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The consolidated "What to do on a layover at LAX" thread

The consolidated "What to do on a layover at LAX" thread

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Old Feb 24, 03, 7:22 pm
  #16  
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Thanks to all who responded and for providing me with ideas/options on what to do for my layover in LAX. I don't mean to be a pest but I was reading the Frommer's New Zealand book today and it says that your US passport should be valid for 3 months after your trip. Mine expires a month after my trip? I will only be gone for two weeks. Is this going to be a problem?
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Old Feb 24, 03, 7:30 pm
  #17  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Happs:
I don't mean to be a pest but I was reading the Frommer's New Zealand book today and it says that your US passport should be valid for 3 months after your trip. Mine expires a month after my trip? I will only be gone for two weeks. Is this going to be a problem? </font>
A very big problem. Most airlines will refuse to let you board if your passport is that close to expiry (they will have to fly you back at their cost if you are refused entry at your destination). Most countries require 6 months validity on passports at time of entry into the country. NZ is a bit more liberal, but there is little chance that you will be allowed entry into NZ or any other country requiring a passport unless you renew your passport prior to your trip.

I was sufficiently concerned about your situation to check the NZ government web site, and your passport does require 3 months validity after the date leaving NZ. See http://www.immigration.govt.nz/visit/

You should phone the NZ office at LAX and see what they suggest. Renewing your US passport by next week is possible but difficult.
New Zealand Consulate General
Suite 1150
12400 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90025

Office hours: Hours open to the public:
9.00am-12.00pm (Monday to Friday)
Phone: (310) 207 1605
Fax: (310) 207 3605
(this may be what you'll be doing at LAX on your trip).

[This message has been edited by number_6 (edited 02-24-2003).]
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Old Feb 24, 03, 7:46 pm
  #18  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Taipei:
Qantas is in the AA terminal now, #4</font>
This is incorrect for flights to NZ and Australia!!!!! QF is still in the Bradley terminal for ALL trans-pacific departures. Only the LAX-JFK flight on QF leaves from T4, and you will find an empty QF counter at T4 the rest of the time (you must go to the International Bradley terminal to check in for all the other flights, and not to T4).
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Old Feb 24, 03, 8:04 pm
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Please get your passport renewed! When I was leaving for Sydney from LAX they were removing passengers from the plane for insufficient travel documentation!

My trip was in Dec 2001, and I don't know if things have changed - but security lines in the Bradley Terminal were endless - you might be standing there for several hours (I do hope things have improved since then) - so do be sure to grab a bite and and stretch a bit before queuing up...as I recall, the eats in the secure area were nothing to write home about!
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Old Feb 24, 03, 11:04 pm
  #20  
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number_6:
Even though you are the bearer of bad news, I do sincerely appreciate it. I am going to be making several calls to travel agencies, passport agencies, and the NZ consulate to see what I can do about this. On a broader note, I assume the majority of the public treats a passport like a drivers license--that it's valid until expiration date and is unaware of the passport validation policies of different countries. Perhaps airlines should inform international travelers of different nation's requirements.
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Old Feb 25, 03, 4:23 am
  #21  
 
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Happs:
Even though you are the bearer of bad news, I do sincerely appreciate it. I am going to be making several calls to travel agencies, passport agencies, and the NZ consulate to see what I can do about this. </font>
I found myself in a similar situation about 18 months ago. I used http://www.americanpassport.com and can highly recommend them. Bascially, you overnight them your existing passport and completed renewal form (download from their web site), and they get it processed in one day and overnight it back to you. So, you can get the whole thing done in 1-4 business days, depending on how much you pay. In my one experience with them, everything worked exactly as they described.

By the way, in addition to hand-carrying your renewal application to the passport office, one of the big benefits of using such a service is that they go over your application with the proverbial fine-tooth comb before submitting it, so there's little chance of it not being processed by the passport office. When you do it yourself, you always run the risk of not crossing a t, dotting an i, or answering some question incorrectly. In your case, you can't afford a delay.

Some airlines are starting to provide public access to the database that they use as a reference for such matters. Check out

http://www.continental.com/travel/tPassportReqs.asp

Although you're not traveling on CO, the data on this web page comes from IATA, which is a global organization representing most airlines.

I looked up your situation on this web site, assuming that you're a US citizen. It says:

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Passport should be valid at least 3 months beyond period of intended stay (or 1 month beyond intended stay if issuing government has consular representation in New Zealand able to issue and renew passports).</font>
My plain reading of the above is that US passport holders are only required to have 1 month's passport validity after the intended stay for NZ, as the US Embassy in NZ certainly can issue and renew US passports.

