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Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

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  • Long waiting in customs
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      29.11.2008 00:22
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      Great for exploring other regions, but don't stay long

      Los Angeles Airport, otherwise referred to as LAX is certainly an experience. For a major airport serving one of the busiest cities in the world it is far behind the times. On arriving at LAX, it took a while to walk to collect our luggage. But by the time we got there we could have stopped for a coffee for it took so long for our bags to reach the conveyor belt! However, once we collected our bags it was easy to find our way to our bus stop. As we were on a round the world trip we used LAX to leave LA and head to our next destination. Here we were left more disappointed. The place was busy and cramped with long windy queues to check in and then up some stairs to security. After we had passed this we thought we could look around the shops and have a bit to eat before our flight. Well I am glad I had my book as there were very few shops and a poor choice to choose for eating. The lasting impression was left by a security guard. My rucksack for hand luggage had split so I bought a new one in a shop. Instead of leaving a rucksack in a bin I asked security if they wanted me to dispose of it another way as I did not want to cause a security alert, but they looked at me as if I was stupid and crazy to think it may cause an alert! LAX is almost unavoidable if travelling to South America etc as many flights change here, but don't hold your expectations too high!

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        08.09.2004 11:16
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        • "Long waiting in customs"

        Lax international airport is big and very busy. It is divided into different terminals for many international flights. Do not get off at the wrong ones, it will take you forever to walk.

        Upon leaving:
        the way to Lax is always crowded. Traffic jams is a usual in that area. Getting out of the freeway on the way to get gas is not such a good idea. Because it is all downtown Los Angeles. Not too safe at night. So be sure you have a full tank of gas and be prepared about the traffic time before you leave.

        There are parking structures across each terminal. It is advisable for one to park at the correct building to avoid long walks. Rental cars are very convenient too. When you return the rental car, they will take you to the airport. There are many different parkings for overnights. They all have free shuttle service to and from the airport.

        The luggage cart is pretty handy and available in many locations for free. The airport is big, but all the signs are very big and clear, makes it easy to get around.

        There are McDonald's and several fast food places on the second level for people to grab something to eat before they took off. They open pretty late. I remember it is still open at 11:30 pm. But all the gift shops operate in regular business hours.

        Upon arriving:
        The customs for visitors have very long lines. Each visitor is being asked about the purpose of the trip and need to thumb print, take pictures with the computer. I just wish they have more counters or the waiting time will be shorter. By the time I was ready to claim the lugguage, the luggage claim area already took down my flight. Because the baggage claim is so efficient and fast. There are no signs saying which line is which airline. So i have to go through each line to look for my bag. It is pretty annoyin
        g, what happens if you are waiting in the customs and someone can just pick up your stuff by mistake??
        or on purpose?? Scary thoughts.


        Lastly, for visitor, if you do not have anything over $100 worth of goods that you intend to leave in the States, you can go via the green tunnel. And finally, you are pushing your luggage up a little slope exit and you are in Los Angeles!

        There are always people asking for money outside, salvation army, aids, and all kinds of different association. I was greeted by a well-dressed man and he asked if there is anything he could help. I asked about the super shuttle station, he simply pointed to the right and patiently explained to me how to get there. Then he asked if I can donated anything for child support. OK, this is afterall a better way to ask for change, so i just spare him with some change.

        Outside the airport, there are shuttle services. I use super shuttle because my reserved shuttle never arrives. Super shuttle is really convenient. But they do charge differently each time. So make sure they quote you the price before you got in. Very difficult to argue later. It runs 24 hours a day. Door to door service all over Los Angeles. I especially like this because a round trip for a car, the gas money is about the same. When the plane or custom delays, you can save money on making phone calls also. The driver is always friendly and helpful. Each shuttle is equipped with Global Positioning System, so don't worry, they will take you home via the shortest distance and will not get lost. But there are some downsides. They will circle around the airport for around three times before they leave in hopes of picking up some other customers that are going to the same area. This is annoying especially when you are all drained out riding on the plane and all you care about is going home right away.

