Los Angeles International Airport used to be a mess of an airport but it has really improved in recent years. All the terminals have been renovated and LAX is finally becoming the world-class airport it was always intended to be. And the best part is airside (post-security) pedestrian tunnels have been recently built to allow for smoother connections between the terminals. You can now walk freely between all the terminals at LAX without having to clear through security multiple times. This is great news for passengers connecting from different airlines and for those with airport lounge access.
In February 2022, the new terminal 1.5 facility connecting Terminals 1 and 2 was opened to the public. With this new addition, Terminal 1 (Southwest, Sun Country, and others), Terminal 2 (Delta and friends), and Terminal 3 (more Delta and friends) are now all connected via an airside walkway. Passengers who have cleared security in any terminal can now walk back and forth between the terminals without having to clear through security again. And in August 2023, the airside connector between Terminal 3 and Terminal B (Tom Bradly International Terminal) was completed a whopping 18 months ahead of schedule. With these new updates, passengers from Terminals 1, 2, and 3 can now walk freely to/from those terminals and Terminal B.
On the south side of the airport, all the terminals are also connected airside via an underground walkway. These terminals include Terminal 4 (American Airlines), Terminal 5 (more American Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit, and others), Terminal 6 (Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, and others), Terminals 7 & 8 (United Airlines), and Terminal B.
Note: The Tom Bradley International Terminal goes by several different names. The international terminal can be referred to as TBIT, Terminal B, or just the “international terminal.” And there are two parts to it. There’s the main terminal building and the new “West Gates” satellite building, which is connected to the main building via an underground walkway. If you’re departing from any gate in the 200s, be prepared for a long walk as it will take you about 15 minutes to get from the main terminal building to the new West Gates area.
But for all intents and purposes, the West Gates area is still part of the international terminal and you won’t need any special boarding passes or go through any additional security checks to go back and forth between the two.
Terminal B (Tom Bradley International Terminal) Lounges
If you’re reading this post, I’m assuming it’s because you want to find out how long it will take you to get from the other terminals to Terminal B. With brand-name shops, celebrity restaurants, and of course, world-class, airline lounges, Terminal B is the crowning jewel of the LAX complex. And for premium cabin passengers, elite frequent fliers, and American Express Platinum Cardholders, having easy access to the lounges and getting back to your departure gate is what this post is all about.
For oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance elite passengers, Terminal B is home to the oneworld, Korean Air/SkyTeam and Star Alliance Lounges. And for American Express Centurion and Platinum Card Holders, there’s the Centurion Lounge. So if you want to visit one of these lounges and still make it back to your departure gate, here’s how long it will take to get from one terminal to the other.
Changing Terminals at LAX
From Terminals 1, 2, 3, and B, it will take you approximately 3 – 5 minutes per terminal; meaning it will take you 3 to 5 minutes to get from Terminals 1 to 2, and then another 3 to 5 minutes to get from Terminals 2 to 3. And for terminals 4 through 8 and B, it will take you roughly 5 to 8 minutes per terminal. And in case you were wondering, Terminal B is located in between Terminals 3 and 4.
For example, on the south side of the airport, it will take you this long to get to the other terminals and the tunnel will pop you out at the following gates:
- 5 to 8 minutes to get to terminal 4 (gate 40)
- 10 to 16 minutes to get to terminal 5 (gate 50)
- 15 to 24 minutes to get to terminal 6 (gate 64)
- 20 to 32 minutes to get to terminal 7 (gate 71A)
- 25 to 40 minutes to get to terminal 8 (gate 80).
But realistically, you’ll be closer to the 5-minute mark than the 8-minute mark if you walk at a casual but brisk pace. The airside tunnels connecting the terminals are all clearly marked. Just look for these signs to point you in the right direction.
Pro tip: If you already have a boarding pass (mobile or print), you can just go straight to the Terminal B TSA line to gain entry. Any boarding pass from any airline will allow you entry into any terminal. For example, just because you have a boarding pass for Southwest (Terminal 1), it doesn’t mean you can only enter through Terminal 1. If you have bags to check, you must check them at the terminal of your carrier but you can use your boarding pass to get into any of the other terminals. But keep in mind, Terminal B can be a nightmare during peak times. If you have TSA Pre or CLEAR, you can use the expedited security lanes on the far left-hand side of the terminal. Do not take the escalators on the right with everyone else.
Here’s a detailed map of the airside connectors for Terminals 4 -8 and Terminal B.
Transferring from Terminal B Arrivals to Another Airline
If you’re arriving from an international flight, be advised that you are required to collect your bags and recheck them again with your connecting airline. This is standard for all international arrivals at any airport in the United States. When you land at your gate, you will deplane and walk to the arrivals hall. Again, this can take up to 20 minutes depending on which gate your plane parks at. You will then need to clear immigration, collect your bags and go through U.S. customs. Depending on how busy your arrival time is, it may take you up to an hour to clear this process. Global Entry and Mobile Passport will help expedite this process but waiting for your bags to arrive at the carousel may take up to 30 minutes as well.
If LAX is your final destination, you can just grab your bags and exit the airport but if you’re connecting to another airline, follow the signs for transit passengers. Keep in mind that arriving passengers and departing passengers are separated at Terminal B so you can’t just get off your plane and go to your next gate. You have to go through customs and immigration, collect your bags, recheck them and go through security again before you can proceed to your departure gate.
Transferring Through LAX Bottom Line
LAX is definitely happening and it’s for the better! I’m so glad that the City of Los Angeles and the major airlines have dedicated so much money to revitalizing and modernizing this incredible airport and making it the world-class facility that it was intended to be. With the new airside connector between Terminals 3 and B completed, and the existing underground connectors, passengers can now transfer from any terminal and connect to different airlines without having to clear through security multiple times. All nine terminals at LAX are now connected and this will allow all passengers to have better access to lounges and other airport facilities.
That’s my advice for the day. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. Thanks for reading!
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