New Hawaiian Air LAX Terminal Is A Travel Mess

This Hawaiian Airlines Terminal Is A Traveler’s Nightmare

Beat of Hawaii flew to Los Angeles yesterday on Hawaiian Airlines flight 10 from Honolulu, and we’ll have much more to say about that coming right up. In the meantime, let this serve as a tip on what to expect after leaving the plane and navigating to baggage claim at LAX.

Late last year, Hawaiian moved from Terminal 5 shared with their partners JetBlue and American, among others, to Terminal B/Tom Bradley International Terminal. Sounds okay, right? In theory, this would improve the passenger experience and provide enhanced shopping and other amenities. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

Here’s our experience of their new location after our A330 wide-body pulled at the last of the west gates in Terminal B.

1 1/3 mile walk from the gate to baggage claim or check-in to the gate.


No matter whether you’re arriving or departing LAX, you need to be prepared and arrive early. We entered a veritable maze starting soon after the arrival gate, which snaked mysteriously through the airport. It included escalators up, down, and many very long corridors. In a word, it was disorienting after disembarking from a 5-hour flight from Hawaii.

No Hawaiian Air lounge at LAX.

Hawaiian mentioned that there were more food and beverage options in the new international terminal, plus lounges. It must be pointed out, however, that Hawaiian no longer has any lounges other than at its Hawaii airport locations.

Hawaiian Airlines LAX

When Jeff checked back in at LAX this morning for his flight to Maui, he asked the ticketing agent about the new location. He was told that it catches many visitors off-guard, as they aren’t expecting the 15-minute “brisk walk” required to get to the gate. “Some people have actually missed their flights,” according to the agent.

Is Tom Bradley International Terminal even relevant for west-coast-centric Hawaiian?

While it is now much easier to transit between other international carriers and Hawaiian, that is obviously a small part of their business. For the bulk of their passengers who are starting and ending on the west coast, this is a big nuisance, at least for now, and there’s more.

Hawaiian Airlines flights from LAX.

The airline flies three times daily to Honolulu, at 7 am, 10 am, and 6 pm. They also fly once each day from LAX to the three neighbor islands.  So it seems that the choice of terminals is important.

When the move occurred, the airline said, “Hawaiian’s guests traveling to and from Hawai’i via LAX will enjoy a modern and comfortable facility featuring more amenities, expanded dining and shopping options, and a spacious gate area.”

Options for guests regarding the limited amenities.


What we found this morning is that there was almost nothing open anywhere near the gates Hawaiian uses. Instead, the only dining options were located soon after check-in and before embarking on the very long walk. For most people unaware of the circumstances, there would not be time to return to where these amenities are currently located.

What guests can do who don’t want to walk 1 1/3 miles?

Hawaiian Airlines At LAX

Many porter-driven golf carts were located at both ends of the very long passageways. There are escalators, but there are also elevators. So either using the golf carts or limiting some walking via the elevators is possible.

We suggest that Hawaiian Airlines’ guests, who can walk reasonably quickly, plan on an extra 20 minutes at LAX after security or before heading to baggage claim. There will also be crowded areas, and the signage to baggage claim is definitely lacking.

What’s your experience with Hawaiian at LAX?

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167 thoughts on “This Hawaiian Airlines Terminal Is A Traveler’s Nightmare”

    1. I changed to flying out of LB airport after reading your all comments. I recently had surgery and can’t walk that far yet. I couldn’t get ant clear advise on how Hawaiian at LAX could assist me in a wheelchair getting to the gate, LB worked out great for me.

  1. Hawaiian Airlines should speak up and definitely needs to improve the current situations with LAX if they want to keep all valuable customers.

  2. The LAX/Bradley Terminal experience when flying to and from Honolulu was a nightmare. Getting to baggage claim has to be the longest hike I’ve ever taken in an airport. The back and forth of up the escalator, down the elevator and back again seems like an unecessary burden on travelers. Who ever designed the layout really dropped the ball. It’s the last thing you need after a long flight. Now that I have experienced this afront to customer service on two different trips to Honolulu, I am not inclined to make a third trip.

    1. One thing to remember is that Hawaiian Airlines did not have a choice in the decision to move. At Los Angeles, they are not a major player and got forced into TBT. Let’s hope the current arrangement for getting to baggage claim can be fixed. On the positive side, We do get our steps in when returning home!

  3. Never again! I’ve flown Hawaiian in and out of LAX twice this year. I will never do it again. The walk is ridiculous: Up, down, around, up, down, around. And signage for baggage claim is nonsensical. Leaned on this trip that this setup is permanent. Not for me!

