Thanks to Delta, More Than Two Dozen Airlines Are Switching Terminals at LAX, Here’s Where They’re Going

Update 3/27: The official plan is in place, and there were a couple of minor tweaks from my original map. I’ve updated this post.

Delta’s plans to vacate Terminal 5 at LAX for Terminals 2 and 3 are shaping up nicely. The shift, however, is very complex with more than two dozen other airlines needing to change as well. Despite that, Delta isn’t wasting time. It’s paying for these moves, and it’s working quickly. Believe it or not, everyone should be in their new homes by May of next year. And now, details are coming out about where the airlines are all going.

My understanding is that Delta’s Final 2017 Relocation Plan, which begins on page 114 of this PDF (thanks to an eagle-eyed reader for sending the link), isn’t completely set in stone. There could still be some tweaks, but this is very close to what we’ll see in May.

Before we get into it, here’s an airport map of how things look today (actually earlier this year, but close enough).

LAX Current Lineup

Delta likes Terminal 5 (and the couple gates it has in Terminal 6), but it wants more room. It also wants to be closer to its partners, many of which are not connected behind security today. So, Delta made a deal with the airport to take over Terminals 2 and 3. That sets in motion a whole bunch of other changes, most for the better. It’s going to look like this.

Delta Gets Closer to Partners
Terminal 2 has a customs facility, so Delta can not only operate its own flights there, but it can have its international partners there as well.

Aeromexico and Virgin Atlantic, both partially-owned by Delta, will remain in Terminal 2 where they are today. Delta’s joint venture partner Virgin Australia will also move over there [update: for check-in only, aircraft will be at Bradley]. Lastly, Aeroflot will go to T2 from the Bradley Terminal. That last one seems strange, but it could just be needed thanks to more airlines moving to Bradley.

At the same time, WestJet, which is in Terminal 2 today, will move over to Terminal 3 to help balance gates. Delta’s other partners, Air France/KLM most notably, will remain in the Bradley Terminal. In the beginning, these will all have to be connected by shuttles, but in the long run, all three of the terminals will connect behind security, giving Delta a fantastic position with its partners. [Update: Aer Lingus will be in Terminal 2 as well instead of Terminal 6 as previously expected.]

American Gets More Compact
With Delta leaving Terminal 5, that means others will have to move in. American, which has all of Terminal 4 and 4 gates in Terminal 6, will be able to trade those T6 gates for 4 gates in T5 instead. That will make it much easier to get between American’s gates.

Alaska and Virgin America Unite
With American moving out of T6 (along with Delta), that opens the door for Alaska and Virgin America to unite their operations. That’s pretty important considering that they’re merging (assuming DOJ approves), but there wasn’t a good way to do that until now. Virgin America will go from T3 into the old American gates in T6 and the new Alaska will control nearly all of the recently-remodeled terminal.

Who else will be in T6? There are a couple of long haul carriers (Aer Lingus, oddly away from BA and Iberia, and XL). There are also the little guys. Great Lakes and Mokulele stay in T6 and now Boutique will join them there, all using bus gates.

There’s also Sun Country, but that one is confusing. It seems like check-in may be in T6 but gates will be in T5 for them? [Update: This is correct, same for Allegiant and Frontier.] We’ll see. Either way, these are all very small operators that don’t need much space.

Oh, and there’s one more…

United and Air Canada Get Together
Air Canada is in T2 today, and that’s pretty inconvenient when its partner United is in T7/8. Now Air Canada will go to a couple gates in T6, and that means it will have easy behind-security access to United next door. That’s excellent news. But what confuses me is that Air Canada is still going to have a lounge. I’m not sure where that’s going to fit in T6.

JetBlue and Hawaiian Cuddle Up
In New York, JetBlue and Hawaiian have developed a nice little relationship. JetBlue handles Hawaiian in its own Terminal 5, and it provides some good feed to the airline’s Honolulu flight. Now they can recreate this love affair in LA. JetBlue heads from T3 to T5 and Hawaiian joins the blue crew there from its long-time home in T2. This relationship could blossom in more ways than one.

Ultra Low Cost in a Nicer Terminal
While JetBlue may be at the upper end of the low cost carrier spectrum, T5 will also be home to both Spirit (with dedicated gates) alongside both Allegiant and Frontier (operating from common use gates). Allegiant has been there before, when Delta used to have room to spare. Now Spirit and Frontier will join them in operating from one of the nicer terminals at LAX.

Southwest Suffers in Bradley
There are many good things going on with this move, but not everyone could be happy, right? That’s where Southwest comes in.

Southwest just recently started international service and has been growing it quickly. Since Southwest’s Terminal 1 has no customs facility, Southwest has been shuttling people next door to Terminal 2 for international operations. But now, Southwest is getting kicked out, and those international services will have to operate at the Bradley Terminal, much further away. All check-in services will still be in T1, but travelers will have a long bus ride ahead.

