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Reality check on LAX traffic (and how to get to the cell phone parking lot)

Reality check on LAX traffic (and how to get to the cell phone parking lot)

Old Aug 21, 18, 8:03 am
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Reality check on LAX traffic (and how to get to the cell phone parking lot)

We're planning a trip to SoCal and trying to decide which airport to use. I'm in favor of LAX because the tickets are significantly cheaper, but my sis-in-law whom we'll be visiting is telling me horror stories of the traffic in and out of LAX and wants us to use SNA. Does it really take an hour to get around the circle at LAX now? Or that local TV station exaggeration?
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Old Aug 21, 18, 8:23 am
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
We're planning a trip to SoCal and trying to decide which airport to use. I'm in favor of LAX because the tickets are significantly cheaper, but my sis-in-law whom we'll be visiting is telling me horror stories of the traffic in and out of LAX and wants us to use SNA. Does it really take an hour to get around the circle at LAX now? Or that local TV station exaggeration?
Normally, no, and usually once you get past T2 it's pretty quick, but getting from being on the 105 to T1 can take 40 minutes on a bad day. Traffic for the northbound Sepulveda exit can be backed up to the previous exit and take many cycles of the light at the bottom to get through, followed by slow tunnel traffic. If I'm on a parking shuttle or Flyaway that's very full and the circle has a lot of traffic I normally will get off at T1 and walk across the top of the "U" to T6/7 where I usually fly from. It's about a 5 minute walk and with a full bus can be 30 minutes around the loop. There are also multiple ways to feed into the loop, so a driver that knows the alternates (e.g. exit at Aviation and enter via Century or Vicksburg) can be useful. The surface streets are laid out to make some of the alternates non-obvious. There really needs to be a parking center from south of the 105, like the old lot B, but with a dedicated train to avoid the tunnel traffic, or improved routing from Aviation to Lot C (and the train that will eventually go there).

That said, in my experience it's usually only at nightmare levels around the holidays and while it's annoying and unpredictable it's usually tolerable most other times. I live 45 minutes north if the roads are empty so I avoid peak traffic times that can double that, and do the arithmetic on door-to-door time of non-stop via LAX vs. connection out of BUR (which is the next best thing to flying out of an FBO).

As visitors, you don't have to deal with parking, which is a big plus.
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Old Aug 21, 18, 8:59 am
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
...but my sis-in-law whom we'll be visiting is telling me horror stories of the traffic in and out of LAX and wants us to use SNA.
Where does your sister-in-law live? Are you expecting her to pick you up at the airport?

If she lives in Orange County, depending on the day of the week and the time of day, getting to and from LAX can take several hours. Have you considered flying to LGB or ONT?

You may want to take a look at these threads:
Los Angeles Traffic Congestion

Consolidated "Getting to/from _____ in the Los Angeles area" thread
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Old Aug 21, 18, 9:34 am
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Have to agree with chrisl137 that once you're past T1, it's usually not terrible (10min or so to T4 and maybe another 5 to T6/7). I live 5 miles south of LAX and travel 3-5 times per month through T4/5 and it's taking about 30 minutes longer these days than it did a year ago. T1 is under construction and is the sticking point --unfortunately, all traffic goes past T1.
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Old Aug 21, 18, 1:01 pm
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Which terminal does AA use?

Also, how is using the Metro? So that Sis-in-law wouldn't have to drive us to LAX I'm looking at taking the Metro from Long Beach (blue line to green line I believe).
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Old Aug 21, 18, 1:29 pm
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
Which terminal does AA use?

Also, how is using the Metro? So that Sis-in-law wouldn't have to drive us to LAX I'm looking at taking the Metro from Long Beach (blue line to green line I believe).
AA operates primarily out of T4 and in addition has four gates and an Admirals Club in T5, a remote terminal for American Eagle flights (gates 52 A-I) and preferential use of four gates at TBIT.

To get to the Green Line, you need to take the G Shuttle from the central terminals area to the Green Line Aviation/LAX station.
G Bus- Metro Rail to Terminals (Bus-G)
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Old Aug 21, 18, 1:59 pm
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Originally Posted by TWA884 View Post
AA operates primarily out of T4 and in addition has four gates and an Admirals Club in T5, a remote terminal for American Eagle flights (gates 52 A-I) and preferential use of four gates at TBIT.

