LAX Airport Guide with Amenities and 35 Layover Tips

The 2023 passenger statistics highlight that Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is among the world’s busiest, handling over 75 million passengers and coming 8th busiest in the world.

This translates to nearly a quarter of a million travelers passing through the airport daily, making it easy for anyone to feel overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle.

In this LAX Airport Guide with Amenities and Tips, we offer valuable insights and information to help you navigate the airport efficiently and take full advantage of its amenities, ensuring a smoother and more enjoyable travel experience.

Overview of LAX Airport:

LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) is a vast and bustling U-shaped hub, serving as a major gateway for both North American and international travelers. The airport features nine terminals: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT), which is divided into north and south ends.

Terminal Connections

  • Airside Walkways: Terminals 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and TBIT are connected by convenient airside walkways, allowing travelers to move between terminals without exiting the secure area.
  • Landside Shuttle Bus: The entire airport is interconnected by a landside shuttle bus, providing easy access between terminals for passengers who need to check-in or retrieve luggage.

Sleeping at LAX:

For travelers seeking rest at LAX Airport, several locations stand out for their comfort and relative quietness. In the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT), the area behind the Tumi store features movable leather couches that can be arranged for privacy, while the couches near Gate 148 provide a quieter environment with charging ports.

Terminal 6 offers a hidden gem with a small triangle of floor space near Gate 64B, ideal for a nap with noise-canceling headphones. In Terminal 7, Gate 81 is partitioned from the main hallway, offering a secluded spot, and benches near Gate 71B are free of armrests, making them suitable for lying down.

Additionally, the children’s play area behind the food court in Terminal 4 is a quieter spot with couches and low foot traffic. For those looking to lay flat, the walkway between the 70s and 80s gates in Terminal 6 has benches without armrests, while the mezzanine level of TBIT provides quieter areas with fewer announcements and better seating options.

These locations, combined with essentials like a travel pillow and blanket, make LAX more manageable for overnight stays or long layovers.

Check out our Full Guide for Sleep at LAX Airport with 14 Locations to Sleep

Showering at LAX Airport

LAX Airport does not offer public shower facilities. However, travelers looking to freshen up have the option to use pay-to-use lounges, though some may require a corresponding airline ticket. Here are the available lounges with shower facilities:

  • KAL Lounge (Tom Bradley International Terminal)
  • American Airlines Admiral Club (Multiple Locations)
  • Delta Sky Club (Terminal 2)
  • United Club (Terminal 7)
  • USO Lounge (For active military personnel and their families)

Airport Hours:

LAX Airport operates 24 hours, but not all terminals and facilities remain open throughout the night. Some terminals, like Terminal 1, close overnight, and many restaurants and shops also shut down by 11 PM. Travelers can still access certain areas and amenities, especially in the Tom Bradley International Terminal and other terminals with 24-hour lounges.

35 Tips to Survive LAX Airport Layovers

Sleeping Areas

Quiet and Comfortable Spots

  • Tip #1: The area near Gate 64B in Terminal 6 has a small triangle of floor space that is usually unoccupied, making it a good spot for a nap if you have a noise-canceling setup.
  • Tip #2: For a relatively private and quiet sleep spot, head to the row of mini couches behind a pillar at Gate 206 in the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
  • Tip #3: Terminal 3’s departures level has a carpeted circular walkway with glass balcony walls, which is away from most foot traffic and near a bathroom, making it a decent sleep spot.
  • Tip #4: Behind the Tumi store in Terminal B, there are movable leather couches that can be arranged to create a dark and private sleeping area.
  • Tip #5: In Terminal 4, Gate 65A has moveable bench seats that can be pushed together to create a makeshift bed, providing a more comfortable sleep setup.
  • Tip #6: For a more secluded sleeping spot, head to Gate 81 in Terminal 7. It’s partitioned from the main hallway, offering more privacy.
  • Tip #7: In the Tom Bradley International Terminal, there are some long couches near Gate 148. This area is quieter and has charging ports, making it a comfortable spot for rest.
  • Tip #8: Terminal 6 has a walkway with benches without armrests between the 70s and 80s gates. This area is quieter in the early morning and suitable for sleeping.
  • Tip #9: Terminal B has some long couches and comfortable chairs near the Tumi and Porsche Design stores, offering a quieter sleep spot away from loud announcements.
  • Tip #10: For those needing a more isolated area, the upper level between Terminals 5 and 6 has some cushioned seats and an outlet, making it a relatively peaceful spot to rest.
  • Tip #11: The connecting tunnel between Terminals 4 and B houses a grand piano and some quieter corners, making it a unique and more serene spot to rest.
  • Tip #12: Gate 71B in Terminal 7 has benches with no armrests and is relatively quiet at night, making it a good spot for sleeping.
  • Tip #13: Terminal 4’s children’s play area behind the food court is a quieter spot with couches and low foot traffic, ideal for a quick nap.
  • Tip #28: Terminal B’s food court area offers some long padded benches without armrests, which are great for lying down and getting some rest.
  • Tip #14: Terminal 6 has some hidden corners behind gate desks that offer relative seclusion and less exposure to bright lights and noise.
  • Tip #15: The mezzanine level of the international terminal has some quieter areas with fewer announcements and better seating options.
  • Tip #16: Hotel shuttles at LAX depart from P4 station on the AirTrain route. Many area hotels offer complimentary airport shuttle services, including Best Western Plus Newark Airport West, Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott, Hampton Inn, Wyndham Garden, Hilton Newark Airport, Holiday Inn Express, Renaissance Hotel, Home2 Suites by Hilton, Courtyard by Marriott, SpringHill Suites, and Crowne Plaza. Check out Hotels Near LAX Airport with Free Shuttles.