    1. We have dealt with the Hawaiian Airlines baggage claim issue since their first week in Tom Bradley at LAX. The very first trip, I felt like a rat in a maze. I hope they can make changes to the route from arrival to baggage claim area. Remember that Hawaiian Air did not choose to move to TBT, they were forced there.

  4. We were in Las Vegas for a reunion then flew Hawaiian to Honolulu for a vacation before flying home to LAX. We hadn’t been to Hawaii since before the pandemic and were totally unprepared for the nightmare walk from the gate to baggage claim in terminal 3. My husband is 82 and both he and I have mild knee issues exacerbated by prolonged walking. Additionally, you can no longer have a private car service pick you up at the curb. After that nightmare walk, you then have to heft your luggage onto a shuttle for a trip out to Zone 20A…. We are planing on terminating our Hawaiian miles cards we’ve had for over 20 years and switching to Delta Skymiles so we never have to fly into or out of that terminal again!

    1. Did you get assistance from Hawaiian to and from the gate? This is terrible news, I, too,have flown Hawaiian over 50 years but not out of LAX. This sounds awful. I am recovering from surgery and cannot walk far. I asked for wheelchair assistance, you cant have a service meet you at curbside when you fly back?

  5. I agree. Lax is a train wreck. It’s terrible flying Hawaiin both in and out from there.. But Honolulu is also a mess. From the time we turned our rental car to the time we hit our gate was about an hour. A long line at the return shuttle (only way to get from all rental cars return to Hawaiin terminal 1) and then a walk to the wiki second shuttle after TSA.. Finally a second security check at the c Gates terminal. Hawaiian sure doesn’t make their flights easy on anyone and I feel terrible for those with mobility issues. Delta was much much easier and after 20 years with Hawaiin, with their new changes we may change away from them. Heck they don’t even give out the chips or the cookies or the chocolates any more on their flights.

  6. I can not walk from the check in to the gate as I just had major surgery. Please Is there a way to reserve a cart? Thank you for any help you may give me

    1. Hi Karen.

      We don’t know if a cart is reservable. Recently we have found the carts to be widely available, but we’d suggest contacting Hawaiian Airlines to inquie further about your situation.


    2. Hi Karen: I too found out too late about Hawaiian at LAX. I always fly and I now have my closest airport. I am mobility challenged too from an accident, ,did they accommodate you to and from the gate? I requested a wheelchair but the procedure is very vague. It makes me uneasy since I cannot walk that far right now.
      Would greatly appreciate your comments on how it went, or anyone else who recently flew them and needed assistance. I wish I could change to another carrier but I don’t want to pay twice.

      1. They do have golf cart type assistance for part of the “hike” but it is not from check in to your gate. Hopefully you can get wheelchair assistance from where the golf cart drops you off to your gate.

        1. Thanks, Ed. After reading all the comments onthe mobility issues I just changed from flying out of LAX to going out of Long Beach. They were very kind there were no change fees

          I feel much better about this, HA out of LAX seems way too intense and fraught with unknowns. That is no way to head to the islands. . . I always fly Hawaiian because it’s so easy, so pleasant and you feel like you already home once onboard. Mahalo to you and everyone for the warning about LAX! Dodged that bullet. Whew.
          What a shame others won’t .

        2. Flight HA62 from KOA lands at LAX at 1150pm. Unfortunately the golf carts end at midnight but in reality they stop at 1130pm because “we have to take the cart upstairs to charge them for tomorrow”. So for this return flight it is a looong walk to baggage claim. I’ve cancelled my HA credit card and now fly AA from LAX to KOA.

      2. My wife and I flew Hawaiian flight #33, out of LAX on Nov. 21. Since my wife had recently broken her leg and had just been placed into a boot, she had the cart. She did have to walk about 100 yards from the Hawaiian ticket counter to the Assistance area. From there she was in the golf cart that took us right to the waiting area for our gate. I was offered a ride but choose to “hoof it” since I would be sitting for a good many hours. We are both early 70s and in good physical condition under normal situations. We arrived at about the same time, the golf cart at the gate waiting area about 20 yards in front of me. I do agree, the terminal that LAX Forced Hawaiian into at Bradley is a nightmare.

  7. Hawaiian’s LAX terminal is rated “Avoid At All Costs” for me. We like to fly the wide bodies for the lay flat seats, but after one time in this terminal, we vowed to never return. We fly out of San Francisco now, even though LAX is closer. Close to a 2 mile walk, confusing signs/directions, no lounge, and they didn’t even have curbside bag check or a dedicated first class line. Hard Pass to flying Hawaiian out of LAX.

