Yesterday, Los Angeles World Airports announced details of a massive LAX shuffle—an airport-wide reshuffling of terminals that will be triggered by Delta Air Lines’ scheduled move from Terminals 5 and 6 to Terminals 2 and 3 in May. It’s expected to be the biggest relocation operation in airport history. Since Delta is moving, it means that lots of other airlines at LAX will have to move, as well.
Over five days in May (and specifically the nights of May 12, 14 and 16), one-third of the 70 airlines at LAX will have to relocate in some way. This means that certain airlines will relocate all of their operations to new terminals, some will have new ticket counters, etc. In total, 21 airlines will be affected and making changes during the five days.
According to the relocation homepage, “each airline will complete its relocation overnight, and start their operations in their new location the following morning.” That is no small task! But both airport and airline say they’ve been planning for the move for a while.
“While moving 21 airlines over three nights is a monumental task, Delta and the Los Angeles World Airports team have been planning and preparing for months to ensure a smooth transition,” said Los Angeles World Airports CEO Deborah Flint.
Once the move is complete (May 17), Delta will have 23 gates at LAX and will operate alongside many of its airline partners including Aeromexico, Virgin Atlantic and WestJet. The massive terminal shuffle is the first step toward the eventual creation of the Delta Sky Way at LAX, part of Delta’s $1.9 billion plan to modernize and connect Terminals 2 and 3 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX over the next seven years.
What this means for travelers
Clearly this complicates everything—on top of the existing construction at LAX—and ideally you’ll stay far from LAX May 12-16 (and maybe a few days before and after the move, as well). If you must fly and your schedule permits, you can consider alternate airports like Orange County, Burbank or Long Beach. If you simply can’t avoid LAX on the days in question, make sure to allow for extra time, check in online to avoid lines, check and re-check gates and terminal information, and don’t check luggage (carry on if possible). And know that you won’t be on your own: According to Los Angeles World Airports, there will be “approx. 500 new way-finding signs, additional airport personnel, and dedicated way-finders to assist with passenger navigation.”
Delta flyers should also be aware that the airline will operate flights from as many as four terminals (2, 3, 5, and 6) during the move. (Yikes.)
If food is important to you, the food isn’t great in Terminal 3 (yet). And if you’re switching from Terminal 2 to 3 after security (due to a last-minute terminal change), there’s no connection currently between Terminal 2 and 3 inside of security. This is something they plan to change in the future, and for now it has been made clear that the airport will have measures in place (like buses or walking routes) to get passengers where they need to go.
During the shuffle, Delta has pledged to be in constant communication with its customers, providing real-time information on departure and arrival terminals and gates through the Fly Delta app, text messages and emails. Passengers of other airlines can expect the same, and at the very least should make an effort to pay extra close attention to airline websites, apps and updates. All travelers should also check for updates on the relocation progress at laxishappening.com and lawa.org or monitor #LAXontheMOVE, @flyLAXairport and @LAAirportPD on Twitter.
What will the new LAX realignment look like when 5-day move is complete?
See above. For more maps and helpful information for travelers, check out LAXisHappening.com/LAXontheMOVE.
Delta’s vision for the future
As briefly mentioned above, over the next seven years, Delta will build the Delta Sky Way at LAX—a $1.9 billion project. In addition to connecting Terminal 2, Terminal 3 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal, the airport international terminal connection will allow access to additional partners, including Air France-KLM, Alitalia, China Eastern, China Southern, Korean Air, and Virgin Australia.
The new terminals will provide Delta’s customers a private Delta One check-in lounge, new Delta Sky Clubs and an integrated in-line baggage system. Once completed, the facility will allow for better passenger flows, more gate-area seating and an improvement in the food in these terminals with the addition of local chefs and restaurants (in partnership with Westfield).
If you’re flying out of LAX on these days, GOOD LUCK! And remember to stay up-to-date on the status of the massive project via the websites and Twitter handles listed above.
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