Los Angeles International Airport (LAX IATA) is the primary airport serving Los Angeles. LAX—as the airport is more commonly known—is located on the West Side of Los Angeles in the suburb of Westchester. The airport is one of the busiest in the world and is a major point of entry to the USA for flights from Asia and Oceania.
LAX is a massive airport and one of the busiest in the world, with nine terminals built in different eras in a variety of architectural styles, of which the common element is that they all seem cramped on the inside (that is, relative to the size and importance of the airport). Some terminals have been renovated recently and look relatively modern, while others are definitely showing their age. Most were built before the Transportation Security Administration implemented modern security checkpoints, which means the checkpoints were shoehorned into the existing buildings with very awkward results. Currently there is ongoing construction to modernize or upgrade several terminals and infrastructure in and around LAX which can result in changes to the locations of airline check-in desks, airline gate assignments, and bus/shuttle stops which may result in delays getting to and from the airport. See LAXisHappening.com or follow on Twitter for construction updates and for any such changes.
LAX consistently ranks as one of the busiest airports in the world (ranking 7th in 2015), and services dozens of airlines offering flights to numerous cities across the country and around the world.
- Terminal 1 - Currently undergoing an extensive renovation that is expected to be complete in 2018. Southwest Airlines international departures and all domestic flights; their international arrivals are at TBIT (Terminal B).
- Terminal 2 - Delta Airlines, as well as a few foreign airlines that do not use TBIT, including Aer Lingus, Aeroméxico, Virgin Atlantic, and WestJet. Check-in facilities for Virgin Australia and Volaris (whose flights are at TBIT).
- Terminal 3 - Delta Airlines. Check-in facilities for Avianca, Copa, and Interjet (whose flights are at TBIT).
- Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT or Terminal B) - Most international flights on all other foreign flag carriers, as well as international flights for Southwest Airlines.
- Terminal 4 - American Airlines.
- Terminal 5 - American Airlines and American Eagle, as well as Allegiant Air, Frontier, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, and Sun Country Airlines.
- Terminal 6 - Alaska Airlines, Air Canada, Boutique Air, Great Lakes Airlines, Mokulele Airlines, Virgin America, Thomas Cook and XL Airways France. Ethiopian Airlines check in and departure are at Terminal 6 while their arrivals are at TBIT.
- Terminal 7 - United Airlines and United Express.
- Terminal 8 - Smaller jets, and used by United Airlines and United Express as an extension of Terminal 7. Terminal 8 is not accessed from the roadway and only accessed from Terminal 7 from the public side.
Many international flights don't use Tom Bradley International Terminal. To avoid missing flights, always determine in advance which terminal(s) your international flights will be flying in or out of, especially if you are connecting through LAX.
Be sure to arrive at the airport at least 1 1/2 - 2 hours before your flight (2-3 hours if traveling internationally) as check in procedures and lines for security can be long and time-consuming.
The upper level of the airport structure is used for drop-offs (departures) while the lower level is used for pick-ups (arrivals). The lower level roadway is divided into an inner and outer roadway, with private vehicles using the outer (right-hand side) roadway and commercial vehicles (including shuttles), circling the inner (left-hand side) roadway and stopping at islands that divide the two roadways.
When departing the airport, the lower level roadway outside of each terminal is divided into zones indicating the transportation options available. The different pickup zones are clearly marked by brightly colored signs corresponding to the type of transportation you are looking for:
- Blue - LAX shuttle airline connections
- Red - Hotel shuttles
- Orange - Shared ride vans
- Purple - Rental car shuttles
- Green - Long distance vans and FlyAway buses
- Yellow - Taxis
In addition, the upper level roadway contains zones for "Ride Service Pick Up" (services like Uber and Lyft) as well as "Shuttle Zone - Private Parking Lot" stops for parking shuttles and the LAX shuttle to Lot C. See this map for approximate locations of the stops.
