I have often called LAX the eighth portal of hell, and I mean it. There is no worse pain than landing at LAX on a Friday afternoon/night. Well, maybe there is if you’re Chrissy Teigen and John Legend. Y’all need to stop what you’re doing right now and read about their 8 hour flight from LAX to LAX due to a passenger snafu last night. I would die.
Anyway, if you’re flying into LA, hope you didn’t make any plans because you’ll be stuck for an hour before you can even reach Century or Sepulveda Blvds. It has one of the worst traffic flow designs of any place that is allegedly supposed to serve that many people. Like the architect deliberately thought, how can we purposely make it so there’s only one route out that bottlenecks like crazy?
Even though it one of the worse places on this planet (you think I’m exaggerating. I am not), it’s a necessary evil that has to be dealt with because you can fly almost anywhere from there. One of the busiest airports by volume, if you’ve flown internationally from SoCal, you’ve likely flown out of LAX. It is the second busiest airport in the US by passenger load, and maybe for this week it is a little better than the busier ATL (at least there’s power).
There are 8 numbered terminals separate from the Tom Bradley International terminal. 1= Southwest; 2 = Delta and SkyTeam members: Aer Lingus, WestJet, Virgin, Aeromexico. 3 = Delta, Copa, Avianca, Interjet; 4 = American 5 = American, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Allegiant, Frontier, Spirit, Sun Country. 6 = Alaska, Virgin America, Air Canada, Mokulele, Great Lakes. 7 and 8 = United. There are random exceptions in terms of check in counters for some of the international carriers of the codeshare alliances, but all international flights return to Tom Bradley (TBIT).
I will give it one thing though, there’s some good shopping there, particularly duty free. And if you’re uber wealthy, there are separate luxury lounges that are not connected to the terminals where you can get checked in and taken to your plane by SUV. There could be more restaurants, as the selection is dispersed sparingly amongst the terminals.
Remember: ✈️ = welcome to the jungle to ✈️✈️✈️✈️✈️ = i love LA (we love it)
Convenience to the city: ✈️ (theoretically it is, practically it is not; may the odds be ever in your favor if you’re flying in during peak hours, rideshares help but it takes awhile)
Ease of navigating through terminals: ✈️ (you’re at the mercy of shuttle buses on the tarmac that wind passengers around planes from terminal to terminal)
Convenience of check in/security lines: ✈️✈️ ✈️ (fairly efficient for its size)
Dining: ✈️✈️✈️ (three planes because the eateries are good, but limited in each terminal, so there’s not that many given options. But…you should look for Ink.sack by Michael Voltaggio in TBIT, La Brea Bakery in Terminal 1, lots of Coffee Beans and Starbucks as well as local coffee shops around; Pinkberry locations, Panda Expresses, Shake Shack in terminal 3, Wolfgang Puck eateries in 6, the Habit and Wahoo’s fish tacos in 6; LA’s hipcute cafeteria Lemonade in 5, Umami Burger, 800 Degrees Pizza, SlapFish, etc)
Bathrooms: ✈️ (don’t expect them to be that clean unless you’re in a recently renovated terminal)
Charging stations/wifi: ✈️✈️ (no free wifi, which makes complete sense)
Amenities: ✈️✈️✈️ (every lounge ever (including a luxe Qantas), retail from bliss spa, Spanx to Burberry, Gucci, Hermes, Harley Davidson — wish there were more options per terminal, but hey real estate is a premium here. I took one plane off because the Sanrio store closed. Also, don’t forget to check out the spacey Theme Building on arrival, home of the former Encounters restaurant (wasn’t actually that bad food wise) but now is a viewing deck on the weekends)