Los Angeles Airport, commonly referred to as LAX, is located just 16 miles from the downtown area of America's second-largest city and is the sixth-busiest air hub in the world. Passengers availing of car hire at Los Angeles Airport can fully explore Los Angeles and other destinations in California and along the west coast of the US with ease.
Who to Book With
There are at least 40 car hire companies for passengers to choose from, yet all of them are off the premises of Los Angeles Airport. Some of them (namely Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Hertz, Dollar, Enterprise, Payless, Fox, National and Thrifty) pick their customers up from the Lower/Arrivals Level near Baggage Reclaim, under the sign that reads: ‘Rental Car Shuttles’. Alternative arrangements need to be made when hiring from one of the other companies.
Need to Know Essentials
You will need to show the following documents at vehicle collection:
- Driver’s licence (both parts if using a UK licence)
- Credit card used to confirm the reservation
- A passport as confirmation of ID
- Printed confirmation of booking
For more info read our FAQ's.
The US is known for its collection of well-maintained roads that connect its states and their cities, although Los Angeles has achieved notoriety for its hectic traffic. Many parts of the city can only be reached by those who have their own vehicle. Carpool lanes in American cities may only be entered if a vehicle has one or more passengers. Parking in the downtown area of a city is usually expensive; even hotels charge their guest for using their parking garages. California has one of the US' most extensive highway systems and drivers around the state are both cautious and courteous. Although the likes of Orange County, the state capital of San Diego and Riverside County have toll roads, most highways around the US are free to use.
See our guide to the US for more information on driving here.
Los Angeles Airport can be reached by completing the 16-mile drive from the metropolitan area on the Glenn Anderson Freeway, the Santa Monica Freeway and the San Diego Freeway. Depending on traffic, the journey can take anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours. Other transport options include shuttle buses, taxis, shared vans and limousines.
There currently aren't any trains directly to Los Angeles Airport but it is possible to take the Metro Rail to Union Station and then transfer to the FlyAway Bus. A typical Metro Rail plus FlyAway Bus transfer costs around £4.50 per person.
Taxis can be caught from outside the Lower/Arrival Level of each terminal. All passengers are given a ticket that states typical fares to Los Angeles's best known destinations and only taxis with an official seal are authorized to pick up passengers. For travelling from the airport, there is a surcharge of around £2.50 and a flat fee of around £30 to the downtown area. Companies that are licensed to transport passengers to and from the airport include Beverly Hills Cab Company, Independent Taxi, Bell Cab Company and City Cab.
Los Angeles Airport to Los Angeles city centre is about £30
Los Angeles Airport to Santa Monica is about £25
Los Angeles Airport to Hollywood is about £35
Los Angeles Airport to Long Beach is about £40
The FlyAway Bus transports passengers between Los Angeles Airport and Union Station for around £5 per person. Other bus options include services supplied by Grayline/Coach USA that travel to Universal Studios and Disney, as well as to other tourist attractions that aren't necessarily located around the Downtown area. Shared vans operated by Prime Time Shuttle and Super Shuttle run to and from destinations in southern California.
Los Angeles Airport is divided into nine terminals that are numbered one to eight. Every year, the terminals handle around 60 million passengers using flights provided by over 50 airlines. Travel between the terminals is possible via a frequent shuttle bus service that runs every quarter of an hour.
Parking a vehicle is possible in any of the 8,000 spaces in the Central Terminal Area (CTA), located directly across from the terminals. There are also huge economy parking lots on 96th street and Sepulveda Boulevard as well as on the northwest corner of 96th Street and Vicksburg Avenue. To leave a vehicle in a CTA lot costs around £18 per 24 hours.
Complimentary Wi-Fi service is available in most public areas of Los Angeles Airport. Connecting to a faster network costs around £3 per hour or £5 per 24 hours.
Information desks are found on the Arrivals level of each terminal.
General Enquiries: +1 310 646 5252
Lost & Found: +1 310 417 0440
Left Luggage: +1 310 863 4109
Los Angeles Airport has disabled persons’ parking spaces in its parking lot for those with reduced mobility. Wheelchairs can be pre-arranged: passengers should notify their airlines of specific requirements prior to arrival. Facilities such as telephones, elevators, restaurants and bathrooms have all been made easily-accessible.
Restaurants and Bars
As Los Angeles Airport has so many terminals, there are various restaurants and bars on the premises. While some chains such as McDonald's, Starbucks and Burger King have restaurants in multiple terminals, lesser-known establishments might only operate in a sole terminal. Sam Adams Taste of LA, Home Turf Sports Bar and Gordan Biersch are popular places to consume drinks before or after a flight.
US Airways Club Lounge
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge
Air France Business Class Lounge
Alaska Airlines Board Room
American Admiral's Club Lounge
Delta Sky Club Lounge
Continental President's Club Lounge
United Red Carpet Lounge
Tom Bradley International Terminal:
Skyteam KAL Business Class Lounge
Money and ATMs
ATMs are supplied by Bank of America and can be found in the Departures and Arrivals areas of each terminal in Los Angeles Airport. Bureau de change booths are usually operated by ICE and can be found in the Departures area of every terminal as well as in Arrivals in terminals 2, 5 and 6, and at the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
Duty Free Shoppers outlets can be found in every terminal alongside smaller gift shops such as I Love LA and Crews of California. Hudson News and Hudson Booksellers are the main places for purchasing books and magazines at Los Angeles Airport.