Weighing Options for Getting Into the City
You have several options with regard to ground transportation from the airports and into the city. Before deciding on a mode of transport you will need to consider the following:
- How many people are in your party?
- Where are you staying in the Los Angeles area?
- Which airport are you flying into?
There are 5 major airports in the Los Angeles metropolitan area:
- Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
- Burbank Bob Hope Airport
- Long Beach Airport
- Los Angeles/Ontario International Airport
- John Wayne Airport (Orange County)
LAX has the most options for getting into the city. The other airports have more limited options. Once you have evaluated the above you can decide on the best mode of transport listed below:
The Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) Flyway service is a very inexpensive and efficient way to get from LAX and into the city. There is one caveat to Flyway service however – you must be going to one of four destinations they service and you must have transportation to your final destination once you arrive. The four Flyway routes from LAX include service to: Los Angeles Union Station (Downtown LA), Westwood Village (UCLA), La Brea Expo Line Station, and Van Nuys (San Fernando Valley). For most visitors to Los Angeles Flyway service to Union Station probably makes the most sense if you are staying in Downtown LA. Otherwise the other 3 Flyaway stations are probably best suited for commuters than tourists. For more information about Flyway service visit their website by going to this link: Flyway. Best Suited For: Persons flying into LAX.Single travelers going into Downtown LA and Hollywood and who are okay with using some Metro service. May require one or more Metro Rail transfer to get to your final destination. Trip time from LAX to Los Angeles Union Station is approximately 30 minutes. Not Suited For: Larger parties and persons destined for hotels that are not close to Metro Rail service.
The name says it all. Uber is a relatively new service available in major metropolitan areas including Los Angeles and San Francisco. Uber requires that you sign up for the service and download an app to your iphone, ipad or Android device. Once you arrive to the airport and retrieve your bags you can request transport from Uber from your mobile device and the entire fare (including gratuity) will be billed direct to your credit card with no cash transacted. The benefit of Uber is that previous customers rate their Uber experience and as the next customer you have a choice – so there is an incentive to provide fast, courteous service in a well maintained vehicle at a fair price. Best Suited For: Persons flying into LAX or Burbank Airport. Families, small groups and persons who want one-stop service to their final destination. Not Suited For: Persons on an extremely tight budget.
There are several shared ride services in Los Angeles including nationally recognized services such as Super Shuttle and Karmel Shuttle. The one Caveat with shared ride services is, well, you are sharing the ride with others and it will take much longer to get to your destination than private car service. The benefit is that it can be more economical, but do you cost comparisons because some car services, such as Uber, may be cost competitive especially if you have several person in your party. Best Suited For: Any of the airports listed above. Single persons on a tight budget and who are staying in hotels not accessible to Flyaway service or Metro Rail. Not Suited For: Persons with more than one person in their party, or if you are in a hurry to get to your final destination.
Rail service is generally not available from Los Angeles airports and into the city yet. Metro is working on building a line from LAX and into the city but completion of that line is years away. If you happen to be flying into Burbank Bob Hope Airport you may have the option of using Metrolink service from the airport into Downtown Los Angeles. Best Suited For: Single travelers flying into Burbank Bob Hope Airport who are going into Downtown LA or Hollywood and who are okay with using some Metro Rail service. May require one or more Metro Rail transfer to get to your final destination. Not Suited For: A group of travelers and persons going to places other than Downtown LA or Hollywood.
Car Rental Service
Car rental service is available from all Los Angeles metropolitan airports listed above. This is the most expensive of all the options above because it requires the cost of your car rental, mileage, fuel and parking – and the privilege of parking will cost you dearly. Best Suited For: Families and single travelers who are not traveling on a budget and who are unwilling to use at least some public transit. Not Suited For: Persons on a budget, those inexperienced with congested city traffic, those unfamiliar with rules of the road in California.