        Please give me a rating if you found my information useful. I need your support in order to continue the writing career. thank you ^!^


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          26.05.2003 01:22
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          It is no surprise that Los Angeles International airport is regularly voted one the worst airports in the world. Old, over-crowded and so noisy you can’t hear yourself think. We arrived at Los Angeles airport (LAX) to be greeted by complete chaos just like the other 400 people off the same flight, and there is not much to be said about the place other than constant nightmares! We arrived on a Virgin Atlantic flight, who use the crumbling and ‘compact’ terminal 2 which I was later told one of the nicer terminals, (poor people who have to use the others) and were met with the longest queue for immigration Ive ever seen. Basically, one Virgin flight arrival seems to bring the entire terminal to a complete standstill and the staff simply cannot cope. There were only three immigration desks open and one was for US citizens which was even longer than the tourist ones! Infact many US citizens were in the tourist queue simply for the fact it was quicker! Of course you have to fill in about three forms now for the US (which your given on the plane) and people come round in the queue and tell your if its filled in correctly, and of course many people haven’t so there’s people on the floor and all over the place filling out another. Bearing in mind the immigration hall is about the size of a tennis court there really isn’t much room. We queued for about an hour, and we were one of the first off the plane! Secondly this area is not air-conditioned, not that I’am fussy, but after getting off an 11 hour flight, you could imagine how tired, exhausted and hot I was (was very hot on the plane) not to mention it was a mild 34 degrees outside! Once through immigration and into the baggage hall, we were met with hundreds of bags literally falling off a completely inadequate baggage carousel. There were actually two carousels dispensing the bags for our flight but only one was signed so it was a guessi
          ng game as to which one yours were on. Baggage trolleys are free, amazingly. That would have been the final insult!, but I do hear that in other terminals you have to pay 2 dollars!!!!! Once you have passed another desk where they question your luggage and you give them more forms, you can leave. The arrivals area where meeting people wait is just complete chaos and the arrivals hall is about the size of your local post office. Of course there are literally hundreds of people waiting and you must push your way through the crowd to get outside (where even more people are waiting!) and if your as tired as I was, you’ll certainly be woken up with the noise of so many people and constant announcements that seem to be in every language other than English. After getting my breath back, and trying to keep awake, I nearly walked right out onto what is a six-lane carriageway that goes straight past the terminal! I am surprised they allow such a fast road right outside the building!?? So we agreed to just sit down outside for ten minutes and have a drink, only to be met by one of several fanatics trying to give you books and herbal remedies and then want lots of money for them!! I went back into the terminal, and after fighting the crowds I finally found a closed information desk (There are no signs anywhere). Myself wanting to know how to get to downtown, I asked some airport cleaners about trains to the centre. Not only will most people dispute the fact they have ever heard of a train here, but most locals will even contest there is any sort of public transport in LA and some find it amusing that you’ve even asked! Not one car hire desk was open or manned (and this was during the day) so I thought ‘never mind’, lets save money and take the bus! (Oh what fun) Well, you don’t need to speak to many people from Los Angeles to realise that this is the most difficult way of getting about!!! After wai
          ting for about half an hour for any sort of bus (which never came) we decided that a taxi was the only option. After speaking Spanish to the taxi attendant (yes Spanish) we finally got a taxi to our hotel which initially ‘didn’t exist’ but the driver finally managed to locate after lots of me again speaking Spanish to him even though I can barely manage the word ‘please’ in the language! The taxi was fifty dollars, yes fifty dollars and I said we could of probably flown to Las Vegas for that. We thought when returning to the airport at the end of our holiday, it couldn’t be as bad. Wrong. We got to check-in six hours before the flight, to find a closed Virgin check-in area. Understandably closed, we were early, but when they only opened it 3 hours before the departure time it totally defeated the object of getting their early (and boy, you want to get here early..!) Only three desks were ever opened for a full flight (I know this isn’t the airports fault, more like Virgins) Now the queue to get through security was huge, basically like the worst queue you’ve experienced at Disney, multiplied by ten, hence the reason why you gotta get here very, very early!!!! Even air-crew have to queue with the passengers in the same queue for some strange reason. The only exception seemed to be Air New Zealand passengers who got whisked straight through either because they were late or because they seem to have more flights from this terminal than anybody else! What going on there??!! Once past security, you may want to look at the shops, or shop. For an airport the size of this would expect better choice, but one shop (I believe another has now opened) is silly. There are two or three places to eat though. In the lounge there is very little to do other than stare out the window. Bad considering you haven’t even started the awful flight yet. We met some Australians who said they had never been to s
          uch a terrible airport! The last thing you must do is board your flight. Well, nothing wrong there then, wrong. If you had bought duty-free like us, then you are only allowed to collect it when boarding the plane. So just before you step on-board, there are loads of white bags all thrown on the floor (and you are not allowed to locate yours until they actually start boarding). There is a huge scramble whilst everyone tries to find there duty free and its just crazy! Flight wasn’t delayed though, just as well!