By public transportation
Public transportation connections for the airport are not the greatest, to put it mildly. LAX is located 16 miles (25 kilometers) from downtown Los Angeles and inconveniently you need to take a shuttle bus to connect with the city's rail system. There is a free shuttle bus (the "G" or "Green Line" shuttle) from the airport terminals to the Aviation/LAX station, where you can board the Metro Rail system. Or get on the "Lot C" or "C" shuttle to the south entrance of the expansive Parking Lot C, next to the "LAX City Bus Center", where you can board buses to the nearby areas in Torrance, Santa Monica, UCLA in Westwood, Norwalk, Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach. Note that the shuttles pick up from different locations in the airport: the "G" shuttle picks up from under the BLUE "LAX Shuttle Airline Connections" signs at the outer curb of the lower level (arrivals), while the "C" shuttle picks up from "Shuttle Zone-Private Parking Lots" stops on the upper level roadway (departures). See the below as to what transit options are available:
- LAX City Bus Center at the south side of Parking Lot C on W 96th St & Skyway/Vicksburg Ave:
- Lot C Bus (picks up from "Shuttle Zone-Private Parking Lots" stops on the upper level roadway (departures), and goes out to their own small depot located at the entrance to Parking Lot C and next to the LAX City Bus Center. The 'Lot C' buses continue from the depot into the expansive Parking Lot C in one direction and back to the airport terminals in the other).
- Big Blue Bus #3/3R (goes northwest to Santa Monica via Lincoln Blvd and south to the 'LAX Aviation Station')
- Culver City Bus #6/6R (goes north to Culver City and the UCLA campus in Westwood via Sepulveda Blvd and south to the 'LAX Aviation Station').
- Torrance City Bus #8 (goes south to Torrance)
- Beach Cities Transit #109 (to Redondo Beach via Aviation/LAX Station, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach)
- Metro #40 (goes north to downtown Los Angeles via Hawthorne, Inglewood and Lennox neighborhoods along Hawthorne/La Brea and MLK Blvd and south to Redondo Beach. Airport service is only available on the late night/early morning runs between 1AM and 4:23AM - check linked schedule)
- Metro #102 (goes east to Palm & Seville in South Gate via La Tijera Blvd & Exposition Blvd)
- Metro #111/311 (goes east to the Norwalk Station along E Florence & Studebaker Rd)
- Metro #117 (goes east to the Lakewood Blvd Metro Station in Downey via Century Blvd & Imperial Hwy)
- Metro #232 (goes south to Long Beach via Sepulveda Blvd & Pacific Coast Hwy
- Aviation/LAX Station (nearest Metro Station) further south at Aviation Blvd and Century Freeway (I-105):
- Green Line Bus or 'G Bus' (picks up from under the BLUE 'LAX Shuttle Airline Connections' signs at the outer curb of the lower level, in front of each terminal to the 'LAX/Aviation Station')
- Metro Green Line Train(goes east to Norwalk and south to Redondo Beach. You can ride east on the Green Line to Willowbrook station, where you can transfer to the Metro Blue Line to Downtown Los Angeles or to Long Beach in the other direction.)
- Big Blue Bus #3/3R (goes northwest to Santa Monica via the 'LAX City Bus Center')
- Gardena City Bus #5 (goes east to the 'Imperial' Metro station in Willowbrook along El Segundo Blvd through the northern part of Gardena)
- Culver City Bus 6/6R (goes north to the LAX City Bus Center and the UCLA campus in Westwood via Sepulveda Blvd).
- Beach Cities Bus #109 (to Redondo Beach via El Segundo, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach in one direction and LAX City Bus Center in the other)
- Metro #120 (goes east Whittwood Mall in Whittier via Imperial Hwy)
- Metro #625 (goes west to the LAX administration offices, aircraft maintenance hangars and airline cargo terminals at the opposite side of the airport grounds via Imperial Hwy and World Way W)
A more direct service is the LAXFlyAway bus, which takes you from under the GREEN "Flyaway, Buses & Long Distance Vans" sign at the outer curb in front of each of the LAX terminals. Different buses pick up with the following destinations:
- Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles (Patsaouras Transit Plaza located at the east portals to the station, on the opposite side of the tracks from the historic Union Station), every 30 minutes until midnight, and every hour overnight. Union Station is the largest transportation hub in Southern California, and transit in any direction can be found from there. Take a taxi from the downtown Union Station to the Greyhound terminal or to another bus terminal in 'Skid Row', east of downtown.
