Ever since construction began in 2010 on the new addition to the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX I have been excited to see the interior. The official opening was in 2013 with completion in 2014. The last time I flew internationally was in 2012 so I still had to deal with the old terminal.
The architecture and configuration of Los Angeles International Airport dates back to 1961. For its time I am sure it must have been state of the art. But time marches on. Unfortunately, LAX didn’t.
Mayor Tom Bradley who reigned over LA for twenty years, championed major upgrades in the 1980s to accommodate the 1984 Olympic Games.
Bradley’s biggest (and great) contribution was the opening of the International Terminal dedicated to overseas flights (just in time for the Games), hence his name on the building. In turn, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, our mayor from 2005 to 2013, disclosed plans in 2008 for the current modernization.
Everybody complains about how obsolete the airport is to this major city. It does not in any way represent Los Angeles, which over the decades since I have lived here, has grown into a world-class city. We deserve a world-class airport!
Fast forward to Sunday, September 27, 2015.
Although I am on a kind of tour guide hiatus, I still like to keep in touch with other local tour guides who are members of the SoCalITMI Alumni Network. My life goes in circles and one day… could be a year from now, could be tomorrow… I’ll go back to tour guiding when the moment strikes!
Our gracious guide Eve escorted us up to the departures area and explained some of the recent improvements for passengers.
One thing I learned is that because there are more airlines than counter space, each airline is allowed up to four hours to occupy a particular counter. So if you arrive five hours before your flight you may not find your airline.
The other thing I didn’t know is that the person behind the counter is most likely not an employee of the airline… just a contractor for the hours they are working. So if you are ranting about what that particular airline did to you, it may be falling on deaf ears!
I believe she said one exception was British Airways. As BA is my favorite international carrier, if I heard that right that makes me happy! British all the way. (Although they only have a two star rating on Yelp, what is that all about?)
At this point we had gotten beyond the first security check and were looking back at passengers lined up for security before moving on to the boarding gates. Yup, that’s why I always get to the airport hours early, even for domestic flights. Hmmm, I was wishing I was going somewhere.
Looking through the window at the new terminal just before we entered the door for employees and crew only.
This area is for traveling pooches. It is cleaned up with pet safe disinfectant regularly. Where do the cats go? I didn’t think to ask.
You only get to this area if you have a ticket on an international flight… or have scheduled a tour of the airport!
I researched the name LAX and as far as I can ascertain the “X” has no meaning. Originally it was just plain old LA, but as more airports were built in the 1940s the two letter designation became three and LA added the X. It is also the designation for Los Angeles Union Station and the Port of Los Angeles.
Now we are in the restaurant and retail shopping area of the new terminal. It feels like an upscale shopping mall and that’s okay. I have to say I was extremely impressed.
It definitely gave me the sense that LAX is part of the 21st Century.
The Villaraigosa Pavilion. What is it with LA mayors and the international terminal?
This grand piano is programmed to play different tunes… karaoke anyone?
I was fascinated by this changing video screen. Sometimes ads interchanging with more artistic images. This water image was my favorite.
Our group of intrepid tour guides.
Departure sign board that can be seen all over the area. I believe Eve said this cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000. But don’t you think it’s worth it?
More artistic light fixtures.
The architectural style of the new terminal is described as “oceanic.” This is very fitting as LAX because if it was any closer to the ocean it would be water logged. Leaving LA you fly out over the Pacific Ocean. This is the link to a flight tracker so you can see what this looks like at any given moment. https://flightaware.com/live/airport/KLAX.
There is artwork throughout the terminal and this piece, which covered several stories, certainly caught my attention. Click on an image to start slideshow.
This moving wall was at Korean Air. Click on an image. The last photo is an up close detail.
Yes, this is what Los Angeles is all about, right? Caviar and Champagne… I have it every night for dinner! Actually, to tell the truth, I don’t have a taste for either one. Give me Cajun Catfish and a glass of Merlot… Yum!!!!
This is more like it. I’ll take one of each, thank you. Well, really no thanks. As much as I love wine, wine doesn’t love me any more. Old age plays horrible tricks!
Construction is going on all over the airport. And now that LA has stepped up to be in line for the Olympic Games for the third time (in 2024) I imagine the planned upgrading program for LAX will only be speeded up, including a proposed rail connection that is long overdue.
I found a super video that takes you through the entire building. Fly-Thru Video of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal.
It took about nine minutes to come up on my computer… so hang in there. If that doesn’t work, go to http://www.lawa.org/laxdev/laxdev.aspx and scroll down to the above title. You will enjoy it, I guarantee.
After this visit I have great hopes for LAX and all the improvements being made through this multi-billion dollar development program. It will be interesting to follow along over the next few years.
Just a few more impressions of the new terminal. Click an image to start the slideshow:
I had a great time exploring the latest renovation and addition to the Tom Bradley International terminal at Los Angeles International Airport. Hopefully, I will be visiting again in 2017 when I expect to be flying to London.
A big thank you to Eve and the SoCalITMI members who planned the tour. The lovely day was capped off by Sunday Brunch at the Proud Bird Restaurant just a few minutes drive from the airport (although my GPS sent me through the US Post Office parking lot adding more minutes to my trip).
Some of the planes “flying” through the restaurant parking lot:
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