If you’re making your way from the US or Canada to a destination in New Zealand, Australia, Fiji or the South Pacific islands, there’s a good chance your flights will take you to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Most flights heading Downunder depart and arrive at LAX, with connections available from almost every airport in North America.
You’ve probably already had at least a few hours on a plane and may be overwhelmed at the size of this airport. LAX is the sixth busiest airport in the world and also, probably one of the most difficult to use. We’ve tried to ease your transfers and time at LAX to make your experience more enjoyable:
Los Angeles airport has nine terminals laid out in a circle: Terminals 1 – 8 and to make it more confusing, the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Despite how it sounds, you will find international flights departing from other terminals as well as Tom Bradley.
Air New Zealand is in Terminal 2, the central north building; but will be located in the Tom Bradley International Terminal from 2014 onwards. Air Pacific and Air Tahiti Nui are both located in the Tom Bradley terminal.
And lastly, United Airlines can be found in both Terminals 6 and 7. As you can see, finding your gate may be complicated, and we recommend you spend some time before you fly to find out where your departure and arrival gates will be.
Check your airline reservation as many airlines now indicate your arrival and departure terminals. For more information about airline gates and terminals, visit the airport’s website. Unless the airport has included signage in one of its recent renovation projects, you’ll not find plentiful signs to direct you from one terminal to the next.
At the Tom Bradley International Terminal you will find the huge arrivals hall on the ground floor (overhead signs will guide you to each airline’s check-in counters), check-in and departure gates on the first, and the food court on the second floor. For all other terminals, arrivals is on the ground floor, check-in on the first, and departures on the second.
The airport is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However the terminals themselves may close off certain services at the following times: Terminal 2 is open from 4.30am to 2am; Terminal 3 from 4.15am to 1am; Terminal 4 from 4am to 1am; Terminal 5 from 4am to 1.30am; Terminal 6 from 4.30am to 1.30am; Terminal 7 from 4am to midnight. The Tom Bradley International Terminal has two sets of opening hours: the south end is open from 6am to 1am, while the north end is open from 8am to 1am.
Allow at least three hours for check-in, immigration and security lines if you’re checking in for your flight Downunder at LAX. For connecting flights, because you may need to exit one terminal and get to another, we recommend you allow additional time to find your international departure terminal. Some of the lines you’ll find at LAX will be the longest you’ve ever seen!
The flight information displays in each terminal only refer to the flights from that terminal.
Los Angeles Airport offers Ambassadors and volunteer information professionals who can provide help and directions if you need them; the latter are known for their bright red jackets. Kiosks are found throughout the airport. For information and assistance call (310) 646-5252. Los Angeles Airport also offers flight updates via email and a real-time flight update page on their website.
Los Angeles Airport has an ongoing renovations program that will close several of the facilities at the Tom Bradley International Terminal. This includes some of the walkways to parking structures and the access doorways; and upgrades to many of the elevators, escalators and moving walkways. Many other renovations are taking place – we’ll let you know of more information and updates on this lengthy renovation project, please check back again.
Luggage trolleys are available throughout the airport for an ever increasing fee and if you need to pick up your baggage to transfer to a flight, you will find claim areas outside gates in the terminals. Be sure to ask when you check-in for your flight at your home airport, if the airline will check your luggage all the way through to your Downunder destination.Transferring to a connecting flight in a different terminal may be difficult and take some time. In addition you will need to go through security checks again if you need to enter another terminal. With this in mind, you should allow for a minimum of an hour or more for terminal transfers; despite the speed of the actual transfer process, the security checks are what will slow you down.
You do not need to go outside of the secure areas if transferring between Terminals 5 – 8. They are all connected by walkways. For all other terminal transfers you need to go through security again. LAX offers a free shuttle bus between terminals. It runs every 12 to 15 minutes, and can be found on the ground floors of each building at the blue sign marked ‘LAX Shuttle & Airline Connections.’