Having grown up in Southern California and traveled in all sorts of directions from LAX, I see Tom Bradley International Terminal as having a mysterious aura surrounding it. It’s definitely not the greatest terminal in the world, and it can actually be kind of a pain if you are connecting to/from a domestic flight at LAX, but there’s just something about walking into the large check-in lobby. You know you’re going somewhere cool, whether it’s Europe on Lufthansa, Asia on Singapore Airlines, Australia on Qantas, or the Middle East and beyond on Emirates. Add to the fact that no less than 6 carriers will be operating A380s to Los Angeles by the end of the year and you have a recipe for some great AvGeek-ness.
About three years ago, work began on refreshing the almost 3-decade-old TBIT, as well as adding additional gates known as Bradley West. That means the terminal is “new” in the sense that Delta’s “new” Terminal 4 at JFK is “new” (so not “new” to certain people).
In any case, the work is quite necessary to make LAX a moderately acceptable place to depart and arrive internationally on a non-US carrier. I’m kind of most excited about the new Star Alliance lounge set to open in conjunction with Air New Zealand’s move from Terminal 2 to TBIT. Just like the new Sky Clubs at JFK and ATL, it’s set to have an outdoor terrace that will overlook the northern runways, the same runway that accepts jumbo jet arrivals next to the famous Westchester In’n’Out plane spotter lawn. This might have played a role in deciding which carrier to fly out of Los Angeles later this year and early next year …
So imagine my reaction when I saw that LAWA (the organization that runs several airports in Southern California) will be giving free tours to the general public of the new TBIT on Saturday, June 22nd! Registration is required. You can register for a tour. They’re offering free parking passes as well as six tour times (each tour is about 90 minutes). The times are:
They’re requesting people park an hour before the tour starts and check-in starting 45 minutes before your tour. It’s a Saturday, so hopefully traffic isn’t too bad. Free parking is provided at Lot East, which is on Airport Blvd. and Westchester Parkway, with entrance on Jenny Ave. — this is about 2 miles away from the International Termianl, so free shuttles are being provided.
Keep in mind that since TBIT is still an active terminal, you’ll have to go through security, and unfortunately, I don’t think there’s Pre-Check in the terminal. No domestic terminals are connected landside, either. The tour operators are asking people to leave behind large bags, including backpacks.
I’m signed up for the noon tour. If anyone else is going, I’d love to meet up. We could even have lunch at In’N’Out afterward and watch some jumbo arrivals! Leave a comment or tweet me (@PointsToPointB).