The secret underground at LAX: How to get from TBIT to T8 going through security once!

The secret underground at LAX: How to get from TBIT to T8 going through security once!

So, you’ve just landed at LAX and you want to catch a flight on United at T8, but you came in on American at T4, what do you do?

Good question!  We’ve got the scoop below on the secrets of navigating LAX from terminal to terminal!  However, one thing to keep in mind, if you come inbound international, you’ll need to clear security again.



Picture it, you’ve got your dream trip planned out, however, there is a small problem,  you have to make a connection at LAX AND you have to change airlines.  No problem! Things have changed recently at LAX and that’s good news for those that use different airlines for their travels.

According to the Change Is Happening at LAX twitter feed and their website there is mass change coming to LAX.  Even more so, they have big plans on connecting terminals!  WOW!

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 3.39.07 PM

However, this plan is still years away and much construction needs to be done (long, heavy sigh).  So what can you do in the mean time?

Let’s take a look at the over all airport.  As you can see from this map the basic terminal layout would be considered a horseshoe design.  On the north or top side of the screen are terminals 1 – 3, in the back center is TBIT (Tom Bradley International Terminal) and on the south or bottom side of the screen are terminals 4 – 8.


As of the date of this post, here are the airlines current terminals at LAX (click here for link):

Terminal 1 Southwest
Terminal 2 (The misfit airline terminal) Aeromexico, Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Avianca, Hainan Airlines, Hawaiian, Air Interjet, Qatar Airways, Southwest (International), Sun Country, TACA, Thomas Cook, Virgin Atlantic, Volaris, WestJet, XL Airways France
Terminal 3 Allegiant, Air Boutique, Air Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit, Virgin America, Virgin Australia (Departures)
Terminal 4 American
Terminal 5 Delta
Terminal 6 Alaska, American, American Eagle, Copa (Departures), Delta, Great Lakes, Mokulele Airlines
(*note that Delta and AA operate flights out of these gates, even though most flights for Delta operate out of T5 and AA T4)
Terminal 7/8 United, United Express
Let’s first talk about the north side of LAX, terminals 1-3.  There is no easy way to put this, but you can’t get from one terminal to another without clearing security at that terminal.  If you come in to one of these terminals and you depart on a flight from the south side you’ll need to go outside security, to the lower deck and look for the airline connection bus.  Or you could just walk to the south side.  Either stay on the upper deck and walk all the way around, or you can cut over on the lower deck from T1 – T7, but be careful as it can be a dangerous game of frogger!

Now, let’s talk about the south side.  Until recently, if you were connecting from one airline to another airline terminal you had to go out of each terminal and pass through security again.  This was a huge waste of time!  Now, the “secret” underground terminal connectors have been opened for all!

Now, it’s not the prettiest looking walk you will see of LA, however, Delta did do a good job of dressing up the T5-T6 connector!

So, to go from Terminal 8 all the way to terminal 4 by foot is possible!  What’s the secret?  Just don’t go outside of TSA.  Follow the signs!


There is also a terminal bus that goes from T4 – T6.  You can catch this mid level at T4.  However, unless you’ve got plenty of time I’d advise not taking it.  The bus actually drives you on the tarmac, while the views are amazing you are subject to yield to aircraft.  If there is a plane pushing back or towing in, you must wait.


But what if you want to head over to TBIT?  It’s possible as well!  Recently LAX created a covered terminal to go from TBIT to T4 and beyond allowing you to go from TBIT all the way to T8 and back!  It’s super easy AND there is no TSA security check point because you have already been screened.  If you had time to waste at LAX and wanted to discover the TBIT you can do it!



They even have a pet relief area on the walk to TBIT.


LAX’s new, beautiful TBIT!


While many changes are coming to LAX, this temporary change for the south side is a great opportunity for all.  Just make sure you bring your roller skates as it is a LONG walk from TBIT to T8, however, you won’t need to clear security, again!

A few things to remember:

  •  In bound flights that are domestic or have pre U.S. customs clearance will allow you to access any of these terminals
  • If your inbound from an international flight, you will need to collect your checked bags, clear customs, re-check your bags and then pass through security again.  There is no way around this.
  • Crew members traveling internationally as passengers can not use KCM.  They must pass though a TSA checkpoint.
  • Delta has made plans to relocate and renovate terminals 2 & 3, you can read more here.

LAX isn’t as bad as it once was, hopefully it will be better soon!  Have you used the underground connector tunnels? How have you connected at LAX?

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One thought on “The secret underground at LAX: How to get from TBIT to T8 going through security once!

  1. Good to know! I’ve done it, it is a long walk but you only have to do security once!

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