By Patricia Doherty
February 16, 2019
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Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the third busiest airport in the United States, according to new data from the Federal Aviation Administration, operated almost 708,000 flights in 2018. The airport is located in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County, about 20 miles from downtown Los Angeles and close to the shores of the Santa Monica Bay. Los Angeles International Airport is owned and operated by Los Angeles World Airports, a department of the City of Los Angeles.

Related: The Closest Airports to Disneyland — and How to Get to the Park From Each of Them

From its early days in the 1920s as farmland for wheat, barley, and lima beans, the Bennett Rancho attracted aviators who used part of the property as a landing strip. Later in the ’20s, local developers pushed for the area to become a major airport. In 1927, 640 acres were designated for use as an airport known as Mines Field, and Los Angeles International Airport was born.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Traveling Through Newark Airport

Today, Los Angeles International Airport spans nearly 3,000 acres of space, including its four runways. Modernization projects brought the airport to the forefront of aviation technology, and the Master Plan continues with terminal and roadway construction projects.

LAX Terminals

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Tom Bradley International Terminal

Tom Bradley International underwent nearly $2 billion in improvements projects, which created luxurious lounges, premier dining and shopping venues, a central “Great Hall,” and a giant integrated media system.

Airlines:

Airlines flying out of Tom Bradley International are plentiful and include Aeroflot, Air Berlin, Air China, Air France, Air New Zealand, Air Tahiti Nui, Alitalia, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca (arrivals), British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, Copa (arrivals), EVA Airlines, Emirates Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines (arrivals), Etihad, Fiji Airways, Hainan Airlines, Iberia Airlines, Interjet (arrivals), Japan Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Korean Airlines, LAN (Chile), LAN (Peru), LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Nippon Airways, Norwegian Air, Philippine Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airlines, Saudia, Scandinavian Airlines, Volaris, WOW Air.

Amenities:

Tom Bradley International is home to the XPresSpa, located at gate 154, as well as a nursing room for mothers, located across from Vanilla Bake Shop, and even an animal relief station, found near the entrance to Bridge to Terminal 4.

Dining/Refreshments:

Before the security checkpoint, travelers can find food and dining options at Cantina Laredo, 7-Eleven, Earl of Sandwich, Pinkberry, Planet Hollywood, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, and WPizza by Wolfgang Puck.

After the security checkpoint, travelers can chow down at 800 Degrees Pizza, Border Grill, Chaya Sushi, I Love LA, ink.sack, James’ Beach, Kentucky Fried Chicken, LAMILL Coffee, Larder at Tavern, P.F. Chang’s, Panda Express, Petrossian Caviar & Champagne Bar, Pinkberry, Scoreboard LA, Starbucks Evenings, Starbucks, Treat Me Sweet, Umami Burger, Vanilla Bake Shop, and Vino Volo.

Gifts/Newsstands:

Before the security checkpoint people can pop into Angeleno, Hudson News, See’s Candies, Travel + Leisure, USA Today Travel Zone, along with the Virgin Mobile/Boost Mobile store.

After the security checkpoint, ticketed travelers can head into the Bead Factory, Bliss, Book Soup, Bvlgari, CNBC, CNN Los Angeles Newsstand, Coach, Emporio Armani, Fred Segal, Hollywood Reporter, Hudson, Hugo Boss, iStore Boutique, Los Angeles America!, Michael Kors, Porsche Design, Relay, See’s Candies, The Economist, Tumi, and Victoria’s Secret.

There are also a number of duty free options after security including the Burberry Boutique Duty Free, Gucci Boutique Duty Free, Hermes Boutique Duty Free, DFS Duty Free Beauty & Spirits, and DFS Duty Free Fashion & Watches.

Terminal 1

Recent upgrades to Terminal 1 at LAX include a brand-new terminal design, modernized concourse, new retail and dining venues, expanded views, and new boarding bridges.

Airlines:

The only airline flying out of Terminal 1 is Southwest.

Amenities:

Terminal 1 is home to a nursing room for mothers, located near gate 10, an animal relief station, found near gate 13, and a Be Relax Spa, located near gate 12.

Dining/Refreshments:

After going through the terminal’s security checkpoint, guests can find dining options at California Pizza Kitchen, Cassell’s Hamburgers, Chick-fil-A, Deli & Co., Einstein Bros. Bagels, PeiWei, Reilly’s Irish Pub, Rock & Brews Concert Bar & Grill, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Trejo’s Tacos, and Urth Caffe & Bar.

Gifts/Newsstands:

After the security checkpoint, guests can find books and trinkets at Brookstone, I Love LA, Kiehl’s, MAC, New, SOL Surf, The New Stand, and Treat Me Sweet.

