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LAX has nine passenger terminals as well as nearly two million square feet of cargo facilities. LAX departures and LAX flight arrivals use the same set of gates. Passengers can check their LAX flight status by means of LED-display flight information display boards that are mounted in numerous spots throughout the terminals.
Each individual carrier has its own recommendations for how long you should allot for ticketing, baggage check-in, and security screening. In general, you should arrive at LAX two hours before the departure time listed on your ticket or boarding pass if you're traveling domestically. You should be checked in with your airline at least 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time.
Each of LAX's terminals is dedicated to a separate carrier or set of carriers. Most international commercial passengers arrive at or depart from either the Tom Bradley International Terminal or Terminal 2. LAX departures on Southwest Airlines fly out of Terminal 1. Terminal 4 serves American Airlines' departures while LAX departures on Delta Air Lines fly out of Terminal 5. Passengers can check their American Airlines flight status or Delta flight status by monitoring the overhead LED Departures screens if they're in the airport. They can also download the convenient app these carriers offer for mobile devices if they want to check their status at home.
Customs and immigration for international LAX arriving passengers is located in the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Automated kiosks enable international passengers to scan their own passports and enter their own customs declarations. These kiosks also photograph travelers and take the fingerprints of those who aren't citizens of the United States. Travelers from EU countries, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries that participate in the Visa Waiver program will be able to enter the United States without a visa. LAX arriving travelers from all other countries will be required to show a visa.
Whether you're picking someone up or dropping them off at LAX, it's most convenient to park your car and walk to your meeting place. The two most popular meeting places for LAX arrivals are terminal baggage areas and terminal curbsides. Individual airlines are happy to make overhead intercom announcements on your behalf if you're not sure your arriving passenger knows where to meet you.
Short-term parking options are offered in the Central Terminal Area, which is located directly across the airline terminals. Long-term parking is available in Lot C, which is located at Sepulveda Boulevard and 96th Avenue. Free shuttle buses leave every 15 minutes or so around the clock between Lot C and passenger terminals. Long-term parking requires a daily fee.
Los Angeles International Airport is located 15 miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles between L.A.'s Westchester neighborhood and the city of El Segundo. Public transportation options include light rail and buses.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority offers a free shuttle to the Metro Rail Green Line Aviation Station, which will take you into downtown L.A. Catch it by waiting on one of the traffic islands outside the Arrivals levels at each terminal and climbing aboard Shuttle G. Shuttle C will take you to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Bus Center, where you can connect with other city buses. Bus and light rail fares will depend on where you're traveling within the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area.
If you're traveling to the airport from the city, take a bus to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Bus Center or light rail to the Metro Rail Green Line Aviation Station. Signs will direct you to the place where you can catch your airport shuttle.
L.A. Yellow Cab Tax Company is the official taxi service authorized by the City of Los Angeles to provide service from the airport. If you're traveling to the airport, however, you can use any taxi service you wish. When you get into the cab, the driver will present you with a ticket that lists flat fares to all major destinations within the city.
Van companies Prime Time Shuttle and SuperShuttle both offer shared rides out of LAX to all other counties in Southern California. Other airbuses offer service to Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Orange and Kern Counties specifically. Approximately 40 rental car agencies also operate in conjunction with LAX. They provide free, convenient shuttles to their lots.