- Hollywood (1627 North Vine Street, on the west side of Vine Street one-half block south of Hollywood Boulevard), hourly from 6:15am to 10:15pm.
- Long Beach (Long Beach Transit Gallery, at the northwest corner of 1st Street and Long Beach Boulevard), hourly from 5:30am to 10:30pm.
- Van Nuys (7610 Woodley Ave at the NE corner of Woodley Ave and Saticoy, next to the Van Nuys Airport), every 30 minutes, runs 24 hours.
- A second Van Nuys stop is on the south side of Victory Boulevard just east of Woodley Avenue, near the Woodley station on the Metro Orange Line bus route, hourly from 4:45am to 11pm.
- Westwood (in front of Parking Structure #32 along Kinross Ave between Veterans Ave and Weyburn Place at the UCLA South Campus), hourly from 6am to 11pm.
The fare is $8-$10 depending on destination and can only be paid by credit card or ATM card (all major cards accepted). No cash is accepted
Click here for the trip planner program which tells you which bus(es) to take to get to your final destination. Nearby hotels and hostels do send their own shuttles to the terminals to pick up and drop off guests so no need to use public transportation to get there. Their shuttles pick up from under the RED 'Hotel Shuttle' signs at the outer curb, in front of each terminal.
By long distance bus and van
The long distance buses and vans to the adjacent Ventura, Santa Barbara, Kern, North Los Angeles (Lancaster & Antelope Valley) and Orange Counties pick up and drop off from under the GREEN "Flyaway, Buses & Long Distance Vans" sign at the outer curb in front of each of the LAX terminals:
- Airport Valet Express, (office) 201 N Stine Rd, Ste #120; Bakersfield CA 93309, ☎ , toll-free: . Three trips on weekdays and twice on weekends to Bakersfield. $100 RT.
- Antelope Valley Airport Express, (office) 332 West Avenue S, Suite A Palmdale, CA 93551, ☎ , toll-free: . 7 trips a day to Santa Clarita, Acton, Palmdale and Lancaster. $100 RT.
- Central Coast Shuttle, (office) 3249 Terminal Drive, Suite 101; Santa Maria, CA 93455, ☎ , toll-free: . Seven trips a day from Santa Maria, Buelleton, Santa Barbara, and Ventura. $128 RT from Santa Maria.
- Disneyland Airport Shuttle by Gray Lines Anaheim, (office) 2001 S Manchester Ave, Anaheim CA 92802, ☎ , toll-free: . Hourly service form 7:50AM to 9:50PM to Disneyland and the adjacent hotels in Anaheim. They also offer the same shuttle service to/from the John Wayne Airport in Orange County.
- Mickey's Spaceship Shuttle, ☎ , . Universal Studios, Knotts Berry Farm, all Disneyland Anaheim resort hotels, O.C. Convention Center, John Wayne Airport, Buena Park, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, San Clemente
- Road Runner Shuttle, ☎ . Door to door shuttle from Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties
- Santa Barbara Airbus, ☎ , toll-free: . Eight times daily to Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta. $90 RT.
- Shuttle One, ☎ , toll-free: . Travels to Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm and hotels in the Anaheim, Buena Park, and Garden Grove area.
- Ventura Shuttle, ☎ . Runs eight times daily to Ventura and Oxnard $65 RT.
Currently there are NO shuttles from LAX to San Diego or Tijuana. To continue to San Diego take the LAX Flyaway bus (See above) to the downtown Union Station and transfer to the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner Train or take a taxi to the Greyhound terminal at 1716 E 7th St and continue by bus to San Diego. Take the Intercalifornias or Tufesa bus from downtown Los Angeles to Tijuana. Alternatively take the Flyaway bus going to Long Beach and transfer to a taxi or bus (Rt #1,51,52) from the downtown Long Beach bus station to the Greyhound station at 1498 E Long Beach Blvd (at 15th & Long Beach Blvd) for the onward connection to San Diego.
