The LA Times just highlighted this study by a group called Priority Pass that lists LAX as the third worst airport – in the world, behind Heathrow in London and Charles de Gaulle in Paris. I’m a bit skeptical – after all, this group is comprised of frequent business travelers who probably expect foot massages when they land. Personally, I think there are other domestic airports that are worse (Houston’s comes to mind, and not because it’s in Texas). Nonetheless, we all know that our home port could use a little (a lot) of improvement. The airport has received over a billion recession dollars to improve and upgrade its facilities, and the LA Times has some ideas on how to use this money (some are blatantly silly, others are more serious). My top gripes are after the jump.
1. Free wifi. Some airports like Louis Armstrong International (in New Orleans), Portland International, and Singapore International have it, others like LAX charge for it. I get that in an industry that’s losing money, charging an obscene amount for wifi access is almost a capitalist given, but c’mon.
2. More outlets. On a recent flight back from Seattle, I deplaned and walked past Southwest’s Business class waiting area. There, I noticed that the nice leather-ish seats were adjacent to even nicer power outlets. If all the outlets at LAX could be just as accessible, it would be so much better – and safer – than looping my cords between rows of seats.
3. Easier access to the rail. I know there is a shuttle that goes between LAX and the Green Line station, and I know that this two-step approach to airport public transportation isn’t so uncommon (for example, I had to take two buses to get to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to catch my flight back to LAX, and I had to take BART and a shuttle to get from my dorm room in Berkeley to Oakland Airport). That said, wouldn’t it be nice if we could pull a SFO and have the rail go directly to the airport?
4. Let buses enter the Loop. Before I found a ride back from LAX, I looked over my bus options from the airport to my apartment in Santa Monica. I was surprised to find that I had to take a (free) shuttle from the airport to the Green Line station to get to my bus. WTF? Why can’t I wait for a bus on the dreaded Loop the same way I wait for a shuttle or a taxi? To make things even easier, I would even designate one of the lanes a bus-only lane. The FlyAway bus seems to be the only public transit-oriented bus that is permitted to make the Loop, but its use is premised on the assumption that you can get home after being dropped off in Westood, Union Station, or Van Nuys.
4(a). More FlyAways. That said, the FlyAway is an awesome, direct, and easy option for those of us who just need an option to get to Westwood, Union Station, or Van Nuys. Expanding the fleet to serve other areas of the city (Mid-City and the South Bay, for example) would be welcome.
5. Improve the Loop. The Loop around the terminals is like driving in a racetrack with no ground rules. Designate car- and shuttle-only lanes, make it easier to get into the terminal pick up areas, clearly post which lanes go to which freeways well in advance of the point of no return … anything so that little hatchback Yaris doesn’t get creamed by enormous hotel shuttle buses every single time she enters the Loop.
6. More art, less fugly. Since we have a billion to spare, can we spend some on some art? Even some of our rail stations look prettier and more welcoming than the static, sterile environment of the LAX terminals.
What’s on your list?