LAX, Los Angeles International Airport is the second busiest airport in the U.S. With its position on the west coast, it’s a primary gateway to Asia, Australia, and the Pacific region.

LAX is constantly known for being one of the worst airports in the world. With constant traffic, construction, and the layout of the terminals, LAX can be a pain to connect in. A layover here might seem chaotic and a nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be. LAX has plenty of terminals filled with shopping and restaurants, many travelers have access to other terminals without even realizing it. LAX is even close to some major tourist attractions. Long layovers can easily be an opportunity to get a taste of LA without being far from the airport. Here are some sights in each terminal and my tips for surviving a layover at LAX.

Getting to LAX

I’ve covered quite a few ways to get to LAX in our Los Angeles: A Complete Itinerary but I’ve summarized a few of the major airlines which fly there!

Some more good content below!

Abu Dhabi
Etihad Airways
Amsterdam Delta Airlines & KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Dubai Emirates Airline
Frankfurt Lufthansa
Hong Kong American Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, & Hong Kong Airlines
Istanbul Turkish Airlines
London Air New Zealand, American Airlines, British Airways, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic
Madrid Iberia
Moscow Aeroflot
Melbourne Qantas Airways, United Airlines, & Virgin Australia Airlines
Paris Air France, Delta Airlines, & XL Airways France
Rome Alitalia & Norwegian Airlines
Singapore Singapore Airlines
Sydney American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Qantas Airways, United Airlines, & Virgin Australia Airlines
Tel Aviv El Al Israel Airlines
Tokyo All Nippon Airways, American Airlines, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, United Airlines

LAX has 9 different terminals arranged in a horseshoe shape. You have access between the terminals except for Terminal 1, but they are currently building a terminal connector between 1 and Tom Bradley, so all the terminals can be connected. Terminals 2 and 3, and Tom Bradley are currently linked by shuttles operated by Delta Air Lines. From Tom Bradley to Terminal 8, it is linked via pedestrian bridges and tunnels.

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The Terminals

An awesome shot of an aircraft taking off at LAX

Terminal 1

Terminal 1 just received a multi-million dollar refurbishment which gave the terminal an ultra-modern and clean look for travelers. It houses over 20 retail and food options. It is currently stand-alone, meaning that it is not connected to any other terminal as of yet.

Terminal 2

Terminal 2 used to house major international airlines before Delta transferred operations there, so this terminal has plenty of shopping options and food options. It is also home to a Delta Sky Club and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse.

Terminal 3

One of the oldest terminals in LAX, it is about to get a complete remodel with more gates and seating for passengers. Currently the terminal has a Delta Sky Club, food court with Shake Shack, and a popular bar for passengers.

Tom Bradley International Terminal

The main international terminal at LAX, TBIT has so much to see and offer for any traveler. From luxury duty free shopping to world class restaurants, anyone traveling to LAX should see it at least once. The main attraction of TBIT, is the Great Hall in the heart of the terminal. From there you can shop, eat, or even people watch. For aviation geeks like myself, just being in TBIT is an experience of its own. Large gates cater to the largest and newest aircraft in aviation, like the A380, Dreamliner, or A350. Whenever I have passengers that are early for a flight, I always suggest a visit to Tom Bradley.

Pro Tip:

Explore TBIT at night when the international red eye flights to Australia and Asia depart. Seeing so many cultures and experiencing the vibe there is incredible to any world traveler.

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Terminal 4

This terminal is currently getting a billion-dollar renovation for American Airlines and it is home to 17 shops and restaurants plus an Admirals Club and Flagship Lounge. Many passengers pass through here as a crossing point for Tom Bradley and the south complex for the airport.

Terminal 5

Terminal 5 was given a multi-million dollar renovation and is home to 19 shops, bars, and eateries including Rock and Brews and Skewers by Morimoto. For American Airlines passengers, there is another Admirals Club here.

Terminal 6

The center of this terminal is themed after Sunset Boulevard and houses more than 20 restaurants and retail options, including the only Habit Burger in the airport! This terminal is also home to an Alaska Airlines lounge.

Terminals 7 and 8

Home to the hub of United Airlines, this complex received a half a billion-dollar renovation with an ultra-sleek and modern design. Plenty of options for shopping and eating with keep you occupied if you’re sitting at the airport for a while. United operates two lounges here, including a brand new Polaris lounge.

Outisde the airport

If you’d like to get a taste of LA but on a time limit, don’t panic. There’s quite a few things to do on your layover including visiting several famous beaches close to the airport like Santa Monica, Venice Manhattan Beach, and Hermosa Beach.
If you’re shopper, I’d recommend a quick trip to Fox Hills Mall, the closest mall to LAX in Culver City just to the north, or Manhattan Beach Village directly south of LAX. Both easily accessible by Uber or transit.

Maybe on your next visit, stay a few days and check out everything in our Los Angeles: A Complete Itinerary

Pro Tip:

For In N Out lovers or if you’d like to try In N Out and make your friends jealous, you’re in luck. Right next to LAX is the world-famous Westchester In N Out that offers fantastic views of planes landing and taking off. It is within walking distance from the entrance of the airport. Because of its proximity to the airport, it’s very popular and it can get crowded very quickly. To beat some crowds, there is another In N Out just south of the airport that can see fewer people.

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