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Aloha717200
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LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 1:56 am

Hi all,

In this other thread about LAX a few members were discussing LAX T3 and how old it appears inside, so I thought I'd ask for some more details about this terminal since it seems that thread is going down the page.  Big grin


This summer I'm flying to LAX either on HP or AS, and if I fly AS I'll arrive in T3. I was told that it looks like the terminal is stuck in the 1960s, is this a bad thing for those of us who didn't get to experience airports in the 1960s?

I checked a.net and jp.net and only found one photo taken inside T3, it appears to be at the circular area in the terminal, and it actually looks half decent:


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Photo © AirNikon



So tell me about this terminal. Should I go out of my way to avoid it?


If I do, I'll arive on HP in T1. Now, my only issue with T1 is that it's far away from Tom Bradley and I don't know if I'll get any decent spotting in from T1, but T3, with its more central location, looks like it might be more exciting from a spotter's point of view. But, also, I have no idea how the windows in these two terminals are. I'm used to arriving in T5 on Delta, which is a beautiful terminal, but has a horrible window layout in a few parts. Such as double sets of windows on the T4-facing side that make it impossible to get a decent shot. But on the T6 facing side you have a great view of departing aircraft.


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Photo © Sam Chui



So what of T3 and T1? Which is the better terminal, and where can i get better pictures? Is a retro T3 that bad, or is it, that bad.  Laugh out loud


Looking forward to your thoughts!
 
7e72004
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 2:03 am

I could tell you now that T3 seems crowded all of the time. The last time i flew into LA was on ATA and when i arrived the place was jammed packed and when i left (on a redeye) it was packed. Nowhere to sleep. I did not think it was that bad though.
The next generation of aircraft is just around the corner!
 
roseflyer
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 2:11 am

Almost all of AS's flight leave from the circular part pictured above. It gets extremely crowded there and isn't a very pleasant place to wait for a while. There are some good views of TBIT and the north runways though from that area. It is the old TWA terminal and feels like a TWA terminal of yesteryear, compared to the other major's terminals (T4-8). My only suggestion, is don't plan on spending all day there because it is crowded.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
socalatc
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 2:23 am

The problem with T-1 is that it is used my WN also, this terminal sometimes has security lines all the way down to T-2.. I would avoid T-1 and use T-3. T-3's upstairs is not bad at all, its the downstairs that is very old and nasty. Infact Alaskas ticket counter is very new and very nice, probably nicer than anyother airline at LAX.
 
Mizzou65201
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 2:35 am

No reason to avoid it per se. You'll just get a little taste of yesteryear =)

There are just many things in disrepair in the terminal:
** No comprehensive FLIFO monitors...there are some "boxes" where monitors have been removed...others with old turned off monitors where you can still see all the ghosted images of flights past...

** General disrepair and clutter... see gates 35/36 for instance.

** Weird signage...ATA took over some of AA's old T-3 gates, but much of the old American gate podium look is still intact, but with ATA labels.

** It's a crapshoot as to whether the main restaurant/bar (Jody Maroni's) will be open. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. There is a Burger King and Starbucks that is usually open. Check out the 1960's NOAA poster across from Jody Maroni's.

** The area between the restaurants (by the escalator down to baggage claim) is very terribly dated looking...along with the lower level hallway to baggage and the baggage claim itself.

It has character though...which is one thing T1 doesn't have. T1 has more of a plain-jane, bus station feel. Plus I think T3 has better spotting overall.

Happy Flying

 
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Aloha717200
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 2:46 am

Plain-jane T1....how would you compare it....would you say it's as plain as ONT? ONT appears very sterile and boring inside though I've never actually been in the airport. Just seen interior pics.


Or better yet how would it compate to T5? I've been in T5 lots. I was in T6 in 2000, I don't know if you can still walk from T5 to T6 past security...there used to be a corridor on the air-side, much like SLC has, that you could walk from T5 to T6 and see the planes out the window. Did they close that off after 9/11? Is there anything similar to that between T3 and T2? If I arrived in T3 it would be nice to walk over to T2 and get some pics of a few exotic airlines.  Big grin I know that T1 is isolated...not connected to the other terminals on the north side of the airport.

Do AS flights deplane on level 1 or 2 of T3?
 
Mizzou65201
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 2:58 am

There is NO airside connection between T1-2-3. There are tarmac buses between T2, T3, T4 and the AA Eagle remote terminal...but I think these require a boarding pass for an Eagle flight. That would be the only way to connect airside (T3-->Eagle terminal-->T2). It's not advertised as an inter terminal service, just as a connecting bus to Eagle flights.

