Airports

Los Angeles Airport (LAX) Guide: 2022

By
Melanie Wynne
|
Freelancer
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
April 25, 2022
|
11 min read

The 8th largest airport in the world (as of March 2022) and major hub for more passenger airlines than any other US airport, LAX is often maligned for its long distance from central Los Angeles, lack of smooth connection to public transportation, and frequent congestion at security. 

However, it’s become increasingly user-friendly, thanks to an ongoing $14 billion renovation that promises to make it one of the world’s most state-of-the-art airports in terms of technology, connectivity, and design. 

About Los Angeles Airport

  • Airport code: LAX
  • Distance from LAX to Downtown Los Angeles: 12 miles
  • Transport options: Train / Bus / Taxi / Ride-Hailing Service / Shuttle Van 
  • Airlines served: 72 passenger, 32 cargo
  • Hubs for: American Airlines—Delta Air Lines—United Airlines—Southwest Airlines—Alaska Airlines—Virgin Atlantic
  • Domestic nonstop flights to: 111 cities
  • International nonstop flights to: 46 countries
  • Terminals: 9
  • Concourse: A single U-shaped, two-level concourse
  • Gates: 146
  • On time departures: 79.39%
  • On time arrivals: 78.8%
  • Security wait times: Between 5 and 50 minutes
  • Hours: 24 hours
  • Checkpoint hours: Open between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. (Pacific Time), and closed between 11:30 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. (Pacific Time), depending upon flight schedules for each terminal. 
  • Official site: https://www.flylax.com/
  • Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_International_Airport

Airlines Flying From LAX

Terminal B or Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT): Air China—Air France—Air New Zealand—Air Tahiti Nui—Alitalia—All Nippon Airways—Asiana—Austrian Airlines—Avianca—Breeze Airways (Summer 2022)—British Airways—Copa Airlines—Cathay Pacific—China Airlines—China Eastern—China Southern—El Al—Emirates—Etihad—EVA Air—Fiji Airways—Finnair—Hawaiian Airlines—Iberia—Japan Airlines—KLM—Korean Air—LATAM Airlines—LOT Polish—Lufthansa—Norwegian Air—Philippines Airlines—Qantas—Qatar Airways—SAUDIA—Scandinavian Airlines—Sichuan Airlines—Singapore Airlines—SWISS—Turkish Airlines—Virgin Atlantic—Volaris—Xiamen Airlines—ZIPAIR

Terminal 1: Allegiant Air, Southwest Airlines, Sun Country, Viva Aerobus

Terminal 2: West Jet

Terminal 3: Delta Air Lines, Interjet, Avianca, Virgin Australia, Copa Airlines

Terminal 4: American Airlines

Terminal 5: American Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, Air Canada

Terminal 6: Alaska Airlines, Advanced Air, Horizon Air, Southern Airways

Terminals 7 & 8: United Airlines, United Express

Terminal 8: United Airlines, United Express

About Los Angeles Airport

Covering 5.5 square miles and serving 72 passenger airlines, LAX is the largest airport in California. It’s also the 2nd busiest airport in the US [after Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL)], serving an average of 88 million passengers per year.

Since 1961, LAX’s most iconic feature has been its UFO-shaped Theme Building, which served as the Encounter Restaurant until 2013, and now houses an outpost of the Bob Hope USO. Renovation plans for LAX include a People Mover that will enable travelers to, at long last, experience this 80-foot-tall building at eye level. 

photo courtesy of Las Angeles World Airports
photo courtesy of Los Angeles World Airports

Terminals 3 has been undergoing extensive renovations during pandemic travel slowdowns, and while some parts of it will remain closed until Fall 2022, its new ticketing area, seven-line security checkpoint, and combined Delta Sky Club (there used to be two separate ones here) opened on April 20, 2022. 

The layout of LAX is arranged on a U-shaped, two-level (Upper/Departures and Lower/Arrivals) concourse, and is divided into the following 9 terminals:

Terminal 1: Gates 9 to 18B 

Terminal 2: Gates 20-28 

Terminal 3: Gates 30-39—Delta Airlines (currently closed due to flight consolidation)

Terminal 4: Gates 40-49—American Airlines

Terminal 5: Gates 50-59

Terminal 6: Gates 60-69

Terminal 7 & 8: Gates 70-86—United Airlines

Terminal B (TBIT): Gates 130-200, plus the cutting-edge West Gates 201-225

Getting between terminals at LAX

Courtesy shuttle service is provided between all terminals via the Terminal Connector (A Route). To catch this shuttle you’ll have to exit security, stand under the pink “LAX Shuttles” sign outside each terminal on the Lower/Arrivals level, and upon arrival at your next terminal, re-enter security. The Terminal Connector runs every 10 minutes, and travel time between each terminal stop is about two minutes. 

