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Parking at Los Angeles
Looking for a cheap parking spot at Los Angeles Airport? Covered or uncovered, our self park services are only a few minutes from the airport, and a free shuttle will take you there in no time. Valet parking means you get a professional driver to park your car for you, whereas if you want to park right outside your terminal, then check our garage parking services to find the one that's right for you.
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For an airport carrying 75 million people every year, LAX offers a comparatively small number of parking spaces on-site; about 8,000 in the multi-storey parking garages next to the terminals and another 5,000 in the economy parking lot a few minutes away on the edge of the site. These airport-owned parking options also operate on a first-come, first-served basis, so there are no options for advanced bookings.
Unfortunately, these are also by far the most convenient parking spaces, set directly next to the terminal buildings and making them ideal for business travelers or family groups looking to get through the airport experience as quickly as possible. All of them offer parking at an hourly rate with a daily maximum charge and a significantly reduced rate in the economy lot.
To guarantee a space, it's best to advance book with an off-site parking company offering valet or park n’ fly style services.
Park and Ride means self-parking at a secure off-site lot and taking a shuttle bus to the airport itself. Typically, the journey time is only around 10 minutes, dropping you off and picking you up from stops on the Upper Departures Level.
A Valet service means that a driver will meet you at the airport lot, park your car for you and have it back waiting at your terminal on the day of your return, which is a great option for LAX business travelers.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is California's busiest and largest airport, set in the Westchester neighborhood of the city. It carries almost 75 million passengers every year, making it the world's seventh-busiest airport by passenger numbers.
Surrounded by the Greater Los Angeles Area, LAX stands as the largest international airport on the West Coast, making it a key gateway for Europe, Latin America, Asia and Australasia.
A huge number of airlines operate at the airport including American, Delta, United and Virgin America; it is unique amongst airports in having been chosen by all three 'Legacy Carriers' as a hub. With its proximity to Hollywood, LA Airport is also somewhat unique in its reputation for having celebrity passengers passing through on a regular basis, so even if the airport shopping, food and art program aren't your thing, you can always go star-spotting.
Based about 15 miles (25 kilometers) south west from downtown LA, the airport is well within the urban sprawl of the city with multiple road connections and regular shuttle buses connecting to public bus routes and trains. Other nearby major cities include Bakersfield, San Diego and Tijuana in Mexico, which are all connected via the I-5 West Coast road.
Starting out as a humble two-dirt-landing-strip called Mines Field, LA International was originally established in 1928. It was developed into an international-grade airport by the 1950s and rapidly developed to boom during the jet age with a futuristic redesign incorporating the now-iconic Theme Building.
Continually expanding in the following decades to become one of the busiest airports in the world, the airport’s strategy switched in the 1990s to focus on improvements to the passenger experience instead of growth. Now self-limited to about 80 million passengers a year, that strategy promises to keep LAX at the forefront of the airport industry for some time to come.
LA Airport restaurants, shopping and services offer plenty of choice across the numerous terminals. Although it occasionally draws criticism for the fact it doesn't quite have the ‘shopping mall’ feel of some major airports, much of the current development focus is on expanding concessions, so upgrades to food and drinks services and shopping facilities are continual.
LAX has an 'Airport Ambassador’ program and you can find Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) and Volunteer Information Professionals (VIPs) dotted around the terminals to answer passengers’ questions. To contact the airport in advance with any further queries, call (+1) 855-463-5252.
With a huge number of hotels near Los Angeles Airport, several of them stand out for travelers by offering all-in-one airport hotel and parking packages.
Deals vary greatly from one hotel to another, but many offer one-to-two weeks of parking for a lower price than the on-site airport parking options and will offer it free of charge if you stay for at least one night at the hotel. Of course, this is ideal if you happen to have an early morning departure or late evening arrival; a comfortable bed with a shuttle bus direct to the airport and a safe and secure place to park your car.
Several independent hotels in the area offer the package option with the nearby major chains such as Hyatt, Holiday Inn, Crown Plaza and Sheraton typically having airport parking and hotel deals available with regular shuttle buses included. At LAX, there is a specific stop for hotel shuttle buses on the Lower Arrivals Level in front of each terminal.
Los Angeles Airport offers a strong arts program displayed across 11 exhibition sites in Terminals 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Featuring permanent and rotating exhibits of contemporary art from regional artists, displays have included some very large-scale and striking sculptures, video and live performance; searching out all the pieces is a great way to pass your time at the airport, whilst the art itself is well-curated and strikingly memorable.
Currently only open at weekends, the UFO-like Theme Building at the heart of the central terminal is an iconic LA landmark. It also happens to have a great observation deck that takes in the entire airport and even the distant skyline of downtown LA.
