About Los Angeles Airport (LAX)
In 2017, more than 84 million passengers passed through LAX, making it one of the world’s busiest airports. Los Angeles is located around 30 kilometres to the southwest of Downtown LA and is the only US airport to serve as a home hub for all three US legacy airlines – American, Delta and United. Check out our brief guide to the terminals at LAX, below.
Terminal 1: Undergoing a $700+ million upgrade in 2018, the new terminal is set to wow passengers with a modernised concourse, expanded views, and new retail and dining options. Airlines which call Terminal 1 home are Southwest (Domestic Flights) and Southwest international check-in.
Terminal 2: Themed terminals is a quirk of LAX, with Terminal 2 designed around the concept of “LA in Motion”, showcasing the energy of LA’s ‘on-the-go’ culture. Airlines served by Terminal 2 include Aer Lingus, Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia (check-in only).
Terminal 3: The new home of Delta, with a completely renovated terminal.
Terminal 4: This terminal is the home of American Airlines, as well as the ‘Terminal 4 Connector’ which links to Tom Bradley International Terminal and enables passengers to reach connecting flights from all of the south side terminals a lot more easily. Travellers who get the most benefit from the T4 Connector are those connecting from a domestic airline to a Qantas flight, such as from Chicago to Los Angeles with American Airlines, then onwards to Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne with Qantas. If you’re flying the route above, you’ll be able to walk straight from arrivals at T4 to the departure gate at TBIT, avoiding another security check-in.
Terminal 5: Terminal 5 is the base for Allegiant Air, Frontier, Hawaiian Air, JetBlue, Spirit and Sun Country, as well some American Airlines flights and the bus to the American Eagle terminal. A $320+ million upgrade to the terminal has recently been completed, which includes a private entrance for celebrities and other elite travellers.
Terminal 6: Terminal 6 has also been the recipient of a major upgrade, with the ‘Sunset Boulevard’ theme and improvements fully complete. Airlines that are based at Terminal 6 include Air Canada and Alaska Airlines.
Terminals 7 & 8: Both undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation, which will include a new luxe United Club Lounge in Terminal 7. United Airlines and United Express are based at these two terminals.
TBIT: Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) was named after the city’s first African-American mayor and is the terminal at which most Australians will enter LA, with Qantas, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand flights all arriving (and departing) here. A total of 41 airlines fly into TBIT, from Aeroflot to WOW Air (Iceland’s low-cost airline) so you can understand why the city recently invested over 2.5 billion dollars in substantial improvements to the terminal.
What facilities are at Los Angeles Airport?
With nine terminals, LAX has a vast number of services and facilities for travellers.
Your check-in location will depend on your airline, and while the majority of Australian travellers will be arriving at and departing from TBIT, some airlines require passengers to check in at a different terminal. For example, check-in for Virgin Australia is located at Terminal 2. From here, passengers proceed to TBIT via the walkway or inter-terminal shuttle bus.
If you haven’t already checked in online for your flight, you’ll need to visit the relevant airline counter at LAX at least 3 hours prior to your flight’s departure time for international flights, and 90 minutes before a domestic flight.
Baggage storage is available at LAX should you need to drop your bags for a few hours or days. Although there are no longer any storage lockers at the airport, LAX Luggage Storage provides off-site storage starting at $10 per day for small, carry-on items. The company can arrange a kerbside pick up, and deliver items back to your terminal for a small fee.
Is there a currency exchange?
Currency exchange at LAX is dominated by International Currency Exchange (ICE) outlets which you will find on the Departures, Ticketing and Arrivals levels of TBIT, as well as at Terminal 2 (Departures and Arrivals), Terminal 3 (Departures), Terminal 6 (Arrivals and Departures) and Terminal 7 (Departures).
Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP)
One of the most likeable facilities at LAX is the PUP program. Because travelling can be stressful for many people, the PUP program aims to provide comfort and stress relief by giving passengers the opportunity to interact with pets. The volunteers bring along their own dogs, are registered with Therapy Dogs Inc., and invite you to pat, hug, kiss and take pictures with the PUPs when travelling through LAX.
What are the other services and facilities?
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Concierge Services
- Currency Exchange
- Nursing Room
- Luggage Carts
- Interactive visitors’ centres
- Airport Police
- Lost and Found
- Medical and First Aid
Transport and terminal transfers
What’s the best way to get to and from LAX?
Travel to and from Los Angeles International Airport is not known as the easiest trip in the world, and it is really worthwhile to plan this part of your journey in advance. That said, the Landside Access Modernisation Program (LAMP) at LAX has already begun, with the aim of relieving congestion and improving the travel experience for people who are going to or from the 5th busiest airport in the world.
Under construction is a new electric train system which will run on an elevated guideway, with six stations in total, expected to be fully operational in 2023. It will be free, run 24/7, and is expected to carry around 30 million passengers a year. In the meantime…
You’ll find that LAX is located around 30 kilometres to the southwest of Downtown LA. There are several options for getting to and from the airport, suiting all budgets and all kinds of travel requirements.
