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Details about LAX Airport, part 2--Airport Layout, Parking and Car Rentals

Photo of plane taking off from LAX Airport, Los, Angeles, California

In Part 1 of this LAX Airport information section, we talked about the problems and benefits of using Los Angeles International, and about the domestic carriers which serve this airport.

On THIS page...LAX Airport Info part 2..., we'll talk about the physical layout of the LAX airport campus, including a diagram of the terminals at LAX Los Angeles International Airport. After that discussion, then I'll tell you about the very strange rental car procedure at LAX and fill you in on the car rental agencies serving the Los Angeles International Airport. Finally, we'll talk about LAX shuttles, taxis and parking.

As you can see in the diagram above, the inner roadway at LAX Airport is shaped like an oval. It is a 2-tiered (double decker) roadway. The road ON TOP is for DEPARTURES. The road on the BOTTOM (ground level) is for ARRIVALS. The name of this oval-shaped street is World Way. Please note that this map is several years old, but is kept here because of its clarity in explaining the LAX layout; please use the following link to see the latest updates to the LAX Terminal Map.

If you enter or leave LAX in your own car and park in the multi-storied parking garages in the center of the oval, it doesn't make much of a difference on which level you park or enter the terminal buildings---you can take an elevator to the correct floor.

If, on the other hand, you are dropping off a passenger at LAX airport, you should use the upper "departure level." Or, to pick up a passenger, the ARRIVALS (bottom) level.

Note: If you'll be parking at the airport, it DOES matter what lane you drive in. Use the LEFT LANE to enter the parking garages, because as you circle the oval, the parking garages will continually stay on your LEFT hand side. The parking garages do NOT ALL CONNECT one to another---so enter a parking garage at the point nearest to the terminal you want.

On the other hand, if you want to drop off (upper level) or pick up (lower level) a passenger, stay to the RIGHT as you circle the oval. This will enable you to pull up to the curbside by the terminal building.

There are 4 lanes of traffic in this oval (PLUS the parking lanes.) You can't just jump from one side of the street to the other at the last minute's notice because of all the other traffic. So, be prepared! (You can, however, re-circle the oval as many times as you need to if you accidentally pass where you wanted to go.)

The terminal buildings form a horseshoe shape along the side of the oval. You will ALWAYS enter the oval at Terminal 1. No matter on what street you approach LAX, you're funneled into this one point. (The fact that all vehicles must use this one entrance is why there's such a back-up to get in.)

Driving along the airport roadway, you'll first pass Terminals 1, 2, and 3. (Note: The terminal buildings at LAX Airport do not all connect inside. Some connect inside, and some don't. You may have to use the outdoor sidewalk to walk from one terminal to another. However, Los Angeles is rarely rainy or cold...and NEVER, walking out-of-doors between them isn't a problem.)

A shuttle circles the oval and stops at each terminal building. It runs every 15 minutes. (But, if you don't mind walking, you can be at any of the other terminals in the time it takes to wait 15 minutes for a shuttle!) I prefer to walk between the terminals rather than wait for a shuttle. My son recently timed his walk from the Tom Bradley International Terminal to Terminal 1, and said that it took him 10 minutes.

As you continue driving down the airport road, it will curve, and you'll drive by the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Remember this building! If you're waiting to pick up a passenger & you're too early, the Bradley Terminal has the best restaurants and shopping available to non-ticketed passengers.

Also, if you're bringing a child to the airport to watch planes and accustom him or her to the airport (if he'll be flying for the first time soon, for example), the Bradley Terminal is the place to go. The 2nd floor McDonald's has a dining area with huge viewing windows for watching the planes come and go! It can actually be great fun just to watch them leaving and arriving from all parts of the world!

Lastly, after passing the Bradley Terminal, the horseshoe-shaped road curves back towards its starting point. Along the next stretch, you'll pass terminals 4--8. And, that's all the terminals!

Then, you'll make the choice to either re-circle the oval or to leave the airport campus. Stay to your left (the "inner" side of the roadway) if you're going to circle around the terminal area once more. Stay towards the center or the right if you're leaving LAX airport---and follow the signs to the street or the freeway where you'll be heading.

Above, you see a small map of LAX airport and the surrounding freeways. As you can see, I-405 passes by the LAX airport. You should use one of two different exits off of I-405---either the Century Blvd. exit, or else the "I-105--west" exit. Both routes are well marked for finding the airport's entrance.

To see additional Los Angeles Airport maps, please use the following link to the LAX Airport FAQs page of this website.

LAX Airport Car Rental Information

Photo: Art and Ellie take the boys for their first airplane ride! Here at LAX airport, there are NO CAR RENTAL DESKS IN THE AIRPORT TERMINALS! Then, how do you rent a car at Los Angeles International Airport?

