Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the primary airport serving Los Angeles. LAX—as the airport is more commonly known—is 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, 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 and look relatively modern, while others are definitely showing their age. Most were built before the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) implemented modern security checkpoints, which means the checkpoints were shoehorned into the existing buildings with very awkward results. There is ongoing construction to modernize or upgrade several terminals and infrastructure which can result in changes to the locations of airline check-in desks, airline gate assignments, and bus/shuttle stops. Expect delays getting to and from the airport. See LAXisHappening.com or follow on Twitter for construction updates and for any such changes.
LAX serves dozens of airlines offering flights to numerous cities across the country and around the world.
Many international flights don't use Tom Bradley International Terminal. To avoid missing flights, always determine in advance which terminal your international flight will be flying in or out of, especially if you are connecting through LAX. Most of the time, the first digit of your gate number determines what terminal you depart from. Gate 9 is an exception, being located in terminal 1. If your gate number has three digits excluding letters, you are going to the TBIT.
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:
- White - Passenger pick-ups, including private vehicles, UberBlack and Lyft Lux Black, and hotel and rental car shuttles
- Green - LAX-it shuttles
- Blue - LAX FlyAway buses
- Red - Shared ride vans, and long-distance vans and buses
- Magenta - Airport shuttles for airline connections, Lot E economy parking, and connections to the LAX City Bus Center and Aviation/LAX station
The green, blue and magenta zones use the inner lower level roadway, while the white and red zones use the outer roadway.
By public transportation
- at the south side of the former Parking Lot C on West 96th Street & Skyway/Vicksburg Avenue:
- 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 12:58 AM and 4:23AM, during which there is no Metro Rail service - check linked schedule)
- Metro #102 (goes east to Palm & Seville in South Gate via La Tijera Blvd & Exposition Blvd; stops at the Expo/Western, Expo/Vermont, Expo Park/USC and Jefferson/USC stations on the Expo Line, and Florence station on the Blue Line)
- Metro #111/311 (goes east to Norwalk station on the Green Line along E Florence & Studebaker Rd; stops at Florence station on the Blue Line)
- Metro #117 (goes east to the Lakewood Blvd station on the Green Line in Downey via Century Blvd & Imperial Hwy; stops at the 103 St/Watts Towers station on the Blue Line)
- Metro #232 (goes south to Long Beach via Sepulveda Blvd & Pacific Coast Hwy
- (nearest Metro Station) further south at Aviation Blvd and Century Freeway (I-105):
- 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 LAX FlyAway bus, which takes you from the BLUE 'LAX FlyAway' signs at the inner 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 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.
The fare is $8-$10 depending on destination and can only be paid by credit or debit 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 WHITE 'Passenger Pickup' signs at the outer curb, in front of each terminal.
By long distance bus and vanThe 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 RED signs at the outer curb in front of each of the LAX terminals:
phone: +1 661 363-5000address: (office) 201 N Stine Rd, Ste #120; Bakersfield CA 93309Three trips on weekdays and twice on weekends to Bakersfield.
phone: +1 661 947-2529address: (office) 332 West Avenue S, Suite A Palmdale, CA 935517 trips a day to Santa Clarita, Acton, Palmdale and Lancaster.
phone: +1 805 928-1977address: (office) 3249 Terminal Drive, Suite 101; Santa Maria, CA 93455Seven trips a day from Santa Maria, Buelleton, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.
phone: +1-714-978-8855address: (office) 2001 S Manchester Ave, Anaheim CA 92802Hourly service from 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.
phone: +1-310-514-0010 or +1-714-642-5399Universal Studios, Knotts Berry Farm, all Disneyland Anaheim resort hotels, O.C. Convention Center, John Wayne Airport, Buena Park, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, San Clemente
phone: +1 805 389-8196Door to door shuttle from Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties
phone: +1 805 964-7759Eight times daily to Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta.
phone: +1-310-670-6666Travels to Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm and hotels in the Anaheim, Buena Park, and Garden Grove area.
phone: +1 805 650-6600Runs eight times daily to Ventura and Oxnard
By carBeing 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 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 outside of the main airport that is 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 the LAX City Bus Center where you can wait in your car for up to two hours.
Central Terminal Area Parking StructuresThis 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.
Economy Parking - Lot Eaddress: 5455 West 111th St.2,690 open-air parking spaces just outside of the main airport, replacing the former Lot C. The 'Lot E' shuttle buses run regularly to bring passengers to and from this enormous lot.
Rental carsMost rental car companies have locations along Aviation Boulevard north of Century Boulevard and along Century Blvd. Shuttle buses are available from under the WHITE 'Passenger Pickup' 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 the MAGENTA 'Airport Connections' signs along the inner curb to the designated parking lot where you'll 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.
phone: +1-310-670-2020address: 9220 S Sepulveda BlvdLuxury cars and SUVs, exotic and sports cars.
address: 204 Hindry AveClassic and exotic cars, luxury cars and SUVs.
phone: +1-310-665-9000address: 5250 W Century Blvd, Suite 102Luxury 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.
