Los Angeles Airport Travel Tips - Choosing The Right Airport, Time of Day, and Airline

LAX or BUR - Los Angeles Travel

As most people know, air travel post 9/11 is rather nightmarish. The headaches associated with air travel can be compounded by several different factors; time during the day or year that you travel, the airline you use, the airport you use and what the traffic is like getting to the airport.

In my previous life, I had a job that required me to travel frequently. I would fly from LAX-ATL once per month, from LAX-CLT (Los Angeles to Charlotte) a few times per year, LAX-JFK (Los Angeles to New York) a few times per year, LAX-LGA (Los Angeles to New York) a few times per year and LAX-IAD (Los Angeles to Washington) a few times a year; with a couple other random flights mixed in to check out new business opportunities. All this travel added up to about 100,000 miles per year.

The time of day you choose to travel really affects the amount of hassle involved. I always try to travel during “odd” times. I would try to book flights that departed cities at say 10 AM or 2 PM. Airports are busy in the morning, in the evening and then again for the red eyes. Trying to avoid these peak travel times can save you time at security and in other airport related lines. Not to mention hopefully avoiding some of the worst of LA traffic.

The time of the year affects travel big time if you are going to certain places. The most obvious case is with winter travel to Northern cities. Snow storms always cause delays. When planes sit out in the snow, they ice up. A plane cannot take off if it has ice on its wings so it must first be de-iced. This process takes anywhere from 15-45 minutes, depending on the airport, the amount of snow/ice and the size of the aircraft.

Speaking from experience, the airport you use has the greatest impact on how smooth your travel goes. As I mentioned previously I primarily use LAX, JFK, LGA, ATL, CLT and IAD. In the grand scheme of things, these are large airports, ranked 3rd, 6th, 20th, 1st, 11th and 21st respectively in the US in annual passenger traffic. An airports ability to handle what is thrown at it makes all the difference. For example, I HATE ATL. That airport is the busiest in the whole world and they have ONE security checkpoint. I’ve waited 2 hours in the security line at ATL before during rush hour on a Monday.

Luckily for most of our readers, LAX is set up pretty well. Each of the 7 terminals has its own security line. This cuts back on security waits immensely. You rarely have to wait more than 15-20 minutes in security at LAX. However, for the more savvy LA travelers, I recommend Burbank airport, BUR. This is my favorite airport! It’s small, so you rarely have to deal with big lines and bad traffic like at LAX. They also de-plane from the front and back of planes, minimizing de-planing times better than any other airport. Unfortunately, as BUR is a small airport, you cannot go to as many cities direct, which is also a big hassle for many travelers.

If you live in LA, no matter what airport you use, you always have to factor in the road traffic to get to the airport. One of the main reasons I prefer BUR to LAX is that it’s much easier to get to. For most to get to LAX you have to use the 405 and or the 10. Both of these freeways are constantly slammed with traffic. Mis-budgeting the travel time to the airport can cause you to miss your flight.

If you’re a frequent traveler, consider proximity to LAX and BUR when choosing which part of town to live. Use our California Real Estate Search or tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll take care of the search for you. Call 1-800-287-1808 for assistance.

Source: http://www.faa.gov/airports/planning_capacity/passenger_allcargo_stats/passenger/media/cy10_primary_enplanements.pdf

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