It takes about 5 minutes to walk between each terminal, but there are caveats. 

If you land in Terminals 1, 2, or 3 and have to get to any other terminal in LAX, you’ll have to exit security, walk (or take a shuttle) to your connecting terminal, and re-clear security.

If you land/connect in Terminals 4-8, you can avoid re-clearing security via the following airside connections:

Terminals 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 and TBIT: via an overground passage 

Terminals 4, 5 and 6: via an underground tunnel 

Terminals 6, 7, and 8: via above-ground walkways 

Connecting flights at LAX

LAX is not a stress-free place to have a tight connection (see above). Unless you have two hours or more between flights, you might want to consider connecting through a different airport. 

Minimum connection times at LAX: 

  • Domestic connection: 2 hours
  • Domestic to international: 2.5 hours
  • International to domestic: 3 hours

Note: There is no dedicated mobile passport lane for arrivals from international destinations.

Flying in out, or through the Los Angeles Airport 

photo courtesy of Las Angeles World Airports
photo courtesy of Los Angeles World Airports

Security and customs

General security and customs wait times average 20 minutes. To be safe, though, it’s advisable to get to the airport two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight. TSA Precheck is available in all terminals, Global Entry is in Terminal B (TBIT), and CLEAR is available in Terminals 2 and 3. 

The airport is now testing out the LAX Fast Lane program, whereby passengers flying out of Terminals 7 and 8 may reserve a spot in the Terminal 7 security line between 5 a.m. and 1 p.m. This service is free, but be aware that TSA PreCheck benefits (e.g., leaving your shoes on) won’t be available to those who reserve a spot in line. 

TSA Precheck All terminals 

Global Entry: Terminal B (TBIT)

CLEAR: Terminals 2 & 3

Mobile Passport: This fast-track method of getting through customs and immigration doesn’t have a special lane for you to stand in; it merely enables you to store your documents on an app, which will still need to be verified by a passport control officer in one of the regular customs lanes. 

LAX Wifi and charging stations

LAX offers free Wi-Fi (wireless network is _LAX Free WiFi) in the public areas of all terminals. For each 45-minute session of free Wi-Fi access, you’ll have to watch a 15- to 30-second video ad before your access resumes. 

More than 40 charging stations, each with four 120-volt outlets, are installed in TBIT, Terminal 1, and Terminal 8.

Map of the Los Angeles Airport

LAX map

Food at the Los Angeles Airport

Dining options at LAX are on the whole fantastic, featuring outposts of a slew of local LA favorites. The entire airport is served by an online mobile service called LAX Order Now that enables you to order food from any terminal and either pick it up (average wait time 20 minutes) or have it delivered to any terminal (average wait time 50 minutes). 

Terminal 1

Dressed casually for your flight? Traveling with kids? Just want to nurse a great beer or two? This terminal has you covered. The coffee, tea, and baked goods at West Hollywood-famous Urth Caffe, provide a last great taste of LA.

  • Best breakfast: Einstein Bros., Urth Caffe
  • Best quick bite: Chick-Fil-A 
  • Best sit-down meal: Rock & Brews
  • Best bar: Reilly’s Irish Pub
  • Best late-night: Rock & Brews (closes at 10 p.m.)
  • Best with kids: California Pizza Kitchen

Terminal 2 

The late-night spot here, Sealegs, stays open the longest of any restaurant/bar in LAX. Slapfish is the only LAX spot to serve lobster rolls. Barney’s Beanery, part of a longtime LA chain, serves American comfort fare. 