To get to the Green Line, you need to take the G Shuttle from the central terminals area to the Green Line Aviation/LAX station.
G Bus- Metro Rail to Terminals (Bus-G)
Any idea how long that shuttle takes?
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Old Aug 21, 18, 2:24 pm
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
Any idea how long that shuttle takes?
I'm not sure, probably 20-30 from T4.

Here is a link to a live map of the LAX shuttles. You can select the Green Shuttle from the drop down menu on the left.
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Old Aug 21, 18, 5:13 pm
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If you do take Metro, you are correct in that you'll need to transfer from the Green Line to the Blue Line to get to /from Long Beach. Not that far out of the way, but the transfer will take additional time.

From Long Beach, driving to LAX and back may not be that bad, but if significantly depends on day of week / time you are landing / departing. Rush hour(s) and evenings would put you in the busiest periods, but mostly LAX is manageable. Holidays are also rough. JetBlue has many flights in and out of Long Beach (LGB), so that may be a great alternative.
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Old Aug 21, 18, 5:18 pm
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Blue Line/Green Line is a bit of a drag because you have to transfer and Blue Line has gotten progressively sketchier over the years. I used to do this since I live a couple blocks from the Blue Line in Downtown Long Beach. If you do have her drive you from the OC, you can have her drop you at the Green Line station in Norwalk - then you don't have a transfer. Plus, Blue Line is going to be undergoing major track work in the near future so you'll want to avoid it during that time period. The Norwalk station is freeway close, so an easier drop off.

Alternatively, if you are going to be in the LB area, there's the Flyaway bus, which is much easier to manage: https://flylax.com/flyaway%20bus#Routes
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Old Aug 21, 18, 10:55 pm
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Originally Posted by OskiBear View Post
Alternatively, if you are going to be in the LB area, there's the Flyaway bus, which is much easier to manage: https://flylax.com/flyaway%20bus#Routes
We'll be closer to Irvine, Long Beach is as far as sis-in-law wants to drive. The Flyaway bus looks like the best option.

Thx for the info, folks.
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Old Aug 22, 18, 10:09 am
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Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
The Flyaway bus looks like the best option.
The flyaway is a great thing. Because they operate between fixed endpoints and without stops in the middle, the drivers can change their routing to avoid traffic hangups. I've generally seen them do that, and only once had one obliviously drive into a traffic nightmare that could have been avoided by a little more attention to sigalert.com and the other bus drivers on the radio.
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Old Aug 22, 18, 11:32 am
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Traffic at LAX is overblown and if you know your way around, it's not that big of a deal - e.g. don't take the I-105 Sepulveda exit thru the tunnel during peak hours, use arrival level for early AM drop off, use the middle loop service road in the lower level to exit, pick up from the cell phone waiting lot, drop off outside the airport and walk in etc.
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Old Aug 22, 18, 3:28 pm
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Originally Posted by bzcat View Post
Traffic at LAX is overblown and if you know your way around, it's not that big of a deal - e.g. don't take the I-105 Sepulveda exit thru the tunnel during peak hours, use arrival level for early AM drop off, use the middle loop service road in the lower level to exit, pick up from the cell phone waiting lot, drop off outside the airport and walk in etc.
How long is the walk from Terminal 7 to the cell lot? Google Maps
it's exactly a mile. Is there a quicker way than what they map?

Ditto for the drop off outside and walk in: where's the best drop-off point for T7?

[EDIT] I can't get the "walking directions" selection to stick in my link. You can select walking if you click "More options".

Last edited by ajGoes; Aug 22, 18 at 3:31 pm Reason: Try to fix hyperlink
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Old Aug 23, 18, 1:02 am
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It depends on how fast you walk... I think it's usually 10-12 minutes for me. I always take the bridge, but you could turn at 96th and stay at ground level and cross the streets at the lights. The bridge is cool because the landing planes come in really close. For the cell phone lot the bridge will take you right there. There are stairs down after you cross sepulveda, but they won't really save you any time because there's a high wall and you have to walk around to the front anyway.

I think this is the route I usually walk. It's not necessarily the fastest, but it works. You can also through the 3rd level of the parking lot, but I don't think it saves you any time and if you have luggage you have to get up and down.
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