Also, keep in mind that with respect to immigration matters, "1 month" means exactly that. Specifically, it is not the same as 30 days, unless the month in question has exactly 30 days. Immigration authorities tend to be precise to a fault when it comes to these matters.

This is a start, but you would be wise to: a) verify this with the NZ Embassy or Consulate in the US, and b) verify that Qantas recognizes this as well. Even if it is true as far as NZ is concerned, if Qantas thinks "3 months validity" for everyone is the rule, then you're not getting on the flight. The fact that you may be correct in the end won't help you much if it takes a day to clear it up.

So, if I were in your situation, I'd pay for the express renewal. It's going to cost up to $150 (plus the regular $115 gov't fee for renewal that you're going to have to pay eventually anyway), but you will be ensured a hassle-free trip.

Regarding your layover at LAX, here are my recommendations:

- You are correct that you can not through-check your bags in PHX, as Southwest does not have interline baggage agreements with any other carrier. This is one way that they can reduce costs and offer you the $70 fare that you got. You'll need to claim your baggage at LAX and re-check it.

- Generally speaking, check-in counters open at the Bradley terminal at LAX 3 hours before departure time. If Qantas has other flights that depart earlier in the day, you may be able to check your baggage at the counter that's processing an earlier flight. If that's the case, I'd recommend checking your bags as soon as possible. If not, keep in mind that there's generally already quite a line for international flights at the 3-hour window, so you need to get there early if you plan to do something between check-in and boarding the flight.

- As far as going between terminals at LAX, don't bother with the shuttle. Rent a SmarteCarte for your baggage for $2 or $3 or whatever it is and walk. It may be a 15-minute walk, but unless you're mobility-impaired, it should be no problem at all. Find an elevator to get from the lower level to the upper level.

- Regarding what to do, I second the recommendation of visiting the Encounter bar/restaurant. Follow the link that AAgoraku posted above and I'm sure you'll instantly recognize this classic building from TV and the movies. It definately has a George Jetson motif, both inside and out. If you can check your bags right away, I might head over to Encounter for not just a drink but a meal. Of course it's a bit pricy because of the location, but the food is actually quite good. If not, at least go for a drink or two.

- With the amount of time you have, I would not recommend venturing too far from the airport, and certainly not use public transportation to go into downtown. You never know what will happen on the freeway as far as traffic goes. If it were me, I'd stay at the airport, or at the most take the suggestion to take a taxi to In 'n Out Burger. Be forwarned: you will make yourself an enemy with the taxi driver. They are expecting a fare to downtown or some other distant location and have likely waited an hour or so in the taxi line - tip generously and buy them lunch.

- If you're into people-watching, LAX is my favorite airport to do it. LAX has the highest number of international arrivals/departures of any US airport, and perhaps of any airport worldwide. There are people coming and going from every conceivable corner of the globe, and if you look carefully, you can see some very interesting characters. Walk around all of the various airlines' check-in counters in the Bradley terminal. You'll be surprised at how much luggage (many consisting of large boxes) that some people have. If you get lucky, you might even see a kitchen sink! Also, don't forget to go down to the arrival hall and see who's there.

- In the Bradley terminal, most of the good shopping and food/drink is located prior to security, unlike many other international airports. So, don't go through security too early and expect there to be a lot to do.

Have a great trip!

P.S. -

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">On a broader note, I assume the majority of the public treats a passport like a drivers license--that it's valid until expiration date and is unaware of the passport validation policies of different countries. Perhaps airlines should inform international travelers of different nation's requirements. </font>
A US passport is valid up until the expiration date as far as the US government is concerned. As such, it's valid for use domestically until then. The "6 months validity" or "3 months validity" issues are requirements imposed by other governments.

In any event, although the airlines/travel agents can offer general information if asked, the airline's only duty as far as conforming to immigration law is to the various countries they serve and they have no duty to provide legal advice on immigration law to their passengers. It is solely the passenger's duty to know and comply with the immigration laws of the countries they plan to visit.

The problem facing any carrier is that these laws are complex and change often. The only authoritative source is the horse's mouth: that is, the other country's embassy or consulate. After getting the actual entry requirements, it's probably wise to check with the carrier to ensure that their understanding matches, especially if you're trying to invoke an exception to the rule.


P.P.S. - The issue of requiring 6 months' passport validity beyond the intended stay is a recognized problem, so much so that many countries entered into a treaty two or three years ago to reduce or eliminate this requirement. As countries sign on to the treaty, and as it gets implemented by the various immigration bureaus and airlines, this will become less of a problem over time. I suspect that five years from now, this will no longer be a problem between the major countries.

