LAX: research vs reality – the research part 2

This is the second part of my two part series of what you can do at LAX airport (part one is here). This basically is an experiment to show you a comparison on what you can find out before you fly and the reality. I’m travelling to Los Angeles today and will be able to compare my notes and report back to you with my findings.

Last time I wrote about arriving at Los Angeles International terminal and how to find a decent cup of coffee. Assuming I did that, I now want to make my way to my departure terminal for my flight to Las Vegas. My travel itinerary tells me I’m flying with American Airlines from Terminal 4. So how do I get there? The airport’s website lists a helpful tip under their FAQ section:

[…]if you arrive on a flight at Terminals 1, 2, 3, or the Tom Bradley International Terminals and connecting to a flight at Terminals 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8, you have to exit the secured side of TSA screening and the terminal and walk across to the terminal or board the Airline Connections “A” Shuttle (which operates on 12-15 minute intervals) under the LAX Shuttle & Airline Connections blue sign on the Lower/Arrivals Level islands in front of each terminal.

Got it. But almost more importantly to how to get there is how long it takes. While the airport doesn’t give you that time, you can read into the above that you should save quite a bit of time for getting through “the secured side of TSA screening” (read: immigration and customs and those things can be very thorough in the USA). I remember having queued for an hour in San Francisco once. You then will have to collect your luggage and check it in again for your domestic flight. You don’t need to go through the whole checkin process though as apparently there’s a trolley for connecting flights where you should be able to drop your luggage if you already have a boarding pass.

Once at Terminal 4, I guess you first want to get security out of the way. However, having said that, USA Today last week published the top 10 airport restaurants in the US with one being in LAX. So, I’d definitely want to have a look at it. It’s called “Encounter at LAX” and the newspaper writes that it’s

[…] truly unique, a simultaneously hip and kid-friendly restaurant inhabiting a wacky outer-space-themed building,”.

Interesting for sure! Outer-space though? Not so sure.

Let’s get back to the terminal though. The internet provides you with many great resources to research the terminal prior to your trip. Starting with Wikipedia you find out that Terminal 4 went through a $400 Million revamp in 2001 and is the main terminal for American Airlines. On the official LAX website you find a handy map of T4 and the guys from Aerochannel provide a useful video walkthrough.

So with that below are my top picks of what to do. I’ll try to check them all out when I’m actually there and will report back whether my researched picks were on the money! For now, it’s time to go as my flight is about to board.

Top researched suggestions for Terminal 4:

  • Find the neon American Eagle (hint: look up!)
  • Check out the newest gadgets in the vending machine close to gate 41
  • Find out what a “vivanno smoothie” is
  • Pick up a route 66 souvenir key ring from the news stand (and pay for it)
  • If “Encounter at LAX” wasn’t your thing, try the Mexican joint “On the border”
  • Now time for a sit down meal? Get a “Chili’s Too” On-the-Go meal and hope you don’t sit next to me in the aircraft as I hate don’t like people eating smelly foods next to me
  • Check out the newest sunglasses at the “LA Edge” store
  • Go nuts at the $10 boutique and buy lots of things for, well, $10 each
  • Find “Marvin” and get your shoes shined

[Photo from Wikipedia – some rights reserved]