The main concourse is lined with stores. None of which were open today

The main concourse is lined with stores. None of which were open during my visit.

This story was written by Kevin Epstein (AviationPhotographic.com \ @AvPhotographic) for AirlineReporter.com: 

The new Tom Bradley Terminal may not yet be open to travelers, but it was a hive of activity this past Saturday, June 22nd. Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) hosted an event called LAX Appreciation Day, where members of the public were invited to come and take a look at the new terminal and I went to go check it out.

The event was a major success with tickets to all 6 time slots being snapped up shortly after being made available. LAWA included free parking for all attendees, and shuttled us from  parking to the terminal.

The new terminal, which costs around $1.9 billion, is part of a larger multi-year $4 billion project to revitalize not just the Bradley terminal, but other terminals around the airport too. The Bradley Terminal has been the main focus as it is the first and last thing arriving and departing international travelers will see. First impressions matter!

The Korean Airlines team put on a show for us.

The Korean Airlines team put on a show for us.

LAWA, along with a handful of airlines that will have gates in the new terminal, pulled out all the stops to showcase the terminal and all it has to offer. Air France, Singapore Airlines, Qantas, and Korean Air were all on hand to answer questions and promote their various destinations.

Air New Zealand, which currently uses Terminal 2 at LAX, will be moving to the new terminal. Their move will be in conjunction with the opening of the new Star Alliance lounge which is set to open next May. Air New Zealand was tapped by Star Alliance to design and manage the lounge.

Lots of natural light! Curves and arches are a recurring theme throughout the terminal.

Lots of natural light! Curves and arches are a recurring theme throughout the terminal.

To understand why the new terminal is so important you must first travel through the current terminal — there is not too much past secrity and you enter an almost “dead zone.”  The new terminal stands in stark contrast to the old in almost every way imaginable.

Once you get onto the main concourse, you will have more options than you might care for. Passengers will have plenty of opportunities to eat, relax, shop or just take a walk through and enjoy the scenery.

The massice video panel on the main concourse is definitely the center of attraction.

The massice video panel on the main concourse is definitely the center of attraction.

The centerpiece of the Villaraigosa Pavilion, named in honor of Los Angeles’ outgoing Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, is the huge 3 story video panel. Video panels are everywhere throughout the concourse and can operate both independently of each other or together.

Where the old terminal is drab and dark, the new terminal is vibrant and bathed in natural sunlight, not only from the floor to ceiling windows, but also from the windows that make up the the top of the “waves” which are part of the roof of the terminal which was inspired by the Pacific Ocean.

Gates ready and waiting for the Supers (A380's 747-8's).

Gates ready and waiting for the Supers (A380’s 747-8’s).

The new terminal, which is set to open later this year, will provide 18 gates, of which 9 are specifically set up to service today’s largest planes: the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental (aka “supers”). Five airlines (Air France, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, China Southern, and Qantas) already operate daily A380 services to LAX, and Lufthansa operates a 747-8I.

In October British Airways will start daily service between London (LHR) and LAX using an A380, and in December Emirates will switch from their Boeing 777-300ERs to A380s on their daily service between Dubai (DXB) and LAX.

Adding these additional services would have been difficult, if not impossible, with the current terminal due to lack of gate space and facilities. Being able to service the supers is seen as a competitive advantage. Without these changes LAX would not have been able to stay as competitive amongst other airports all vying to serve as gateways for international airlines and travelers to the United States. Clearly the new terminal solves this problem for LAX.

Check out more Tom Bradley Terminal Photos Here

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2 Comments

Great write up. I HOPE that LAWA keeps it “looking nice and new” they have a habit of deploying new things (e.g. example here: Video walls) and then they fail or don’t work as expected and become a white elephant.

One thing LAWA misses is that they JUST DON’T LISTEN TO REGULAR PASSENGERS! I was on focus groups for Munich Airport before Terminal 2 opened, on one for NRT and one for Haneda in Tokyo.

Seems that LAWA being part of City of Los Angeles = No input needed. I was hoping the new Director woud be more open to take real user feedback. My gripes are:

1) Lack of consistent airside transfer between terminals; LAWA should run this not the select shuttles airlines run

2) Drop off areas and pick up areas crowded. ISOLATE ALL buses to lower level with consolidated rental facility (planned). Better yet as in airport transit system EVER gets built have it go from terminals to remote drop/pick area. Airports like ORD do this well to avoid entering terminal core for users who “know the airport”. Better yet have a PROPER accessible cell phone waiting lot not one that no one can find. Many of the drivers in the arrivals area keep circling and circling and circling… get them off the roadway

3) Parking lots are abysmal. Why is LAWA not running an automated parking system where I can enter, grab the ticket and pay at an exit with card+credit card and NOT wait in a huge line. The agents you drive up to when you pay are MANUALLY swiping credit cards – what is this 1991? Takes 2 mins for each person average. SFO = 20 seconds… John Wayne = Automated now.

4) Cleanliness; Nice new terminal… TBIT: will they keep it clean. Some parts of T1/T2/T3 and T6 are not well maintained even after remodeling.

Connecting at LAX from an international AA flight to a domestic AA flight? With the current construction activity at Tom Bradley Terminal (TBT), connecting from an international to a domestic AA flight has become ridiculous at best, and a guaranteed misconnection at worst. Here is a step-by-step description of the connection procedure:
1) get off the plane at one of the international gates at terminal 4
2) Remain in hallway while waiting for a bus
3) Board a bus
4) When the bus is full, ride it to the NORTH side of Tom Bradley terminal
5) Enter the first floor of TBT’s north end
6) Go up to the third floor of TBT
7) Wald OVER the immigration hall to the SOUTH side of TBT
8) Go back down to the first floor of TBT
9) Clear immigration
10) Collect your luggage
11) Clear customs
12) Push your luggage up the ramp to the connection desks
13) If you did not miss your connection minimum time during steps 1-12 above, hand your luggage back over to the AA representative (who may refuse it if not enough time is left)
14) Walk out of TBT
15) Walk back SOUTH, over to terminal 4 (where you arrived in the first place)
16) Enter the first floor of terminal 4
17) Go up to the second floor
18) Clear security.
19) If your flight is operated by AA, walk to your gate and hope your plane is still there. If, however, you are connecting to an American Eagle flight then..
20) Walk over to gate 44
21) Go down to the first floor and wait for the bus
22) Take the next bus to the American Eagle terminal
23) Have a pleasant flight!

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