  • Best breakfast: Barney’s Beanery
  • Best quick bite: Pick Up Stix (Chinese fast casual)
  • Best sit-down meal: Slapfish (seafood)
  • Best bar: Barney’s Beanery
  • Best late-night: Sealegs Wine Bar (closes at 1 a.m.)
  • Best with kids:  BUILT Custom Burgers

Terminal 3: Closed for renovations until Fall 2022

  • Best breakfast: Ashland Hill
  • Best quick bite: Earthbar, Deli & Co. 
  • Best sit-down meal: Ashland Hill
    Best bar: La Familia 
  • Best late-night: The Parlor (open until last flight out)
  • Best with kids: Shake Shack

Terminal 4

Fine dining is scarce here, but in the Food Court you’ll find a few stellar Mid-City L.A. offerings, including La Provence Patisserie and Campanile.  

  • Best breakfast: La Provence Patisserie
  • Best quick bite: Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Best sit-down meal: Campanile
  • Best late-night: Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza (closes at 11 p.m.)
  • Best with kids: Homeboy Cafe

Terminal 5 

The two sit-down spots are Rock & Brews, which is closed by dinnertime, and Ford’s Filling Station, which has only four non-liquid menu items. Lemonade is counter-service only, but does offer prepared salads and hot dishes (plus gourmet lemonades) and has a big seating area where you can (hopefully) not feel rushed. There’s also a mini-version of LA’s historic Farmers Market, which offers to-go options. 

  • Best breakfast: Coffee Corner
  • Best quick bite: Loteria!, Monsieur Marcel Gourmet Market 
  • Best sit-down meal: Lemonade 
  • Best bar: Rock & Brews (but closes at 6 p.m.)
  • Best late-night: Ford’s Filling Station (closes at 11 p.m.)
  • Best with kids: Loteria!, Lemonade 

Terminal 6

Finding a nutritious snack or meal is relatively easy in this terminal, with 

fresh salads and sandwiches (Wolfgang Puck, Osteria), grilled fish tacos, and juices and acai bowls (Earthbar) on hand. Cocktail bar Blu2o is a surprisingly swanky alternative for those without airline lounge access. 

  • Best breakfast: Osteria by Fabio Viviani
  • Best quick bite: The Marketplace by Wolfgang Puck, Earthbar
  • Best sit-down meal: Osteria by Fabio Viviani
  • Best bar: Blu2o
  • Best late-night: Blu2o (closes at midnight)
  • Best with kids:  Wahoo’s Fish Taco, The Habit Burger Grill

Terminals 7 & 8

There’s a food court here with several local options, including BLD, once a beloved Mid-City hotspot. You certainly won’t go hungry in this combo terminal—unless you’re here after 11 p.m.

  • Best breakfast: Ashland Hill, Loteria!
  • Best quick bite: BLD
  • Best sit-down meal: B Grill by BOA Steakhouse
  • Best bar: Stella Bar, Rolling Stone Bar & Grill
  • Best late-night: B Grill by BOA Steakhouse (closes at 11 p.m.)
  • Best with kids: Engine Co. No. 28, The Counter

Terminal B (TBIT)

Some great LA-founded eateries have outposts here (e.g., Border Grill, Ink Sack, and Chaya Sushi), so you might actually want to arrive hungry. 

  • Best breakfast: Border Grill, LAMILL Coffee
  • Best quick bite: Asian Street Eats, Ink Sack
  • Best sit-down meal: Chaya Sushi, 800 Degrees Pizza
  • Best bar: Chaya Sushi
  • Best late-night: Umami Burger (closes at midnight)
  • Best with kids: Vanilla Bake Shop

Lounges at the Los Angeles Airport

Amex lounge at LAX
photo courtesy of Los Angeles World Airports

Terminal 1

There are no airline lounges in this terminal.

Terminal 2  

Both lounges here—Delta Sky Club and the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse—are upstairs on the mezzanine level, across from one another near Gate 23. 

Delta Sky Club

Hours: 4:30 a.m. - 12:30 a.m.
Access:
Delta Gold Medallions and higher traveling internationally; SkyTeam Elite Plus members; premium-cabin passengers who are connecting to or from same-day SkyTeam international long-haul or premium transcontinental flights; Delta Sky Club members and cardholders of the Amex Platinum Card, the Amex Business Platinum Card, the Amex Delta SkyMiles Reserve, or the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Amex when traveling on any same-day Delta flight.
Day Pass: Can be purchased by Delta SkyMiles Platinum Amex or Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business Amex cardholders for $39.