All T3 flights board and deplane on level 2. Level 1 is just the trippy little walkway to baggage claim, and baggage claim itself.

Unfortunately I've never been to T5 or T6. I rarely (never) have reason to fly DL or CO. I'm always in 1-2-3-4.

Couldn't tell you about ONT either. That's a solid 2.5 to 3 hour drive from my little corner of L.A.

I wouldn't call T1 "sterile"...it's not new and sparkling...it's not old and crusty...just functional and boring. Watch "Airline" on A&E, you will probably see some of T1 there.


 
slider
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 3:03 am

T3 is a hole. Definitely a jump back in time to TWA in the 60s!!!
 
socalatc
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 3:42 am

Isn't T-3 the old TWA terminal? When I was walking down to the airplane the PA system said TWA on it. I didn't think T-3 was big enough for TWA when they were in their prime..
 
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Aloha717200
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 4:27 am

Apparently so. I really, really would like some pictures of T3.



You see, when you're nostalgic about aviation, saying "It's a relic from the 60s", actually gets you MORE excited about seeing it. Big grin But, if it's more of a dump than it is of a nostalgic relic, that can be a factor.
 
PanAm747
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 4:36 am

Believe me, ALL the terminals at LAX can be crowded and frustrating...T3 is no exception.

Not to worry about spotting from the Tom Bradley international terminal. Most of the planes there park on the opposite side of the building, so you can't get any good shots. Several international airlines use other terminals (last I saw, Air New Zealand had two 747's and a 767 at T-2), so you might get some interesting shots.

Plane spotting is best outside the airport. Go to the In & Out burger at Lincoln & Sepulveda. You'll be almost directly under the northernmost runway at the edge of the airport.

Best of luck in your travels!!
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
 
concord977
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 4:37 am

The west side of T3 faces the Tom Bradley International Terminal. However, that side of the TBIT is only for smaller, narrow-body aircraft (usually).

T1 is a little more interesting, because there are a few international airlines that use it, such as Air New Zealand.

If you have time, you should walk over to the TBIT. There is an upper level food court that spans the entire length of the building - and there are large windows facing both concourses. You'll get some nice shots of international 747s, MD11s, A330s and A340s.
No info
 
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Aloha717200
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 4:41 am

Am I allowed to enter Tom Bradley if I dont have a ticket for that terminal?
 
AirVB
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 4:43 am

I flew in Terminal 3 back in 1994 on TWA. Flew through it again last January. Hasn't changed at all-except for the fact that the airlines are different. Like others mentioned it can get quite crowded. The whole thing is like walking back into the 60's-nothing has been updated-from the red TWA carpet on the walls to the disgusting yellow tiles and the horribly outdated baggage claim area.

Flew through Terminal 1 about a week ago. Security lines can be bad, but it depends on the time of the day. If you go to the end of the terminal, you can get some decent pictures-you can get an idea from the ones at the beginning of my trip report: https://www.airliners.net/discussions/trip_reports/read.main/42423/.

Terminal 3 also has a few good spots to watch landings and arrivals, and some of the action across the way at the international terminal. There are basically two circular halls-the Alaska one and the ATA/Frontier/Midwest Express one. The latter of the two generally tends to be less crowded. As far as being a "nostalgic relic"-I guess you could consider it one in some ways-it's kind of neat to go through, and it's not anymore of a pain to travel through than Terminal One.
 
AirVB
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 4:45 am

Am I allowed to enter Tom Bradley if I dont have a ticket for that terminal?

Yes, you are. Just walk past the check-in counters up to the shops and restaurants. There is a seating area on either end, and you can get some great views of the widebodies loading at their gates and some of the departures and arrivals on each of the runways.
 
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Aloha717200
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 5:07 am

So, where is security located in TBIT?
 
MakeMinesLAX
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 5:55 am

I didn't think T-3 was big enough for TWA when they were in their prime

If you're referring to the 70's and 80's, TWA did quite a good job of keeping the gates occupied, particularly during the morning rush - it wasn't uncommon to see 4 or so Tristars, a 747, a 707 or two and some 727s loading up. They had quite a bit of transcon service then - JFK/BOS/IAD - instead of "just" STL/MCI in the later years.

Eastern was a co-tenant at this time. When service was limited to ATL, they'd have one 727 or L-1011 parked (or, IIRC, two on occasion). When they launched transcon to JFK, EA grabbed a few more gates.

I tried to find some shots to capture the hustle and bustle, but this the best I could find. T3 is in the background in the first; the remainder show A/C in the hanger area to the west of T3.


