Getting to Know the Airport
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is a huge but well-designed airport. Here are some numbers that show the scale of this airport:
- Third busiest airport in America
- Sixth busiest airport in the world
- There are 75 passenger airlines that serve LAX
- There are 27 freight only airlines operating at LAX
The airport has 10 terminals laid out in a horseshoe configuration. Separate access roads serve both the ticketing level (upper) for departing passengers and baggage claim level (lower) for arriving passengers.
The gate numbers are logically assigned and indicate which terminal they belong to:
- Terminal 1 – gates 9 -18
- Terminal 2 – gates 21 – 28
- Terminal 3 – gates 31 – 39
- Terminal 4 – gates 40 – 49
- Terminal 5 – gates 50 – 59
- Terminal 6 – gates 60 – 69
- Terminal 7 – gates 70 – 79
- Terminal 8 – gates 80 – 88
- Tom Bradley International Terminal – gates 130 – 159
- Regional Terminal – gates 52A – 52I (American Airlines only)
Airline Terminal Assignments
Most airlines operating out of LAX have all of their gates at a single terminal. There are exceptions for the larger carriers including American, Delta and United. Other carriers may have mixed terminal assignments due to Customs locations and time of day factors. Airline terminal assignments are subject to change, you can find the latest terminal map here.
- American Airlines operates from Terminals 4, 5 and the Regional Terminal
- Delta Airlines operates from Terminals 2 and 3
- United Airlines operates from Terminals 7 and 8
- Note: International arrivals and departures could operate out of the Tom Bradley International Terminal
The first thing that you need to do is figure out what terminal you are at and which terminal you need to transit to. Most airlines and confined to a single terminal so you are already there. If you need to transit to another terminal, you have some options for doing so. Depending on which option you choose will determine if you have to go through TSA screening again. The best option is to transit between terminals while staying in the secured areas.
The Secret Tunnels
These tunnels are not really a secret but they are not well known and they are your best option. There are tunnels that connect Terminals 4, 5 and 6 where you can remain in the secured area. There are above-ground walkways within the secured areas for:
- Terminal 4 with the Tom Bradley International Terminal
- Terminals 7 and 8 with Terminal 6.
American and Delta Connector Buses
American Airlines operates buses connecting Terminal 4 with the Regional Terminal (gates 52A – 52I) that is located on the other side of the airport. Delta operates out of Terminals 2 and 3 and operates connector service between the terminals. These options are airside and will keep you in the secured areas.
Airline Connections Bus
LAX operates 24-hour bus service that connects all terminals except the Regional Terminal running every 10 minutes. To use this bus, walk from baggage claim on the lower level to the LAX Shuttle Island. You will have left the secured area which will require TSA rescreening at your next terminal. Be careful, LAX Shuttle operates more than one bus line. Be sure that you get on Bus “A” – Airline Connections.
Taking the Walkways
Each terminal is separated by a short walk of about 5 – 10 minutes. If your connecting terminal is more that one or two terminals away, this becomes an undesirable option. Taking the walkway requires you to leave the secured area and will require TSA rescreening at your connecting terminal.
Additional Ground Transportation
The LAX Shuttle operates bus service to the City Bus Station, MTA “Green Line” and economy parking lot “E”.
Changes for Taxi and Uber/Lyft Pickups
The pickup location for these rides is changing on October 29, 2019. Here is where the new location will be:
Bank of America operates ATM machines on both the upper and lower levels of all LAX terminals except for the Regional Terminal.
LAX Free Wifi
LAX offers free unlimited wifi access in 45-minute sessions. To access the internet, follow these steps:
- Set wireless network to LAX Free WiFi
- Launch a web browser on your device
- Select Free Unlimited Wi-Fi to begin your session
- Watch a 30-second advertisement
LAX does offer premium access for a fee.
You can find duty-free stores at the following terminals:
- Terminal 2 – Duty Free Shoppers
- Terminal 3 – Duty Free Shoppers
- Terminal 6 – Duty Free Shoppers
- Tom Bradley International Terminal – Duty Free Shoppers and others
The biggest obstacle at LAX is making timely connections. Make sure that you have adequate connection times and that you know which terminal you need to transit to. Try to choose a connection option that is “airside” so that you don’t need to go through TSA security again. A little advanced planning will save you time and headaches at LAX.