Essential Guide To Los Angeles LAX Airport


guide to LAX airport


Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), is the main airport that serves Los Angeles in California and surrounding metropolitan areas. It covers an area of 3,500 acres and has 4 parallel runways. In total, LAX airport has 9 terminals and 128 gates that serve over 20 cargo airline and 60-plus passenger airlines.

Additionally, LAX managed to be the fourth busiest airport in the world and the second busiest airport in the US, having served over 87M passengers in 2018. It also ranks amongst the top 5 busiest airports in the US. 

With such a large area and massive traffic, it is not hard to see why being in LAX can be overwhelming. However, we are here to make your time flying with any airline using LAX as easygoing as possible. Here you will find the necessary information that will guide you through LAX- from getting to the airport to the available lounges, shops, and restaurants.


Essential guide to LAX airport


Location – How to get there and leave

LAX is located in the district of Westchester in LA, California. It is on the southwest side of Downtown LA, approximately 18miles.

The easiest option of getting to LAX is to take the LAX Flyaway Bus. for starters, you do not need a ticket or a reservation to use any of these shuttle buses to LAX, as long as you can pay using your debit or credit card once on board. The one-way fare charges range between $8 – $10. However, the busses do have a set schedule when they pick passengers from designated areas and the terminals.

The locations you can board these shuttles from are:

  • Hollywood- at West side of Vine St. – One-half block South of Hollywood Blvd.
  • Union Station- at the Northwest corner of 1st St. and Long Beach Blvd. at Shelter A of the Long Beach Transit Gallery
  • Long Beach- Downtown LA)
  • Van Nuys- San Fernando Valley
  • Westwood- UCLA/ West Los Angeles

If you are arriving in LA through LAX, you can board these busses on the arrivals/ lower level in front of each terminal under the green sign marked “FlyAway ® Buses and Long Distance Vans.” There is a mark on every bus with its service location, so it is easy for you to know which one to board.

For passengers trying to get to LAX from Long Beach or the South Bay, you can avoid the LA traffic and spend less on transport by taking LA’s Metro’s Green Line. Unfortunately, it will not drop you off at the airport, but it gets you pretty close.

A light at LAX/Aviation station, then wait for the G shuttle to take you to the terminal. To use the Green Line, you will need a TAP card, which can be purchased from a vending machine located at every station. A one-way ticket will only cost you $1.75.    

Alternatively, you can use ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft to get to and from LAX. The fares will vary depending on the location of the ride-hailing service you use. It is important to note that there is a waiting area for people using Uber or Lyft.

So, if any of these from LAX are picking you, make sure you are in the right place. You can use these guides from Lyft and Uber on where to find a driver. The links also have price estimators so you can check the approximate price for either of the services.




Benefits of traveling to LAX


One of the benefits of using LAX is that it operates 24/7. Whether you are a domestic traveler or an international traveler, LAX will always be running. Additionally, there are many hotels within 0-2 miles from the airport that you can stay- from 2-star rated to 4-star rated hotels.

There are also numerous Duty-Free Shops, shops, restaurants, and lounges where you can relax, eat, and do the shopping. Every terminal at the airport has an area where you can either relax or go shopping while you wait for your flight.


Things to do and see at LAX


Lax is also close to the Playa Del Rey Beach, El Porto Beach, and the El Segundo Beach. If, for any reason, the first thing you want to indulge once you touch down or you want to feel the soft sandy beaches before you depart, you can stop by one of these beaches.


Parking and terminal information




As mentioned earlier, LAX airport has 9 terminals in total; terminal to 8 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT). There are 128 gates in total, all arranged in the shape of a horseshoe or letter “U.”

One can connect between terminals using the shuttles. There is also an overground passage that connects terminals 4,5,6,7 and 8 airside to the TBIT. The TBIT is also connected to terminals 4,5, and 6 by an underground tunnel. There is also an above-ground walkway between the TBIT and terminals 6,7, and 8 that one can use to navigate through the terminals.

LAX has around 10,000 parking slots. The parking spaces are in two categories; short-term and long-term parking.

They are also more affordable than the later ones. The parking spaces in this area are around 8,000 in number and are numbered P1, P2A, P2B, P3, P4, P5, P6, and P7. As for the charges, the first minutes are free of charge while the first hour will cost you $5. After that, every 30 minutes will cost you $4 and $40 for every 24 hours you remain parked there.

In case you encounter covered parking lots, it means that there are restrictions for vehicles heights to be parked in those areas. For example, parking spaces 1, 2A, 6 and 7 have a maximum height of 8-feet and 2-inches, whereas parking lots 2B and 5 have a maximum height policy of 7-feet. Parking lots 3 and 4’s maximum height is 7-feet and 6-inches.

The long-term parking space, on the other hand, is located at 5455W 111th Street, a little bit far from the airport. This parking space is accessible by taking the free shuttle buses within the airport outside every terminal. 

