International student’s tips: Getting to LAX

Photo Credit: sfxeric

It may seem daunting to get out of Westwood to LAX on Thanksgiving and the holiday break when everyone seems to be leaving at the same time, and throughout my time here I’ve accrued some favorite routes I like to take to get to the airport.  If you are an international or out-of-state student, or from Northern California and want to know some tips for a less stressful trip back home, read on!

1.  Take the FlyAway bus.  This is a shuttle that picks up in front of Lot 32 on Kinross (in Westwood) and takes you straight to the airport, making stops at each terminal.  The fare is $10, which is much cheaper than that of a taxi (usually costing around $45-50) which takes the exact same route.  Because the FlyAway only has two stops (Westwood and LAX), there’s less potential delay that you might get from taking door-to-door shuttles (see below) that pick up different people in your area before making its way to the airport.  The FlyAway buses run on natural gas and offer free wifi too, which is a cool bonus.  See its schedule here.

2.  Take a door-to-door shuttle.  These shuttles may take a longer time in order to pick up multiple passengers in your neighborhood, but it picks you up at your door.  In exchange for a few more minutes of your time, you won’t have to worry about getting yourself to a bus stop or paying a heftier fare that taxis often require.  The most popular shuttles around UCLA are the SuperShuttle (blue vans) and Primetime (red vans).

3.  Take the Big Blue Bus.  From Ackerman Terminal or Hilgard Terminal at UCLA, you can take “Line 3 Montana Ave & Lincoln Blvd” that goes all the way to LAX for just $0.50 for UCLA students if you swipe your BruinCard!  The only downside to this route is the time; it can take up to an hour and a half, so make sure you plan ahead.  Depending on the day of the week and time of day, the bus may not leave from Ackerman Terminal, so make sure you check out the schedule before planning your trip.  Tip: Be aware that this stops at the LAX bus terminal rather than individual flight terminals.

4.  Take the Culver City Bus.  This also picks up at Ackerman Terminal, and costs $0.50 per ride.  Regarding ride time, see above (Big Blue).  Check out the schedule and the route map before you go.  Tip: Be aware that this stops at the LAX bus terminal rather than individual flight terminals.

5.  Ask a friend for a lift.  More people are willing to give you a lift than you think.  If you know anyone driving home, don’t be afraid to reach out and see if LAX (or the FlyAway stop) is on their way or in their direction.

6.  Take a cab.  Although not the most economical way to get to the airport, this is still an option if you don’t have time to figure out another way.  Find out more about the Yellow Cab here.

Final tip:  If you can, travel with a buddy.  More than once I’ve ended up with roughly the same flight time as a friend, and traveling to the airport with someone else makes it a lot more fun.  The terminals of LAX are all connected by a loop, so it’s no big deal if you and your friend want to hang out for a bit before heading through the security checkpoint of your respective terminals.

Eleanor Fang