A T3/Bradley Split
While the Bradley Terminal has a bunch of gates in its new concourse, it doesn’t have much in the way of ticket counter space. Hainan and Qatar are moving everything to Bradley, but some others are going to have a less than ideal setup.

Avianca, Interjet, and Volaris are leaving Terminal 2. Copa is leaving Terminal 6 (not great for connections with United anymore). They’ll all move their check-in operation to Terminal 3. But then passengers will have to walk over to Bradley to catch their flights. [Update: Volaris will keep check-in in Terminal 2 but then aircraft will be in Bradley]


Sure, Southwest and some of the Latin carriers may not love this setup, but for the airport overall, this is hugely beneficial. Beyond the benefits listed above, this will also help balance operations better between the two halves of the airport. It’s also going to mean a lot more gates for Delta at LAX. I can’t wait to see what they do with them.

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59 Comments on "Thanks to Delta, More Than Two Dozen Airlines Are Switching Terminals at LAX, Here’s Where They’re Going"

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AW
Guest

The Cats and Dogs are gone???

Seriously, T3 was one of the most boring (and depressing) terminals I’ve ever visited when Allegiant delayed me for eight hours a year ago. Hardly a restaurant option, even. Will Delta be able to do anything about this? And how will passengers get to T2?

rsdbike
Member
So Delta just spend a wad of cash overhauling their SkyClub at LAX and put in separate check-in for Delta One along with it’s own lounge, albeit very small. I can’t believe that Delta did not know this move was in the works when they shelled out so  much for an overhaul in T-5. No mention of those services over in T2 and T3. Virgin Atlantic shared a lounge with Air New Zealand. Will they be taking over that one? It will be too small, having been in there several times. Any idea about the SkyClub? At they going to… Read more »
Tim Dunn
Member
LAWA required that DL complete its terminal 5 renovation before it could move so yes DL not only knew that it would finish a terminal it might not use but that the cost of those renovations would ultimately be born by new occupants. Much of the cost of the whole project is for expanding terminal 3 by widening the connector and satellite concourse in phases that will take 3 or fewer gates out of service at a time as additional width is added. As with all airport projects, there will be updated and expanded concessions. There are a series of… Read more »
Danie
Member

It’s great to see Air Canada move to be co-located next to United. It’s lounge in the current location is brand new. In fact, its one of the few airports in the U.S. where AC actually has OK facilities, so that’s a bit disappointing.

Tim Dunn
Member
Despite all of this movement, the cost to Delta according to LAWA is $60 million which isn’t much in light of the total $1.9 billion that Delta will spend over the next several years including to rehabilitate terminal 3 and construct bridges between T2, T3 and the TBIT. It is most notable that all of the carriers involved agreed to the plan before it was voted on by LAWA which is pretty remarkable. The agreement provides growth space for DL but no one else as part of the moves. The operative part of this whole move is that Delta gains… Read more »
LAX1
Guest

According to LAWA, DL has already grown into the gates it will be getting in T3 and T2. That is, LAWA apportioned the number of gates in accordance with Delta’s current market share, not any prospective number.

The agreement only provides “growth space” if LAWA grants DL permanent use of the TBIT gates. By the time DL attempts to grow into those TBIT gates, I suspect, however, that the political tides will have changed again and that those gates will no longer be available.

Ryan
Member

Hey! I was just wondering where you found the article that said this. Could you attach the link?

Miss Informed
Guest
Yes, folks, the situation at LAX will never be ideal, to summarize the first few comments this morning. The land area is simply too small Nothing short of a complete tear-down and rebuild of everything (for example) starting with the Tom Bradley Terminal ticket counter area and moving east will ever make things that much better. California’s hyperinflated real estate market pretty well makes anything that expands LAX’s footprint (either in-situ expansion or relocation) pretty much a no-go. The alternative could be argued to be a drastic re-think of LAX’s basic design of numerous small terminals with redundant facilities, and… Read more »
David SF eastbay
Guest

What a mess that is all going to be moving everyone around. Carriers that have been in the same place for a long time are going to have a tough time getting their passengers used to having to go to another terminal once all the moves are done.

Bgriff
Guest

I hope Delta moves on T3 renovations fast if they are going to be occupying it by next year. That place is still a dump and will need quite a lot of work to get it up to modern standards. I also question the decision to invest in it at all … it’s reminiscent of JFK T2, where Delta has really worked to do as much as it possibly can with an old facility, but it’s still clearly a very old facility.

