Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Airport Guide & Airline Lounge Locations

Buenos dias everyone! A friend recently asked some questions about an upcoming connection through LAX, and since there have been so many changes at that airport this year, I decided to write up a quick guide in case anyone else has an upcoming trip.

The Basics

LAX has 9 terminals – numbered 1-8 and TBIT (Tom Bradley International Terminal). TBIT and terminals 4-8 are connected by tunnels and bridges post-security; terminals 1-3 are not connected to anything. Note that if you’re going to TBIT and you have TSA PreCheck, there is no PreCheck at TBIT – you can go through the PreCheck lane in T4 and then walk to TBIT via the terminal connector (which conveniently drops you off right next to most of the lounges).

LAX Airport map from lawa.org

Airline Locations

Most international carriers operate in and out of TBIT, with a few exceptions.

  • T1: Southwest
  • T2: Delta and its joint venture partners (Aeromexico and Virgin Atlantic), Aer Lingus, & Westjet
  • T3: Delta
  • T4: American
  • T5: American, Jetblue, Allegiant, Frontier, Hawaiian, Spirit, & Sun Country
  • T6: Alaska, Air Canada, Ethiopian (departures), Boutique Air, Great Lakes, Mokulele, & Thomas Cook
  • T7: United
  • T8: United

Weird Arrangements

LAX is very crowded and not all terminals have immigration and customs facilities, so there’s a few airlines that have slightly screwy arrangements.

  • Austrian: checkin/departure is at TBIT; arrivals at T6
  • Avianca, Copa & Interjet: checkin at T3; flights operate from TBIT
  • Ethiopian: departs from T6 and arrives at TBIT
  • Southwest: international flights checkin at T1 but operate to/from TBIT
  • Volaris and Virgin Australia: checkin is at T2; flights operate from TBIT
  • Xiamen Airlines: departs from TBIT and arrives at T2

Lounges

According to Loungebuddy, there are 19 lounges at LAX (plus a USO lounge for members of the military, outside of T2)

  • Priority Pass: There are two Priority Pass lounges at LAX. The Korean Air lounge at TBIT is the best; it is accessible to Priority Pass holders between 12pm and 8pm. There is also an Alaska Airlines Boardroom lounge in T6.
  • OneWorld: There are Admirals Clubs in T5 and the American Eagle Regional Terminal (bus from T5). The T4 Admirals Club is currently closed for renovations, but the attached AA International First lounge is open. TBIT has a Oneworld International Business Lounge (operated by Qantas, accessible to Sapphires on international flights) and a Qantas International First Lounge.
  • SkyTeam: There are Delta Sky Clubs in T2 and T3, and the aforementioned Korean Air lounge in TBIT.
  • Star Alliance: There is a United Club in T7 and an Air Canada lounge in T6. TBIT has a Star Alliance Business Lounge (operated by Air New Zealand, accessible to Golds on international flights) and a Star Alliance First Class lounge. (According to Loungebuddy there’s also an “Air New Zealand Elite Priority One” lounge inside the Star Alliance Business Class lounge, but it has no reviews and I don’t know what the access criteria are.)
  • Other Airlines: There is a Virgin Atlantic club in T2. TBIT has Etihad and Emirates lounges, and a “Los Angeles International Lounge” mostly used by various non-alliance carriers.

Planespotting

If you’re an #avgeek like me, the In-N-Out at 9149 S Sepulveda Blvd is a great place to watch planes land. People used to take the Parking Spot shuttle to get there from the terminals, but they now require proof of rental to ride their shuttle; you can walk or take a Lyft/Uber/taxi from the terminal.

A WestJet Airlines plane with a Disney-themed paint job lands at LAX airport. There are large trees in the foreground that frame the airplane. Several buildings, a stoplight, streetlights, and a control tower are visible in the distance.

A Disney-themed Westjet plane landing at LAX, as seen from the park next to In-N-Out. Photo by Tonei Glavinic.

Flight Path Museum and Learning Center

There is a free, volunteer-run aviation and airline museum on the south side of the airport at 6661 W Imperial Highway, open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am to 3pm. The only logical way to get there from the airport is by car. They have an impressive collection of memorabilia from various airlines that have flown to LAX over the years, including flight crew uniforms, advertising posters, model planes, and historical exhibits. They also have a ex-TWA DC-3 parked on the tarmac next to the museum, which they will happily take you out to explore – including sitting in the cockpit!

A photo of the controls and windows from the cockpit of a DC-3 aircraft. Part of the LAX tarmac and a control tower are visible through the windows.

Photo from the cockpit of Flight Path’s DC-3. Photo by Tonei Glavinic.

Is there anything else you’d like to know about LAX? Any sweet tips I forgot? Let me know in the comments.

5 thoughts on “Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Airport Guide & Airline Lounge Locations

  1. Kim

    This was a timely overview because I am transiting LAX for an international flight in November for the first time in a long time. If I am arriving via a Virgin America domestic flight to take an international flight operated by Air New Zeland ticketed on UA, where does it make sense to try to use my UA lounge passes (provided courtesy of Chase), assuming that I will be able to? Should I do the same for the return connection, but the domestic flight home is an Alaska flight, which may not make a difference since Virgin America are/have merged. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Tonei Glavinic Post author

      The only lounge you can access with those passes is the United Club in T7. According to the airports authority It’s about a 15 minute walk from T6 (where Alaska/Virgin are) to TBIT, so add another 3-5 minutes to get to T7. (You can also go outside and take the shuttle, but then you have to re-clear security at TBIT or T4)

      Reply

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