Terminal 2

With renovations nearly complete, the new Terminal 2 design reflects Los Angeles culture with new retail, dining, seating, and charging stations.

Airlines:

Several airlines call Terminal 2 home including Aer Lingus Airlines, Southwest (international check-in), Aeromexico, Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic, and WestJet.

Amenities:

In Terminal 2 travelers can find a nursing room between gates 21B and 23A, as well as an animal relief station near gate 21.

Dining/Refreshments:

Prior to the security checkpoint, the only dining option is Starbucks.

After the security checkpoint, travelers can find food and beverages at Barney’s Beanery, BUILT Custom Burgers, Fresh Brothers Pizza & Sandwiches, Ciabatta Bar, Jersey Mike’s, Pick Up Stix, Sea Legs Wine Bar, Slapfish Modern Seafood Shack, and another Starbucks.

Gifts/Newsstands:

After the security checkpoint, guests can buy gifts, books, and more at CNBC Express, CNBC Smartshop, InMotion, Spanx, and Univision.

Terminal 3

Terminal 3 is sporting a brand-new food court, which includes popular spots like Shake Shack, along with a rotating art installation on the lower level, which always has something new to enjoy.

Airlines:

The only airline flying out of Terminal 3 is Delta Air Lines, however, Avianca, Copa, Interjet, and Virgin Australia all have check-in desks in the terminal.

Amenities:

The terminal also has a nursing room available near Gladstone’s as well as an animal relief station in the outdoor atrium.

Dining/Refreshments:

After passing the security checkpoint guests can find food at Ashland Hill, Deli * Co., Earthbar, La Familia, LA Life, nekter Juice Bar, Panda Express, Shake Shack, Starbucks, and The Parlor.

Gifts/Newsstands:

In terminal 3 travelers can pop into Hudson LAxpress, Hudson News, Hudson Newsstand, Moshi, Soundstage Market by Hudson, and Los Angeles Duty Free.

Terminal 4

A major renovation project to upgrade and modernize Terminals 4 and 5 is expected to finish by 2028. A unified entranceway for Terminals 4 and 5 will improve passenger check-in and security processing, and a bridge to the Tom Bradley International Terminal will ease road congestion and make flight connections more convenient.

During this phased construction project, passengers flying American Airlines through LAX are advised to visit aa.com for updates that might affect travel and to allow additional time for airport arrival.

Airlines:

The only airline in Terminal 4 is American Airlines.

Amenities:

The terminal also has a nursing room available near Sunglass Hut as well as an animal relief station along the bridge to Terminal 5.

Dining:

Before the security checkpoint, the only dining option is Starbucks.

After the security checkpoint, travelers can dine at 8 oz. Burger Bar, Campanile, Coles, Dunkin’ Donuts, Food & Bounty, Homeboy Café, LA Provence Patisserie and Café, Real Food Daily, and Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza.

Gifts/Newsstands:

Newsstands and gifts available at Terminal 4 include Entertainment Weekly Newsstand, Hollywood Style, Hudson Booksellers, Hudson News, Moshi, See’s Candies, Sunglass Hut, and Los Angeles Duty Free.

Terminal 5

As with Terminal 4, Terminal 5 is also a part of the massive renovation project. During this phased construction project, passengers flying American Airlines through LAX are advised to visit aa.com for updates that might affect travel and to allow additional time for airport arrival.

Airlines:

Airlines flying in and out of Terminal 5 include American Airlines, American Eagle, Allegiant Air, Frontier, Hawaiian Air, Jet Blue, Spirit, and Sun Country.

Amenities:

Amenities at Terminal 5 include a nursing room across from the food court, an animal relief station near gate 52B, as well as an XPresSpa at gate 50B.

Dining/Refreshments:

Before the security checkpoint, guests can only dine at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

After the security checkpoint guests will find a few more options including a Coffee Corner, Farmers Market To Go, Ford’s Filling Station, Lemonade, Loteria Grill, Monsieur Marcel Gourmet Market & Bistro, Rock & Brews, Skewers by Morimoto, and another Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Gifts/Newsstands:

Before the security checkpoint, guests can find a few items at Hollywood Reporter.

After the security checkpoint guests can pick up more trinkets, books, magazines, and snacks at I Love LA, LA Times Newsstand, Magic Johnson Sports, Mattel Experience, Rip Curl, See’s Candies, and Los Angeles Duty Free.

Terminal 6

Terminal 6 comes with a delightful “Sunset Boulevard” theme. Inside, guests will also find 21 dining and retail options.

Airlines:

Airlines flying in and out of Terminal 6 include Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, Boutique Air, Ethiopian Airlines, and Great Lakes.

