2,000 Free Flights to Vegas Snapped Up in Under Two Hours

  • Casino owner Derek Stevens gave away one-way flights to help stimulate Nevada's tourism
  • First set of 1,000 flights sold out in less than two hours, later topped up with another 1,000
  • Stevens says rapid ticket uptake an indicator of how Las Vegas can make a fast comeback
  • Keep America Flying promotion also designed to boost the decimated airline industry
  • Free flights coincide with the much-anticipated June 4 reopening of several Vegas casinos
welcome sign at McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas
The D Casino owner Derek Stevens’ giveaway of 2,000 flights to Las Vegas sold out in a matter of hours. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Derek Stevens helps jump-start Vegas tourism

Las Vegas casino owner Derek Stevens gave the Las Vegas tourism industry a boost by giving away 2,000 flights to Sin City. The first set of 1,000 one-way flights to Las Vegas from 24 US cities sold out in less than two hours. When another 1,000 flights were added later on Wednesday, they were also snapped up in under two hours.

Stevens announced the promotion Wednesday morning from The D Las Vegas, one of the two Downtown Vegas casinos he owns, in a bullish tweet titled “LET’S GO!!”

“We knew there was a high demand for Las Vegas,” Stevens said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “To see these flights sell out as quickly as they did is overwhelming and exciting. Whether people decide to visit my casinos or explore other parts of the city, this is a strong indicator of how Las Vegas can quickly be restored to its former glory,” he added.

Casinos, airlines set to benefit

Participating airlines in the ticket giveaway promotion included Allegiant, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and Sun Country Airlines. Dubbed Keep America Flying, Stevens’ initiative is designed to boost airline travel and to get Las Vegas casinos buzzing once more.

As the owner of the D Las Vegas and the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, Stevens’ preference, while not mandatory, is for free ticket holders to stay at his hotels.

We’ve just got to get people out to Las Vegas”

However, he added: “But at the same time, if they say, ‘I just want the flight. I’m staying at Wynn, or Caesars or Bellagio’ that’s great, too. We’ve just got to get people out to Las Vegas.”

June 4 ‘D-Day’ for Vegas

The promotion comes the day after Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak confirmed the state’s casinos could reopen on June 4. Both properties owned by Stevens are set to open their doors to the public on that day.

Also on June 4, Caesars Entertainment is set to reopen its Caesars Palace and Flamingo properties, while MGM Resorts will resume operations at the New York-New York, MGM Grand, and Bellagio facilities. The signature splashing of Bellagio’s famous fountains will once again be heard for the first time in over two months.

Nevada casinos have been closed since mid-March after Sisolak declared a state of emergency to combat the coronavirus pandemic. He shut down all non-essential business until he started his multi-phase reopening plan earlier this month.

Nevada’s unemployment rate reached record highs during the casino closure period. Las Vegas was among the areas hardest hit by the pandemic in the US, with some 342,000 people out of a job.