The Fastest: LAX FlyAway bus service offers a convenient service to and from each terminal at LAX, seven days a week. Each bus is marked with its individual service location, with destinations including Van Nuys (San Fernando Valley), Union Station (Downtown LA), Westwood (West Los Angeles/UCLA), Santa Monica, Long Beach and Hollywood. Travellers catching the bus from LAX should head to the lower / arrivals level of each terminal and look for the green ‘FlyAway’ bus sign. The non-stop service uses the regional ‘High Occupancy Vehicle’ lanes allowing faster travel between destinations.
The Cheapest:The Metro Rail system offers a complimentary shuttle between the airport and the Metro Green Line Aviation Station close to the airport. From here passengers can access stops all over the Greater Los Angeles area on the Green Line. Passengers wishing to use this shuttle bus service should wait under the LAX Shuttle & Airline Connections sign on the Lower/Arrivals Level islands in front of each terminal, and board the "G" Shuttle.
Buses, taxis and car hire: In a city famous for its extensive freeway network, car hire is a popular option for travellers to and from LAX. Rental Car offices are located away from the airline terminals and several rental car companies are authorized to pick up and drop off their customers at the airline terminals using courtesy shuttles. These companies include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Hertz and Thrifty, and will meet you under the purple sign "Rental Car Shuttles" on the Lower/Arrivals Level islands outside baggage claim. Shuttle buses are frequent and free, making this an easy option if you’re keen to set out from LA by car.
Local bus is another option. To get to the Metro Bus Centre, take the “Lot C” Shuttle, which you’ll find on the Upper/Departures Level, near the “Private Parking Lots Shuttle Zone” sign. Buses from here serve the Los Angeles area. There are also plenty of charter bus companies that will service a particular area, such as the Central Coast Shuttle (Ventura, Santa Barbara, Buellton and Santa Maria) and Mickey’s Space Ship Shuttle which services Universal Studios and all Disneyland Anaheim resort hotels.
If you just want to get to your hotel as simply as possible, taxis are available. You’ll find them curbside on the Lower/Arrival Level islands in front of each terminal under the yellow sign indicating Taxis. The major companies include Checker, Independent and Yellow Cab. A typical fare to downtown LA will cost around AU$70, and can take anywhere between 20-50 minutes depending on traffic conditions.
Uber and rideshare: From LAX, Uber and other rideshare services such as Lyft, Inc. and Opoli are authorised to provide pick-up services at LAX. If you’re using one of these services, make your way to the signs that state “Ride Service Pick-Up”, on the Upper/Departures Level.
Chauffeur/Door-to-door transfers: Door-to-door shuttle companies operate out of LAX with Roadrunner Shuttle being one of the most popular. Roadrunner Shuttle operates north of LA, and take passengers between LAX and Simi Valley, as well as Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. Shared ride van services also operate out of LAX. Super Shuttle is authorised to serve all Southern California counties, and will pick up passengers on the Lower/Arrivals Level in front of each terminal.
Picking up passengers: To reduce congestion in the Central Terminal Area, LAX also has a service called the ‘Cell Phone Waiting Lot’, which means that motorists can wait for free for up to two hours, but vehicles must be attended at all times. The waiting zone is at the northwest corner of 96th Street and Vicksburg Avenue and is offered 24 hours.
LAX parking: Parking at Los Angeles International Airport includes two on-site options (Central Terminal Area parking and Economy Parking Lot C) as well as several off-site lots and garages near the airport.
Short Stay – The Central Terminal Area Parking Structures at LAX provide short term parking for picking up and dropping off passengers at a rate of $3 for the first hour and $2 for every 30 minutes after, capped at a maximum of $30 per 24 hours. The Economy Parking Lot C car park is an alternative place to park, with short term parking at $4 per hour and $4 for each additional hour, capped at $12 for 24 hours.
Long Stay – There are a few different choices of long term parking around LAX if you need to leave your car when you jet off from the airport. Long-term airport parking stations provide complimentary shuttles to and from the airport for you and your baggage. The ‘Economy Parking Lot C’ provides long-term parking for $12 per 24 hours close to the airport on the corner of 96th Street and Sepulveda Boulevard, with frequent free shuttles stopping at each terminal. The nearby Hilton is another popular long-term parking option, offering covered and secured parking, valet parking and plush transfers operating every 10-15 minutes 24 hours a day from the hotel to the airport. Rates start from $11 per day.
Business and valet parking – For the most convenient parking at LAX, the LAX Parking Curb Express service offers curbside valet parking. To use this service, simply drive your car to the LAX Parking Curb Express depot located on Sepulveda Boulevard, one block from the airport, and your personal valet will then drive you to your airlines departure terminal in the comfort of your own car. The valet will also assist with your baggage before safely parking your car at the depot. On your return the car will arrive to meet you. Rates for valet parking start at $18 per day / $99 per week for outdoor parking, and $22 per day / $120 per week for covered parking.
How do I transfer betwen terminals at LAX?
Frequent, courtesy shuttle service is provided between terminals and operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and runs every 10 minutes. This is known as the ‘A Route’. Shuttle service is also provided to and from the Metro Rail Green Line Aviation Station, and this is called the ‘G Route’. To use the shuttle service, look for the blue LAX Shuttle & Airline Connections sign on the Lower/Arrivals Level islands in front of each terminal.