Amenities:

Amenities at Terminal 6 include a nursing room near gate 64B as well as an animal relief station at the outdoor atrium.

Dining/Refreshments:

Before the security checkpoint, the only dining option is Starbucks.

After the security checkpoint travelers can find more dining options including BLU20, Earthbar, Osteria by Fabio Viviani, Peet’s Coffee, Point the Way Café, Starbucks Evenings, The Habit Burger Grill, The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck, The Wine Bar by Wolfgang Puck, Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, and WPizza by Wolfgang Puck.

Gifts/Newsstands:

Before the security checkpoint, the only newsstand is Access Hollywood.

After the security checkpoint travelers can pick up trinkets and snacks at Belkin, Los Angeles Magazine News, MAC Cosmetics, Market 8600, M. Fredric, See’s Candies, Sunset News, Tumi, and Los Angeles Duty Free.

Terminal 7

Terminal 7 just got a brand-new United Club Lounge, which is located at the top of the escalator after the security checkpoint.

Airlines:

The only airline flying out of Terminal 7 is United Airlines and includes United Express flights as well.

Amenities:

Amenities at Terminal 7 include a nursing room near the passenger screening area, as well as an animal relief station between gates 73 and 75B.

Dining/Refreshments:

Before the security checkpoint, the only dining option is Dunkin’ Donuts.

After the security checkpoint guests will find a few more options including Ashland Grill, B Grill by BOA Steakhouse, BLD, Klatch Coffee, LA Life, Loteria Grill, Rolling Stone Bar & Grill, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, The Counter Custom Built Burgers, and Wolfgang Puck Express.

Gifts/Newsstands:

After the security checkpoint, travelers can peruse Bartels Harley Davidson Store, Book Soup, Hudson News, Hugo Boss, Pier No. 7, and Los Angeles Duty Free.

Terminal 8

Airlines:

The only airline flying out of Terminal 8 is United Airlines and includes United Express flights as well.

Amenities:

Amenities at Terminal 7 include a nursing room as well as an animal relief station.

Dining/Refreshments:

Following the security checkpoint guests will find a Carl’s Jr, Corona Bar & Grill, Engine Company No. 28, Panda Express, and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Gifts/Newsstands:

After the security checkpoint, guests can pick up goodies at both E! News and People News.

Parking at LAX

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Cell Phone Waiting Lot – LAX has a 24-hour cell phone waiting lot where motorists can wait for free, up to two hours, until passengers are ready to be picked up in the Central Terminal Area.

Central Terminal Area Parking – Eight parking structures are located opposite the passenger terminals across the roadway, providing nearly 8,000 spaces for overnight or extended trips. All vehicles passing through the gate arm into a structure are required to pay posted parking rates.

Economy Parking Lot C – LAX operates Parking Lot C at 96th Street and Sepulveda Boulevard with approximately 1,700 spaces. Parking is available on a first-come-first-served basis, and reservations are not available. Vehicles may park in Lot C for up to 30 consecutive days per visit. Free shuttle transportation between Lot C and the Central Terminal Area with stops at each terminal operates 24/7.

Electric Vehicle Parking – Electric vehicle owners can charge at the first levels of Parking Structures 1, 6, and 7 on the Lower/Arrivals level and also in Economy Parking Lot C.

Motorcycle Parking – Parking for motorcycles is free in the Central Terminal Area parking structures. Riders should not park in a space designated for vehicles, but can park at the ends of rows, in corners, and other small spaces provided they do not block access to parked vehicles, handicapped spaces, or passenger paths. When entering, drive around the gate arm and do not take a ticket.

Off-site LAX Parking – Many private companies near the airport offer self-park or valet parking with free 24/7 shuttle service. Examples of offside companies are Joe’s Airport Parking, WallyPark LAX, 405 Airport Parking, Sam’s Park LAX, ValuePark LAX, LAX Parking Curb Express, and The Park at LAX. In addition, many nearby hotels offer Park, Stay, and Fly packages with free shuttle to the airport, enabling travelers to stay at the hotel and leave their car parked at the hotel. These include The Westin Los Angeles Airport, Four Points by Sheraton, Los Angeles Airport Marriott, Renaissance Los Angeles Airport, Hilton Los Angeles Airport, and Holiday Inn Los Angeles Airport.

Shuttle Services and Ground Transportation at LAX

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Between Terminals – Courtesy shuttle service is provided between terminals. Passengers should board on the Lower/Arrivals Level in front of each terminal under the blue “LAX Shuttle and Airline Connections” sign.

