A Basic Guide to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Aerial view of LAX from westward direction | Photo: Nancy-D, Discover Los Angeles Flickr Pool
Aerial view of LAX from westward direction | Photo: Nancy-D, Discover Los Angeles Flickr Pool

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is located in Westchester alongside LA's beach communities about 16 miles from Downtown LA. The airport's West Coast location makes it a gateway to international destinations, particularly Asia and the Pacific.

With 1,500 average daily flight operations, LAX is the world's fifth busiest airport and the Number One Origin and Destination airport in the world. LAX offers 645 daily commercial flights to 162 destinations, and 1,890 weekly international flights to 68 global destinations.

For reference, an interactive terminal map with airlines, restaurants and shopping is available from Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).

LAX-it Shuttle Bus
LAX-it Shuttle Bus | Photo: LAWA


As LAX ramps up work on its $15-billion modernization program, the airport has launched LAX-it, a convenient, amenity-rich, centralized area for guests to pick up a taxi or rideshare app service, and avoid traffic in the Central Terminal Area (CTA). Opened in October 2019, LAX-it will remain in service until the Automated People Mover opens in 2024. LAX-it will only be for pickups - rideshare app and taxi drivers will continue to drop off passengers at the terminal curbs on the Upper/Departures Level.

LAX-it is located just east of Terminal 1, at the corner of World Way and Sky Way - it's a short walk from many terminals or accessible via a dedicated shuttle. LAX-it reimagines the pickup process for taxis, Uber, Lyft and Opoli with additional amenities such as restrooms, benches, umbrellas for sun and rain protection, and local food trucks. LAX-it also offers cellphone charging stations and Wi-Fi. Dedicated staff at LAX-it will provide passenger assistance and lane management on site.

The shuttles operate in a dedicated lane on the lower/arrivals level where they won't compete with other airport traffic and will take guests from any terminal to the new pickup area. Shuttles come every 7 minutes during peak hours. They will make a maximum of 2 stops before heading to LAX-it. Wait by the green LAX-it bus stop signs.

LAX Airline Location Map January 2024


LAX is open 24 hours. Airline check-in counters and federal passenger security screening are open between 4 a.m. to 5 a.m. and closed between 11:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Pacific Time, depending upon flight schedules for each terminal.

There are nine passenger terminals at LAX, connected by a U-shaped, two-level roadway. Inter-terminal connections between Tom Bradley and Terminals 4-8 are all connected by walkway, allowing connecting passengers to access the above-mentioned terminals without having to re-clear security. Bus service is available between Terminal 2 and Terminal B.

The new Terminal 1.5 opened to the public in February 2022, connecting Terminals 1-3 via an airside walkway so that post-security passengers can walk between the terminals. The $2.3 billion Delta Sky Way at LAX project is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2023 with a post-security connector bridge from Terminal 3 to TBIT.

For more info about Inter-Terminal Connections, visit the LAX website.

Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX
Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX | Photo: LAX

Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) has 18 gates, including nine on the north concourse and nine on the south concourse. A stunning addition to TBIT, the West Gates opened in May 2021 with 15 gates that deliver a modern guest experience with cutting-edge technology, stunning architecture, a checked-bag storage system, biometric boarding gates and the latest amenities for travelers.

LAX | Photo: LAX
LAX | Photo: LAX


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 flylax.com/en/lax-airline-list.

Duty Free Shop at Tom Bradley International Terminal | Photo: LAX
Duty Free Shop at Tom Bradley International Terminal | Photo: LAX

Currency Exchange

ICE Currency Exchange booths are located on the post-security Departure Level in Terminals 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and Tom Bradley International Terminal. For more info about airport amenities, visit the LAX website.

LAX FlyAway Bus at Union Station
FlyAway Bus at Union Station | Photo: LAX

Public Transportation

There are numerous transportation options available at LAX, including: airport buses, door-to-door shuttle vans, local buses, light rail, taxicabs, ride share services and rental cars. A free shuttle bus connects LAX with the Metro Rail C Line (Green) light rail, and free shuttle buses transport passengers between airline terminals. The LAX FlyAway® bus service provides frequent non-stop transportation between LAX, Union Station and Van Nuys. For detailed information on ground transportation to and from the airport, click here.

Terminal 5 at LAX | Photo: LAX
Terminal 5 at LAX | Photo: LAX


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

Oysters and wine at Caravan Swim Club in the Hotel June
Caravan Swim Club | Photo: Hotel June


There are many hotels located one mile (about 1.5 km) or less from LAX. Visit the Discover LA list of hotels, search for hotels in the Beach Cities/LAX neighborhood, and book your stay today.

Theme Building

Opened in 1961, the iconic Theme Building is designed like a Space Age flying saucer on four legs and is a landmark of LA Mid-Century Modernism, aka the "Googie" style. The Theme Building - an example of how aeronautics, pop culture, design and architecture could blend together - was named a Los Angeles Historical-Cultural Monument in 1993.

"LAX From Daylight Into Darkness" | Photo: Mike Kelley
"LAX From Daylight Into Darkness" | Photo: Mike Kelley

Discover LAX

From travel info to transportation, dining, shopping, layover activities and future projects, read on for guides to LAX.