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.
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?
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?