A Basic Guide to Los Angeles International Airport

Aerial view of LAX looking West | Photo courtesy of Nancy-D, Flickr

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the main airport serving the Greater Los Angeles area. LAX is located in the beach community of Westchester, about 16 miles from Downtown LA. The airport's West Coast location makes it a gateway to international destinations, particularly Asia and the Pacific. LAX is the world’s sixth busiest airport, offering more than 600 daily flights to 91 domestic cities and 1,000 weekly international non-stops to 56 cities. 

The Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board has created the following basic guide to LAX for international visitors flying into Los Angeles. For reference, a detailed map of LAX is available as a downloadable PDF.

TERMINALS

Arrivals at Tom Bradley International Terminal | Photo courtesy of Prayitno, Flickr

There are nine passenger terminals at LAX, connected by a U-shaped, two-level roadway. Most inter-terminal connections require passengers to exit security, then walk or use a shuttle bus to get to the other terminal, then re-clear security. A few LAX terminals provide airside connections, which allow connecting passengers to access other terminals without having to re-clear through security.

Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) has 12 gates, including six on the north concourse and six on the south concourse. There are nine satellite gates for international flights located on the west side of LAX. Passengers are transported to the west side gates by bus. TBIT hosts most of the major international airlines, with the exception of those housed in Terminal 2.  For reference, a detailed map of TBIT is available as a downloadable PDF by clicking the image below.

AIRLINES

American Airlines Boeing 767-300 taxis past the air traffic control tower | Photo courtesy of jeff_soffer, Flickr

Nearly every major domestic carrier services LAX, and many international carriers as well. LAX serves more new-generation aircraft flights — Airbus A380, Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Boeing 747-8 — than any other airport in North America. For a complete list of international and domestic airlines servicing LAX, visit www.lawa.org/LAXAirlines.aspx.

CURRENCY EXCHANGE

ICE Currency Exchange kiosks are located in the Upper/Departure Level of all terminals. ICE Currency Exchange kiosks are also located in the Lower/Arrival Level of Terminals 2, 5, 6, and Tom Bradley International Terminal. Hours for ICE vary according to the terminal. For more information on currency exchange and other available services, visit the LAX Travelers Services page.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

FlyAway Bus | Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

There are numerous transportation options available at LAX, including: airport buses, door-to-door shuttle vans, local buses, light rail, taxicabs and rental cars. A free shuttle bus connects LAX with the Metro Rail Green Line light rail, and free shuttle buses transport passengers between airline terminals. The LAX FlyAway® bus service provides frequent non-stop transportation between LAX and Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles, Exposition/La Brea Metro Rail Expo Line Station, Westwood/UCLA and the Van Nuys Bus Terminal. For detailed information on ground transportation to and from the airport, visit the LAX Ground Transportation page.

DEPARTURES

LAX Gateway | Photo courtesy of LAX, Facebook

Passengers should arrive at LAX two hours before a domestic flight departure and three hours before an international flight departure.

HOTELS

Custom Hotel lobby | Photo courtesy of Custom Hotel, Facebook

There are many hotels located one mile (about 1.5 km) or less from LAX. For a complete list of hotels near LAX, visit the Discover Los Angeles Experience Builder and browse the list of Beach Cities / LAX Hotels.

THEME BUILDING

Theme Building | Photo courtesy of howard-f, Flickr

Opened in 1961, the Theme Building is a landmark of the Mid-Century architecture style known as Googie. The Theme Building was named a Los Angeles Historical-Cultural Monument in 1993. Encounter Restaurant, located 70 feet above the ground in center of the Theme Building, has a futuristic interior designed by Walt Disney Imagineering. The Observation Deck offers spectacular views and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.