Parking Lot C – A shuttle transports passengers to and from Lot C 24/7 every 15-20 minutes. For Route C, passengers are picked up and dropped off on the Lower/Arrivals Level under the blue “LAX Shuttle and Airline Connections” sign.

Metro Green Line Aviation Station – This shuttle transports passengers between airport terminals and the Metro Green Line station. The Service, known as Route G, is aligned with rail schedule. See metro.net for information.

Hotel & Private Parking Lot Shuttles – Hotel shuttles are located on the Lower/Arrivals Level islands in front of each terminal under the red “Hotel Shuttles” sign.

Long Distance Vans, FlyAway Buses – Passenger pick for long distance vans are on the Lower/Arrivals Level Islands in front of each terminal under the green “FlyAway, Buses & Long Distance Vans” sign. Passengers should contact the company for information and schedules.

LAX FlyAway Buses – This transportation option offers regularly scheduled round trips seven days a week between LAX and Hollywood, Long Beach, Metro Orange Line, Union Station (downtown Los Angeles), Van Nuys, and Westwood. Each bus is marked with its service location and be boarded under the green “FlyAway, Buses & Long Distance Vans” sign on the Lower/Arrivals Level islands in front of each terminal.

Shared Ride Vans – Super Shuttle operates out of LAX and is authorized to serve all Southern California counties. Pickup is on the Lower/Arrivals Level in front of each terminal curbside near the baggage claim exits under the orange sign that reads "Shared Ride Vans." Contact company for reservations and information.

Taxis – Taxis are found curbside on the Lower/Arrivals Level in front of each terminal under the yellow sign indicating “Taxis.” Passengers will receive a ticket stating typical fares to major destinations. Passengers are advised that it is illegal for transportation services to solicit fares, and travelers using such services do so at their own risk.

Transportation Network Companies – Lyft, Opoli, and Uber are authorized to provide pickup services at LAX. Passengers can request a ride once they are curbside at the Upper/Departures Level only. Signs stating “Ride Service Pick-Up” indicate the meeting point. The airport fee applies to both drop-off and pick-up trips.

Traffic – Passengers are encouraged to allow sufficient time to arrive at LAX and to be aware of peak traffic days and times. Generally, Fridays and Sundays are busy, especially between 7:00 – 10:00 am and 6:00 – 10:00 pm, although patterns are difficult to predict. Construction, accidents, flight delays, and street closures affect airport traffic. For real-time information, visit FlyLax.com.

Things to Do Near LAX

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Dockweiler State Beach is a seven-minute taxi ride from LAX and features three miles of shoreline, picnic area, a concession stand, restrooms and changing area, outdoor showers, and free entry.

Marina Del Rey, along with its picturesque boat harbor, is also nearby, with restaurants and Burton W. Chace Park for a relaxing stroll.

Flight Path Museum & Learning Center, an aviation museum and hands-on learning center, is located in the LAX Imperial Terminal. Scale models of various aircraft, photos depicting aviation history and the development of LAX will delight aviation fans.

Automobile Driving Museum, a rotating collection of classic, antique, and vintage automobiles, is nearby in El Segundo.

Venice Beach, famous for people-watching, shopping, artists, a skateboard park, and more is about 30 minutes from LAX.

Shopping and Dining in nearby El Segundo and Manhattan Beach are convenient, and The PointPlaza El Segundo, and Manhattan Village offer hundreds of stores and restaurants within minutes of LAX.

Fast food is available both in the LAX terminals and in nearby El Segundo and Westchester. California favorite In-N-Out Burger is only about a mile and a half away from LAX, and out-of-towners craving a double-double or wanting to see what all the fuss is about can stop at this convenient location.

Hotels Near LAX

There are a number of hotels within a 1.5-mile radius of LAX, all of which offer free 24/7 shuttle service to and from the airport. Those airports include, but are not limited to:

Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International AirportHomewood Suites by Hilton LAX, H Hotel LAX Los Angeles, Courtyard by Marriott LAX, and Sheraton Gateway Hotel LAX Airport.

Other Los Angeles-area Airports

Other Los Angeles County airports are Long Beach Airport (LGB), which offers domestic service with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest, Hawaiian, and JetBlue, and Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR), also known as Bob Hope Airport, which is served by Delta, United, Jet Blue, Southwest, and American Airlines.

Further south, in Orange County, John Wayne Airport (SNA) is an international airport served by United, American, Southwest, Westjet, Frontier, Alaska, JetSuiteX, and Delta. Ontario Airport (ONT), 56 miles east of LAX, handles United, Southwest, American, China Air, Delta, Alaska, Frontier, Jet Blue, and Volaris. Van Nuys Airport, also owned by Los Angeles World Airports, is a general aviation non-commercial facility.

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