Has American expanded too fast at LAX?

‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ said the captain, ‘We have landed in Los Angeles, but unfortunately our gate is occupied.’

How many times have you heard that on your travels. In my case pretty often, and typically at the busiest airports in the world.

It happened last week on the way from Honolulu to JFK, via LAX and we had about a 30 minute wait in the ‘naughty’ plane section before we could get off. Luckily the gate opened and I made the connection.

Last night however, was a whole different kettle of fish.

We landed on the northern runway at LAX, which usually adds 15 minutes as you taxi past Tom Bradley terminal to American’s gates on the south side of the airport. This time however, when we got to the taxiway that leads to Terminal 4, we turned right and joined the taxi way back to the runway where we had just landed. The standard announcement came on with an indication that we would be here a few minutes and then be going back to the American Terminal.

Well that was just plain wrong. It was 90 minutes before we got back to the AA terminal, via the scenic route – North Runway, Taxi Way, Terminal 4.

Getting to the alley got everyone excited, until it turned out that a Qantas flight was in front of us and he had to close down his engines and be towed to his gate! Sigh. Another ten minutes wasted.

Landed 21:20

At Gate:

AA late arrival LAX

The jumpy picture was taken as I got out of my seat in joy!

Getting in to the Terminal, the line for misconnects was past the Dunkin Donuts, which if you know LA is long!

So it got me to thinking, has American expanded too much at LAX? There are new flights to a host of US destinations, but the international flights to Sydney, Auckland all take gates that I wonder if AA really has space to accommodate?

I got four hours sleep as I was on the 7am to JFK. I will be making use of that flat bed in Business I swear.


  1. This also happened with me the last two times I was at LAX.
    Last month, on a SEA-LAX flight, we arrived but there was a huge traffic jam which took us around 45-50 minutes to clear and reach the gate.
    The other time was when I arrived at LAX. 30 minutes until the assigned gate was unoccupied. All with AA.

  2. Another problem is that AA is (unpredictably) using gates at T4, T6 & Bradley – if you land at the Eagle’s Nest and have to shuttle to T4, then walk to TBIT (albeit using the new post-security connector), that’s a lo-o-o-ng way to go.

  3. This isn’t just AA it’s pretty much all airlines on the south side of the airport! Terms 4-7. All the big players are on that side and it’s the same for all airlines on the south side.

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