Los Angeles has been a hub for domestic and international air travel for decades. Over 87,000,000 passengers traveled through LAX alone in 2018. However, there’s more than one airport serving the Los Angeles metropolitan area. LAX is easily the largest, but it might not be the best option if your destination is outside of L.A. proper. There are two other international airports and another two domestic airports to choose from. It’s also important to consider transportation after the flight. Each airport offers different ways to get into the city. This can include public transportation. However, booking an LAX car rental is is a top priority for most travelers.
Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, it pays to know about your destination before booking. Los Angeles has a lot to offer. Here’s a rundown of the five major gateways to the city of Los Angeles.
1. (LAX) Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport is the second busiest airport in America. LAX is a major gateway for international travel and a common destination for domestic flights. In many cases, LAX is the only option for flying into the LA area. This depends on where you’re flying from as well as other factors. If you’re flying American, United, Delta, or Alaska Airlines it’s very likely that you’ll wind up at LAX. All four of these airlines use LAX as a hub. Currently over 60 different airlines fly in and out of LAX daily.
LAX is situated to the west of downtown Los Angeles providing easy access to the surrounding areas. This includes the western beach communities, Inglewood, Beverly Hills, Hawthorne, and Culver City. There are 8 domestic terminals, a larger international terminal, and 8 parking garages along the interior.
In recent years, the airport has expanded its food and shopping centers. Along with national fast food chains, there are a variety of sit-down restaurants, bars, cafés, and sandwich shops. An airport in the heart of Los Angeles wouldn’t be complete without a host of healthy alternatives and the occasional wine bar.
LAX is one of the busiest airports in the country, so it can get crowded quickly. It can be easy to get lost in the massive terminals if you’re not familiar with the layout. Traffic coming in and out of the airport is also something to consider when making travel plans. After you get to your shuttle or LAX car rental, it can take a while to get into the city.
2. (SNA) John Wayne Airport
John Wayne Airport serves the greater Los Angeles area and is located in Orange county. It’s the only airport in Orange County, which makes it an excellent option for anyone visiting outside the LA metropolitan area. It’s also only 14 miles from the Disneyland resort and 35 miles from Disneyland. Consider this airport if you plan on going straight to Orange County’s largest tourist attraction.
Many major airlines fly in and out of SNA including Southwest, United, and Delta. The airport is located right next to a major highway. This makes entering and exiting far quicker than at LAX. Compared to LAX, this airport is smaller and much less busy. There are 3 major terminals, 22 gates and about 9 million people pass through the airport per year.
John Wayne airport has a relaxed atmosphere and makes good use of its small footprint. Dining options are limited by the airport’s size, but they offer more than just fast food. There’s diners, cafés, bars, and a selection of authentic Mexican and Asian restaurants.
3. (ONT) Ontario International Airport
The Ontario International Airport is located just outside of the Los Angeles metropolitan area in San Bernardino County. The airport is only 2 miles east of downtown Ontario and is the most efficient gateway to the Inland Empire. Over 5 million travelers passed through ONT in 2018. The majority of flights came from cities along the West Coast and American Southwest.
ONT offers 5 separate parking lots. This includes general, premium, and valet parking options. Daily rates currently range from $13 to $27 dollars depending on the lot. These parking lots are located close to the two domestic terminals. Only a handful of passenger airlines operate out of ONT. There’s one additional international terminal that handles both arrivals and departures.
Ontario International Airport is the smallest of the three international airports in the greater LA metro area. Food and shopping options are limited, but varied. There’s none of the standard fast food restaurants. Instead the airport offers a host of smaller chain restaurants and coffee shops for hungry travelers.
4. (LGB) Long Beach Airport
Long Beach Airport is located in Long Beach directly off interstate 405. This makes the airport an essential gateway for domestic flights from all over the western half America. There is no international terminal and only a singe domestic terminal. Most flights to the Los Angele area are routed to LAX, but LGB remains a popular destination for locals and tourists entering the Long Beach area. JetBlue ferries the majority of passengers in and out of LGB and uses Long Beach as a focus city. Southwest, American, Delta, and Hawaiian Airlines also offer nonstop flights from Long Beach Airport.
Although the airport is a fraction of the size of LAX, nearly 4 million passengers traveled through LGB in 2018. The airport went through an extensive improvement project in 2012 to update the main terminal and keep up with demand. This project added 11 gates, a central garden, and outdoor dining areas. Parking has also been expanded. There’s a new 2000-space parking lot east of the airport terminal. Valet parking is also available.
5. (BUR) Hollywood Burbank Airport
Known as Bob Hope Airport until it was rebranded in 2016, the Hollywood Burbank Airport is a favorite among locals due to its proximity to Downtown Los Angeles and many of the major Hollywood studios. However only a handful of airlines fly in and out of BUR. These include Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, and American Airlines. A little over 5 million passengers passed through BUR in 2018. This makes it one of the least busy major airports in the region. Depending on your city of origin, Hollywood Burbank airport is an excellent option if you’re trying to avoid the crowds at LAX.
The single terminal has been renovated and expanded several times in the last ten years to accommodate additional travelers. This new space retains the style of the original terminal and provides more gates and dining options than before. There main attraction of flying into BUR is its proximity to central Los Angeles. Nearby attractions include the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Griffith Park, and the Hollywood Bowl.
Hollywood Burbank Airport offers free Wi-Fi and pet relief areas for passengers. This is a major plus if you’re traveling with pets. Parking is limited, but 3 economy lots, one covered lot, and valet parking services are available outside the main terminal.
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