LAX's new international terminal opened after a massive $1.9 billion makeover and the reviews appear to be good.
Housed in a architecturally-significant structure that recalls waves on the Pacific Ocean, the new Tom Bradley International Terminal offers a plethora of new restaurants and high-end retail. Many of the 17 new restaurants are only-in-L.A. eateries and have never before been in an airport. The new shops include Gucci, Fred Segal, and an Apple store. The terminal also includes a 150,000 square foot Great Hall with a video clocktower and numerous video screens (see video below).
LAX, the country's third-busiest airport and the world's sixth-busiest, has been criticized for its unimpressive restaurants and retail and the makeover should help the airport's PR. More importantly, though, the upgraded terminal helps accommodate huge A380 planes, which previously had to park for away, necessitating the busing in of travelers. Now, international carriers will have good reason to stick with L.A. instead of dropping more passengers off at SFO or Las Vegas's McCarran International.
"We now have six A380s a day. By this time next year I think we'll have 10 A380s a day," Los Angeles World Airports executive director Gina Marie Lindsey told MSNBC. "Without these gates, these airplanes were having to park at a remote gate off by the beach and be bused in to the terminal, which is not exactly the kind of hospitality that Los Angeles wants to offer."
Los Angeles World Airports, which owns LAX and nearby Van Nuys and Ontario airports, is pumping $4 billion in total to upgrade all of its airports. Many of LAX's terminals will look shiny when everything is said and done, and there are plans to build a people mover from LAX to Los Angeles's growing rapid transit system.