[This message has been edited by Steve M (edited 02-25-2003).]
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Old Feb 25, 03, 3:41 pm
  #22  
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Steve M,
I was overwhelmed by your kindness in producing a legnthy and informative reply. Thank you very much for the recommendation of American Passport Co. I FedEx'd them all the necessary paperwork this morning. What a knowledgeble and wonderful group of people we have here on Flyertalk.com.
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Old Feb 25, 03, 10:23 pm
  #23  
 
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Happs:
Steve M,
I was overwhelmed by your kindness in producing a legnthy and informative reply. Thank you very much for the recommendation of American Passport Co. I FedEx'd them all the necessary paperwork this morning. What a knowledgeble and wonderful group of people we have here on Flyertalk.com.
</font>
You're welcome! You can return the favor by posting to the Trip Reports forum upon your return. Be sure to include what you did at LAX for the benefit of future people in your situation. Have a wonderful trip.
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Old Nov 22, 04, 7:17 pm
  #24  
 
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8 hour layover in LAX please help

OK,

So This friday is the East coast / West coast run.

I get in LAX around 2:00pm and leave at 10:30pm......Why do we do it.

Anyway,

I need something close to the airport to occupy myself for 8 hours.

Movie theatre, mall, resturant, map to the stars, etc.

Anyone care to share an idea or two?
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Old Nov 22, 04, 7:42 pm
  #25  
 
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Originally Posted by rebadc
Anyone care to share an idea or two?
If you go north on on Sepulveda Blvd ~3 miles you'll hit The Howard Hughes Centerwhere you'll find a wealth of shopping and movie pleasures. If you want to take in something worth while in LA, I would suggest some how getting to the J Paul Getty Museum which you can easily spend the entire day, and make your feet sore enough to sleep on the flight home. Best part is the Getty is free except for parking..
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Old Nov 23, 04, 12:12 am
  #26  
 
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All good suggestions. Also, Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade (Between Broadway and Wilshire) and the Santa Monica Pier (just a couple of blocks from the Third Street Promenade just off Ocean). Many shops, restaurants, theatres (very popular outdoor mall) plus the enclosed Santa Monica Place mall is at the south end of the Third Street Promenade with Macy's and Robinson's-May.

Just up the road from The Promenade at the Howard Hughes Center (Nordstrom Rack, Borders and The Bridge Cinemas - new and upscale 17 movie theatres - http://www.thebridgecinema.com ) is the Fox Hills Mall (Macy's, Robinson's-May, J.C. Penney - no movie theatres), an enclosed mall. The Culver City transportation center (bus center) is in its parking lot.

Big Blue Bus (Santa Monica Bus) will take you to Santa Monica http://www.bigbluebus.com

Culver City Bus (Green Bus) will take you to Howard Hughes Center, Fox Hills Mall or as far north as UCLA/Westwood along their Sepulveda Blvd. route (and then into Westwood and UCLA).
http://www.culvercity.org/depts_bus.html

MTA (Red Express Bus or Orange Bus)
Will take you to the Getty Center and other places in Los Angeles.
http://www.mta.net

ALL bus service is accessed in the bus transportation center in Parking Lot C (take the LAX bus for Parking Lot C on the lower level of the terminals...from the median area.) First (with a little walk) or last exit on the bus while in Parking Lot C gets you to the transportation center.

Last edited by CalItalian; Nov 23, 04 at 12:16 am
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Old Nov 23, 04, 12:20 am
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You could also head south on Sepulveda

That'll take you into the Beach cities -- Manhattan, Hermosa, Redondo.

A couple miles south there's Rosecrans and Fry's Electronics (hey, I'm a computer geek and I can't pass that up!) also on Rosecrans are the Pacific Theatres and Houstons Restaurant which is really good.

You could also head down to Hermosa (or Redondo) by the Pier (if the weather is cool, I'd probably skip that.

all this presumes you have a rental car.

If you don't have a car, I don't know if there's a shuttle to the Green Line station; that area is just off rosecrans and within walking distance of Houstons and the Movie theatres.
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Old Nov 23, 04, 4:27 am
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One word. VEGAS.

You can catch a cheap SWA flight to Vegas and gamble for a few hours then return to LAX. I have done it.
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Old Nov 23, 04, 7:04 am
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The Getty Center is an awesome museum. It has a great collection that is very strong in Renaissance and Ancient Art. The grounds are amazing too. The Getty Center is located a short ride north on 405 from LAX.


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Old Nov 23, 04, 7:14 am
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You can find a cheap flight to Santa Barbara (25 minute flight-89 miles-500 base). Found AVIS is nice enough to rent a car for $15 for a few hours, drive to the beach, have lunch and catch the afternoon flight back to LAX.
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