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse

Hours: 5 a.m. to last departure
Access: Priority Pass members (only until 10:45 a.m.), Upper Class passengers, Flying Club Gold members, Aer Lingus business class passengers and Delta One, Delta Platinum Medallion and Delta Diamond Medallion passengers with a same-day nonstop trans-Atlantic flight.

Terminal 3

The new Delta Sky Club, still on the mezzanine level, just reopened after extensive renovations on April 20, 2022. At 1.2 million square feet, it’s now the largest Delta Sky Club in the world. 

Delta Sky Club

Hours: 6 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Access: Delta Gold Medallions and higher traveling internationally; SkyTeam Elite Plus members; premium-cabin passengers who are connecting to or from same-day SkyTeam international long-haul or premium transcontinental flights; Delta Sky Club members and cardholders of the Amex Platinum Card, the Amex Business Platinum Card, the Amex Delta SkyMiles Reserve, or the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business Amex when traveling on any same-day Delta flight.
Day Pass: Can be purchased by Delta SkyMiles Platinum Amex or Delta SkyMiles Platinum Business Amex cardholders for $39.

Terminal 4

Both American Airlines lounges here are housed in the same structure, across from Gate 40.

American Airlines Admirals Club

Hours: 4 a.m. -12:45 a.m.
Access:
AAdvantage Platinum elites and up traveling internationally; Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald and members, premium-cabin passengers who are connecting to or from qualifying international or premium transcontinental American- or Oneworld-operated flights; and Admirals Club members. You can get a complimentary Admirals Club membership through the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard.
Day Pass: With a same-day AA ticket, can be purchased for $59 or 5,900 AAdvantage miles.

American Airlines Flagship Lounge

Hours: 4 a.m. — 12:45 a.m.
Access: AAdvantage Platinum elites and up traveling internationally, Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald and members and business and first class passengers who are connecting to or from qualifying international or premium transcontinental American- or Oneworld-operated flights.
First class passengers traveling on a three-cabin aircraft have access to the Flagship First Dining area.

Terminal 5

The first Admirals Club listed here is one level up from the gates, near duty free. The second is across from gates 52D and 52E, after taking the bus to the remote terminal. 

American Airlines Admirals Club

Hours: 4:45 a.m. - 12 a.m.
Access: AAdvantage Platinum elites and up traveling internationally; Oneworld Sapphire and Emerald and members, premium-cabin passengers who are connecting to or from qualifying international or premium transcontinental American- or Oneworld-operated flights; and Admirals Club members. You can get a complimentary Admirals Club membership through the Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard.
Day Pass: With a same-day AA ticket, can be purchased for $59 or 5,900 AAdvantage miles.

Terminal 6 

Two of this terminal’s lounges are on the mezzanine level: Alaska near Gate 64, and Air Canada between gates 65A and 65B. The USO Lounge is found landside before security,  in the trippy UFO-shaped Theme Building that faces the terminal. 

Alaska Lounge

Hours: 5 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Access: Alaska Airlines first class passengers (doesn’t include upgrades); Alaska Lounge members; and Admirals Club members; Priority Pass members; day pass purchasers. 
Day Pass:
Can be purchased for $50, or $25 if using your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature card. 

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge

Hours: 4:30 a.m. - 9:45 p.m.
Access: Air Canada business class passengers; Premium Rouge passengers traveling within Canada, to the U.S. and Sun destinations; Altitude Elite 35K elites; first and business class passengers; and Star Alliance Gold members on eligible itineraries on any Star Alliance airline; and members of the Air Canada Maple Leaf Club and/or United Club. 
Day Pass:
Passengers may purchase these at the time of their flight booking, at the following rates: Latitude $25; Comfort $40; and Flex $50. 

USO Lounge

Hours: 24 hours
Access: Current active-duty, Guard, Reserve or dependent ID card. Military retiree ID cards are also accepted if space is available. (Veterans’ Administration-issued ID cards or driver’s licenses with “Veteran” shown on the card do not fall into the above categories.)

Terminal 7 & 8

The terminal’s two lounges are both United-branded and found upstairs: United Club next to Gate 71A, and Polaris between gates 73 and 75A. 

