know before you go: Los Angeles (LAX)


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)





know before you go: Honolulu (HNL)

A consensus amongst us when we started talking about creating this blog was that there was a lack of information about airports during layovers.  Navigating clunky, confusing, disorganized airport websites isn’t really easy to do on a phone…with limited battery power and spotty service/wifi.

Whether you’re running for your life to make that next flight or have an eternity to kill, we all need the basic 411 to help us get where we’re going.

Our rating system is subjective, but is simple:  One ✈️ = hope your layover is short or this is your final destination because there’s nothing here for you to 5 ✈️ = might as well unpack your bags because this is better than where you live currently.


Recently, I had the pleasure of having a several hour lei-over (see what I did there?) on my way to Kona, HI in what has to be one of the world’s most scenic airports: the Daniel K. Inouye Honolulu International Airport (HNL).

There are three terminals connected via outdoor walkways (could there BE a better way for Hawaii to display its temperate climate?):

Terminal 1: commuter; Terminal 2: Interisland; Terminal 3: main

The confusing thing about this airport is that they designate letters for the terminals despite also numbering them.  Terminal 3 is M for main, and Terminal 2 is Z for who knows why.  Most flights from the mainland, including mine on Hawaiian Airlines (the best domestic carrier IMO), arrive in Terminal 3.  Many of the building are really 1970s in architectural style, so you feel like you traveled into the Brady Bunch episode where Bobby finds that evil tiki idol (I think I’m aging myself here).

It’s actually a smaller airport, for being one of the most travelled in the US.  Very easy to walk from one end of the main concourse to the other.  As this is an older airport, there are not as many built in charging areas.  If you’re someone like me who is a little (read: a lot) paranoid about using third party public charging stations (rather than airport controlled), you may be in trouble.  There are random outlets throughout the gate areas, but you’ll be sitting on the floor.  There could also be more bathrooms and better signage for international travelers.


Also, for a large international layover destination, dining options are limited.  It’s mostly fast food options: Starbucks, Pinkberry, Burger King, chinese, sushi, CPK.  There is a Honolulu Cookie Company store, which I appreciate because pineapple shaped shortbreads are the world’s cutest and tastiest souvenirs.

All of this really doesn’t matter though, because the airport plays on the beauty of its locale by being half outside.  You disembark after hours of flying and the tropical humidity offers a big Aloha with a plumeria scented hug.  HNL is basic, no frills, but what are you doing sitting around an airport anyway when you could be on Waikiki throwing up a shaka on a surfboard while drinking a Mai Tai and eating a malasada?  That being said, if you have a lei-over (oops, I did it again), you’re just going to have to wait a little while longer before finding your true hau’oli.  Aloha!

Ease of navigating through terminals: ✈️✈️✈️

Convenience of security lines: ✈️✈️✈️

Dining: ✈️✈️

Bathrooms: ✈️✈️

Charging stations/wifi: ✈️  (wifi not available)

Amenities: ✈️✈️✈️ (cultural gardens, airline lounges, luxury duty free shopping options)


oh hi, view of diamond head from the runway, fancy meeting you here