New LAX terminal connector means quicker transits, more lounges

By Chris Chamberlin, February 26 2016
New LAX terminal connector means quicker transits, more lounges

Los Angeles' new connector between Terminal 4 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal is now open, promising faster connections between flights at LAX and also opening up more lounge options between flights.

The big winners are travellers connecting from a domestic American Airlines flight to a Qantas flight – such as from Chicago to Los Angeles with AA, and then onwards to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane with Qantas.

They'll now be able to walk straight from their inbound American Airlines flight at Terminal 4 to the departure gate at TBIT without the time-consuming hassle of another security check when changing terminals..

Walking from T4 to TBIT at LAX. John Nguyen, AirlineReporter.com
Walking from T4 to TBIT at LAX
John Nguyen, AirlineReporter.com

Passengers of United, Delta and Alaska Airlines will also find their LAX terminals feed into the new airside corridor, trimming their own transit times.

(Travellers arriving into Los Angeles' TBIT from an international flight will still need to clear passport control, collect their bag, clear customs and proceed through security with an onward departure.)

Here's how you can put this new connector to great use: saving time on your next business trip but also making the journey more enjoyable by using the best lounges that LA has to offer.

Lounging at LAX with Qantas, American Airlines

American Airlines passengers – particularly those flying out of T4 to Sydney in business class or with Qantas Gold/Oneworld Sapphire frequent flyer status – can now skip the T4 Admirals Club and take a quick walk through the connector to visit TBIT and its much nicer Oneworld Business Lounge.

AA’s first class passengers, Qantas Platinum/Platinum One frequent flyers and other Oneworld Emerald members can head for the Qantas First Lounge with its Rockpool-inspired restaurant in lieu of the Terminal 4 Flagship Lounge.

Of course, you'll want to set your smartphone's alarm to allow time to return to T4 for your American Airlines flight (we reckon 10 minutes ought to do it).

You can also enjoy these Qantas lounges before hopping onto a domestic American Airlines flight, especially if there's a long connection time.

Despite the name, the Tom Bradley International Terminal also caters for domestic USA passengers, as do the Qantas and Oneworld lounges when flashing the correct boarding pass or frequent flyer card.

So here's the deal: passengers can arrive into TBIT on an international Qantas flight, clear passport control and Customs, drop their bags off at the TBIT flight connection counters, and then proceed back through security at TBIT using their onward domestic boarding pass for a breakfast and shower in the Qantas first or business lounge.

When boarding time for your AA flight draws near, take the new walkway across to T4 to sidestep the inter-terminal security checks.

Lounging at LAX with Delta, United

While United Airlines' flights to Sydney and Melbourne depart from the distant LAX Terminal 7, there’s now nothing stopping ‘BusinessFirst’ passengers or Gold-grade Star Alliance flyers from taking a 20-minute walk to TBIT to enjoy the international-grade Star Alliance business class lounge

… complete with private shower suites, an indoor terrace and a heated outdoor balcony…

… rather than the domestic-grade United Clubs in Terminal 7 which lack the same ambience and come sans showers:

Faster transits for Virgin Australia

Delta passengers arriving into Terminal 5 from destinations such as New York and travelling to Sydney or Brisbane with Virgin Australia can continue to take the free transfer bus from Gate 55A in T5 which runs every 15-20 minutes.

But if you've just missed that bus or would prefer to stretch your legs, the connector makes TBIT just a leisurely 15 minute stroll without the hassle of another security check.

Also read: Oneworld clarifies Qantas lounge access rules in Los Angeles

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 240

Perfect for my VA and Delta flights on Monday!!! Am I right?

For an easy walking transit, most definitely – but remember that if you're flying onwards with Delta, you can't access the Star Alliance lounge at LAX TBIT as you can when flying with Virgin Australia. :)

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 240

I'm doing PER-SYD-LAX-BJX (Leon)

At LAX it's not a connecting Delta flight... So I take it I'll have to get my suitcase and check-in at Delta yes?

Im Gold with VA so will I be able to use the Delta lounge before departure?

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

31 Jan 2012

Total posts 108

This would only apply to obund flights from the US I assume as you need to clear customs on arrival to the US and transfer baggae.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 349

What about connecting Virgin America with Virgin Australia? AFAIK both are checked in T3 and VA pax has to walk to TBIT and clear security there. 

No change as T3 is on the opposite side of the airport from T4.

29 Mar 2014

Total posts 81

Always been a little curious how that works! So VA makes you walk back out from T3 after checking in to head to TBIT?

Yep.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

31 Jan 2012

Total posts 108

Once all the baggage belt and baggage screening is completed in TBIT expect a move by VA out of terminal 3. Understanding that the current baggage system in TBIT is running way over capacity right now and adding an extra 800 bags from VA I would perfer my bag trundles around in T3 then into a can that the dreaded overflow in TBIT 

Anything that makes LAX less excruciatingly painful is good.

Qantas (and OneWorld generally) absolutely is the big winner here but every little bit helps and Delta/Virgin still get some benefit.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

29 Jan 2011

Total posts 158

To transit from T5 to TBIT (DL->VA) whereabouts is the access point to the connecting walkway?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1388

T5 to T4 is a tunnel in the basement - same level as baggage claim I believe. A map suggests between gates 53/54 near the food court.

Then you'll need to come back up to the departures level to reach the T4-TBIT connector

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

25 Jul 2012

Total posts 4

i'm flying into LAX from SFO on VX to connect to VA2. can i connect into Tom Bradley airside?

No - as asked above, Virgin America uses Terminal 3, not Terminals 4-8. :)

02 Mar 2016

Total posts 1

I fly Syd-Lax-YYR (Calgary) forum times a year with Westjet as connector booked through QANTAS. It fly's out of Terminal 2, is the a lounge a QANTAS lifetime gold member can use between flights? 

LAX allows all same day baording pass to clear security from any 8 terminals available. As connector currently available from terminal 4-8 which covers mostly AA, DELTA, UA. 

I just walked through from terminal 4 to TBIT and it took only 5 minutes without any rush. Providing to walk back and walk you only need to give yourself 15 minutes between terminal 4 and TBIT. Just follow the signage and you will not get lost.

It is the most significant upgrade for connection time & conviniences for LAX specially from domestic to international out of TBIT. However still limited ostly between AA, DL, UA.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2012

Total posts 169

Chris I think I know the answer but will double check. I am a Qantas plat and flying lax to sfo with American in F (probably doesn't matter)

I have quiet a few hours to wait for the flight after arriving in that morning. Can I check into the AA flight and then go to TBIT to use the Qantas lounge?

thanks

Yep, as a Qantas Platinum member you can stop by the Qantas First Lounge in TBIT before any AA flight - just leave plenty of time to get back to T4 for the AA flight (use this new walkway, don't leave the secure area).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2012

Total posts 169

Ah fantastic, thanks Chris for the update. Iv a few hours to pass in the morning so will grab a shower and brekkie and leave plenty of time to get to T4.

cheers

LTF

23 Jan 2015

Total posts 2

Is there any plan for an airside connecting from TBIT to T1-3?

25 Apr 2017

Total posts 1

I am coming in on an AA flight from LAS to LAX. Have 1 hour 30 mins between my arrival and departure on QF flight to MEL. Is this enough - with this new set-up do i need to go through customs when I arrive at LAX?


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