Originally envisioned as a glass dome at the heart of the airport, today’s construction is a classic example of Jet Age architecture and entertains plane-spotters and families with children alike.
Although the airport is sometimes criticized for limited shopping facilities, it has offered a great range of restaurants for years.
Eateries include Firenze Osteria in Terminal 6 for fine Italian cuisine; Monsieur Marcel Gourmet Market and Bistro in Terminal 5 for French cuisine; 8oz Burger Bar in Terminal 4 for a gourmet take on fast food burgers; and Slapfish in Terminal 2 for a diverse range of all-day seafood meals.
LAX packs in almost 20 airline lounges ranging from the USO lounge reserved for US servicemen and their families to first-class luxury lounges for carriers like American and United. If you’re flying with a certain airline, you can pre-book a spot in these lounges to take your time in LAX to the ultimate level of pre-flight relaxation.
For a small fee (sometimes an annual fee), you get the space, comfort and complimentary food and drink that regular travelers don’t – and, what’s more, you get access to showers and business facilities for in-airport meetings before you fly.
LA International's perpetual terminal improvement programs are bringing in bigger and better shops all the time. There’s particular investment in brands in the Tom Bradley International Terminal, including Bvlgari, Fred Segal, Michael Kors, Coach, Porsche Design, Emporio Armani and Hugo Boss.
Travelers can also make the most of the huge Fred Segal store offering high-street fashion alongside trendy local brands. Rip Curl is a great place to pick up forgotten beach essentials and don’t miss out on Bliss for security-approved bottles of lotions, cleansers and shampoos (as well as free mini facials).
In a city like Los Angeles, you're genuinely spoilt for choice with things to do, but the Getty Center still manages to stand out with many a five-star review from visitors. Just a 13-mile (21-kilometer) drive up the I-405 from the airport (taking about 30-45 minutes), the Getty is a museum set on a vast campus overlooking the city, with pre-19th Century collections of European arts from artists like Van Gogh, early American, Asian and European photographs, outdoor sculptures displayed in stunning gardens and terraces, all surrounded by acclaimed architecture. Often described as a must-see and a truly world-class museum of the arts, it's also completely free to enter (though you do have to pay for parking).
One of the most famous tourist attractions in the world, Universal Studios, is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) up the I-405. It’s the centerpiece of the entertainment capital of the world. The park offers stunt shows, 3D and 4D films, motion simulators, rollercoasters and a hugely popular set of Harry Potter rides and experiences.
Everything is spectacular in its execution so it comes as no surprise that the theme park is considered one of LA's most popular attractions. Be sure to account for heavy traffic to and from the airport and budget for a few hours in this wonderland.
As Venice Beach’s quieter, neighboring beach, Dockweiler State Beach is just a few minutes from the main Los Angeles Airport entrance. There are miles of paths to walk or cycle along, incredible views of planes coming in to land or taking off overhead and fire-pits dotted around to hang out or cook by throughout the day. It’s usually quiet and relaxed outside of ‘beach season’, especially as you head further north towards Marina Del Rey and the Ballona Wetlands Reserve, so you won’t regret winding down for a few hours here.
About 15 miles (25 kilometers) from Los Angeles International, Sunset Strip is an iconic place to visit if you're in LA. It stretches from Beverly Hills to Hollywood and offers a mile and a half (2.4 kilometers) of vibrant color, noise, shopping and nightlife.
This is where alcohol was secretly served in back rooms during Prohibition and silver-screen movie stars partied in nightclubs owned by gangsters. It was home to the LA counter-culture in the 60s; gigs at Whisky a Go Go by Led Zeppelin, The Doors and Frank Zappa have gone down in music history. Today, it’s a vibrant stretch of daytime boutiques and coffee shops that turn into restaurants and clubs at night.
Although Rodeo Drive is perhaps the best-known shopping location in Los Angeles thanks to its frequent appearance in the movies, The Grove has emerged as a popular alternative for those looking for a more affordable place to shop..
Set on part of the equally popular Farmers Market, The Grove is a purpose-built outdoor mall complex for the ultimate retail and entertainment experience. It’s inspired by classic LA architecture with broad plazas, intimate courtyards and Art-Deco styling and it offers everything from street performers to movie theaters for all things entertainment, so there should be something for everyone there.
Packing in no less than nine terminal buildings, LAX may seem a little daunting to find your way around at first, but with a bit of research you can quickly figure out how the system works. Most international flights are from the Tom Bradley International Terminal and Terminal 2, whilst other terminals focus on budget airlines or are exclusive to major carriers such as United and American. All the terminals are linked together by a shuttle bus system whereas most of them are also linked by a variety of underground tunnels and walkways that can keep you airside, if you have a connection flight or simply want to get food from a different terminal.
