Discover LA: LAX: A hectic hub for stress, anxiety and travel

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By Robert Dickson, Conor Gaffney and Pablo Muñoz

It is a place most people from the Los Angeles area dread to enter but ultimately must use at some point during their time in the metropolitan city. Los Angeles International Airport, known regionally as LAX, is a hub for domestic and international travel and can be an overwhelming experience for even the most seasoned airline travelers.

In 1928 LAX began operation and has since grown to include nine terminals, eight of which have been or are being remodeled to meet the evolving international standard. Most recently, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the governing agency at LAX, completed a $114 million project connecting the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) with all five terminals on the airport’s south side, allowing passengers to easily transfer between international and select domestic flights.  

Additionally, LAWA is beginning primary stages of constructing the Midfield Satellite Concourse, an extension to the TBIT that will provide additional parking space for overflow aircraft, which are currently directed to remote parking stands on the airport’s west side.  

Although the improvements are appreciated, construction at the airport is worse than CalTrans on the 10 freeway.

Because of the countless cars, buses and shuttles – oh, and airplanes –  the exhaust at the airport is unbearable. We recommend bringing a surgical mask or scarf in order to breathe without the worry of turning your lungs black.

Across the nine terminals, dozens of eateries can be found. Notable options include Unami burger in the TBIT; Lemonade in Terminal 5; Marmalade Café in Terminal 8 and TBIT; and La Brea Bakery in Terminals 1 and 3.

As expected of a major airport, parking is a monumental atrocity. No matter where you go, parking is either over priced or unavailable. If you take advantage of the Parking Spot or WallyPark, the anxiety and stress of dealing with shuttles is never easy or enjoyable.

We suggest using Uber or another ride-share service to get to and from the airport.  Be careful, though, because Uber operates all pick-ups and dropoffs from the upper departures level only.

Often times, people are lost in the rush of traveling to even notice the Theme Building until flying over it. But, if watching airplanes is your calling, the building offers times on Saturday and Sunday that are “subject to airport police staffing availability” for observers to enjoy the view.

If you like to frequent museums, the famous Flight Path Learning Center, located on the airport’s El Segundo side, is home to vintage LAX memorabilia and aviation artifacts.  The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Although flying LAX is often inevitable, we recommend flying out of Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, Long Beach Airport or even John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, to save time and relieve stress.

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