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540 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 2272119 9-Jul-2019 06:24
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What is LAX like these days? When I used to travel I rated it, together with Heathrow, as the worst and most unpleasant airport in the western world, maybe the whole world. I assume the decades have brought at least some changes and things I have seen in passing give the impression that it has improved. So has it? The last time I went through there I swore I never would again and I always took the Asia route to Europe, via the magnificent Changi airport (my best in the world). What a difference! How did Americans ever get this weird idea that they are from the greatest country on earth? Compared to Singapore, they live in a chaotic disintegrating slum.



Sure, its got even more people going through it (its number four in the world by numbers).




My least favorite Airport for sure, its one of those places that once you get the hang of where everything is (seemingly randomly arrayed between floors and buildings) you are fine. But if you only go through there occasionally its a travelers worst nightmare. I must agree that the difference compared to somewhere as well designed as Changi is stark to the point of absurd. I've been through LAX a few times over the last couple of years (lost bags last time just capped it off) and will be there again in a couple of months. Now I know where things are I'm much more relaxed about it, but if you have other options (like SFO, or SIN) then take them.



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  # 2272123 9-Jul-2019 07:15
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If you do end up having to go via LAX, I recommend you try and book it so you have a couple of hours in LAX in between flights. E.g. instead of NZ 1 all the way to LHR, take NZ 5 AKL-LAX then go and explore the area nearby LAX airport then take NZ 1 LAX-LHR. I found this break to be very helpful even though it was only a few hours.



For anybody traveling to LHR this has been my recommendation for years and is my preferred option. NZ6 -> NZ2 and NZ1 -> NZ5 gives you time to leave the airport and visit In-n-Out burger and to enjoy the lounge and have a shower between flights at the lounge.


The NZ2 -> NZ2 and NZ1 -> NZ1 transit experience unfortunately suffers from being incredibly inconsistant. This will hopefully change with once the TBIT satellite terminal is complete as apparently Air NZ transit passengers will be processed in here without having to enter the main terminal area.


Looking at this thread and elsewhere it's interesting to see people trash LAX but my view is that it's nowhere as bad as many people make out. US airports in general are incredibly inefficient, and delays can suddenly occur if you have (for example) a couple of delayed A380's that suddenly turn up at the time time. I've had lots of people tell me how great ORD is and yet it took over 60 mins to clear CBP there when I flew there in February.


The problem at LAX is just the inconsistency - there are times you can arrive and go from land to landside in 20 mins, and other times this can take an hour. Likewise there are times where TSA queues at TBIT can take 30+ mins to clear and other times where you can be straight through with no delays.


As an airport though I think it's great, especially if you're connecting from other US domestic flights and can remain airside using the terminal connector.



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