Being that you are in Southern California, renting a car may be your best option for getting about. If you rent a car, there are around 10 different companies with very frequent shuttle buses picking up on the lower level around all terminals and going to large offsite lots. If you want to compare prices, you will need to do so using the telephones in the arrivals area or on the internet in advance of arriving. There are no details from the shuttle drivers or negotiable prices. Signing up to one of the car rental club schemes can get the shuttle bus to drop you at your car, thus saving substantial time.
Most traffic enters the airport from (West) Century Boulevard exit of the 405, due to heavy traffic and road works the last mile of Century can take 2 minutes to drive. The airport operates a long-term parking lot that located outside of the main airport and accessible by shuttle bus. Private companies including hotels offer many additional options and include everything from open-air lots to garage parking with car washes. For those waiting to pick up passengers there is a cell-phone waiting lot adjacent to Lot C where you can wait in your car for up to two hours.
- Central Terminal Area Parking Structures. This option is useful for those making pick-ups or drop-offs. Approximately 8000 parking spaces are available in multiple structures in the center of the airport. $3 for the first hour, $2 for each 30 minutes thereafter, $30 maximum for each 24 hours.
- Economy Parking - Lot C (96th Street and Sepulveda Boulevard). 7300 open-air parking spaces located just outside of the main airport. The 'Lot C' shuttle buses run regularly to bring passengers to and from this enormous lot. $4 per hour, maximum $12 per day.
Most rental car companies have locations along Aviation Boulevard north of Century Boulevard and along Century Blvd. Shuttle buses are available from under the "Purple - Rental car shuttles" signs, along the outer curb, in front of the airport terminals (about 10-20 minutes ride). For rental companies that don't have their own shuttle, take the "Lot C" Shuttle bus from under the "Shuttle Zone" signs on the upper level roadway to Parking Lot 'C' to meet the car rental company's representative. Expect up to 20 minutes to take a shuttle through traffic.
This being Los Angeles, there are plenty of choices for luxury and exotic rentals in addition to the usual national and regional chains.
- Beverly Hills Rent A Car, 9220 S Sepulveda Blvd, ☎ . Daily 8AM-8PM. Luxury cars and SUVs, exotic and sports cars.
- Legends Car Rentals, 204 Hindry Ave, toll-free: . M-F 9AM-6PM, Sa-Su 9AM-2PM. Classic and exotic cars, luxury cars and SUVs.
- Rex Luxury Car Rental, 5250 W Century Blvd, Suite 102, ☎ . M-F 7AM-11PM, Sa-Su 9AM-9PM. Luxury cars and SUVs, exotic and sports cars, and several electrics.
There are a couple of gas stations on Aviation Blvd, although stations a little further away may be cheaper.
Taxis to Downtown cost $45.00 and take 30 min in good traffic but can be far slower (and more expensive) in rush hour. Taxis to Santa Monica cost $35, while those to Disneyland cost $70. Taxis pick up and drop off from the YELLOW 'Taxi' zones on the lower level outside each terminal.
By shuttle bus
Many area hotels and private parking lots run frequent shuttles between their establishment and the terminals. Hotel shuttles pick up and drop off from under the RED 'Hotel Shuttle' signs at the outer curb, on the lower level in front of each terminal. Parking lot shuttles pick up from marked "Shuttle Zone" stops on the upper level roadway.
By ride-hailing service
Uber and Lyft provide service to LAX. Drivers are allowed to pick-up and drop-off passengers from the designated "Ride Service Pick Up" signs on the upper level roadway outside the terminals. These signs are lettered A-F and tend to be located between the terminals; see this map for locations.
Terminals 4-8 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal are linked by walkways on the secure side, so you can pass between them without having to go through security again. The walk takes about 3-5 minutes between each terminal, and most walkways don't have moving sidewalks. The walkway connecting Terminals 4-6 is underground, accessed from the midpoint of each terminal (respectively near gate 44, between gates 53B and 55A, and between gates 64A-B). The walkways between Terminals 6-8 and between Terminal 4 and TBIT are near the security screening areas.
