One of the world’s busiest airports operating around 700 flights each day, LAX is a bustling urban transit hub located in the Greater Los Angeles area. LAX was opened in 1930, becoming ‘Los Angeles International Airport in 1949’. Today it is the only US airport to serve as a home hub for all three US legacy airlines American, Delta and United. LAX has nine passenger terminals connected by a U shape roadway, including the new Tom Bradley International Terminal. Opened in 2013, the Tom Bradley International Terminal contains 18 passenger terminals and an extensive Great Hall architecturally styled in a Pacific Ocean inspired theme, with over 70 dining and retail outlets and five exclusive airport lounges.
LAX Quick Facts
- Distance from CBD: 26 kilometres
- Number of Airlines: 65 +
- Number of destinations served: 156 locations worldwide
- Number of terminals: Nine
- Number of runways: Four parallel runways
If you haven’t already checked in online for your flight, you’ll need to visit the Airline counter at LAX at least 3 hours prior to your flights departure time for international flights, and 90-minutes before a domestic flight. Depending on the daily flight schedule, check-in counters at LAX open between 4-5am and close between 11.30pm to 2.30am.
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 $5 per day for a small bag. The company arrange a kerbside pick up, and deliver items back to your terminal when you arrange.
If you need to exchange money before you jet off from LAX, or on arrival there, you’ll find ICE Currency Exchange Kiosks in the departure halls of each terminal, as well as in the arrivals hall at Tom Bradley International Terminal and Terminals 2, 5 and 6. Opening hours vary between terminals.
Internet Access / WiFi
If you need to get online at the airport, LAX offers complimentary WiFi, available in most public areas throughout the airport. Higher speed internet access is available for a fee of $4.95 per hour, or for $7.95 for 24 hours.
Stay on top of your workload while you travel through LAX, with a range of business services available at the airport. There’s a number of exclusive business lounges at LAX for eligible passengers, including the Star Alliance Lounge at Tom Bradley International Terminal, which has a full business suite with scanner, fax, copy machines and internet stations. Outside the Business Lounges, Internet Kiosks costing 25c per minute can be found in all terminals, with WiFi also available throughout.
If you’re travelling with little ones and need to entertain them while in transit, five of LAX’s private airport lounges offer paid access for a set amount of time, with children under 2 usually admitted for free. By pre-purchasing a ‘Priority Pass’ you can access the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in Terminal 2, Alaska Airlines Boardroom in Terminal 6, the United Club in Terminal 7, or the Kal Lounge at Tom Bradley International Terminal. Most airport lounges feature a family area complete with TV, activities and plenty of drinks and refreshments for all the family, where you can escape the crowds and confine young ones in a safe and secure environment. Older kids might enjoy visiting the airport’s Flight Path Museum, located alongside the main terminal. The museum features exhibits and models documenting the history of aviation in the area, and entry is free.
A number of meet and greet concierge services operate at LAX. Whether you’re a first time flyer wanting help to navigate the airport processes, or a celeb looking for help getting through the LAX paparazzi, a personal concierge can take the hassle out of the airport experience. Depending on your needs, your personal concierge can meet you curbside, help you breeze through check-in and security, carry your luggage, and settle you in to an airport lounge. Airport concierge services are also available for transfers and arrivals.
There are no public showers at LAX, although access to an airport lounge or airport hotel is an option if you wish to freshen up between flights.
Tom Bradley International Terminal:
KAL Lounge: Korean Airline’s Lounge is located airside on the 5th floor at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX. Open daily from 7.30am-midnight (depending on KAL international flight times), eligible guests can relax in the air-conditioned stylish surroundings. The KAL Lounge offers WiFi access, a range of magazines and newspapers, hot showers, and a good selection of refreshments including alcoholic beverages. Access is available for eligible KAL passengers, eligible SkyTeam members and members of the public via purchase of a ‘Priority Pass’.
