How to Get Between Terminals at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

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Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is currently undergoing a major 15-year modernization project, with a primary focus on improving accessibility between terminals and public transport links.

The renovation should ease congestion on the loop road that serves all terminals since passengers can utilize more efficient methods of transport — such as an automated people mover that will stop at each terminal and connect the airport to the Metro station. These updates are scheduled for completion in 2023.

Improvements have already been made to some of the terminals to upgrade security checkpoints, baggage screening, technical systems, and baggage re-check facilities for flight connections — all functional aspects that should speed up the overall passenger experience.

If you’re headed to LAX soon, here’s what you’ll need to know to get around.

LAX Airport Layout

Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport. Image courtesy of flylax.com.

LAX has a U-shaped layout — parking lots and ground transportation are inside the U, and 9 terminals are on the outside. Terminals 1-3 on are the north side, terminals 4-8 are on the south, and Terminal B (Tom Bradley International) is on the west side.

All areas inside the U are landside access (pre-security), so passengers and non-passengers are permitted here. However, besides small coffee shops, there aren’t many restaurants or cafes landside of terminals 1-9. If you arrive early and can’t check in for your flight, head to Terminal B for a bigger selection of landside restaurants.

Each terminal has its own security checkpoint (except Terminal 7 and 8, which share one), and any passenger with a valid boarding pass for that day can go through security at any terminal.

Once you’re airside (past security), each terminal has its own shops, bars, and restaurants, and some have airline lounges.

LAX Ground Transportation Pre-Security (Landside)

Landside transportation is centered around the double-level looped road that runs inside the U-shaped layout. The upper level is for departures, and the lower level is for arrivals, which corresponds with the terminal’s check-in and baggage claim levels.

Terminal Shuttle Bus

If you need to travel between terminals at LAX, hop on the terminal shuttle that runs in a counter-clockwise loop stopping at each terminal.

You can pick up the shuttle from outside each terminal on the lower level, under the blue signs “LAX Shuttle & Airline Connections” with a picture of a bus. Buses depart every 10 minutes, and it takes a couple of minutes to travel between terminals (depending on traffic).

Walkways

If you don’t want to take the bus or traffic is heavy, then you can also walk the same route on the public sidewalks on either level.

To walk from the northern terminals to the southern terminals, you can cut through the parking garages located in the center. Each garage is connected to a terminal via a bridge from departures level 3.

LAX Ground Transportation Post-Security (Airside)

Los Angeles International Airport Inter-Terminal Connections
Los Angeles International Airport inter-terminal connections. Image courtesy of flylax.com.

Currently, there’s not much in the way of airside ground transportation — walking is the way to get around, though you can hop on the electric carts that run between terminals.

Terminals B, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 are linked with airside walkways, allowing quicker and easier flight connections. Terminals 4, 5, and 6 use underground tunnels, and 6, 7, and 8 are connected via above-ground tunnels.

Terminal B is linked to Terminal 4 with an above-ground connector tunnel that has moving walkways. It takes around 5-8 minutes to walk between each terminal.

If you need to travel between Terminals 2 and 3, then you have the option to take an airside bus from Level 2 ticketing/check-in. LAX recommends allowing 10 minutes to take the bus.

Layout of LAX Terminals

LAX Terminal 1

Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 1
Los Angeles International airport Terminal 1. Image courtesy of flylax.com.

Terminal 1 is the only terminal that is not connected to another with an airside or landside walkway, and it serves only flights from Southwest Airlines. Terminal 1 has 12 gates numbered 9, 11A, 11B, 12B, 13-16, 17A, 17B, 18A, and 18B.

Shops, restaurants, and cafes are located on level 2 (the same level as the departure gates).

When connecting from Terminal 1, exit the terminal on the lower level from baggage claim through doors L1-06 or L1-07, cross over the road to the shuttle pick-up lane, and ride the terminal shuttle bus.

LAX Terminal 2

Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 2
Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 2. Image courtesy of flylax.com.

Terminal 2 is connected to Terminal 3 via a landside walkway — if you’re connecting between these terminals (or from Terminal 2 to any other terminals), you will need to exit the terminal and re-clear security.

If you want to remain airside, you can ride the shuttle bus between Terminals 2 and 3 from level 2 ticketing/check-in. This takes around 10 minutes.

Terminal 2 has 12 gates numbered 21, 21B, 22, 22A, 23, 23A, 24, 24A, and 25-28. Shops, restaurants, and cafes are located on level 2 with the departure gates, and the Delta Sky Club and Virgin Clubhouses are located on level 3.

When connecting from Terminal 2, exit on the lower level from baggage claim through doors L1-05, cross the road to the shuttle pick-up lane, and take the terminal shuttle bus.

LAX Terminal 3

Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 3
Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 3. Image courtesy of flylax.com.

Terminal 3 is connected to Terminal 2 via a landside walkway, but it isn’t linked to any other terminals. If you have a flight connection to Terminal 2 (or any other terminal), you’ll need to re-clear security at the next terminal (unless you ride the airside shuttle bus to Terminal 2).