United Club

Hours: 4:30 a.m. - 12:15 a.m.
Access: United Premier Gold elites traveling internationally; Star Alliance Gold members; premium-cabin passengers who are connecting to or from qualifying international or premium transcontinental United- or Star Alliance-operated flights; United Club members and day pass-holders. The United Club Infinite Card gives you complimentary United Club membership. Both the United Explorer Card and the United Business Card give you two annual United Club one-time passes. 
Day Pass:
Passengers traveling on a United, Star Alliance, or contracted partner flight can purchase day passes for $59 apiece, either online or at the door. 

United Polaris Lounge

Hours: 6:45 a.m. - 10:15 p.m.
Access:
United Polaris business class passengers; business and first class passengers on Star Alliance partners.

Terminal B (TBIT)

The lounge game is strong in this international terminal, with arguably some of the most chic lounges in the country (looking at you, Etihad and Qantas). The Amex Centurion Lounge is on Level 4; Qantas, Korean Air, and OneWorld are on Level 5; and Star Alliance, LA International, Emirates, and Etihad are on Level 6. 

American Express Centurion Lounge

Hours: 6:30 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Access: Those with a Centurion Card, Amex Platinum Card, or Amex Business Platinum Card. Delta SkyMiles Reserve and Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business cardholders will also have access when traveling on any same-day Delta flight.

Emirates Lounge

Hours: 11:35 a.m. - 3:35 p.m. (winter), 12:40 p.m. - 4:40 p.m. (summer)
Access:
Emirates first and business class passengers and Emirates Skywards Platinum and Gold members.
Day Pass: Day passes are available to all other Emirates passengers for $130, or $100 if you’re an Emirates Skywards member.

Etihad Airways Lounge

Hours: Open three hours before the first departure; closes upon last departure
Access: Etihad first and business class passengers and Etihad Gold and Platinum members have access. 
Day Pass:
Etihad Economy passengers can purchase access for $60 or 7,000 miles.

Korean Air Lounge

Hours: 7 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Access: Priority Pass, Diners Club, Lounge Club and Dragon Pass members (limited hours); first and business class passengers and SkyTeam Elite Plus members traveling on an international flight operated by a SkyTeam airline.

Los Angeles International Lounge

Hours: 6 a.m. - last departure
Access: Air Tahiti Nui, El Al, Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Fiji Airways and Philippine Airlines first and business class passengers; Japan Airlines premium economy passengers.

Oneworld International Business Lounge

Hours: 6:30 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Access: Business and first class passengers and Oneworld Sapphire and Oneworld Emerald members traveling on eligible itineraries on any Oneworld airline. (American Airlines elites traveling solely on North American flights, except Mexico City, don’t have access.) Alaska Lounge members have access when traveling on Qantas.

Qantas First Class Lounge

Hours: 6:30 a.m. - 11:30 p.m.
Access: Qantas first class and Oneworld international first class; Oneworld Emerald; Qantas Frequent Flyer Platinum One and Platinum.

Star Alliance Lounge

Hours: 7 a.m. - 1 a.m.
Access: Business or first class passengers; Star Alliance Gold; United Club or Air Canada Maple Leaf Club members. 

Sleeping at the Los Angeles Airport 

Los Angeles Airport hotels

There are no hotels inside LAX—but there’s no shortage of hotels nearby, and many offer free shuttle service and day rates. These are the closest hotels, all set within one mile of LAX:

Best hotels near LAX

The following 4-star hotels offer comfort, day rates, and free shuttles to/from LAX: 

Nap options at LAX

There are no nap pods at LAX. And most public seating in the airport has arm rests, making the floor <shudder> a slightly more comfortable option. That said, there are a few good nap spots:

  • Terminal 1: just past security, there’s a long bench at the top of the stairs
  • Terminals 4 & 7: you’ll find a few sets of comfy chairs in triangle configurations 
  • Terminal B (TBIT): there are a few couches at Gate 148

Shopping at the Los Angeles Airport

Terminal B (TBIT) is the clear winner when it comes to LAX shopping, offering luxury brands like Coach, Hermes, Burberry, Gucci, and more, as well as a small version of West Hollywood celebrity magnet Fred Segal. Terminal 6 hosts an outpost of LA hip/comfort clothing boutique M. Frederic. 

Wellness and spa products can be found in Kiehls (Terminal 1), Breeze (Terminal 2), and Bliss (TBIT). See’s Candies kiosks are in terminals 4 and 5; MAC Cosmetics pop up in terminals 1 and 6; and West Hollywood bookstore Book Soup has outposts in Terminal 7 and TBIT. 