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Photo © George W. Hamlin
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Photo © Ted Quackenbush



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Photo © Ted Quackenbush
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Photo © Ted Quackenbush



I thought there was a mention of the movie "Airplane" in this thread, but it must have been another one. Anyway, the T3 curbside, check-in and gate area are featured quite prominently in the film (and have probably changed very little since then). Of course, there's the famous scene in which those awaiting the arrival run from gate to gate to keep up with the skidding plane.
 Nuts
 
AirVB
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 6:02 am

If you walk past the check-in counters you get to this big elevator that takes you up one level to the shops and restaurants (it's really not needed-you can just walk up a few steps). To the right of the elevator is the security checkpoint leading to the gates. Like I said, you can completely bypass the security checkpoint, which leads down into a completely separate hall.
 
N960AS
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 8:26 am

T-3 probably is the oldest, saddest terminal at LAX. I miss TWA so much and it just makes me sad, the red stripes, the old monitors with St. Louis and New York-JFK and TW flight numbers burned into them. It may be sad seeing an AirTran A320 going to ATL at a gate which I once used to use for TWA 747 or 767 service to JFK (and onto FCO...) but so be it. Gate 35 JFK, gate 34 STL...but yeah. At least it has new life, especially thanks to AS/QX...it's nice to see up to 8 AS 737s and M80s parked at the terminal at once. The new AS ticket counters are confusing though. I guess I've made my terminal T-4...it's pretty nice.

the level one walk way is trippy.
 
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ramprat74
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 10:04 am

Does anybody know if the underground walkway is still open in T-3? All the terminals had them before they built the second level roadway. The whole tunnel was tiled. They had a scen in Airplane in that tunnel.
 
aeroman62
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 10:15 am

I remember in college flying a TW 747 nonstop from T3 to LHR - even in 1983, TW was declining in their service from LAX, however the 747 was packed, and the inflight service in coach probably more like business today. T3, however, was in great shape then, and the gate for the LHR flight was elegant.

All of LAX is constrained and crowded - I don't know why you'd fly out of it, if BUR or ONT, or LGB are options for you. The security lines are horrific, planes are crowded, it is definitely a dowager airport.
 
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Aloha717200
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 11:01 am

Because ONT, BUR, and LGB....are somewhat less interesting.  Big grin


I would like SNA alot better if they didnt have those dang tinted windows. Can't get a decent shot at that airport with tinted windows.


This nostalgia really has me sold on T3, just to see what remains of what used to be an important terminal in the old days. The issue now is cost. AS is way way overpriced. I'd have to really trim other costs to afford AS, but I've been seriously considering it from the beginning.
 
BN747
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 11:50 am

I can't believe it...an official thread about 'Dissin' T-3'..well it was bound to happen sooner or later! Depending on the time of day, you can get great shots of NZ,NW,HA,KLM and VS going into T-2 (facing east..or ATA side). On the AS side..the sun is going to be in your face..so you'll be able to see all the international goings-on at Bradley's North wing but they make good pics..unless it's in the morning and the sun's behind you...after noon or so..it's gonna be in your puss! Best bet if yuou have time..is to go atop the Bradley Parking garage..from there you know have the whole northside of the airport in front of you and the sun shining over your shoulder..this is WAY better than the off field In and Out burger spot! The only minus... Bradley's south wing is obstructed and thatw wing has 1 additional gate than the north but can handle 5 744s +1 767/A330/MD11 ..whereas the north can only take 3 744s +1 767/A330/MD11 plus a couple Aerocalifornia DC-9s or Mexicana A320s.

Glad you did the 60's stuff...I guess I would too...I like going into airports and there's no jetways!!! Talk about the stone age!

Have fun!

BN747
"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
 
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Aloha717200
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 12:10 pm

I like going into airports and there's no jetways!!!


That, also, sounds very neat to me.
 
Mizzou65201
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 12:15 pm

Ramprat74: Are you talking about the tunnel that runs from the north end of T3 to the base, by baggage claim? If so, then yes, it's still there, still open, still multi-colored tiled.
 
copaair737
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 1:25 pm

Definitely go to T3 to spot. When I was there, I saw a LA 767, KE 773 and 744, and a bunch of MX A319s/A320s. I also got some good views of an NZ 744 taxiing by, and of the northern runway. This all came from the AS side of the terminal. I was not impressed by T3, I found it to be a rather crappy terminal, yet I liked the nogastalgic feel to it. T1 has no character whatsoever, and the views aren't as good as the ones you would get if you were in T3. But, as others have put, it does get very crowded there, especially when the Mexico bank of flights leave. I would opt for T3 because of the the TBIT views, and AS has great service too, if you are planning to take them.