The other terminals are not connected behind security, so to get between them taking a shuttle bus or walking landside is necessary.
It is possible to walk from one terminal to another along the sidewalk of either the upper or lower level. A streetside sidewalk connects all the terminals. It is no more than a 10-minute walk between any two adjacent terminals (with the obvious exception of 1 and 8).
There is a free shuttle bus connecting the terminals landside. The "Airline Connections" or "A" shuttle bus loops around all the terminals on the lower level roadway; it stops at the zone marked "LAX Shuttle and Shuttle Connections." If you are transferring between directly adjacent terminals, walking is nearly always quicker than the shuttle.
American Airlines operates an airside shuttle bus between Terminal 5 (Gate 52) and the remote American Eagle Terminal (east of Terminal 8).
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge.
- Qantas First Lounge.
- KAL Lounge.
Tom Bradley International Terminal
- Star Alliance Lounge (on Level 6; the entrance is via elevator past the security checkpoint on the north side), ☎ . 9:15AM-12:30AM, varies according to winter/summer airline schedules. This lounge is for Gold/Senator members only, or those with first/business class tickets. The lounge has 40 seats and 2 VIP rooms for first class passengers and 375 seats for business class passengers. There is a business center, wireless internet access, telephone access, showers, hot and cold beverages, hot and cold snacks, newspapers and magazines, and private rooms available by reservation.
- Oneworld Alliance Lounge (on Level 5; the entrance is via elevator past the security checkpoint on the north side). F-M, W: 6:30AM-1:30AM, Tu, Th: 9AM-1:30AM. Access to First Class Lounges is restricted to Emerald members and those travelling in First Class.
- Los Angeles International Lounge (Japan Airlines) (on Level 4; the entrance is via elevator past the security checkpoint on the north side). Daily 6AM to last departure.
- Admirals Club (American Airlines) (Terminal 4, on the Concourse level across from Gate 40). Daily 5AM-12:30AM.
- Flagship Lounge (American Airlines) (Terminal 4, across from Gate 40, entrance through Admirals Club lounge). Daily 5:15AM-midnight.
- Board Room (Alaska Airlines) (Terminal 6, elevator near gate 64). Daily 5AM-10PM.
- United Club (two in Terminal 7: across from gate 71A and between gates 73 and 75). Daily 5AM-11PM. These lounges are accessible to United Club Members, first and business class passengers, and Star Alliance Gold members.
Eat and Drink
Restaurant options at LAX are extremely hit-or-miss, though an effort to improve dining choices in 2010 did result in more locally based and high-end dining being available. A lot depends on which terminal you're in; some terminals have more choices than others, and restaurants before security are very limited. You can always visit another terminal, if you're landside, but you're in for a bit of a hike, which can be annoying if you're dragging luggage with you. Note that the Encounter Restaurant, which previously occupied the Theme Building in the center of the airport, closed in January 2014.
Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT)
Air side now has several recently opened branches of local restaurants such as Ink Sack, Petrossian, and Umami Burger. 800 Degrees in the Time Tower food court area make reasonably good and fresh pizza. The land side restaurants no longer exist.
- Deli & Co..
- Pick Up Stix.
- Kogi Truck. One of Roy Choi's famous kogi Korean taco trucks, this taco and burrito eatery is located in an actual food truck and is one of the airport's more reasonably-priced options. Short rib, pork, chicken and tofu tacos are the specialty, but the other options are unique and tasty. Tacos $2.70, burritos $7.
- Dunkin Donuts.
- Homeboy Cafe.
- Redondo Beach Brewing Company (next to security, in Terminal 6). 4:30AM-12:30AM. Beer on tap, bar.
- Jody Maroni's Sausage Kingdom (next to security in Terminal 6). Sausage sandwiches and fries.
- Ruby's Dinette, in between gates 64-65. Small, sit-down casual restaurant
- Monet's California Deli, in between gates 64-65. Sandwiches, breakfast burritos.