Duty free shops are in terminals 5, 6, 7, and B (TBIT). The latter terminal has five different shops, including one dedicated to beauty/spirits, and another to jewelry/watches. 

LAX terminal
photo courtesy of Los Angeles World Airports

Things to do at the Los Angeles Airport

In addition to shopping, eating and drinking, potentially visiting an airline lounge, and getting your steps in, consider doing one or all of the following:

  1. Get a massage or mini-facial at the Be Relax spa in Terminal 1. 
  1. Check out the very cool public art installations in terminals 1, 7, and TBIT. Created by Southern California artists, works include photography, lighting displays, collage, and murals.
  1. Hug, kiss, or take pictures with the doggos of the Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP) program, which brings registered therapy dogs to LAX to brighten your travel day. 

Things to do with at the Los Angeles Airport with kids

LAX has a handful of kid-friendly features, scattered throughout the airport’s more than five-square-mile expanse. The top kid attractions at LAX are:

  • LAX Beach (Great Hall of TBIT): This is the only dedicated play area in the airport. Designed for kids ages 2-11, the 975-square-foot mini-playground features a slide, an interactive light table, and foam climbing structures that look like waves, beach toys, and dolphins.  
  • Gameway (Terminal 6): This is a gaming lounge where kids (and adults) of all ages can play video games while waiting for their flights. Each guest station has either an Xbox, PlayStation console, or Razer gaming PC with over 30 preloaded games, including Fortnite, FIFA, Call of Duty, and Minecraft.
  • Book Soup (TBIT and Terminal 7): At these smaller versions of a beloved West Hollywood bookstore, the collection of kids’ books (from littles to tweens) is top-notch.  
  • Treat Me Sweet (TBIT): Let the kiddos customize their own personalized candy assortment of jelly beans, chocolates, gummies, and more.  
  • Magic Johnson Sports (Terminal 5): Young basketball fans will love this store dedicated to Earvin “Magic” Johnson and the L.A. Lakers.
  • FAO Schwarz (Terminal 5): Life-sized toys and plushies just might keep your kids entertained for your entire layover. 

Nursing pods in LAX

Terminal B (TBIT) 

  • Across from Vanilla Bake Shop
  • Between Gates 205 & 207
  • Near Gates 221 & 225 in the West Gates

Terminal 1: Near Gate 13

Terminal 2: Between Gates 21B & 23A

Terminal 3: In the outdoor atrium (closed until mid-2023)

Terminal 4: By the Sunglass Hut

Terminal 5: Across from the Food Court

Terminal 6: In the outdoor atrium, by Gate 64B

Terminal 7: Between Gate 73 and 75B

Terminal 8: By the Passenger Screening Area

Traveling through LAX with pets

LAX is very pet-friendly, though within the airport, pets should either be leashed or contained in a carrier. The airport recommends checking with your airline about their specific rules/procedures for pet carriers, limits on the number/types of animals allowed in airline cabins, and picking up animals at baggage claim areas. 

per retlief area at LAX
photo courtesy of Los Angeles World Airports

Pet relief areas can be found at: 

Terminal B (TBIT): Near the entrance to the bridge to Terminal 4

Terminal 1: Near Gate 13

Terminal 2: Between Gates 21B & 23A

Terminal 3: In the outdoor atrium (closed until mid-2023)

Terminal 4: Along the bridge to TBIT 

Terminal 5: Near Gate 52B 

Terminal 6: In the outdoor atrium by the restrooms, near Gate 62

Terminal 7: Between Gate 73 and 75B

Getting to and from the Los Angeles Airport

LAXit vans
photo courtesy of Los Angeles World Airports

Ride app services

You can take Uber, Lyft, or Opoli to/from LAX. You can be dropped off in front of your terminal on the Upper/Departures Level, but for your arrival, you must meet your ride at the dedicated “LAX-it” lot adjacent to Terminal 1 on the Lower/Arrivals Level. To get to this lot, you can walk or ride the free LAX-it shuttle; look for green LAX-it signs at the inner curb outside of each terminal’s baggage claim area, on the Lower/Arrivals Level.   