Facilities and Amenities

Food and Drink Options

  • Tip #1: Restaurants at LAX close by 11 PM, and diners are often not allowed to use booths after hours. Bring your own snacks to avoid being left hungry.
  • Tip #2: If you need a drink or snack late at night, Terminal 1’s baggage claim area has vending machines with water, soda, and snacks, which are often the only options after 10 PM.
  • Tip #3: Terminal B has a new 7-11 store that stays open late, providing a convenient option for food and drinks during overnight stays.
  • Tip #4: Bring a travel pillow and blanket as LAX can get quite cold, especially in the seating areas near windows or air vents.

Connectivity/WIFI

  • Tip #1: LAX offers free WiFi with unlimited 45-minute sessions. To connect, join the “_LAX Free WiFi” network and watch a 15 to 30-second advertisement to start a new session. For premium, high-speed, and ad-free internet access, a Boingo membership is available.
  • Tip #2: For free WiFi, try to stay near the international terminal or close to Starbucks locations as they often provide better connectivity.

Comfort and Convenience

  • Tip #1: Free cots and blankets are provided after midnight at Gate 42 in Terminal 4. Arrive early to secure these limited resources for a more comfortable rest.
  • Tip #2: The international terminal (Tom Bradley) offers the most amenities and comfortable seating options, including padded leather chairs and quiet corners for sleeping.
  • Tip #3: Avoid sleeping near baggage claim areas in Terminals 1 and 2 as they are typically noisy and cold due to ongoing cleaning activities.
  • Tip #4: For a quieter night, head to the far ends of the terminals, such as Gate 85 in Terminal 8, which typically have less foot traffic and fewer announcements.
  • Tip #5: If you prefer a more secure sleeping spot, stay near TSA checkpoints where there’s a higher presence of security personnel, adding a layer of safety.

Noise and Disturbances

Avoiding Noise

  • Tip #1: LAX tends to be quite noisy at night, with loud music and frequent announcements, especially in Terminal 3. Bring noise-canceling headphones or earplugs to help you sleep.
  • Tip #2: Terminal 7 has a quiet area next to the Pet Relief and United Club, but it can get cold and noisy due to staff breaks. Dress warmly and bring earplugs.
  • Tip #3: Terminal 7’s baggage area is often quiet between 2 AM and 6 AM. It’s a good spot for undisturbed sleep if you don’t mind being asked for your ID by security.
  • Tip #4: For a quieter experience, avoid the Starbucks areas in the early morning as they attract a lot of foot traffic and chatter from airport employees.
  • Tip #5: If you’re looking for a spot to lay out flat, Terminal 7 near the Pet Relief area offers a floor space option. It’s noisy, so earplugs are essential.

Accessibility and Navigation

Access and Movement

  • Tip #1: Terminal 1 is closed at night, making it inaccessible for overnight sleepers. Plan accordingly if you need to stay overnight at LAX.
  • Tip #2: Use the airport’s free shuttle service to move between terminals if you need to find a quieter or more comfortable sleeping spot.
  • Tip #3: For longer layovers, consider exploring nearby terminals connected by shuttles to find the best sleeping spots, especially if your gate area is crowded. Also check out these Fun Activities to do at/near LAX Airport.

Smoking and LAX Airport Smoke Areas

LAX Airport has a total of 7 designated smoking areas conveniently situated outside Terminals 1, 2, 5, 6, and B.

Enjoy the new spacious outdoor smoking area, discreetly tucked away in the main Northern concourse near Gate 130 and the food court. This beautiful patio beckons you with comfortable seating and a vibrant atmosphere. As you stroll past KFC and Umami Burger, keep an eye out for a prominent sign guiding you leftwards. Plus, there’s a bonus: the airport WiFi is working reasonably well outside.

It is important to note that the smoking area at LAX is on the International Terminal and may not be easily accessible if you are flying domestically. If you are flying internationally and using Gates 130 to 225, you can easily get to the smoking area. 

