I receive many emails and messages on Facebook asking me about the accessibility at various airports. As a result, when I travel I take photos and notes on accessibility in the hope of giving people the confidence to travel. Often the greatest fear is that of the unknown – the greatest question, will the accessibility meet my needs.
We’ve always found staff at Los Angeles airport extremely helpful, from assisting BJ off the aircraft, to assisting us with collecting our luggage and expediting clearing immigration. All of this is extremely helpful after a long-haul flight.
DEPARTING FROM LOS ANGELES AIRPORT – TOM BRADLEY TERMINAL
If you arrive at the terminal by taxi or airport shuttle, take advantage of the curbside assistance which is offered.
Airline curbside assistance
Each airline is responsible for providing wheelchairs for their customers with disabilities, from curbside drop-off to the aircraft. Contact your airline’s reservation desk a minimum of 72 hours prior to your flight to reserve wheelchair service. This is provided free of charge. Tipping is not required.
Luggage trolleys are available and currently cost US$5 to use.
ACCESSIBLE TRANSFERS BETWEEN TERMINALS
LAX has a special assistance vehicle to transport passengers with disabilities between terminals. Passengers can remain in their wheelchair.
As with all US airports, allow plenty of time to check in and clear security. Lines can be long. Look out for the accessible entrance.
ACCESSIBLE BATHROOM FACILITIES
Accessible stand-alone unisex bathroom facilities are available throughout the terminal.
ADULT-SIZE CHANGE TABLE LOCATION NEARBY
If you require an adult-size change table you’ll need to head to Terminal 1 where the recently renovated terminal has one installed near Gate 14.
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has opened a new all-gender restroom in Terminal 1 that features an adult changing table. The height adjustable change table has a weight capacity of 181kg (400lb).
Plans are in place to install another in Terminal 3 following restroom renovations in 2019, and the new international concourse will also have a table available when it opens in 2020.
I’m keen to get an update and photo if anyone sees the new ones in their travels.
AUTISM FRIENDLY PROVISIONS
One of the things I think the US does particularly well is take into consideration the needs of people with autism.
LAX provides some preparation tips to assist here.
Special screening may be organised by contacting the TSA a minimum of 3 days in advance by phone on 1-855-787-2227. More information is on the TSA.gov website.
For local families you can register for an Autism Flight Experience.
KIDS PLAY ZONE
A small play area allows kids to burn off a little energy before boarding the plane.
From high end stores to food outlets, there’s plenty of options to spend those last US dollars before departure.
A favourite stop for us is the See’s Candies outlets to bring home some of the delicious See’s chocolates.
TAXIS AT LAX
It’s easy to request an accessible taxi. Go outside the arrivals level to the taxi pick-up stand, (see map) and ask the dispatcher to order an accessible taxi for you. A taxi will be dispatched from the holding lot. The waiting time for the accessible taxi should be quite short since taxis are dispatched directly from the airport’s holding lot which is adjacent to the terminals. Service Animals are allowed in taxis.
BOOK A SUPER SHUTTLE
We travel with quite a lot of luggage so we’ve always booked a Super Shuttle transfer in advance and found this to be a reliable service. If booking online look for the box to tick at the base of the booking which says “Wheelchair Lift/Ramp Required to Board”.
ACCESSIBLE HOTEL AT LOS ANGELES AIRPORT
When we flew into Los Angeles late from New York we found staying at an airport hotel an easy solution for the night. We chose Embassy Suites Los Angeles International Airport North because they offered an airport accessible transfer to the hotel. The hotel also offers day use rates between 10am and 5pm if you’re looking for somewhere to rest between flights.
If you’re a regular traveller through LAX, I’d love to hear any of your tips.
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