Vegas to Philly (140 TP)
The start of my return journey is a 6:52 am flight out of Las Vegas McCarran Airport over to Philadelphia on the East Coast, total flight time around 5 hours. After picking up a cab outside of the hotel, I’m at at the airport for around 4:30 am, which is way too early really given the minimal facilities at McCarran. American Airlines domestic departs from Terminal 1. There’s a tiny lounge there accessible if you have a Priority Pass card, a few places to eat, but not much else. However, things look up when it’s time to board; the aircraft is a 767-300, and has a proper business class cabin!
Las Vegas lies in basin of around 1600 square miles, surrounded by mountains. There’s some spectacular scenery on offer during our climb out.
On any flight from the desert states of the south-west to the north-east of the US, it’s interesting to observe the gradual shifting of the landscape from stark and inhospitable to more lush and green.
A Short Layover in Philly
We land in Philly on time, which gives me 6-7 hours before my BA flight back to Heathrow. It’s an enormous airport, around a mile to walk from the extremities of Terminal A to Terminal F. It’s markedly different from the likes of Heathrow though, not just in layout, but with the range of shops on offer. Heathrow is full of high-end boutiques selling brands such as Rolex and Louis Vuitton aimed at the lucrative market of high net worth individuals in transit. Philadelphia, like many US airports, is much more functional with a plethora of fast food places, and outlets where you can buy a hoodie.
There are a couple of things I really want to see in Philly itself though, and fortunately the airport is only a 20 minute cab ride from downtown. The first are the “Rocky Steps” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, made famous by the scene from the original Rocky movie. Just below the steps is a statue of Rocky himself. There’s a long line of people queuing to have their picture taken with the “Italian Stallion”, but I manage to get a shot of him between photos.
The other thing I want to see is the Liberty Bell, an icon of American Independence (though ironically, cast in Whitechapel, London). It’s around a 2 mile walk from the Museum of Art, but it’s a lovely Winter afternoon with the weather crisp and dry, and I figure it’s also a good way to see a bit more of the city. On the way there I pass the tiny Rodin Museum. I don’t venture inside the building, but do get a photo of the “Gates of Hell”. There’s also a bustling Christmas market in full swing in Love Park in the centre of Philly, but the crowds make it hard to get any good photographs. Unfortunately on arriving at Independence National Historic Park, it’s only possible to see the bell through a window. The building housing it is closed due to the standoff between Trump and the Democrats (who now control the US House of Representatives) on federal government funding, meaning a partial shutdown of the government affecting the National Parks Service.
By now dusk is starting to settle, and other than the visitor centre shop which is open, there’s little else in the vicinity, so it’s time to grab an Uber back to the airport for the next leg back to the UK.