  8. There are non stop flights to Honolulu from San Diego and. San Diego is an easy airport to get to, Park, and it is a small airport. It may be worth the drive. The nonstop leaves at 8:30 am so the drive down is pretty fast.

  9. I just arrived in Oahu from LAX. The amount of walking is exhausting, especially if you have heavy carry-on luggage. Fortunately for me, I tore the ligaments of my left ankle, so I had to walk with a boot. I requested a wheelchair and was able to avoid all the walking. It is a very long walk, I recommend you get a wheelchair if you are over 70 yrs of age, or you won’t be able to make your flight! The change Hawaiian Airlines made is not for the traveler , but for the benefit of Hawaiian Airlines. Not sure why Hawaiian Airlines made these changes. I won’t be traveling on HA in the near future, if I have to go to LAX.

    1. Hawaiian Airlines had little choice in the matter. They are small players at LAX. The word is that another major carrier (I don’t recall which one) needs and wants more gates in Terminal 5 at LAX.

      My suggestion, send an email to Hawaiian Airlines and ask them to schedule an A-330 from Long Beach!

  10. Thank you for your article. We did that long walk to Hawaiian Airline gates last year and we were very disappointed. I am handicapped and there was no one driving the golf carts, they were all parked. Once at our gate, the was no restaurant or food service, only a gift shop with sandwiches and green salads. Not a good beginning to a great Hawaiian adventure. Leaving for Hawaii again next week and we prepared for the experience but not looking forward to it.

  11. Do Not fly through LAX!!! Had a 9 hr layover and the terminal is closed at night Had to sit by ticketing With very limited seating.Then finally when they opened Had to walk 15+ minutes with no lounge by the gates and very few services!!! LAX Sucks! Worst Airport Ever! TSA was very condescending and Rude also! But what’s new!

  12. We had already bought our tickets when we saw this article. Went to this new terminal last Sat. It was a nightmare! We walked long hallways plus, 3 moving sidewalks, plus 3 escalators and still weren’t outside. Sometimes we had to pull our bags up steep ramps. Finally we and another couple asked how to get to baggage claim. We had to go in an elevator to get there.

    1. While reading this I sincerely felt the feeling of the unknown along with you, reminded us of searching for baggage claim in Honolulu which is for the most part unmarked. What surprises us is that the more we travel out of the country that on arrival we can find our bags easily. Even the US Airports we have flown to/from, except Honolulu, make it known where baggage is, it’s not being held hostage. Why? Another way of saying don’t visit?

  13. I agree with this article. Never again will I use Hawaiian Airlines going through or ending at LAX. Our flight was already delayed 3x in one night, the Mrs. was trying to recover from a back injury and I was left to deal with 3 younger kids and trying to corral our baggage once we did get to baggage claim. Worst experience ever.

      1. For those traveling to So Orange County, John Wayne Airport (in Irvine) is the best! No long walks, and wandering along long hallways to find where “baggage claim is”. Hawaiian Airlines does not go to JWA, but many other airlines do! I agree with other readers, LAX is one of the worst airports ever!

        1. The only issue is that your total flight time will be several hours longer. I do not think there are any direct flights from John Wayne (SNA) to the 50th state. Your other options are south to San Diego, east to Ontario or north to Long Beach

  14. Provided you are not running late, other than being a long walk to the departure gate, it is fairly easy to find, even though you make a number of turns. It is upon return to LAX and headed to baggage claim that the signage is inadequate. I don’t know if Hawaiian Airlines can do anything about it or if it is up to the LAX operators to deal with signage.

  15. Wow I did not know they moved! Does this mean you have to pass through customs even though you’re doing a domestic flight? It seems crazy to have everyone do a customs check to get to the mainland from Hawaii! Thanks for the reply!

  16. Unfortunately LAX is a dump of an airport and sadly always will be. It wasn’t a smart move by Hawaiian to move to the mid field terminal from Terminal 5. As mentioned in the article, it is quite the hike from the ticketing counter all the way to where Hawaiian flights depart.

    1. It was not a decision of Hawaiian to make the move. The powers that be at the airport do it. In the grand scheme of things Hawaiian is a small player at LAX. At first I thought it might be cool but it is one heck of a hike, particularly if you are running late!

  17. I asked a security personnel where the Hawaiian Airlines terminal was. They chuckled and pointed at a hallway. They pointed and said, “Just keep going.” I was not prepared.

    1. Isn’t it sad when you realize that you are about to embark on a journey that you are not prepared for. When Security “chuckles” you know that you are a part of a really bad joke.


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