In Terminal 3, you’ll find 13 gates numbered 31A, 31B, 32, 33A, 33B, 34, 35, 35P, 36, 37A, 37B, 38, and 39. Level 4 has a Delta Sky Club Lounge; shops, restaurants, and cafes are located on level 3 with the departure gates.

When connecting from Terminal 3, exit from baggage claim on the lower level, where you’ll find 2 areas to pick up the shuttle bus (to the right and left outside the terminal).

Hot Tip: If you’re connecting to Terminal 1 or 2, it might be quicker to walk instead of taking the counter-clockwise shuttle bus (depending on traffic).

There are planned developments by Delta Air Lines for an airside connector bridge between Terminals 2, 3, and B, which would speed up connections.

LAX Terminal 4

Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 4
Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 4. Image courtesy of flylax.com.

Terminal 4 is connected to Terminal 5 by an underground airside walkway, and each subsequent terminal connects to the next in the same manner (so you won’t need to re-clear security).

In addition, Terminal 4 is connected to the International Terminal B via an airside connector bridge with moving sidewalks on level 5, which has its own security checkpoint for passengers entering Terminal 4 from the International Terminal. (If you’re entering the International Terminal B from Terminal 4, you won’t need to re-clear security again.)

Terminal 4 has 16 gates numbered 40, 41, 42A, 42B, 43-45, 46A-C, 47A, 47B, 48A, 48B, 49A, and 49B. Shops and restaurants are located on level 3 departures, along with an Admirals Club and access to an American Airlines Flagship Lounge.

Hot Tip: With airside access to Terminals B, 5, 6, 7, and 8, Terminal 4 is the best-connected terminal at LAX. You can only check in at Terminal 4 if you’re flying American Airlines, though other airlines operate flights from the gates.

LAX Terminal 5

Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 5
Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 5. Image courtesy of flylax.com.

Terminal 5 is connected to Terminals 4 and 6 via underground airside walkways. Both of these terminals are also connected onward to another terminal with airside walkways, so you won’t need to go through security again unless you’re connecting to Terminals 1-3.

In Terminal 5, you’ll find 14 gates numbered 50A, 50B, 51A, 51B, 53A, 53B, 54A-C, 55A, and 56-59. Shops, bars, and restaurants are on level 3 with departures as well as access to the Admirals Club Lounge that extends over 2 floors onto level 4.

Hot Tip: If you’re flying with American Eagle, you’ll need to catch the Terminal 5 airside shuttle bus to the Regional Terminal.

LAX Terminal 6

Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 6
Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 6. Image courtesy of flylax.com.

Terminal 6 connects with Terminal 7 via an above-ground airside walkway and Terminal 5 via an underground airside walkway. From these terminals, you can continue airside to Terminals 8, 5, 4, and the International Terminal B without having to re-clear security.

There are 14 gates in Terminal 6 numbered 60-63, 64A, 64B, 65A, 65B, 66, 67, 68A, 68B, 69A, and 69B. Shops, bars, and restaurants are on level 3 departures along with an Alaska Airlines Lounge.

If you’re connecting from Terminal 6, you can use the airside walkways to any of the south terminals. For Terminals 1-3, exit after the baggage claim through door L1-05, where the shuttle bus stop is located just across the road.

LAX Terminals 7 and 8

Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 7 and 8
Los Angeles International Airport Terminals 7 and 8. Image courtesy of flylax.com.

Though Terminals 7 and 8 share the same security checkpoint, they’re considered separate terminals, with gate numbers in the 70s for Terminal 7, and 80s for Terminal 8.

There’s an above-ground airside walkway connecting Terminal 7 with Terminal 8 and Terminal 6, and you have access to reach gates 5, 4, and the International Terminal B without having to re-clear security.

Hot Tip: Check-in at Terminal 7 or 8 is only possible for United Airlines, even though other airlines depart and arrive from these terminal gates.

Terminal 7 has 14 gates numbered 70A, 70B, 71A, 71B, 72A, 72B, 73, 74A, 74B, 75A, 75B, 76A, 76B, and 77. There are United Club and United Polaris lounges on level 3 departures, along with an array of shops, bars, and restaurants.

Terminal 8 has 8 gates numbered 80-85, 86A, and 86B. There are a few shops, bars, cafes, and restaurants on level 3 departures.

Thomas Bradley International Terminal B

Los Angeles International Airport Thomas Bradley International Terminal
Los Angeles International Airport Thomas Bradley International Terminal. Image courtesy of flylax.com.

Terminal B is located on the western side of the airport and receives the majority of international flight arrivals, although flights do depart from other terminals.

It’s the largest terminal at LAX and is connected to Terminal 4 via a bridge. Within this connector bridge is a dedicated security checkpoint for passengers arriving on international flights who are connecting to Terminals 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.