- Home Turf Sports Bar, in between gates 64-65. Fairly large sports bar, near the Alaska Airlines Board Room
- Coffee Bean, in between gates 64-65.
- Klatch Coffee (next to gates 70A-B). Coffee, snacks, sandwiches.
- Food Court: ¡Loteria! Mexican Grill & Bar, Yogurtland, The Coffee Bean, Counter Burgers, in between gates 74-77. Mexican food, frozen yogurt, coffee and pastries, and custom built burgers and breakfast.
- B Grill by BOA Steakhouse, in between gates 71B & 73. Bright, modern sitdown steakhouse and bar. Entrees including pasta, steaks, burgers, breakfast. Expensive.
- Wolfgang Puck Express, Near Gate 75B. 5AM-10PM. Bar, takeout counter, and sit-down restaurant. The usual menu of pizza, salads and roast chicken. Restaurant is large and features low lighting, wood paneling and a view of the runways.
- Rolling Stone Bar and Grill, Gate 72. Open sports bar.
- Food Court: Marmalade Cafe, The Coffee Bean, Carls Jr. & The Green Burrito, in between gates 81-82. Casual, small food court area. The Marmalade Cafe has deli salads and pasta; the Coffee Bean has coffee and pastries; Carl's Jr. has fast-food burgers and burritos.
- Corona Beach House. Midrange. Across from gate 86. Bar serving Corona and a few other beers on tap, as well as a full bar and food including nachos and sandwiches, as well as breakfast. Has comfortable lounge type seating as well as table.
- Engine Co. No 28. 5PM-10PM, with last call at 9:45. Fire-company themed restaurant, bar, and takeout counter with a menu of burgers and entrees.
- I Love LA.
- Sol Surf.
- Sees Candy, Gate42b. Chocolates.
- Sunglass Hut, Gates 44 and 45. Sunglasses.
- CNN News / Hudson News, Gates 71A and 73. Snacks, magazines, gifts.
- Universal Studios shop, Gate 71A. Movie and theme-park themed souvenirs.
- Bartels' LAX Harley-Davidson, in between gates 71B & 73. Harley-Davidson store featuring apparel and gear.
- Kitson, in between gates 71B & 73, ☎ . 6AM-11PM. Novelties, apparel and LA-theme gifts.
- Hugo Boss Store, in between gates 71B & 73.
- E! News, Next to gates 81-82. Snacks, magazines, gifts.
As in many other large airports, a WiFi network is available in the terminals, so you can get online with your laptop, tablet or smartphone. The network name is LAX Free WiFi. You can choose between a slower version of it (free, after an advertisement) and a faster premium version provided by Boingo ($4.95/1 hour, $7.95/day).
LAX Luggage Storage is an offsite location for baggage storage. Rates are somewhat high and are only charged by the day.
The stretch of West Century Boulevard leading into the airport from I-405 is lined with hotels. Additionally, you can find many airport hotels south of the airport in El Segundo or east of I-405 in Inglewood and lined up along Sepulveda. A number of them do offer a free shuttle or for a fare to and from under the Red Hotel Shuttles along the outer curb, in front of the airport terminals. Ask them.
- Westchester — A neighborhood of Los Angeles to the north of LAX, mostly residential but home to the closest hotels to LAX.
- Manhattan Beach — Explore the beach, pier and local restaurants, a short drive from LAX (if it's not rush hour).
- El Segundo — Those with a long layover may consider taking a taxi to visit the neighboring city of El Segundo, which offers shopping, movies, and a nine-hole golf course within a ten-minute drive from the airport (traffic dependent, of course — this is LA).
- Inglewood — If you're a member, there's a Costco store at 3560 W Century Blvd. Includes a gas station and snack bar. Very convenient at just 4 miles due east of the airport. Finding the entrance is a little tricky, as there's no Costco sign visible from Century Blvd. Take the first right past Yukon Ave. at Century Plaza by the Chase Bank, and go straight to the back.
|Routes through Los Angeles International Airport|
|Redondo Beach ←||S E||→ South Central → Los Angeles|