LAX's Shiny New Terminal: What We Love

by  Jenny Peters | May 2, 2016
LAX Terminal 1 rendering, courtesy Southwest Airlines
LAX Terminal 1 rendering, courtesy Southwest Airlines

In the past few years, those traveling to and from Los Angeles have been frustrated by the construction at LAX; the horseshoe-shaped airport gets congested and forces travelers to move slowly. But there’s light at the end of the runway: the $1.9 billion renovations to the Tom Bradley International Terminal -- now a LEED Silver Certified building -- are officially complete (as of 2015), and the first phase of a new $508 million makeover to Southwest Airlines Terminal 1 was unveiled in March 2016. While there are still more changes to come, here are four ways the new terminal is already making LA travel more enjoyable.

The new check-in lobby is lightning fast.

The new check-in area, located on the west side of the terminal for maximum traffic flow, is a world of difference from the slow-moving lines and terribly lit lobby pre-renovation. Now, individual kiosks allow guests to quickly print boarding passes and suitcase tags, IDs and luggage are swiftly checked, and bags are whisked away. The process has gone from 15 minutes on the best of days to less than five every day.

Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley are there to greet you.

Keep your eyes peeled at Terminal 1's new Rock & Brews restaurant; you never know when the owners -- KISS rockers Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley -- might be grabbing a beer. The 15th outpost of the pair’s popular restaurant chain boasts a sit-down service and a grab-and-go section. Be sure to check out the restaurant’s Great Wall of Rock, where classic rock concerts stream throughout the day.

Spa services are just a few steps from your gate.

The Westfield Corporation is responsible for 24 new retail shops and dining options in the new terminal, and one of the most relaxing (yes, you can actually unwind at an airport) is Be Relax: a full-service airport spa. The company offers chair massages, specifically designed to loosen muscles pre-flight. Travelers can also choose from treatments like the Be Up, for back, neck, shoulders, arms, and hands; Be Feet, a blissful foot massage; and Be Relax, their signature massage for back, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, and legs.

The new terminal brings sunny California inside.

Natural light is a key part of the LAX Terminal 1 renovation. The addition of large windows allows the space to make the most of its sunny SoCal location. Not only does this give travelers a sense of well-being, but it saves on electricity costs, too. The final result makes terminal 1 feel open, airy, and more welcoming.

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