By taxi or ridesharingAll taxis and UberX, Lyft (including Lyft Lux) and Opoli now pick up passengers from the new LAX-it lot beside Terminal 1. LAX-it was only implemented in October 2019, and the new pick-up system still has its fair share of teething issues, although the process has become smoother than when it was first implemented. Arriving passengers can either walk to the LAX-it lot, or take shuttle buses from the GREEN 'LAX-it' signs at the inner curb in front of each of the LAX terminals. Unlike other shuttles serving the airport, LAX-it shuttles serve only designated terminals, so make sure to board the right shuttle.
When requesting for an Uber, Lyft or Opoli, you will receive a code which, after arriving in the zone for the ridesharing service booked, you will need to show to the driver in order to be picked up. Taxis may be hailed normally from the taxi rank in the LAX-it lot. Unlike other vehicles which may only pick up passengers at LAX-it, UberBlack and Lyft Lux Black vehicles may continue to pick up passengers direct from the terminals at the WHITE 'Passenger Pickup' signs at the outer curb in front of each terminal, and vehicles entering LAX may continue to drop off passengers directly at the terminals.
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. UberX and Lyft prices are competitive with that of regular taxis.
By shuttle busMany area hotels and private parking lots run frequent shuttles between their establishment and the terminals. All shuttles pick up and drop off from under the WHITE 'Passenger Pickup' signs at the outer curb, on the lower level in front of each terminal.
By shuttleThere 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), while Delta Air Lines operates an airside shuttle bus between Terminal 2 (Gate 21A), Terminal 3 (Gate 35B) and TBIT (Gate 133) which is open to all passengers, whether flying on Delta or not.
By footTerminals 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.
Including shuttle buses, it is possible to walk from Terminal 2 all the way to Terminal 8 without having to exit the terminal. Terminal 1, however, is not connected to any other terminal behind security, so to get there walking landside or taking a landside shuttle bus is necessary.
Before security, 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).
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge
Qantas First Lounge
Tom Bradley International Terminal
phone: +1-310-646-5260This 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 LoungeAccess to First Class Lounges is restricted to Emerald members and those travelling in First Class.
Los Angeles International Lounge (Japan Airlines)
Admirals Club (American Airlines)
Flagship Lounge (American Airlines)
Board Room (Alaska Airlines)
United ClubThese lounges are accessible to United Club Members, first and business class passengers, and Star Alliance Gold members.
Eat and drink
Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT)Air side has several 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 TruckOne of Roy Choi's famous kogi Korean taco trucks, this taco and burrito eatery is 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.
Redondo Beach Brewing CompanyBeer on tap, bar.
Jody Maroni's Sausage KingdomSausage sandwiches and fries.
Ruby's Dinetteaddress: in between gates 64-65Small, sit-down casual restaurant
Monet's California Deliaddress: in between gates 64-65Sandwiches, breakfast burritos.
Home Turf Sports Baraddress: in between gates 64-65Fairly large sports bar, near the Alaska Airlines Board Room.
Coffee Beanaddress: in between gates 64-65
Klatch CoffeeCoffee, snacks, sandwiches.
Food Court: ¡Loteria! Mexican Grill & Bar, Yogurtland, The Coffee Bean, Counter Burgersaddress: in between gates 74-77Mexican food, frozen yogurt, coffee and pastries, and custom built burgers and breakfast.
B Grill by BOA Steakhouseaddress: in between gates 71B & 73Bright, modern sitdown steakhouse and bar. Entrees including pasta, steaks, burgers, breakfast. Expensive.
Wolfgang Puck Expressaddress: Near Gate 75BBar, 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 Grilladdress: Gate 72Open sports bar.
Food Court: Marmalade Cafe, The Coffee Bean, Carls Jr. & The Green Burritoaddress: in between gates 81-82Casual, 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 HouseMidrange. 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 28Fire-company themed restaurant, bar, and takeout counter with a menu of burgers and entrees.
I Love LA
Sees Candyaddress: Gate42bChocolates.
Sunglass Hutaddress: Gates 44 and 45Sunglasses.
CNN News / Hudson Newsaddress: Gates 71A and 73Snacks, magazines, gifts.
Universal Studios shopaddress: Gate 71AMovie and theme-park themed souvenirs.
Bartels' LAX Harley-Davidsonaddress: in between gates 71B & 73Harley-Davidson store featuring apparel and gear.
Kitsonphone: +1-310-642-0971address: in between gates 71B & 73Novelties, apparel and LA-theme gifts.
Hugo Boss Storeaddress: in between gates 71B & 73
E! Newsaddress: Next to gates 81-82Snacks, magazines, gifts.
- 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.