Star Alliance Business Class Lounge: This huge, ultra sleek haven is located airside on level 6 at the Tom Bradley International Terminal. The Lounge consists of a number of different sections including an outdoor terrace where guests can enjoy the Californian sky, relaxing to the sound of the waterfall feature and admiring the distant views of the Hollywood Hills. A café area serves complimentary hot and cold snacks, and the Lounge’s bars serve alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Guests can kick back and enjoy watching some TV, or catch up on emails via complimentary WiFi. Access to the lounge is available for Business Class passengers flying on a Star Alliance partner airline, and eligible members of Star Alliance frequent flyer rewards programs.
Star Alliance First Class Lounge: Available to First-Class passengers travelling on Star Alliance, and eligible higher status loyalty program members, this ultra-exclusive separate part of the Star Alliance Lounge can accommodate up to 40 guests in luxurious comfort.
Oneworld Alliance Business Class Lounge: Located on level 5 in the Tom Bradley International Terminal, the oneworld Alliance Lounge is a huge, exclusive modern lounge, accommodating over 400 eligible oneworld Business Class passengers and eligible loyalty program members. Guests can enjoy a wide selection of hot and cold food from the buffet, as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages from the bar. A family space provides a safe and entertaining hub for the kids with TV and entertainment, and hot showers with spa amenities are available to freshen up before your flight.
Oneworld Alliance First Class Lounge: Connected to the Business Class Lounge, although offering a completely separate, private space, the First Class Lounge provides luxurious surroundings and services for First Class passengers and Emerald loyalty member cardholders.
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge: Available for Business Class passengers and eligible loyalty program members, the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in Terminal 2 is also open to members of the public via paid access through ‘Priority Pass’. Guests can kick back and relax with complimentary Wifi, TV and magazines and newspapers for entertainment. A range of complimentary snacks and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages is available. Business facilities include workstations and printing, and the lounge also features mobile-free ‘quiet zones’ in designated areas.
Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club: Located on the mezzanine level of Terminal 2, Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club Lounge is available for Business Class passengers travelling with the airline.
Virgin America LOFT: Escape the hustle and bustle of the airport at the exclusive ambient haven of Virgin America’s LOFT Lounge located in Terminal 3 at LAX. Day passes are available for Virgin America or partner airline passengers for $40, with discounted rates for ‘Elevate’ loyalty program members. Operating daily from 6am-11.30pm, the LOFT features stylised interiors with superb facilities including a mood-lit bar serving up cocktails, light snacks and refreshments, and WiFi access. Access to the LOFT is not available for children under the age of 12.
American Airlines Admirals Club: The newly refurbished Admirals Club in Terminal 4 of LAX features flatscreen TVs, complimentary WiFi, a self-serve coffee bar, a range of complimentary alcoholic beverages, with comfortable and relaxed seating for up to 42 guests.
Alaska Airlines Board Room: Located airside on the mezzanine level of Terminal 6 near Gate 64, the Alaska Airlines Board Room offers an exclusive oasis for eligible Alaska Airlines cardholders and guests. As well as TV, refreshments and television, the air-conditioned lounge also features a conference room and business facilities including a fax machine and WiFi.
United Airlines Club Lounge: Located airside across from Gate 71A in Terminal 7 at LAX, the United Club Lounge is open from 5am-11pm daily. The lounge offers complimentary WiFi access, breakfast and afternoon snacks, complimentary soft drinks, coffee and tea, beers and wine.
Accommodating all Southwest Airlines flights in and out of LAX, Terminal 1 is being upgraded in a $400 million joint venture between the airline and the airport. The terminal currently features 15 gates, from Gates 1-14.
Terminal 2 is LAX’s original 1980’s style international terminal, still servicing airlines not using the new Tom Bradley International Terminal, as well as several domestic airlines. This terminal has 11 gates from 21-28. Airlines operating from Terminal 2 include: Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air China, Avianca, Hawaiian Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Volaris and WestJet. Airline Lounges operating in Terminal 2 include Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, Hawaiin Airlines Premier Club, and Air France Premiere Lounge.
Opened in 1961, LAX’s Terminal 3 services Allegiant Air, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit Airlines and Virgin America. Terminal 3 has 12 gates: Gates 30-38. Virgin America’s LOFT Airline Lounge is located at Terminal 3.
