How To Connect From American To Alaska At LAX

Back when I lived in Seattle I’d connect at LAX quite a bit, usually from Alaska Airlines onto American Airlines (and then the other way around on my return).

While their partnership is pretty good overall, the transfer process at LAX is a bit of a pain. American flies out of Terminal 4 while Alaska flies out of Terminal 6. There are two ways to get between the terminals:

Anyway, it looks like there’s now a third option. There’s a quasi secret underground tunnel between Terminal 5 (Delta) and Terminal 6 (Alaska) that has been open for a long time. However, according to this FlyerTalk thread, a tunnel has now been opened between Terminal 4 (American) and Terminal 5 (Delta).

LAX-Terminal-Map

So this means it’s now possible to walk between Terminals 4 and Terminal 6 at LAX without leaving security, by taking the two connector tunnels. There’s no boarding pass check, so you can freely walk between those terminals using the tunnels.

Is the total travel time quicker than taking the connector bus? Not necessarily, but at least there’s not as much variability, and you don’t have to deal with the rude contract workers. Besides, between flights I like getting a bit of movement, so I appreciate the opportunity to walk.

Be warned that these hallways connecting terminals at LAX are the creepiest hallways ever. They’re straight out of a hospital thriller movie.

Now don’t even get me started on the bus that operates between American’s Terminal 4 and the remote American Eagle terminal… that’s a real disaster.

Comments

  1. And I believe you can walk freely from terminal 6 to terminals 7 and 8, so this means the entire south side of LAX terminals is all walkable. Now if only you could walk to TBIT and not leave security…

  2. Is there a way to get from Terminal 1 (Southwest) to the International Terminal and stay airside? Taking SW to LAX in December to connect onto an Air Tahiti Nui flight.

  3. There’s a guy with an electric cart who just takes people between the two ends of the T5/T6 tunnel. When I rode it he had a huge tip can attached to the front dashboard right in front of the front passenger seat. He can do a round trip in about a minute and I estimate he probably makes at least 6 bucks a minute in tips alone. I don’t know if this is an airport authorized service or just someone who works elsewhere capitalizing on a lucrative opportunity using company/airport carts. Look for it next time you walk through. Easy to spot because he is the happiest guy in the airport.

  4. “Take the airside shuttle between terminals, though the shuttle service is pretty unreliable at times, and the contract workers that operate it are the rudest and most incompetent people that work at LAX”
    You are not kidding. Just came through there on my way back from Australia and the works were the rudest people I have every encountered when traveling anywhere, they actually go out of their way to insult people. When we finally made it on the bus I said to my wife that I felt sorry for anyone coming to the US for the first time and landing there. They must think the US is a horrible place after that as a first impression. When I looked up , everyone around me was nodding in agreement.

  5. I’ll be flying in on AS in January and transferring to AA. I’d like to explore as much as possible while I’m there and not have to search to find the tunnels. Can someone post pics of the entry/exit points of both tunnels?

  6. i was there last weekend and despite reports the tunnel between 4 and 5 was NOT open. The agent I asked said there has been a lot of confusion about it. I wanted to head over to 5 to use the delta lounge since AA doesn’t allow Amex platinum access anymore. I couldn’t even take the bus connector to 6 and walk to 5 as they were requiring a boarding pass for an AS flight to use it. Such a joke.

  7. Love LAX, people there not the greatest. Lucky, when are you going to be at Tom Bradley next? I have a seven hour layover in a couple months and it would be funny if we ran into each other.

  8. @ Elias — Don’t have pictures, but they’re towards the centers of the terminals as far as I know.

  9. @ Ted — Hmmm, don’t have any departures planned out of there in the immediate future. Never know, though.

  10. @ben Hughes, the connector tunnel between T4 and TBIT is under construction and should be open by the end of 2015…

  11. Can you expand on the ‘real disaster’ that is the bus between LAX Terminal 4 and the Eagle terminal? I am planning on doing SAT-LAX-HNL with a wheelchair-bound senior, and I think SAT-LAX may use the Eagle terminal (it is on a CRJ900 operated by Mesa).

  12. Lucky,

    Planning a transcon biz niz trip and was wondering, what side of the plane do you normally sit on? Does it differ on narrow and widebodies? Also, just got an AA account, what do you think is the general cost to mile run to get to Exec Plat now?

    Thanks,

    Ted

  13. @ Bob S — Well the issue is that the only way to get to that terminal from anywhere is by bus, and there’s one bus every 20 minutes. So even if you’re arriving and want to go to baggage claim or a connecting gate on mainline American, you have to take the bus. Sometimes a few planes land at once, so there are 250 passengers that need to go between gates, but the bus only takes maybe 50 people. You can do the math on the wait there…

  14. @ Ted — Nowadays at least 4-5 cents per mile. Really isn’t one side of the window that’s better than the other, all depends on the route. I usually choose more based on the airports and potential departure/approach as opposed to anything else.

  15. I use that tunnel all the time–the food options in the Alaska terminal at LAX are dreadful, so I head through the tunnel and pick up something to eat in the Delta terminal instead!

  16. @HunnerWoof — if you were flying AA metal you wouldn’t have been let in the DL lounge with Amex Plat anyway, that requires a DL boarding pass.

  17. When CO was in Skyteam and had arrangement with QF, I would use the connector from LAX term 6 to 5 to use the showers at the DL lounges when I arrived on QF and connected on CO. Now with 5 to 4 terminal opening, that allows you to use the AA showers if continuing from QF on UA or AS. Assumes you have memberships in both.

  18. We will be at LAX next month for an Alaska Airlines flight. We would like to hang out in the American Club. Do you know if they will let us through security at Terminal 4 with just an Alaska Airlines boarding pass?

  19. So glad my husband found this blog. Fortunately, I have to do this jaunt on my return trip, but really don’t want to miss my last leg home. Any news if the tunnel thing works currently? Otherwise, I may check my bag in DFW and hoof it with my short layover. Thank God for pre-check!

  20. 2-14-15. Flew into LAX on Alaska (Terminal 6) and connected with American flight (Terminal 4). I was able to walk between terminals using the tunnels between T6-T5 and T5-T4 without having to go outside security. In all it was an easy 10-12 minute walk. Difficult to describe how to initially find the tunnel but there are ample airport security personnel around wearing red sport coats. Just keep asking for directions until you find the tunnels. Once there they are pretty well marked and easy to follow. One caution: pay attention. While the signage is good it is somewhat small and easy to miss. Had my head in my phone, took a wrong turn and almost accidentally walked out of security.

  21. Has the tunnel system been used recently? My family (hobbling grandma & three unruly kids) arrive on AA into terminal 4 and connect to an Alaskan flight out of terminal 6. We have a little over an hour to accomplish this. Any advice?

  22. Just used the tunnel tonight to get from Terminal 6 to Terminal 4. Easy walk — probably 10 minutes, but I walk fast. The first tunnel was well populated with travelers moving in both directions and security guards posted midway. The second tunnel was completely deserted and indeed, a bit creepy, despite the bright lighting. Still, it was an efficient way to avoid the bus or exiting security. I would recommend it.

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