-Copa
Livin' on Reds, Vitamin C, and Cocaine
 
AirVB
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 2:11 pm

Does anybody know if the underground walkway is still open in T-3? All the terminals had them before they built the second level roadway. The whole tunnel was tiled. They had a scen in Airplane in that tunnel.

Yeah, when you deplane, you walk to the center and go down an escalator to this tiled hall that leads to the baggage claim.
 
planecrazy2
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 2:46 pm

I flew AS to RNO from LAX two weeks ago out of T3. I normally fly Southwest, but I wanted to see T3 because i'd never been in it. The ticket counter is new at least for Alaska. The waiting area at the end of the terminal was old looking, but more interesting than T1. I found a good spot to watch all the action on the north runways, but it wasn't great. The view of TBIT was okay, there was mostly smaller planes there though. The only interesting thinkg I saw was a BA 744 and a Virgin 744. But getting to baggage claim was the most interesting on the return trip. The escalator going down to level 1 is in the center of the terminal in this oval shaped room with high ceilings with some weird art on top of the ceiling. But as others said when you get to the bottom of the escalator there is this long hallway..I mean long... the length of the terminal almost with bright lighting and ugly small tiles everywhere. Very old looking. The floor is flat, but about halfway down the hall curves up to get to baggage claim. A very long creepy walk to the claim.Very trippy. The baggage claim is THE most pathetic claim I've ever seen. Horrible and very small and ugly. All yellow. The T1 claim is a lot nicer. But overall it was interesting to get a change from T1 to see what the airport used to be like I guess.
-crazy
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nwa man
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 4:02 pm

NW used to operate out of T3- all I can say is that I'm happy they moved to T2. It's like night and day, literally, as the natural light and ambience in T2 far outclasses that of T3.


Regards,

N-Dub
Create your own luck.
 
Mizzou65201
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 5:21 pm

Just rented "Airplane!" to see how much (or rather, how little) has changed with T3 since 1980.

All I can say is "Wow..."

Probably the most unchanged part of the terminal is the baggage claim area. It wasn't as yellow back then...but all of the old signage at each claim is still in place, including the "Self Service Baggage Claim" sign seen in the movie. There is a scene early in the movie shot in that underground walkway...that, too, is completely unchanged.

There's also a scene with Captain Oveur on some courtesy telephones shot in the center "rotunda" i guess you could call it...it's the area near the escalators where the restaurants and Starbucks are now located. That architecture is also completely unchanged--cheesy wood paneling, late 60s style lighting fixtures.
 
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Aloha717200
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sat Apr 17, 2004 6:03 pm

 Wow! I had no idea T3 was featured in airplane!

Going to grab the movie right now. Big grin
 
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ramprat74
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sun Apr 18, 2004 2:14 am

Thanks guys for the info. I can't believe that walkway is still open. T4-7 walkways have been closed for a good 15 years. The last time I was in T-7. I went down stairs and walked the T4-7 walkway. They had the baggage claim to satellite walkway boarded up. I went over and looked through the hole. The walkway was still tiled and the lights were on.

When I was a kid 70's and early 80's. We use to fly TWA every summer from LAX-EWR. I still remember T-3 to this day. I will have to try to go through T-3 this year and check it out again. I'm sure it will bring back memories.

In the film Airplane. You can tell it was filmed in T-3. The TWA ticket counters with the fake signs. The FID screens with the TWA logo on it.
 
EIPremier
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sun Apr 18, 2004 7:06 am

The issue now is cost. AS is way way overpriced. I'd have to really trim other costs to afford AS, but I've been seriously considering it from the beginning.

T3 may be a bit retro, but not in a good way. It's an ugly hole as far as I'm concerned. It has been updated a bit since Airplane!, but it certainly doesn't look better. At least then it had TWA.

AS and HP are comparable service-wise for short flights (AS First is a bit better, but coach is basically the same). So, fly which ever has the better price/mileage benefits.
 
Whisperliner
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RE: LAX Terminal 3?

Sun Apr 18, 2004 5:07 pm

the last time I was terminal 3 was picking up my gf, that was back in 2000. She took twa, and at that time I was snooping behind an empty twa counter and I found a bunch of really old style twa ticket jackets..wow. I didn't take any, and I put them back =( I noticed all their stuff, like the computer termimals and carts all had the old twa logos on them, really cool.

why does't the flight computer displays work now, then how do people know what their flight status is? (haha I do remeber those computers had major burn in)

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