The busiest airport on the United States’ west coast, Los Angeles International is unique among the country’s largest airports in that, while all major domestic airlines have significant operations at the airport, no single carrier has a dominating share of passenger traffic.
The airport is accessed from Century Boulevard off Interstate 405 or South Sepulveda Boulevard. Distances and drive times, in normal traffic, between LAX and some popular destinations are:
LAX’s passenger complex consists of nine terminals arranged along a two-level loop roadway that makes what is essentially a large U-turn around parking facilities, as well as the airport’s iconic space-age theme building and air traffic control tower. The upper level roadway is the ticketing level for departures and the lower roadway is the baggage claim level for arrivals.
The terminals in order along the road are:
Because there are more than 10 gates in each concourse, gates often also include a letter, such as gates 52A-52J.
A courtesy shuttle bus, labeled the A Route, travels the lower level roadway outside baggage claim between airline terminals. Passengers leave the TSA secure area to use the service. It is popular for international arrivals at the Tom Bradley International Terminal who are required to exit security after going through U.S. Customs.
In many other cases passengers can stay within the TSA secure area when making connections by using walkways that connect terminals 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal. (Between terminals 4, 5 and 6 the walkways are underground tunnels that can be accessed on the lower level at about the mid-way point of the concourse. The other connecting walkways are on the ticketing level near the entrances to the concourses.) Post-security connections are also available on shuttle buses between Terminals 2 and 3 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
A $14 billion LAX Modernization Program is underway and includes an Automated People Mover train system due to open in 2023 that will allow passengers to connect between the terminals and a transit and rental car center outside the airport. The entire airport modernization program is expected to be completed ahead of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic games to be held in Los Angeles. LAX has construction alerts here.
During construction of the People Mover, the airport is operating a shuttle service called LAX-it (pronounced LA Exit) to take passengers from the terminals to a temporary consolidated pick-up location for all taxis and app-ride services, which are not permitted to pick-up passengers curbside at the terminals due to roadway congestion. The green-and-black shuttles operate every 3 to 5 minutes along a dedicated lane on the lower level roadway outside baggage claim at each terminal. It is also possible to walk to the pick up location, which is just east of Terminal 1 used by Southwest Airlines. Taxis and app-ride services continue to drop-off passengers on the departure level at each terminal. Major car rental companies continue to operate their own shuttles both ways between the terminals and their locations.
American Airlines flights arrive and depart LAX at gates 40-59 in Terminals 4 and 5 and gates 110-159 in the Tom Bradley International Terminal. All of American’s gates can be reached without exiting the TSA secure area. Most flights operated on American Eagle aircraft arrive and depart from gates 52A-52J, which is in a remote terminal reached by shuttle bus. At Terminal 4 the shuttles arrive and depart near Gate 44 and at Terminal 5 they arrive and depart near Gate 50B. Otherwise, between terminals 4 and 5 passengers can use a tunnel accessed at the foot of escalators down from near gate 44 and at the mid-way point of the concourse in Terminal 5. Between Terminal 4 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal use the walkway near gate 41. Check in at Terminal 4 for flights departing from gates 40-49 and 110-159. Check in at Terminal 5 for flights departing from gates 50-59.
Delta Air Lines gates at LAX are in Terminals 2, 3 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Most of Terminal 3 is closed as part of an effort to fast-track a $1.86 billion refurbishment of Delta’s facilities at LAX due to be completed in 2023 (about 18 months ahead of original schedule). Some phases of the project are to begin reopening in 2022. In the meantime, all Delta passengers check-in at Terminal 2 and in some cases are bused to gates in Terminal 3 or the Tom Bradley Terminal. The shuttle allows connecting Delta passengers to go between terminals without exiting the TSA secure area.
Southwest Airlines check-in and departures for all flights are in Terminal 1, gates 9-18. Returning international arrivals are in the Tom Bradley Terminal. After clearing U.S. Customs, international passengers can take the inter-terminal shuttle (A Route) to return to Terminal 1.
Sun, surf, sand, beaches, glamour, Hollywood, movies, TV, Universal Studios and Disneyland all make Los Angeles and Southern California a place of dreams. The population living in the Los Angeles Basin is ethnically diverse with a strong mix of Hispanic or Latino residents as well as Asian, African Americans, Native Americans, people of European descent and many who are of multi-ethnic backgrounds.
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