The Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the largest and busiest airport in the state of California, and was ranked sixth busiest airport in the world in 2008 by the Airports Council International, moving a grand total of 59,497,539 passengers that year. LAX is a major hub for United Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Virgin America and others.

The LAX takes up about 3,500 acres of land near the Pacific coast, 15 miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles. The airport is one of the most famous locations for aircraft spotting. People can view low flying craft directly from beneath at the Imperial Hill location and from the final approach runways 24 L&R. Because of its proximity to the coast, LAX is known to get occasional fog.


The Los Angeles International Airport had its beginnings in 1928, when the LA City Council decided to build an airfield on 640 acres of land in southern Westchester. It was named Mine's Field, after the real estate agent who brokered the sale of the land. In 1929, Hangar No. 1 was the first building constructed on the airfield, and is now in the National Register of Historic Places.

The field opened for business in 1930, and in 1937 became a municipal airfield. Its name was changed to the Los Angeles Airport in 1941, and finally to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in 1949. Over the years, the airport grew from its initial location east of Sepulveda Boulevard and expanded westward to reach the Pacific coast. The space required for additional runways led to the 1953 creation an underground tunnel that allowed Sepulveda Blvd to pass underneath the LAX's runways.

Pereira & Luckman, a large architectural firm, was contracted in 1958 to give LAX a major renovation that called for the building of a series of massive terminals and parking structures. The distinctive "Theme Building" (the flying-saucer-like structure in the middle of the terminals suspended by a pair of intersecting arches) was completed in 1961 and was designed by Paul Williams, an architect working for Pereira & Luckman.

Ground Transportation

LAX airport long term parking has a reputation of being particularly difficult. Passengers who are driving and wish to park at LAX, often make parking reservations in advance to avoid the hassle. There are almost 8,000 parking spaces available in eight separate parking structures. There is also public meter parking in the Central Terminal Area. The airport also operates Parking Lot B and C, which are located several blocks away from the main terminals and from which passengers can take airport shuttles or buses directly to the terminals.

For those not driving, the Metro Rail's Green Line takes passengers to the Aviation Station, from which they can take a free shuttle service to LAX.