The shuttles operate on a set schedule and depart every 15-minutes. It takes approximately 15-30 minutes to get to the terminals. The cost of parking on this side is $12 daily.

For anyone picking up or dropping off a passenger at LAX, there are parking spots located at the northwest corner of Vicksburg Avenue and 96th Street you can use. The cell phone waiting lot gives you up to 2-hours. Other than that, you will have to circle through the terminals while you wait for your passenger to arrive.

All official parking spaces in the airport have parking slots for disabled passengers. Also, the shuttle buses operating in the airport have wheelchair lifts for the disabled.


LAX Airport hours of operation


LAX operates 24/7, including weekends and holidays. Check-in counters for airlines and security screening for federal passengers open from 4.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. and close between 11:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m PST. This will also depend on flight schedules for every terminal.


Airlines that operate at LAX


There are over 60 passenger airlines using LAX, and each has a particular terminal/s that they use.

Below are the major airlines that use LAX and the terminals they each use:

  • Southwest Airlines- Terminal 1
  • Delta Airlines- Terminal 2 and 3
  • American Airlines- Terminal 4 and 5
  • Hawaiian Airlines- Terminal 5
  • Air Canada- Terminal 6
  • XL Airways France- Terminal 6
  • United Airlines- Terminal 7 and 8
  • United Express- Terminal 7and 8
  • British Airways- Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT)
  • Emirates- Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT)
  • Swiss International Airlines- Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT)
  • Turkish Airlines- Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT)
  • Qatar Airways- Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT)
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines- Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT)


LAX Shops and restaurants


The vast LAX, of course, has numerous restaurants and shopping areas for passengers. Whether you want to grab a meal or a drink before your flight or buy a few souvenirs for your loved ones, there are many options for you to sample.

You can grab a meal or a drink from some of the following places:

  • Terminal 1- California Pizza Kitchen, Chick-Fil-A, and Pei Wei Asian Diner
  • Terminal 2- Barney’s Beanery, SLAPFISH Modern Seafood Shack, and Starbucks
  • Terminal 3- La Familia, Ashland Hill, Deli & Co, Starbucks, and The Parlor
  • Terminal 6- Blu2o, Osteria by Fabio Viviani, The Kitchen By Wolfgang Puck, Wahoo’s Fish Taco and Starbucks Evenings
  • TBIT- 800 Degrees Pizza, 7-Eleven, CHAYA Sushi, KFC, LAMILL Coffee, Pinkberry, Starbucks, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and Umami Burger, to mention a few.   

As for shopping, some of the shops to look out for include:

  • Beauty and fragrance items- Bliss, Fred Segal, and Victoria’s Secret located at the TBIT
  • Jewelry- Bvlgari, Coach, Emporio Armani, Fred Segal, Hugo Boss, Michael Kors, Porsche Design, The Bead Factory, and TUMI all located at TBIT
  • Luggage and handbags shops- Coach, Emporio Armani, Hugo Boss, Michael Kors, Porsche Design, Travel + Leisure, and TUMI all situated at the TBIT
  • Duty-Free Shops- Burberry Boutique, DFS, Gucci Boutique, Hermes Boutique, Fashion, and Watches, Beauty, and Spirits
  • Eyewear- Hugo Boss, Fred Segal, and Porsche Design


LAX Airport Lounges


For passengers with a few hours to kill before their flights, there are many lounges to hang out while you wait for your flight. Having a Priority Pass will go a long way in getting into most of the lunges without making a reservation. Also, the lounges opening hours will depend on the flight schedules.

Some of the lounges to consider include:

  • Rock & Brews- it is located on the airside of Terminal 1 opposite gate 11B of domestic flights only
  • Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse- it is located on the airside of Terminal 2 near the entrance of level 4
  • Alaska Lounge- it is located on the airside of Terminal 6near gate 64 on the Mezzanine Level
  • Korean Air Lounge (KAL)- it is located on the airside of the TBIT 
  • P.F. Chang’s- it is located on the airside of the TBIT   


You can read my full review of the LAX Airport Lounges here.


Other services

LAX has free Wi-Fi available throughout the airport for 45-minutes. One can also get car rentals from the 10 car rentals that allowed to provide the services at LAX. There is a ‘Rental Car Shuttle’ sign, purple in color, on the Arrivals/Lower level located after baggage claim. These shuttles will take you to the car rental offices.

As for the hotels, there are numerous hotels within a mile from the airport. Also, there is a Hotel Hoppa service that runs between hotels close to the airport and the terminals.


LAX Baggage claim location


Every terminal has a baggage claim location, in case you have any checked-in luggage. Additionally, there are rental car counters there in case you need to hire a car. Additionally, there is an Interactive Visitor Information Board in case you need to make reservations at any hotel. Every baggage claim area has restrooms.


Hopefully, you enjoyed our guide to Los Angeles LAX Airport and found the information helpful. Feel free to leave a comment below with any comments or thoughts you may have about LAX.

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