The International Terminal is further split into the South Concourse and North Concourse — gates 150-157 and 159 are in the South Concourse, while gates 130-135, 137, 139, and 141 are in the North Concourse.

If you’re arriving from the main security checkpoint, you’ll enter the Great Hall on level 4 where most of the shops, bars, and restaurants are located. From here, the South Concourse is to the left with 2 moving walkways, and the North Concourse is to the right with 1 moving walkway.

Hot Tip: In the International Terminal, Level 5 has Korean Air, Qantas, and Oneworld Alliance lounges. Level 6 has Air New Zealand, Etihad, Emirates, and LA International lounges.

Estimated Walking Times Between Terminals

In some situations, it may be quicker and easier to walk to your next terminal than catch the shuttle bus. These are estimated walking times between different areas of LAX:

  • 5 minutes for each portion of this route: Terminal 1 – Terminal 2 – Terminal 3 – International Terminal – Terminal 4
  • 5-8 minutes for each portion of this route: Terminal 4 – Terminal 5 – Terminal 6 – Terminal 7 – Terminal 8
  • 5 minutes from the north terminals (1-3) to the south terminals (4-6) crossing directly through the parking area

Flight Connections at LAX

Los Angeles International Airport Terminal B
Los Angeles International Airport Terminal B. Image courtesy of flylax.com.

If you’re arriving on an international flight, you will need to clear immigration at your arrival terminal. You will then need to collect your bag and clear customs — if the bag has been tagged with a final destination, you can drop it off at the transfers service desk after customs. You can then make your way to your connecting terminal.

Passengers connecting from a domestic flight won’t need to clear immigration or customs, and any checked baggage will be transported to your onward flight (provided it has been tagged to your final destination).

Hot Tip: If you booked your flights separately instead of as a single ticket with connections, you’ll need to pick up your luggage in the baggage claim area, re-check your bag, and re-clear security.

Those traveling with carry-on luggage only can proceed directly to the terminal of their connecting flight and remain airside (if possible between the 2 terminals).

Accessibility

All terminals at LAX are accessible to passengers with disabilities, mobility concerns, and wheelchair users. When connecting between terminals, the shuttle bus is equipped with a lift for wheelchair users, and there are elevators in every terminal for accessing the underground and above-ground walkways.

Final Thoughts

Although the current renovations are causing some disruption to normal operations, passengers are already praising the improvements so far — such as the Terminal B to Terminal 4 connector that enables quicker connections for international flights.

The automated people mover will be a game-changer for accessing LAX from the rest of Los Angeles. However, it won’t eliminate the need to re-clear security at a connecting terminal if arriving at Terminals 1-3 (the people mover will run between terminals airside).

If you’re connecting to another flight at LAX, be sure to check out the map on the location of your next terminal, since each one will require a different amount of time to transfer. Once you do your research and leave time to re-clear security (if necessary), you’ll have no problems at all!

If you’d like to know even more about LAX, check out our article: Los Angeles International Airport [LAX] – Everything Travelers Need To Know.


Featured Image Credit: FlyLAX.com

FAQ

How do you get between terminals at LAX?

You can get between LAX terminals by riding the free landside terminal shuttle bus that runs in a clockwise loop, or by walking on the sidewalks. Terminals 4-8 are connected by a series of airside walkways, and Terminal 4 is linked to the International Terminal B via a connector bridge.

Are Terminal 5 and 6 connected at LAX?

Terminals 5 and 6 are connected airside via an underground tunnel, so it’s not necessary to re-clear security again unless you have arrived on an international flight. They are also connected landside, but this would require re-clearing security for all passengers if they exit the terminal and leave the secure area.

Are Terminals 2 and 3 connected at LAX?

Terminals 2 and 3 are only connected landside via a walkway, so you would need to exit the secure area and re-clear security. If you would like to remain airside, there is a bus you can ride between Terminals 2 and 3 that departs from level 2 ticketing/check-in and takes around 10 minutes.

Is there a shuttle between terminals at LAX?

There is a shuttle bus between terminals at LAX that runs in a clockwise route stopping at all terminals. You can ride the shuttle from outside each terminal on the arrivals level, from under the blue signs “LAX Shuttle & Airline Connections.” It takes a couple of minutes to travel between terminals with buses departing every 10 minutes.

Can you walk between terminals at LAX?

You can walk between all terminals at LAX. Terminals 4-8 have airside underground and above-ground walkways, with Terminal 4 also walkable to the International Terminal B via a connector bridge. You can even walk outside of the secure area between terminals using the sidewalks on both levels of the ring road, or cut through parking garages between the north and south terminals.

Amar Hussain

About Amar Hussain

Amar was born and raised in England, UK, embarked on an 11 country round the world gap year after graduation and then became well and truly hooked. The first gap year inspired a second which ended up being a 23 country down-the-world trip from Canada to Antarctica. Since then Amar has endeavoured to turn his gap year into a ‘gap life’ and has spent the last 10 years traveling the 7 continents.

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