Well, it's a bit complicated and will add a few steps to your already busy day. All car rental agencies lie OFF of the LAX Airport campus. (This wasn't always true; the rent-a-car agencies USED to have desks in the terminals, but were pushed out onto the city streets after the many additions in the number of airlines serving LAX that have taken place over the years.)

What you'll do is grab your bags, then wait for a "car rental shuttle" which will take you to the rental agency of your choice. If you do have luggage, pick up your baggage on the lower level of the terminal in which you arrive. (This is true of ALL the terminals at Los Angeles International Airport; the lower level is ALWAYS the baggage pick-up area.) If you have only carry-on luggage, then head towards the lower level, anyway!

From the LOWER (GROUND) LEVEL, step outside to the curb. Look for a PURPLE "bus stop" sign. (They're spaced at intervals around the lower level curb.) Wait at that sign; the Purple Bus Stops at LAX Airport are for grabbing shuttle buses or vans to the off-campus car rental agencies. (They're free!) When you see a van or bus bearing the name of the rental car company to which you're heading, then go ahead and board with your luggage. You will then be whisked to a rental car office, where you'll select your car and drive away. (Finally!)

There are 10 rental car companies which have authorization to run shuttle buses into the LAX Airport campus. Here's the list of those 10 rental car agencies available at the Los Angeles International Airport---

* Advantage Rent-a-Car---Phone number 310/693-0170. Advantage Rent-a-Car address in Los Angeles near LAX: 1030 W. Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90301. Advantage Rent-a-Car official website is---

* Alamo Rent-a-Car---phone number 800/462-5266. Alamo Rent-A-Car address near LAX: 9020 Aviation Blvd, Los Angeles, CA. Alamo Rent-a-Car official website is---

* Avis Rent-a-Car---phone number 800/331-1212. Avis Rent-a-Car address near LAX is 9217 Airport Blvd, Los Angeles CA. Avis Rent-a-Car official website is---

* Budget Rent-a-Car---phone number 310-215-6854. Budget Rent-a-Car address near LAX is 9775 Airport Blvd, Los Angeles, CA. Budget Rent-a-Car official website is---

* Dollar Rent-a-Car--- phone number is 800/800-4000. Dollar Rent-a-Car address near LAX is 5630 Arbor Vitae, Los Angeles, CA. Dollar Rent-a-Car official website is---

* Enterprise Rent-A-Car---phone number is 310/215-6856. Enterprise Rent-a-Car address near LAX is 8734 S. Bellanca Ave, Los Angeles, CA. Enterprise Rent-a-Car official website is---

* E-Z Rent-a-Car---phone number (310) 216-7049. The EZ Rent a Car's address near LAX is 6101 West 98th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90045. From LAX, board the LAX Easy Park shuttle; this car rental location is on the property of the LAX Easy Park. You may use the following link to view the EZ Rent-A-Car's website.

* Hertz Rent-a-Car---phone number is 800/654-3131. The Hertz Corporation address near LAX is 9000 Airport Blvd, Los Angeles, CA. The Hertz official website is---

* Fox/Payless Rent-A-Car---phone number 310-641-3838. The Fox Rent-a-Car address near LAX is 10211 La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA. The Fox/Payless official website is---

* National Car Rental---phone number is 310/665-1344. The National Rent-a-Car address near LAX is 9419 Airport Blvd, Los Angeles, CA. The National Car Rental website is---

* Thrifty Rent-a-Car---phone number 310-645-1880. Thrifty Car Rental address near LAX: 5440 W. Century Blvd #109, Los Angeles, CA. The Thrifty Car Rental website is---

Other ground transportation at LAX Airport

Whatever kind of transportation you need, it will pass by you on the lower level curb area.

Exit the lower level doors---which one doesn't matter; all transportation types stop at intervals.

You will see signs that look like bus stop signs placed along the curbs at LAX airport. Yes, some of them ARE truly BUS stops. But others are taxi stops, parking lot shuttle stops, hotel shuttle stops, and car rental shuttle stops. Sound confusing? Well, it is...sort of. You just have to keep walking along the curb with all your luggage until you find the correct "bus stop" sign. Then you stand there and wait. If it's a taxi you want, a taxi will probably already be there waiting for YOU. Otherwise, you must wait until whichever desired shuttle, van service or bus comes your way.

Here are tips to help you find the correct waiting spot:

* TAXI signs have YELLOW coloration.

* CAR RENTAL shuttles have PURPLE coloration. Pick one of the car-rental companies discussed above. When that company's shuttle comes by, take it to their office. They'll set you up with a car & you'll drive right away!

* RED signs---for shuttles taking people to outlying (long-term) parking lots and LAX airport area hotels

* BLUE signs---for shuttles that just go around and around the oval roadway at LAX airport...taking people from terminal to terminal.

* GREEN signs---for busses, vans and shuttles going out of the immediate area ("long distance.")

It sounds confusing...but it's not as confusing when you're there "in person" as it sounds on paper. Plus, once you've been through it, you'll be a veteran, and it won't cause you problems ever again!

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