Be advised that LAX charges $4 for every pickup/dropoff at LAX. If you have more time than money, you can avoid this surcharge (and possibly a few bucks more) by hopping on a free shuttle for the Hyatt Regency, Sheraton, Marriott, or Hertz, and ordering your ride from outside one of these hotels or the rental car office (vice versa for drop-offs.) Technically, these businesses are all within 5 minutes’ drive of LAX, but you’ll have to wait for your shuttle and other passengers, then consider traffic out of/into LAX. 

Taxis

Taxi drop-offs occur on the Upper/Departures Level, at terminal curbs. Taxi pick-ups can be made at only three locations, all on the Lower/Arrivals Level:

  • LAX-it lot next to Terminal 1
  • Inside Parking Structure 3 (between Terminal B (TBIT) and Terminal 3)
  • At the far end of Terminal 7 (outside of baggage claim)

To reach these pickup points, you can either walk or catch the free LAX-it shuttle; the latter arrives every 3 to 5 minutes by the green signs at the inner curb outside of baggage claim areas on the Lower/Arrivals Level.

LAX FlyAway buses 

These buses make regularly scheduled round trips, seven days a week, between LAX and Union Station in Downtown LA or the Van Nuys Airport in the San Fernando Valley. Purchase tickets online in advance, either $9.75 one-way or $19.50 roundtrip. Board these buses at the blue FlyAway signs found in front of each terminal, on the Lower/Arrivals Level. 

Shared ride vans 

Various companies offer shuttles to the surrounding Southern California area, including the locally popular Super Shuttle. Pickup is under the orange sign that reads "Shared Ride Vans," found curbside near the baggage claim exits in front of each terminal on the Lower/Arrivals Level 

Hotel and private parking lot shuttles 

These shuttles are located on the Upper/Departures Level in front of each terminal under the red "Hotel Shuttles" sign.

Metro C Line (Green Line) Shuttle to Aviation Station

The Los Angeles Metro provides a free shuttle bus between LAX and its Aviation Station (11500 Aviation Boulevard) on the Metro C Line (Green Line). At LAX, head to the PINK LAX Shuttle sign found on the Lower/Arrivals Level in front of each terminal, and board the free “Metro C Line (Green Line) shuttle bus. 

How to get from LAX to Downtown Los Angeles (aka DTLA)

Metro Rail: Hop on the Metro C Line (Green Line) shuttle (see above) and take it to Aviation Station. To get to downtown Los Angeles, take the Metro C Line (Green Line) to the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station, transfer to the Metro A Line (Blue Line), and get off at the 7th St/Metro Center station in Downtown Los Angeles. Regular Metro fare is $1.75 for travel in one-direction and includes 2 hours of free transfers.

Metro Bus: Hop on the Metro C Line (Green Line) shuttle (see above) and take it to Aviation Station. 

LAX FlyAway Bus: Purchase tickets online for this 30-minute direct ride to Union Station in Downtown LA ($9.75 one-way). Board these buses at the blue FlyAway signs found in front of each terminal, on the Lower/Arrivals Level. Ensure that your bus is marked “Union Station.” 

Ride-share apps: Average ride takes 15-20 minutes and costs about $35, traffic dependent. 

Taxi: Average ride takes 20 minutes and costs a flat fare of $46.50.

How to get from LAX to Santa Monica or Venice Beach 

Santa Monica Big Blue Bus: Hop on the Metro C Line (Green Line shuttle) to Aviation Station, where you’ll pick up the Line 3/Rapid 3 bus that runs every 20 minutes. Note that the Big Blue Bus doesn’t accept cash or tokens on board; you’re required to make contactless fare payments with TAP or a mobile ticket. 

  • To Santa Monica: Take the Line 3/Rapid 3 to the 4th & Colorado stop in downtown Santa Monica; it’s an 8-minute walk from here to the Santa Monica Pier. Average trip takes 45 minutes and costs $1.25.
  • To Venice Beach: Take the Line 3/Rapid 3 to the Lincoln & Venice stop in Santa Monica; this leg takes about 30 minutes. From here it’s a two-minute walk to the Lincoln stop, where you’ll take the Line 33 bus (which runs every 15 minutes) to the Venice Bl./Venice Way stop; this leg takes about five minutes, and then it’s a six-minute walk to the Venice Beach boardwalk. Average trip is one hour and costs $2.50.