If you need exact directions of the smoking area at LAX, use this Google Maps link.

The outdoor patio is surrounded by tall glass walls, providing an excellent vantage point for planespotting enthusiasts to witness the graceful landings of aircraft. Despite the potential exposure to second-hand smoke, I briefly brought my son along to witness the arrival of our beloved Lufthansa A380.

Below is a map of B Terminal at LAX where you can smoke;

LAX B terminal

Note that the Tom Bradley International Terminal is separate from the rest of the terminals at LAX as shown in the map below;

LAX Airport terminals

Smoking Area at LAX Terminal 1:

LAX’s Terminal 1, below Gate 9, features a designated smoking area for passengers. There are even chairs for you to sit as you smoke.

terminal 1 lax smoking area

Smoking Area at LAX Terminal 2:

Smoking is permitted in Terminal 2 at LAX. You’ll find the designated smoking area below Gate 24, where a spacious wooden bench awaits for your comfort while you enjoy your smoke.

Terminal 2 smoking lax area

Smoking Area at LAX Terminal 5:

You can smoke at LAX’s terminal 5 Below Gate 54B (Moat), where you will find a small smoking area with no seating.

lax terminal 5 smoking area

Smoking Area at LAX Terminal 6:

Smoking is allowed in Terminal 6 at LAX. The designated smoking area is located below Gate 64B/66 (Moat).

terminal 6 lax smoking area

Smoking Area at LAX Terminal B:

You can smoke at Tom Bradley International Terminal near Gate 131 & Gate 151 and on the mezzanine level

TBIT smoking areas lax

LAX Smoking in Terminals 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 and 8:

As of this writing in 2023, there are no designated smoking areas in terminals 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 as per the official airport website. You will have to go to the smoking area located at TBIT to smoke. Smoking is prohibited in all other areas of the airport.

I came across online sources suggesting that smoking is permitted at Terminal 7. The designated smoking area in Terminal 7 LAX is situated on the southern side, close to the exit leading to the parking garage.

According to another source, there are designated smoking areas available curbside at Terminals 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, and B.

In the past, the airport featured outdoor patios in Terminal 2 and Terminal 6, along with patios offered in the airline lounges of the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT). However, these previous patios have now been transformed into pet relief areas, where smoking is strictly prohibited.

Getting to the LAX smoking areas:

Getting to TBIT from other terminals at LAX is a breeze, as all terminals are interconnected. Currently, terminals 4-8 and TBIT are connected on the secure side, after passing through security. Terminals 6-8 are linked by a convenient ground-level walkway, while underground tunnels connect Terminal 4, 5, and 6.

This means that if you’re traveling from any of these terminals, you can easily access the smoking area. If you’re departing from Terminal 7 or 8, it’s advisable to allow yourself at least 15 minutes in each direction to reach the smoking area. Alternatively, stepping outside to smoke and going through security again afterwards might be a more convenient option.

Smoking Laws in Los Angeles:

Starting from January 1, 1995, California implemented the Anti-Smoking Ordinance Enforcement, California Labor Code 6404.5. This regulation prohibits smoking in most workplaces, with the exception of tobacco shops and private residences. If you come across any violations, you can report them by calling the City of Los Angeles Anti-Smoking Ordinance Hotline at (213) 978-3568. Let’s work together to create a healthier and smoke-free environment!

See the notice on the City’s website below;

smoking laws los angeles

You can read more here or here

Since March 8, 2011, the City of Los Angeles has enforced Municipal Code 41.50 B 18 b, which prohibits smoking in outdoor dining areas. Furthermore, it is obligatory to prominently display “No Smoking” signs in these designated areas.

california smoking laws

Completely Smoke-free Indoors:

The Los Angeles International Airport is a completely smoke-free indoor environment. This means that smoking is prohibited in all parts of the airport, including restaurants and lounge areas. To provide passengers with an alternative, there are designated outdoor smoking areas at each terminal building. As the air around these areas can be potentially hazardous, please ensure not to linger for too long and follow instructions from the airport staff.

Are e-cigarettes allowed?

E-cigarettes, also known as vape pens, are included in the airport’s no-smoking policy. Vaping is strictly prohibited inside all parts of LAX Airport and its premises. Please note that if any e-cigarette device emits an odor or vapor, it will be regarded as a violation of the no-smoking policy.

We understand that some passengers may prefer to vape or smoke for recreational purposes. For this reason, the airport provides designated outdoor smoking areas for guests who wish to do so. Please take into account that these areas are monitored closely and any violation of the no smoking policy will result in disciplinary action from LAX Airport staff.

Image of Nathan Kip Rotich

Nathan helps travelers find the most comfortable sleep setups during layovers, from cozy airport hotels to futuristic sleep pods. His insights aim to transform layovers into rejuvenating sleepcations, offering travelers an alternative to costly hotels and uncomfortable benches.