city. In fact, the tip of the runway gets up to Las Vegas Blvd at the south end of the Strip.

Buses make the short trip to the airport comfortably, stopping at the arrivals level.

The departures area is a few floors up from the bus station. Along the way, I had a good view of the arrivals hall.

With hand carry only and a Basic Economy ticket, I could automate the check-in process entirely by using the kiosk and go straight to security.

If your wallet hasn't been cleaned out by the casinos in town already, you still have a final shot at the airport. I wonder if there are any eyes in the sky watching if kids win their first payout here?

There was a long line at security but it kept moving decently. Air-side, I was back on the train to reach my gate.

Vegas had a lot of querky entertainment options. The range of choices was quite amazing.

The terminal is quite spacious and modern. It wasn't too crowded, and there were plenty of shops and restaurants to pass the time. This is not the La Guardia hell hole.

There were more gambling machines scattered around the departures level.

The US domestic market has quite a large number of airlines, but spotting here wasn't too interesting.

For the truly gambling part of you, that soul would be sitting here at the slot machine. There is temptation everywhere.

This is the first time I've seen a breastfeeding box instead of a proper room.

There is a small museum exhibiting old airline memorabilia. Many of these airlines don't exist anymore.

My flight today would be operated by an Embraer 175.

I luckily scored a window seat at the back. The Embraer is a comfortable small plane with 2-2 configuration, so nobody is ever far away from the aisle.

With my window seat, I was hoping for aerial views of the Strip, but the weather turned grey so it wasn't as beautiful as I had expected.

The density quickly tapers off just blocks off the main boulevard.

The landscape was arid and barren. No wonder there isn't much in terms of human activity below.

We were below cloud level but the air was not choppy at all.

The landscape started turning more green and urban as we approached the vast sprawl surrounding Los Angeles. This is one of the least sustainable cities I have visited, with the car being king.

During the descent, I glanced at the paperwork in the seat pocket - the standard safety card and instructions on how to stream entertainment on your mobile devices. With these portable devices being commonplace, perhaps it won't be long for all the hardware-equipped IFE to disappear from our planes for good?

The sun came back out over the West Coast. Welcome to the blue sky.

As the plane emptied out, I took a few more photos of the spacious cabin and decent legroom.

Santa Ana's terminal looks quite tidy and elegant. The best part is the lack of crowds. It was an easy walk to the exit and I was land-side once again within minutes. This is a great airport for residents in Orange County. There is no need to drive all the way to LAX for your next domestic flight.

Luckily, the Basic Economy seat is the same as the other Economy tickets, albeit the location cannot be pre-determined. Delta's product is survivable on this short domestic hop.

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