A
Guest
To echo other comments my recollection of T3 is it’s not a desirable building. Sure, you can put lipstick on the pig but literally half the old terminal buildings at LAX probably should be razed and built over from scratch. I’ve always wondered why they don’t do a real remote terminal out where the west gates are to accommodate traffic while permanent rebuilding happens. Toronto was able to do that so the model is there. Or just do a permanent people mover link and let DL or whomever build their new flagship gate out there away from the crap show… Read more »
chelseafc
Guest
Doesn’t seem like you’re quite informed. Construction on the west remote terminal is about to get underway, and the LAX people mover will not be far behind. Also, Toronto doesn’t get near the traffic that LAX does, so razing “half the old terminal buildings” in the central area is a non-starter, aside from the fact that it’s simply unnecessary. Virtually every terminal at LAX is getting redone (Terminals 2, 5, and 6 are complete; Terminals 1, 7, and 8 will be done by 2018, and Terminal 3 will be completely overhauled by Delta). The setup at LAX will never be… Read more »
Carter
Member

Will t4 ever get anything besides the connector bridge to tbit

jaybru
Member

I trust DL will be PAYING all of its customers, and others who may be affected, “change fees” for these actions, minimum $500 per ticket!

Oh sorry, not in the Contract of Carriage. Darn!

But, I’ll remember this the next time they try to charge me for some change I have to make to my ticket.

cblock2
Member

Paying for what? This won’t cause any changes in flight schedules. A small number of passengers (or, since it affects Southwest, maybe that should be “Customers”) may have a little more hassle on the ground. (Actually, WN is getting a bit screwed, I have to admit.) Other than that, there’s no real effect for anyone to be paid compensation for.

cblock2
Member

My main concern is that this looks like it’s going to more or less lock everyone into their current market shares, unless there’s a lot of gates in the “west remote terminal” chelseafc mentions. In particular, this affects JetBlue, since Long Beach is running at capacity (as defined by the slot cap) for mainline and the NIMBYs are raging against installing C&I. There isn’t a lot of growth room for B6 at LAX if it decides that it’s hit the limit of its LGB strategy.

hawaii.aviation
Member

It’s a shame about the Hawaiian move… Terminal 2 is looking really nice these days, and they the next best thing to nonstop LHR with maybe the world’s easiest connections, VS being literally the next gate over. Plus, we had a nice Priority Pass lounge in T2.

Oliver
Guest

How did they get WN to agree?

Carter
Member

We wasn’t affected besides the international flights being in tbit

Josh G
Member

Cranky may be worth noting that VX was at T6 in the very beginning. I heard rumblings that AS wasn’t pleased with all the traffic on the south side of the airport and was remorseful of their move. Granted, this was before the relationship with DL evolved, to put it diplomatically.

tharanga
Guest

It turns out: if you want something to happen, be willing to pay for it. Good for Delta for making it happen.

Bick Rowen
Member

Your images show that terminal E is expanding?

Great article.

Bick Rowen
Member

Cranky, reference this “Possible LAX Future Configuration”

comment image

So it would seem AA will stay in terminal E?

Yo
Guest

I am flying Southwest internationally this week. I assume I fly out of T1 and land at T2? Anyone know if Southwest’s international reservations will handle my Global Entry? I’m not expecting much, because…Southwest….

Bill
Guest

The new map makes it look like UA will only be at T8 in the new plan…is that true?

TC99
Guest
Now, if we can get some cooperation like this in MIA. Terminals F and G in the Central terminal are in need of a major overhaul as well as over half of Terminal E . AA has the north side of the airport in Terminal D with a behind security connector to E. The One World Carriers LAN and BA are in J on the south side; so anyone connecting to AA has to go from Customs in J to re-clear security in either E or D on the north side. DL and their Skyteam Partners are in H, but… Read more »
Phllax
Guest

Is LAWA also going to address staffing the FIS on the South Side terminals to accommodate the added international arrivals, and does DL have plans to are-activate the T3 FIS, or leave it all in T2?

I will say this will do wonders to even out the flow of traffic on the upper level, especially on the South side.

Rowdy Yates
Guest

LAWA has fought hard to get CBP to expand FIS hours, no luck. The airlines themselves on the south side have been paying CBP for the extra hours now. T3 does not have FIS.

Ed C
Guest

Isn’t the old CO T6 lounge space still there so that AC could use it?

Carter
Member

Any chance T1 and T2 will be connected so WN can use T2 for their international operations later? or will we just have to hope WN goes forward with T0

Carl
Guest

Plans for a T1.5, as well as plans for the T2/T3 rehabilitation project can be found here:

http://www.lawa.org/ourLAX/CurrentProjects.aspx?id=8807

Key takeaways for me re: T2/3:
There could be 5 more gates in the T2/T3 area by changing the gauge of existing gates.
South appendages of T3 removed
Will take nearly 6.5 years to complete.

Now I really wish Delta would take their 4 slots at LGB for A319 service to ATL and take up 4 commuter slots for service to SLC.

Alex Hill
Member

Cranky, any chance you can update your awesome map based on the current terminal assignments, which are slightly different than your map?

http://www.lawa.org/uploadedFiles/LAXisHappening/pdf/Airline-Location-Map-FINAL.pdf

Guest
Guest

Is Hawaiian going to have a better lounge in T5 than in previous T2? It was pretty sad for a lounge, but atleast it “was” a lounge and available for relaxation.

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