How early should you arrive at LAX?

Any traveler who is planning to fly out of the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) should consider the time it takes to check-in at the airport, get the boarding passes, check-in luggage, and pass through security.

In addition to that, the traveler may have to wait for some time before they arrive at their gate. The time required to pass through the different checkpoints at the airport is fairly unpredictable. It can be effortless and quick on some occasions, while on other days, it can take a long time.

Since a flight ticket is relatively expensive, passengers want to avoid missing their flight by all means possible. This can be challenging without proper planning; you might end up reaching the airport late because you did not estimate the time it requires to get through each step accurately.

On the other hand, many of the passengers traveling have a busy schedule, and they cannot afford to reach the airport three hours before the scheduled departure to wait for their flight. With that in mind, passengers would like to find out how early they should arrive at LAX so that they do not miss a flight or waste a lot of time waiting at the airport.

At Airport Spectrum Parking, we know how crowded the airport and nearby streets get because of our 24/7 shuttle service to LAX. To help you navigate your LAX arrival seamlessly, here’s our guide to planning your trip to the airport.

What Are The Factors That Determine How Early You Should Appear At The Airport?

Several factors determine the estimated amount of time a passenger will take to complete the airport check-in, security,  and other formalities.

One of the factors that determines the time a person has to spend at LAX is whether the passenger is taking a domestic or international flight. For an international flight, immigration and customs formalities may have to be completed, and this will take longer than a domestic flight. 

If the passenger has received a weather alert, it is advisable to reach the airport early and check if the flight is delayed or canceled. Similarly, construction work at the airport or on the route to the airport can increase the time it takes to complete all the formalities. 

It is possible to check a live map of LAX online. If in doubt it is better to arrive at the airport slightly earlier than planned. Compared to missing a flight and losing money, it is better to come early and spend some more time at the airport.

Related: Frequently Asked Questions About Parking Near LAX

Alt text: A domestic flight at LAX ready to board

1. What is the arrival time for domestic flights at LAX?

The time it takes for the passenger to complete all the airport formalities will vary based on the time that the flight is scheduled. 

Most airports will recommend that passengers arrive at the airport two hours or more before the scheduled departure time. Passengers should be aware that the peak time for flights out of LAX  are as follows: 

  • 6.30 am to 9 am
  • 11 am to 2 pm
  • 8 pm to 11 pm

During these peak periods, the frequency of the flights out of the airport is higher. Therefore, it is advisable for the passenger to arrive at the airport earlier than they usually do, allowing you to complete check-ins and other boarding requirements with time to spare.

If the passenger wishes to get an estimated wait time based on past data from the airport, there are various apps available on  Google Play or Apple store that they can use. With the help of these apps, the passenger can then schedule his or her arrival at the airport.

2. What is the airport arrival time for international flights out of LAX?

If the traveler is taking an international flight out of LAX, it is usually recommended that they arrive at least three hours before the scheduled departure time of the flight. 

Passengers whose flights are in the afternoon between 11 am – 2 pm or 8 pm – 11 pm should be aware that these are peak times for LAX. Therefore, travelers should arrive at the airport slightly earlier, since the lines may be longer. Again there are a variety of apps available that can help passengers to obtain an estimated wait time at the airport so that they can plan accordingly. 

Related: Airport Spectrum Parking Free Shuttle Map

3. Checking in luggage at LAX

If the passenger only has 1-2 small luggage or bags that weigh a few pounds, then they can bypass checking their luggage in and go straight to security. However, if the passenger has a couple of huge suitcases, then they will have to check-in their luggage at the front desk.

The airline usually specifies the permitted check-in time for its flights, and the time will vary. Delta airlines specifies that customers should check in their bag, at least thirty minutes before their flight’s departure time.

The recommended check-in time for international flights is usually at least one-two hours before flight departure. However, the specific details will change depending on the airport, airline, so passengers should check their ticket for particular information for luggage check-in timings.

Have questions about parking near LAX? Contact Airport Spectrum Parking today!

Alt Text: A woman in a pink leather jacket rolls her pink suitcase around the airport

4. When are terminals open?

LAX is open to passengers on a 24/7 basis, but the actual terminals for flight departure are not always operating all 24 hours.

LAX has seven terminals, and the operational hours for the security and check-in desks will vary. Terminal one will operate from 4 am to 11 pm, Terminal two is open for longer hours from 4.30 am to 2 am. 

Terminal three and four have similar opening times from 4.15 am and 4 am, respectively, until 1 am the next day. Similarly, terminal five and six have schedules from 4 am and 4.30 am respectively to 1:30 am the next day. Terminal seven functions from 4 am to 12 midnight. 

The staggered timings ensure that flights can be scheduled for most hours at the airport, except between 2 am and 4 am. 

The Tom Bradley International Airport (Terminal B) is associated with the LAX airport and is divided into the north and south sectors. The south part of the Bradley airport is opened at 6 am, while the north part is open at 8 am. Both terminals close at 1 am.

Final Tips

It is advisable for the passenger to check the terminal number from which their flight is scheduled to avoid wasting time at the airport. It is also advisable to look at a map of LA before you arrive. Another important tip is to make sure you know what you’ll do with your car. 

Instead of waiting until the last minute, reserve a spot ahead of time at Airport Spectrum Parking. You’ll rest easy on your trip knowing that your car is safe, and you’ll be shuttled to the airport instead of having to wait for a friend or rideshare driver to pick you up.

With these tips in mind, plan your arrival at the airport accordingly. With this knowledge, you won’t miss their flight or have to wait forever.

To save time, and money, check out Airport Spectrum Parking!