Ride-share apps: Takes 15-20 minutes and costs about $30, traffic dependent. 

Taxi: Takes 15-20 minutes and costs a flat rate of between $28-$32. 

How to get from LAX to Disneyland

Metro Rail + Metro Bus: Hop on the Metro C Line (Green Line shuttle) to Aviation Station. Take the Metro C Line (Green Line) to Norwalk Station; this line runs every 15 minutes, the leg takes 26 minutes, and costs $1.75. At Norwalk Station, catch the Line 460 Metro Bus to the Disneyland Employees Entrance, which is a five-minute walk from the Disneyland Resort Entrance; this bus runs every hour, the leg takes 1 hour and 19 minutes, and costs $1.25. 

The entire trip averages two hours and costs $3. 

Shared Ride Van: One-way averages one hour (traffic dependent) and $90. 

Ride-share apps: One-way averages 30 minutes and $60, traffic dependent. 

Taxi: One-way averages 30 minutes and $100, traffic dependent.  

Los Angeles airport car rental

Rental car offices are located off-airport, away from LAX terminals. The following rental car companies are authorized to pick-up/drop-off customers at LAX terminals using courtesy shuttles; these can be found under the purple “Rental Car Shuttles” signs on the Lower/Arrivals level islands outside each terminal’s baggage claim. Compact-sized car rentals (e.g.,Ford Focus, Nissan Versa, etc.) from these companies average $55 a day. 

Parking at LAX Airport

Terminal: The closest LAX parking offers several options:

  • General:  Max rate is $50/day, pre-book for $22/day. P1-P7 on both levels.
  • Premium: Max rate is $60/day, pre-book for $33/day. P1.
  • Valet: Daily rate is $70/day, pre-book for $28/day. All parking structures.
  • EV: Service fee is $2. Usage $0.45 k/Wh. P1, P5, P6 on Lower/Arrivals level.

Economy: Lowest LAX parking rates. Max rate is $30/day, can be pre-booked for $12/day. Free shuttle to/from parking runs every 7 minutes, trip takes 5 minutes.

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Frequently asked questions About Los Angeles Airport (LAX)

How early should I get to LAX?

To avoid stress, get to LAX at least 2 hours prior to domestic departures, and at least 3 hours prior to international departures.

How long do I need for a connection at LAX?

Aim for a minimum connection of at least two hours at LAX. You can connect in less time, but it will require hustling and probably some stress.

How long do I need to leave the airport on a layover at LAX?

It’s risky to leave the airport for destinations like Downtown LA or Santa Monica without a layover of at least eight hours, but with four hours at your disposal, you could climb in a taxi or rideshare and be on Manhattan Beach beside the Pacific Ocean within 20 minutes.

Is there luggage storage at LAX?

No, there is no luggage storage onsite at LAX. You can, however, use LAX Luggage Storage, a luggage-storage service that’s 6 minutes’ drive from LAX (near Enterprise Rent-a-Car). Average luggage storage prices are $12-18 per piece, per day. Self pickup and drop-off are free, or $5 per piece of luggage each way for full-service pickup/drop-off curbside on the Upper/Departures level.

How far is Los Angeles airport from downtown?

LAX is 12 miles from downtown LA, which takes about 20 minutes depending on traffic.

What’s the fastest way to get from LAX to downtown Los Angeles?

Three options will take about 20 minutes, traffic permitting: taking a taxi, a pre-booked town car, or driving yourself. The next fastest option is the LAX Flyaway Bus, which takes 30 minutes to reach Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA).

Do I need a real ID to fly out of California?

Not until May 3, 2023. As of that date, every air traveler 18 years+ will need a REAL ID-compliant driver's license to fly out of California (as well as anywhere else within the United States). Exceptions will be made for enhanced driver’s licenses issued to residents of Michigan, Vermont, Minnesota, New York, and Washington State.

Last Updated 
April 25, 2022
Los Angeles Airport (LAX) Guide: 2022
Melanie Wynne
Freelancer

Passionate about travel, wine, and words, Melanie has visited 67 countries. She grew up in Washington, D.C., went to NYU Film School, spent 23 years in LA, returned to D.C. for a bit, learned to make wine in Sonoma County, and is now in Richmond, VA. The former Travel Editor for The Points Guy, she's written for Condé Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Marriott Bonvoy Traveler, and more.

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