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            28.09.2001 19:52
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            On RTW trip had to use LA airport far too many times for plane changes etc. First time we flew in and were spending a week in area before out to Mexico. Arrived and stood in line for about three hours to get through immigration, officials keot walking off, taking breaks, chatting to each other and generally annoying me by being so slow (and I say slow not thorough). They had people with spare forms and checking people in the queue had filled them in properly etc., however these people were normally wrong, had people throwing out slips they need or fill in the wrong colour card, so when they finally reached the front there was a bigger hold-up. They also could not decide whether Canadians could use the US lane or not, so sheparded them frequently from one line to another. Glad I did not have a transfer as there was a long line of people who missed their connections. Once out we asked the information lady directions on how to get a bus to town. She did not know (anything). Explainned the concept of buses to her, public transport that kind of thing and gave up in the end. It turns out that you can get the free bus to car park 3, and next to that is the public transport. Buses are not frequent, but very cheap, bit slow though. Driver was very helpful and told us when to get off. Next experience a week later was leaving at 6ish in the morning to Mexico City. Different terminal, just as bad. Lines of people all over the place, baggage piled up, staff looking very fraught (really hope it was the end of their shifts as if it was the start it would be a long day). None of the shops were open, and there were only two or three in the terminal we were in. So no duty free for me, but worse no coffee which I was gagging for at that time. Took off on time though. Next had to change there from Mexico to Toronto. This time, another different terminal, straight through immigration quickly and stopped by some jobsworth at customs. LAX has some
            stupid rule that people transfering have to pick up their luggage, carry it through customs then had it in for transfer to next plane. Why? The bag never needs to 'enter' the country. Anyway we had visited Cuba, which odf course the US are still a bit anal about. So cross examined on that, yes we knew Americans can't go there, no we had not bought cigars and on and on. Tried to be polite and smile but bloke was idiot and sent us for full search, so go to have my bags gone through (x-ray machines would show up cigars if they actually cared, although all Cuban things are illegal). Meet a nice bloke who thinks that proposturous, understands British people can go there AND that we were transferring so has to get a supervisor to sign us off and lets us go unsearched. Make it to next terminal for plane, very overcrowded, very poor security measures and full of people without boarding passes. Has a few shops if you like that kind of thing, mostly with long queues and fat, unhelpful staff. Departure area is also full of solicitors (not lawyers, people selling stuff), hot and understaffed. Glad to fly out and know not returning to LA airport again. Each time was a long, slow painful experience for different reasons.