Tom Bradley International Terminal
The long-awaited new Tom Bradley International Terminal sits between Terminals 3 and 4. Originally opened for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games and named after the first African-American mayor of Los Angeles, the terminal was completely overhauled and reopened in 2013. TBIT now features 18 modern gates, which can handle newer, larger aircraft such as the Airbus A380. The architecturally sleek interiors of the Terminal feature a modern Pacific Ocean inspired design with huge multimedia screens, alongside lounge style waiting areas and over 70 shops and dining outlets. Tom Bradley International Terminal now services most international flights to and from LAX, servicing Qantas, Emirates, British Airways, Air France, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Air New Zealand (from December 2014), Virgin Australia, Swiss International Air Lines, and many more. Airport Lounges located at the Tom Bradley International Terminal include the Star Alliance Lounge, SkyTeam Lounge, Oneworld Lounge, Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Lounge and the KAL Lounge.
LAX’s Terminal 4 is the main base for all American Airlines and American Eagle flights, Terminal 4 has 14 gates, from 40- 49A. Terminal 4 underwent a huge, sleek renovation in 2001 to upgrade the original 1960’s design and facilities. American Airlines Admiral’s Club Lounge is located at the terminal, along with it’s Flagship Lounge, and Qantas Club.
Terminal 5 at LAX features 15 gates from Gate 50A up to Gate 59. This terminal is the LAX base of Delta Air Lines, and the airlines Sky Club Lounge is located here.
Housing gates 60-69, Terminal 6 serves Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, Continental Airlines, Copa Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Horizon Air and United. There is one airline lounge in Terminal 6, the Alaska Airlines Board Room.
Opened in 1962, and renovated in 1998, Terminal 7 is the main LAX base for United Airlines’ domestic and international flights. The terminal has 11 gates from 70A-77, and can accommodate large aircraft. United Airline’s operates a United Club and an International First Class Lounge in the terminal.
With 9 gates from 80-88, Terminal 8 accommodates smaller jets, including mainland non-Express United flights.
LAX accommodates huge numbers of visitors to the city of Los Angeles, as well as travellers stopping over between flights. Whether you’re looking to head into the city, or wider Los Angeles area, or you just need to get to a different terminal to carry on your journey, there’s a range of transport options available at LAX.
The Fastest: LAX FlyAway 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 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 Aviation Station close to the airport. From here passengers can access stops all over the Greater Los Angeles area on the Green Line. The shuttle to the metro stop currently runs every 10-15 minutes from 5am to 1.30am seven days a week.
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. With a variety of hire car operators at LAX including Alamo, National, Hertz, Thrifty and Fox, it’s easy to hop aboard the frequent free shuttle buses operating between the airport and the nearby hire car depot.
A number of alternative local bus services also service LAX. Sepulveda and Century Boulevards both feature stops for bus connections with Torrance, Metro, and Commuter Express.
Taxis are available to hire at LAX, you’ll find them queued up outside each terminal. Main companies include Checker, Independent and Yellow Cab. A typical fare to downtown LA will cost around $50, and can take anywhere between 20-50 minutes depending on traffic conditions.
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. A free drop-off and pick-up zone called the ‘Cell Phone Waiting Lot’ is available at the northwest corner of 96th Street and Vicksburg Avenue. Cars can remain here for up to 2 hours free of charge, but vehicles must be attended at all times.
There’s 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.
Terminals 5, 6, 7 and 8 are linked via an airside underground tunnel and overground walkways. The LAX Shuttle is a frequent courtesy shuttle operating between terminals, transporting passengers for airline connections. The ‘A’ Route operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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You'll be spoilt for choice with so many hotels in the sprawling vicinity of LAX, perfect for a restful sleep after a late night arrival off a long haul flight. Hotel shuttles will pick you up from the airport on arrival and take you back to the airport for your onward flight if required. Most airport hotels feature 24-hour check-in and late night refreshment facilities to accommodate jet lagged travellers.
There’s a great choice of LAX hotels for all budgets, including the ever popular grand LAX Hilton with an outdoor pool to soak up the California sun, and a choice of three restaurants. Other top picks include the Sheraton, Crowne Plaza, Travelodge and Holiday Inn Express with many more available on our extensive hotels directory.