Connecting at LAX has been a nightmare in the past – crowds and grumpy government agents made this THE place to avoid.
To make matters worse you get thrown into a busy parking lot (they call it an access road) where you walk (or take a slow, cumbersome bus) to your next terminal mixed into all the traffic noise. Changing terminals at LAX used to be as much fun as in Manila, Philippines. It’s the first thing people saw when arriving in one of the richest states of the US – Breshnev era Sheremetyevo (SVO) was a better airport.
To everyone’s surprise LAX is actually listening and has embarked on bold steps. The TBIT International terminal at LAX is a beauty now and has some of nations best lounges incl. the Star Alliance Lounge at LAX (Review). The immigration is helped by friendly agents and processing times are short (unless you are a visitor to the US). And finally the first connector between two terminals has opened that allows an airside connection between the International terminal and Terminal 4 that is used by American Airlines.
Arriving passengers (from International flights) can’t really use it since leaving immigration you also leave the secure area. However a lot of people can make handy use if this airside connector:
– You can access the Oneworld Lounge at LAX when flying American Airlines even on a purely domestic itinerary
– You can now use TSA Pre to access the International Terminal
The International Terminal at LAX has no TSA Pre line before and the lines can be maniac at regular security. Since any boarding pass will get you into any terminal – you can just use the Terminal 4 TSA Pre access point and then make your way to the International Terminal. This is handy not just when you are actually flying but also if you want to access the Star Alliance Lounge at LAX (Review) with a domestic boarding pass
– You can skip security when connecting to International flights and arriving on American Airlines
When you arrive on American and continue onwards you can save yourself the hassle of going through security again. That’s a great benefit for me since American often has cheap $50 one-ways from SFO to LAX even if American does not have a lot of international flights from LAX.
So let’s hope more of those connectors are being built and it looks like Dallas For Worth one day (the airport, not the city!). It saves time for everyone, they are cheap to build and LAX flying finally catches up with the rest of the world.