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Los Angeles Airport is found at 1 World Way, Los Angeles, CA 90045, taking exit 46 from the I-405 San Diego Freeway.
If you are coming from anywhere along the West Coast, the best option is to take the I-5 that runs all the way from Tijuana to Vancouver. As it passes through LA, the I-405 separates and heads west around the city center, passing about a mile from the airport entrance.
Other major routes into LA include the I-15 and I-40, which join the I-10 heading directly west to connect with the I-5 and I-405.
Naturally, LAX offers car rentals, taxi and limousine services and shared-ride van operators, as well as airport car parking for your own vehicle.
Free shuttle buses run 24/7 between the LAX terminal buildings and the Economy parking lot, which includes a Metro bus station from where you can access the Metro Green Line and various local bus services.
Alternatively - and more conveniently if your destination fits the handful of routes - there is a FlyAway bus service to and from the Los Angeles Airport terminals, reaching selected locations including the San Fernando Valley, Downtown, UCLA, Hollywood and Long Beach.
Unfortunately, there is no train service to LA International; a billion-dollar line that was intended to solve the problem falls short by several miles, which means a further connection by bus is required to get to the airport itself. Plans are underway to fix the problem and extend the line to a new station at the airport, but such plans are far from complete.
If you’re looking to get to the airport by train you have two options: Either get a train to Union Station and then catch a FlyAway bus to LAX - although bear in mind you might hit some heavy traffic in the city at peak times - or take the Metro Green Line to Aviation Green Line Station, where a regular shuttle bus service completes the journey to the terminal buildings.
Bad traffic in LA is the stuff of legend; a fifteen-minute cruise at one time of day can be an hour and a half of crawling at others, so if you’re coming to the airport by car or by bus, make sure you check local traffic reports and carefully plan your journey to give yourself enough time to get through check-in and security.
Although it can vary greatly, a general pattern to the LAX check-in times is that early mornings are best for international flights, whilst evenings are better for domestic flights. If you can't avoid the busier times of day, consider options like TSA PreCheck or the e-tickets self-check-in system, which is both user-friendly and well-staffed in case you run into any problems.
Although terminal improvements are extending the selection of food and drink both pre- and post-security, especially in the Tom Bradley International Terminal, many travelers are surprised to find a very minimal selection of food in most terminals after getting through security. To add to it, almost nowhere runs 24-hour opening times in LAX. If you want to eat before your flight or are worried about flight delays, consider getting something to eat before going through security. Many of the restaurants and concessions offer food specifically packaged to take on the flight with you.
Many passengers using LAX to meet a connecting flight find that they fly into one terminal, but out of another, even if they are flying with the same airline. Although the terminals are quite close together, several don't have airside connections, so you'll have to exit and then re-enter security. Another problem you may encounter is that the shuttle buses connecting the terminals all travel in one direction, so you might need to go around the entire airport before getting to your start point, so in some cases walking can be quicker.
Make sure you plan your connections carefully; some terminals do have airside connections that are quick and simple, but you may need to give yourself at least 90 minutes between landing and take-off times to be confident about making your connection.
LAX is almost permanently in a state of construction and reconstruction. It's worth checking the Official Los Angeles Airport Website before you travel to see if current works might affect your flights, parking or travel times around the airport complex.
Yes, Los Angeles International offers free WiFi in most public areas of the airport, with 45 minutes of access for each session. It also offers optional upgrades for premium-access and high-speed services whilst most of the airline lounges offer a better WiFi connection than the main network.
All airports are assigned a three-letter identification code by the international body IATA to standardize abbreviations for things like flight schedules; you'll most often notice them on your baggage tags. In the 1930s, the body only used two letters, so LAX was simply called LA. As air travel became more popular and more airports opened, they were required to add a third letter; many, including LA, opted for the simple ‘X’ and built it into their brands for the future.
Although LA International is one of the busiest airports in the world, it sits outside the top 20 biggest airports by land area at a little under 1,500 hectares (15 square kilometers). However, many airports are zoned well beyond the space they actually use, so this can sometimes be misleading. LAX claims to be the busiest origin and destination airport in the world and has almost 650,000 aircraft movements a year to back itself up.
LAX is relatively close to Downtown Los Angeles and almost every major attraction and hotel in the city is within 20 miles (30 kilometers) of it, but due to the notoriously bad LA traffic, journey times can be extremely unpredictable. Your best bet is to use services like the traffic app in Google Maps to get real-time journey information as you travel. That way, you’ll get an ETA and an idea of the traffic you’ll encounter between the airport and your destination.
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