A few weeks ago I covered the reasons why I can’t stand Los Angeles International Airport. But things are not all bad at LAX. It certainly has some redeeming qualities, and I do generally enjoy my airport experience. As long as I am just connecting, that is, as most of my gripes about LAX have to do with its connectivity and accessibility.
Here are four reasons why I enjoy spending time at Los Angeles International Airport:
Huge Array of Airlines
Los Angeles International Airport has the largest mix of airlines on the West Coast. You can find a number of aircraft there that don’t serve other nearby gateways (I’m looking at you, SFO), and I enjoy the chance to see aircraft painted in the livery of these other airlines. Here are some carriers that I first spotted at LAX:
- LOT (picks up SFO service in 2020)
- Air Tahiti Nui
- Sichuan Airlines
- Xiamen Air
There are a total of 67 different airlines that fly to Los Angeles International Airport, which is pretty incredible. It’s always a good day when you get to see a new aircraft or new carrier. Well, for me, it is. Some people probably don’t care in the slightest.
Tom Bradley International Terminal
While I don’t have all that many good things to say about many of the other terminals at LAX, I really enjoy the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT). The departures area outside security might be a bit hectic, but once you get past that, it’s really not that bad. This hearkens back to my first point, as walking up and down the terminal seeing the various aircraft from airlines all over the globe is an enjoyable activity for me. It sure beats another SFO Terminal 3, another common connection point for me, where there are overwhelmingly 737s, A320s and regional jets.
Plus, most of the time I’ve spent at TBIT has been in one of the lounges. The KAL Lounge is the typical choice, as access is easy with my Priority Pass membership. Before the membership through American Express cards excluded restaurants, I also enjoyed P.F. Chang’s LAX. There is also the Oneworld Business Class Lounge which I got to visit for the first time before my Finnair A350-900 flight.
The only drawback to the TBIT is how far you have to walk from the other terminals to get there. And terminals 1 through 3 aren’t even connected post-security, which is frustrating.
So Many Airbus A380s
Los Angeles International Airport might not be the most slot-congested in the world, but it does receive a high passenger volume, which means a decent number of airlines fly the A380 to the airport. I caught the Emirates A380 there on my last time passing through. Other airlines that fly the A380 to Los Angeles include: Air France, Asiana, British Airways, China Southern, Etihad, Korean, Lufthansa, and Qantas.
If you love seeing the superjumbo, Los Angeles International Airport isn’t a bad place to hang out. You’ll should almost certainly be able to catch a glimpse of one if you’re there for a few hours.
Better Connection Experience
At SFO, I do not have any lounge access in Terminal 3. This is certainly my own fault, as I dropped my Chase Sapphire Reserve that allowed me to eat at the two Priority Pass restaurants. I’m also too cheap to shell out money for a American Express Platinum.
But LAX has me covered. I’m still holding my Hilton Aspire card, as I honestly place more value on it that the Chase Sapphire Reserve, at least for the coming year. The American Express Priority Pass membership cannot get me into the program restaurants, but it can get me into either the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse or the KAL Lounge. It can supposedly also get you into the Alaska Lounge, but that’s only happened once, and I’m beginning to think it was a fluke.
Connecting through LAX has also been more reliable for me than SFO. The short regional flights tend to be heavily delayed or canceled when SFO is impacted, and this includes the hop up to the north coast. I’ve only flown a handful of United regional flights through LAX, but all have been on time so far.
Los Angeles may be nobody’s favorite airport, but not all is bad. It’s large. It’s over capacity in terms of ground transportation. And the WiFi and cell service is awful. But I still don’t mind passing through. I just always hope to do so on a connection.
Have you passed through LAX? Do you love it or hate it?