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              30.08.2001 04:14
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              We arrived at LAX after a 13 hour flight from Sydney to find what could only be described as chaos at immigration. As usual we had been provided with all the forms on the plane. We disembarked and walked through to the immigration. Here there was one mass of queues, leading to nowhere in particular. Most of the desks didn't have signs and those that did weren't correct. We had to ask which line to join and even the people giving the direction weren't sure (we were only tourists with British Passports, how difficult could it be!). Eventually after waiting for about an hour they rubber-stamped our passports and we went through to baggage reclaim. Here we found even more chaos. They had loaded so much luggage on to the carousel that most of it had fallen onto the floor (some splitting open!). So you had to pick your way across piles of suitcases and their contents to try and locate your own! Not a great start to our visit! We then went through to the arrivals lounge and asked the information desk about places to stay and how to get into the city centre. Here we were given a load of very blank looks are directed to a notice board that had about 4 places to stay on it and a phone that was so bad it was really difficult to hear the person at the other end. Luckily we found a motel that would pick us up because it appeared nigh on impossible to get into the city centre without a hire car. When it came to leaving LA we had hoped that departures would be much better than arrivals. Well we were wrong! We managed to get public transport back to the airport car park shuttle bus (Don't bother with public transport it took hours and we lost count of the number of changes!). We got onto the shuttle bus and listened to the announcements for where to get off. When we got into what we thought was our terminal however we found that the announcements had been wrong and they had announced terminal 4 when we were actually stood at terminal 3. S
              o we then had to lug our rucksacks around to the next terminal. When we got there we found the same queuing chaos with the checking in lines. We were told to leave one by an attendant because the other line was meant to be faster. However when we got into the second line it didn't move at all. It took us over 1.5 hours to check in! So we basically left check in and went to the departure gate. Sorry this seamed like a bit of a whinge. The point I was trying to get across is that you should be prepared to keep asking people for directions at LAX because they don't signpost anything. Also if you are a traveller make sure that you have got you accommodation sorted out before you arrive because the airport is really not designed to help you in anyway. Also allow plenty of time to get too and from the airport because it isn't easy, as we found out.

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                28.08.2000 03:41

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                I stopped over at Los Angeles Airport on my way to Amsterdam/England with my six month old daughter. (I was travelling alone with her). I originally flew from Invercargill, New Zealand (a tiny minuscule old fashioned boring town at the bottom of the world! Look on the map!) right through to Tahiti, then LA with Air New Zealand. Lovely people, brilliant lovely air kiwi people. So, it had been long, but yet not so stressed. Los Angeles was quite easy for me to get around and the best thing about the place it seemed bright and refreshing... until you step outside of it. I'm glad last time I was there I didn't have to drive out of the place! Anyway, I remember a nice young guy helped me around with my trolley and bags allowing me to carry my daughter. It was a very long and tiring flight so it was nice to be 'chaperoned'. I often see the airport on the television and I am saying in my mind 'ooh ooh - I've been there! I've been there!' and then it brings back memories of the nice young man who helped me with my bags. Unfortunately it all went wrong with KLM, but thats a different story, well no not really, from Los Angeles, we flew to Amsterdam then back to London. Boy! It turned into a nightmare! Yes, so, Los Angeles was one of the good airports on that trip!

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                22.08.2000 21:44
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                I have used LAX 3 times now over the past few years. Flying Innternational into Los Angeles is definately the worst way to do it. The terminal is looking a bit out of date and the facilities are somewhat sparse. There are also the customary long queues at customs and immigration familiar with most other US airports. Going in and out on a domestic flight is a very different experience. The terminal is a far more pleasant place to be, passage in and out is so much easier (thanks to the lack of the need to go through the tedious customs and immigrations processes) and there are far more faciliaties such as shopping on offer. I've been to worse airports than LAX, but then again I have been to many better ones.

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                26.07.2000 20:54
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                It was my first time to LA and we arrived late in the evening from Chicago. My impression of LAX from the movies seem to be a well organised airport but once reaching there, I found it to be in chaos. The signboards doesn't helps in directing first time travellers like us. Furthermore, when we got our luggages, we were met by an impolite and angry looking luggage controller who demanded to see our luggage passes. Then, we have to wander around the busy and chaos airport looking for signs to get to the car hire. It took us quite some time to find it. Also, the airport gives you a sense of dogginess. You will feel unsafe. I experience the same thing on our way back to Chicago, there was no clear indications in LA on how you can take a bus to the airport. We only found it after asking around in the bus station. Clearly something has to be done to improve the quality of this airport.

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                25.07.2000 23:12
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                If you are thinking of saving your shopping to buy duty free goods from airport before going home, then Los Angeles Airport will not be the place for you. I was hoping to get some duty free goods from the airport to save me the hassle of carrying them during my travel, to dissapointingly find that there's not many shopping place in the airport. The airport in itself is pathetically small for an international airport, only has a stretch of shops before you reach the boarding area. So if you are thinking of saving the state tax by buying goods from the airport (like I did), you better think twice if you are flying off from LAX, you might end up empty handed.

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                06.07.2000 11:07
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                If you arrive directly from overseas to Los Angeles International Airport (or LAX for short) be ready for horrendous queues at immigration. However, you will probably get free baggage trolleys. If you arrive somewhere else, change planes, and then fly to LAX, you may miss the immigration queues but you will arrive as a domestic passenger which means paying US$2 for your baggage trolley (2 dollar bills are required for this to feed into the machine). When it comes to travelling from LAX you have a number of options. For example to travel to Pasadena (on the North side of LA, LAX is on the South side). - Taxi will cost $46 - Bus will cost $12 - Van will cost $21-29 Van service is a multi-passenger door-to-door service. A van circles around the airport's 8 terminals (maximum of 3 circuits) until it has 3 or 4 passengers who want to go to a similar part of town and then it delivers them. It is not as quick as a taxi or as cheap as a bus but it is door-to-door and so often the best choice. There are 4 van services from LAX with differing prices. For example to go to Pasadena: - Xpress Shuttle $21 - SuperShuttle $23 - Prime Time Shuttle $26 - Inland Express $29 You can book your shuttle van from a courtesy phone in the terminal but you are probably wasting time -- the van might be driving past while you're on the phone. It is best to go straight out of the terminal and find the blue "Van" stop on the central traffic island. There an agent with a walkie-talkie will arrange your shuttle and put you on board just as soon as a van going your way comes round. Sometimes a second passenger to the same destination enjoys a discount (e.g. SuperShuttle fares from LAX to Pasadena are $23 for one, $32 for two, and $41 for three). Also on SuperShuttle (and probably on the others) fares to certain hotels are also discounted. Most services operate 24hrs, 365 days a year. For more information on services at LAX go to: www.quickaid.com/airports/lax

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                30.06.2000 22:42
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                Los Angeles International is 15 miles (24) km southwest of downtown Los Angeles. There are ground transport booths outside the arrivals area of each terminal. Taxis are available at stands outside all of the terminals. Expect to pay about $25 to downtown, and $45 to Pasadena. Travel time to downtown can be as short as 20 minutes, but is usually longer because of traffic. Supershuttle provides scheduled van service from all terminals to all area of Los Angeles. Use the courtesy phone in the baggage claim area to book your trip and Supershuttle will arrive within 15 minutes. Fare to downtown will be $12. Fares to other areas will be $10-$50, depending on the distance. Supershuttle runs 24 hours a day. Airport Bus has services to many areas of Los Angeles. If you are going to outlying areas such as Pasadena or Anaheim, Airport Coach is very convenient and you can call them when you arrive. They have regularly scheduled service to many areas, so you'll be able to book when you arrive. For example, they leave the airport for Pasadena every hour, at 45 minutes past the hour. The fare to Pasadena is $12 one-way and $20 round-trip. You can call them at 1-800-772-5299 for information and schedules to other areas. There are other van services to all areas of the Los Angeles. Inquire at the ground transportation desk, they will find the correct service for your destination. As with many U.S. cities, several hotels provide shuttle service to and from the airport. Check with your hotel when booking, or after you arrive. Los Angeles is served by four other airports that many find more convenient than LAX. They are Burbank-Pasadena-Glendale, Ontario, Long Beach, and John Wayne (Orange County). All of these airports are served by either Airport Coach, or Supershuttle. If you are going to downtown LA, it is wise to take one of these services. There are phones and information
                booths in the baggage claim areas of the airports where you can book service. Taxi service is also available at all airports. If you are going to an area near the airport, the taxi is the easiest way to go. If you are going to other areas far away from these airports, then go with the mini-bus services.

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