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Sept '23 Photo Trip Report (SAN-LAS) with 2x TSA Screening

Aviator C

Hello everybody!




I had an opportunity to take my first flight as A-List earlier this month between SAN and LAS which included some incredible beauty, taking care of some of business, and having the privilege of having not one but two TSA screenings for the outbound leg at SAN. Thank goodness for Global Entry! Below is the photo report and what led up to the double passage through the metal detectors.


This A-Lister got solid Priority Boarding positions for both legs: A36 inbound, A32 out.  There were about a couple dozen A-Listers booked. Flight 555 was on time and ready to depart at 8:30a nonstop to LAS via a 737-MAX8 at the most lucky of SAN's Gates...13. 




I noticed an 8:35a Flight 1020 departure to LAS on the screen which really befuddled me for a moment as it appeared that two scheduled flights were only spaced apart by 5 minutes...That was before I realized that SAN displays all destinations for through flights with multiple stops. Flight 1020 had a marathon journey that started at 6:30am at SJC, stopped at SAN, was due to depart at 8:35am, and was to continue on to ABQ, AUS, DAL, and then back to OAK, and finally to LAS at 9:05pm...


I did my usual things upon arrival. Didn't need to stop at the ticket counter because I was carry-on only. Emptied the water bottle, went through TSA, refilled the water at the fountain airside, and headed to the gate. Boarding's about 12 minutes away at lucky Gate 13...



...and then about 10 minutes before boarding was due to start, at about 7:50am, lucky riches strike! This happened:




My flight was changed to Gate 5. Okay...Gate Change; simple enough...except for one tiny little problem.


SAN T1 Map (


Those who frequent SAN airport know that Southwest serves Terminal 1, an older generation facility with two separate concourses that are not interconnected airside. The westside concourse housed Gate 13 as well as Gates 11-18; the eastside has Gates 5-10. Gate 5 was at the east.


After confirming the gate change with the Gate 13 CSA with just under 10 minutes prior to board time, the CSA announced that everybody waiting at Gate 13 to board Flight 555 needed to transition to the east concourse to get to Gate 5. That meant returning to landside for a second trip through TSA...


Thankfully Global Entry w/ PreCheck saved me from most of the hassles and inconveniences of the rescreening. I emptied the water bottle at the bathrooms just outside TSA, went through the PreCheck Lane again, refilled at the fountain, and got to Gate 5 exactly at board time.


Unfortunately, that was not the case for many of my fellow passengers; they had to go through the standard screening line, some had even brought drinks and beverages airside only to discard them. I politely advised Southwest Customer Service in an email about that inconvenience; they responded and had the matter escalated. However to be fair, boarding was held until everybody was re-cleared. TSA staff was on it and got us through. They got all the passengers and the crew through the checkpoint all within about 15 minutes. As mentioned, there about 25 A-Listers which meant they knew the in's and out's of TSA screening and were able to get through via the Priority Express Lane if they didn't have PreCheck.




Made it to east concourse airside...and then, flight got bumped one more gate to the left from Gate 5 to Gate 6.

And there's our bird: Look's like there was an aircraft swap to a 737-800.



Since the eastern concourse offers window views of the construction of New Terminal 1, here's some progress pics:




Looks like crews were building the temporary wall that will separate the Phase 1 build now under construction with the Phase 2 expansion which will be built later in place of the current Terminal 1.




And yes, the New Terminal 1 will have one continuous airside concourse! For the record, once crews build out Phase 2, Terminal 1 passengers will even be able to access Terminal 2 airside for the first time in SAN's history!


Boarding began shortly after 8:15am. Thankfully, the plane was only delayed about 15 minutes by the time we left the gate. By then the captain got on the mic and explained what caused the cross-concourse gate change: The 737-MAX8 plane assigned for a separate Flight 3767 that was to depart a short while later from SAN to HNL broke down. Southwest Hawaii flights use the MAX8 fleet. They moved the HNL flight to Gate 13 with the working 737-MAX8; the HNL bound passengers also had to transition back to landside. That's why the LAS flight was swapped to a 737-800 plane.


Pushed back and on our way...



Nice cool marine layer over Mission Bay:



Remy's Grahams comes along!


Light monsoons make a return too.


A quiet "lounge" for the A-List...Not really. It's seven empty gates at the LAS Gate A17-A23 Concourse. Got some work done before my appointment.



The public transit CX "limo" into town courtesy of RTC.



Took care of my business. 


Before heading back to LAS, stopped at the Mirage Hotel volcano attraction before it will be gone...




Hard Rock hotel has big plans to replace this area with a guitar-shaped hotel tower.

Heading back...and plane spotting from an RTC bus station while waiting for Bus 109 to shuttle me back to LAS:



Return 4:30p flight ready to depart on time.



No gate changes this fact, those who frequent LAS know that airside connectors link every concourse of both terminals! One can tour the entire airside area.



Two WN birds cleared for departure!




Did I miss this "Lucky Casino" located somewhere beneath these monsoons? Should have stopped there before heading back to LAS. Must be a pot of gold there!




But watching this golden sunset against the San Diego skyline during final decent was worth much more.

Safe travels!