My fabulous four-day weekend in San Diego to see friends drove home the message that fewer people are coming to Las Vegas more vividly than statistics. While the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said today the number of visitors to Las Vegas fell 10.2 percent in October, I’m predicting the December numbers will be far worse.
The Friday morning Southwest flight into San Diego was only one-third full and the noon flight home Monday was equally sparse. Somehow, the absense of a line at an airport Starbucks in the early morning showed me how bleak the travel numbers really are.
There was one bit of anxiety. At 11:10 a.m. at the San Diego airport, the emergency alarm went off and everyone was ordered out of the airport.
Well-trained, I called a high-ranking muckety muck at the San Diego Union-Tribune, in case it was a real newsworthy problem. It wasn’t. It was a faulty fire alarm. But we didn’t know that. Suddenly I saw a busload of Marines. Two Marines were carrying empty cake carriers, an odd sight to behold. I realized they were travelers like me, arriving instead of leaving.
But as travelers were going back into the airport around noon, there was a real problem, the crash of a military jet into a neighborhood, killing four people from the same family.
Later, watching the man who had lost his wife, mother-in-law and two children say he forgave the Marine pilot whose plane crashed into his home, I asked myself: Would I be that gracious?
It’s worth watching.
Also, there’s the news video from the day of the crash: