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Old Jul 21, 11, 4:16 am   #1
 
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Question Is LAX becoming a black hole?

I connected at LAX on 20 July (SYD-YYZ). Forgive the rant but LAX is one of America's most important airports, and it is a black hole for FF! My beefs:
- there is no in transit area for FF travelling to Mexico, Canada, etc.
- LAX doesn't recognize the NEXUS card, & the CBP lineup took 1.5 hours;
- the CBP does not appear to use the normal risk-based primary/secondary inspection regime. I saw passengers @ primary for 20 minutes! No wonder there are long lines;
- the CBP facilities are badly organized, staff create and close lines at whim, and the signage is non-existent;
- FF's cannot visit lounges in other terminals as your boarding card limits access to the terminal of departure;
- the A bus service connecting T's was sporadic.
Don't get me wrong! I want to use LAX.........it has great connections to Pacific destinations & it should be one of the US's premiere aiports. The Alaska Board Room Lounge (Tom Bradley Terminal) is one of the best! However, the long lines and the physical condition of the terminals make it less attractive to do so. Many of these problems have been around since 2007, so my ? is whether anything is improving at LAX?
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Old Jul 21, 11, 4:42 am   #2
 
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I've never flown through LAX so can't answer your question, but allow me to add one of my own. I'm flying out of LAX in October on Delta (Terminal 5). My colleague is flying Continental (Terminal 6). Do I understand you as saying he won't be able to join me in the Delta lounge?
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Old Jul 21, 11, 5:25 am   #3
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The DL terminal at LAX is connected by underground tunnel airside to one other terminal but I don't remember whether it's the terminal that CO uses curently.
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Old Jul 21, 11, 6:34 am   #4
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There is an airside tunnel between Delta and Continental. Give yourself 7-10 minutes (let's just say it's a very odd walk, zigzagging through the bowels of the airport ).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Antonio8069 View Post
Many of these problems have been around since 2007, so my ? is whether anything is improving at LAX?
There is a billion dollar remodeling project going on for the Bradley Terminal, as we speak.

Last edited by cblaisd; Jul 21, 11 at 7:22 am. Reason: merged poster's two consecutive posts
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Old Jul 21, 11, 11:57 am   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antonio8069 View Post
I connected at LAX on 20 July (SYD-YYZ). Forgive the rant but LAX is one of America's most important airports, and it is a black hole for FF! My beefs:
- there is no in transit area for FF travelling to Mexico, Canada, etc.
- LAX doesn't recognize the NEXUS card, & the CBP lineup took 1.5 hours;
- the CBP does not appear to use the normal risk-based primary/secondary inspection regime. I saw passengers @ primary for 20 minutes! No wonder there are long lines;
- the CBP facilities are badly organized, staff create and close lines at whim, and the signage is non-existent;
- FF's cannot visit lounges in other terminals as your boarding card limits access to the terminal of departure;
- the A bus service connecting T's was sporadic.
Don't get me wrong! I want to use LAX.........it has great connections to Pacific destinations & it should be one of the US's premiere aiports. The Alaska Board Room Lounge (Tom Bradley Terminal) is one of the best! However, the long lines and the physical condition of the terminals make it less attractive to do so. Many of these problems have been around since 2007, so my ? is whether anything is improving at LAX?
You are preaching to the choir

1. There are no such thing as "transit lounge" anywhere in the US since 9/11. Our Govt has deemed everyone flying on airplanes as a potential terrorist.

2. Risk-based inspection? Ha... you are talking about a country that makes everyone takes off their shoes and get a naked picture taken just to enter the terminal.

3. Lack of connection between terminals at LAX is a long running grievance. It's as if we went out of our way to make airside connection difficult. I can't tell you why LAX doesn't have airside shuttle (like "A" shuttle but runs within secured zone)... it seems like a cheap and easy thing to do. And bonus - we also make sure airlines from the same alliance are at opposite end of the airport to make getting on code share flights extra hard! This one is a no charge free service...

4. Sporadic shuttle service? That's why I always tell people to walk. LAX terminals are really compact so you can always get across the airport faster by walking than waiting for the shuttle bus. And don't get me started on the idiotic 2-level split departure/arrival mess that doubles vehicle traffic for no reason.

5. Bradley Terminal is undergoing major renovation. We should be up to 1990s world standards by 2013.

6. Signage? Signs are for people who read English! You are going to make me foam at the mouth now... LAX not only lack signage in English, it is completely lacking in actual useful signs in foreign languages. And the few signs at Bradley terminal in Chinese/Korean/Japanese are atrociously translated that they don't mean anything.

Last edited by bzcat; Jul 21, 11 at 12:03 pm.
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Old Jul 21, 11, 12:35 pm   #6
 
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Originally Posted by bzcat View Post
There are no such thing as "transit lounge" anywhere in the US since 9/11. Our Govt has deemed everyone flying on airplanes as a potential terrorist.
I thought that the requirement for all travelers, even those connecting between international flights, to go through Immigration and Customs, and have a visa (even the transit visa was a visa), had been around since long before 9/11. Perhaps surprising we even have a visa waiver system (ESTA). And it isn't just "our Government" that has pushed measures against, or in theory against, terrorism. Any politician who would argue against such measures would likely feel the wrath of the public at election time.

People certainly want more improements, but who wants to pay for them? Those who want the improvements really should contact airport officials and, even more importantly, elected officials and tourism officials (and suggest funding sources, if possible). Didn't LAX just end its contract with Traveler's Aid? The trend seems to be for cutbacks. And renovations to accommodate the new mega-Airbus could take priority. There are many airports that could use improvements. I'm not sure if LAX use has increased or declined lately. Some airports (e.g., ONT) have far fewer passengers than in the past, so chances for improvements could be small. ONT doesn't even have any options for eating outside of security.

Last edited by SoCal; Jul 21, 11 at 12:44 pm.
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Old Jul 25, 11, 2:29 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bzcat View Post
You are preaching to the choir

1. There are no such thing as "transit lounge" anywhere in the US since 9/11. Our Govt has deemed everyone flying on airplanes as a potential terrorist.

2. Risk-based inspection? Ha... you are talking about a country that makes everyone takes off their shoes and get a naked picture taken just to enter the terminal.

3. Lack of connection between terminals at LAX is a long running grievance. It's as if we went out of our way to make airside connection difficult. I can't tell you why LAX doesn't have airside shuttle (like "A" shuttle but runs within secured zone)... it seems like a cheap and easy thing to do. And bonus - we also make sure airlines from the same alliance are at opposite end of the airport to make getting on code share flights extra hard! This one is a no charge free service...

4. Sporadic shuttle service? That's why I always tell people to walk. LAX terminals are really compact so you can always get across the airport faster by walking than waiting for the shuttle bus. And don't get me started on the idiotic 2-level split departure/arrival mess that doubles vehicle traffic for no reason.

5. Bradley Terminal is undergoing major renovation. We should be up to 1990s world standards by 2013.

6. Signage? Signs are for people who read English! You are going to make me foam at the mouth now... LAX not only lack signage in English, it is completely lacking in actual useful signs in foreign languages. And the few signs at Bradley terminal in Chinese/Korean/Japanese are atrociously translated that they don't mean anything.
LAX is a dump, with lots of serious issues, but there are some unfair statements in the OP and replies.

Point 1 above not unique to LAX.

Point 2 above not unique to LAX.

Point 3 above not unique to LAX. Try JFK. Also, LAX can't be responsible for airline alliances, the vast bulk of which occurred long after airline tenants moved into their terminals.

Point 4: The dual roadway significantly reduces terminal congestion. Not at all sure how this could double vehicle traffic.

I dislike LAX rather intensely, and I've been flying out of there nearly every week for the past seven years.

So what don't I like?
  1. It's a police state. You always see airport cops giving tickets. I've gotten several (!!) myself, including jay walking.
  2. Signs? Agreed...good luck finding out which terminal your airline uses just by driving around the loop. Or which of the green/red/blue/purple signs you're supposed to stand under for your shuttle.
  3. Parking payment booths, which require the driver to put the ticket into the slot, then creep forward and pay. And booths that are never manned. And excruciatingly slow personnel.
  4. Randomly blocking off the Sepulveda south-bound exit, even though Sepulveda is moving just fine.
  5. NEVER enough cops at peak times. (Ok, this isn't unique to LAX.) [**]
  6. And my United flights that always seem to be leaving from T6 or T8 with the RCC in T7.
  7. And the always mirthful "perp walk" up the ramp out of customs at TBIT.

[**] Brain fart: I meant not enough TSA screeners. Thanks to a later poster for pointing out an inconsistency here.

Last edited by SoManyMiles-SoLittleTime; Jul 26, 11 at 10:06 am. Reason: Brain fart.
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Old Jul 25, 11, 2:34 pm   #8
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One note. There is no such thing as "transit" in the USA. Roughly same thing in Canada, although you do have expedited clearance "B" lines.
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Old Jul 25, 11, 3:25 pm   #9
 
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A "police state"..... without enough cops???

P.S. Badly translated signs are not unique to LAX.. or English speaking countries for that matter....

Love the one at PVG that (in English) says "You are here".. no map or anything... just that line....

I have no idea what the Chinese version directly above it means......
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Old Jul 25, 11, 4:36 pm   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bzcat View Post
There are no such thing as "transit lounge" anywhere in the US since 9/11. Our Govt has deemed everyone flying on airplanes as a potential terrorist.
That's got nothing to do with 9/11. US airports didn't have transit lounges before 9/11, either, and it has nothing to do with the government's idea of who is a potential terrorist. It's just a different system. We usually don't have sequestered international-only concourses, so you have to "enter the US" to proceed with an onward flight.
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Old Jul 25, 11, 5:49 pm   #11
 
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Smile In transit areas in Canadian airports

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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
One note. There is no such thing as "transit" in the USA. Roughly same thing in Canada, although you do have expedited clearance "B" lines.
Thanks to all for the replies to my rant! I take most of the points on board.

On this one above, I beg to differ. The int'l arrivals area at T 1in YYZ has a designated connections desk on Level 2, before Customs & Immigration. I frequently see int'ls there checking in for their next flight. AC, in particular, is taking advantage of this arrangement. On my LAX-YYZ flight, for ex., there was an entire sports team changing planes enroute to Europe! I understand YVR has a similar arrangement, for its numerous Asia flights. I don't know about YUL.So Canadian airports do have an intransit area, & int'l carriers are taking advantage of it.

ps I am looking forward to my next trip to LAX!
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Old Jul 26, 11, 3:26 am   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antonio8069 View Post
...On this one above, I beg to differ. The int'l arrivals area at T1 in YYZ has a designated connections desk on Level 2, before Customs & Immigration.,,,
But T3 at YYZ does not, for example (T3 is privately owned for-profit terminal); only recently has T3 added expedited inspection lanes for int'l transit pax, but they must enter Canada....so not consistent even at the same airport! Absurd, annoying and expensive for some. LAX is actually pretty good, if you know the ropes and time your flights right (choice of airline/terminal/time of day/status). I go through there several times per month and rarely takes more than 30 min for immigration/customs, but I time my flights with some care. QF arrival is much better than the DJ arrival, for example, from SYD.
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Old Jul 26, 11, 12:13 pm   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoManyMiles-SoLittleTime View Post

Point 4: The dual roadway significantly reduces terminal congestion. Not at all sure how this could double vehicle traffic.
The double deck roadway without mode separation doubles traffic because all the shuttle buses have to make 2 circles to drop off and pickup. It's outdated thinking.

Given that we have 2 completely separate road ways, the smart way to handle vehicular traffic at LAX would be to send buses and shuttles and taxi to one level, and send private vehicles to another level. This way, you instantly reduce 50% of buses and shuttle traffic, which are the main contributor to LAX's traffic, and will improve boarding and dispatch efficiency (easier to stick to a schedule = less buses required). And if buses doesn't have to compete for curb space and get stuck with the private cars, they will be faster and more effective, and more people will use public transportation, thereby reducing the demand for private automobile accessing LAX as well.
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Old Jul 26, 11, 6:05 pm   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bzcat View Post
The double deck roadway without mode separation doubles traffic because all the shuttle buses have to make 2 circles to drop off and pickup. It's outdated thinking.

Given that we have 2 completely separate road ways, the smart way to handle vehicular traffic at LAX would be to send buses and shuttles and taxi to one level, and send private vehicles to another level. This way, you instantly reduce 50% of buses and shuttle traffic, which are the main contributor to LAX's traffic, and will improve boarding and dispatch efficiency (easier to stick to a schedule = less buses required). And if buses doesn't have to compete for curb space and get stuck with the private cars, they will be faster and more effective, and more people will use public transportation, thereby reducing the demand for private automobile accessing LAX as well.
+1. The buses and taxis, (more buses I think) are a big cause for traffic at LAX. They weave in and out and almost crush cars with reckless abandon!
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Old Aug 2, 11, 10:03 pm   #15
 
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If you have NEXUS, cant you get Globalentry for LAX?
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