Los Angeles International Airport

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Continent: North America Country: United States Region: California

Los Angeles International Airport
Location Los Angeles, California
Airport type Commercial
Website http://www.lawa.org/welcomelax.aspx
Overview map Google Maps
Tower 133.90 North
120.95 South
119.80 Helicopters
Ground 121.65 North
121.75 South
Clearance 121.40
Approach 124.30 Feeder
124.50 Final & Feeder
124.90 Feeder
127.40 (LEENA4)
128.10 (VISTA2)
ATIS 133.80 Arrivals
135.65 Departures
Plane Spotting Hotels guide

Official Spotting Locations

Airplane Landing View Point

At the corner of Sepulveda and Westchester, 10-15 minutes walk from the airport. Small grass area across the street from In-n-Out Burger from which all movements on the northern runways can be seen. The park doesn't have a formal name, but it labeled as "Airplane Landing View Point" on Google Maps. Limited photography as arrivals are almost directly overhead, and you are facing South. When a small aircraft (CRJ, ERJ, 737, A320) isn't blocked by the trees, a 55mm or smaller size lens can be used for a nice shot. However, walking to under the approach lights and jaywalking across Lincoln Blvd. can yield some very nice shots of inbound aircraft. Parking in this area is limited (for those driving to the spot) depending on the time of day if you park on the street, and can be sparse during lunch hours (11:00am - 2:30pm).

Economy Parking Garage

LAX opened a new economy parking garage in October 2021 with a plane spotting event, and publicity materials put out by the airport describe it as a "plane spotting paradise". The roof level in particular provides excellent views of aircraft landing on the northern runways. Regular parking rates apply for those coming to spot from this location, and upon opening only the lower levels of the garage were opened to cars, however the airport noted in response to questions on a Facebook posts that guests were welcome to park on the lower levels then proceed to the roof for spotting.

Theme Building

LAX Theme Building.jpg

The LAX Theme Building is the iconic building in the middle of the LAX passenger terminal complex, shown in the photo at right. It hosts the Encounter Restaurant as well as an observation deck. Encounter Restaurant occupies the round portion of the building about halfway up. Windows provide views of the airport in all directions, though which parts you'll see depends on where you are seated. The observation deck is located on the roof of the restaurant. It closed in 2001 and reopened in July 2010. It is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 8am to 5pm, and there is no charge to enter the observation deck. This location is may be poor for photography, except for airport overview shots, as it is distant from aircraft though it is good for spotters who just which to watch traffic or log tail numbers. The airport occasionally hosts "Sunday Morning Coffee" events at the observation deck for plane spotters, aviation enthusiasts, and the general public.

Airfield Tours

The airport offers an airfield tour on the first Thursday of each month. For more information, see the LAX Community Relations web page.

Other Spotting Locations

Jim Clutter Park (Imperial Hill)

In the city of El Segundo. A small roadside park at the intersection of Imperial Avenue and Sheldon Street. A few tables and seats, for other facilities you need to walk west down the hill (towards the ocean) to the small shopping plaza. Beach Cities Transit bus route 109 has a stop right at the park.

All movements on the South runways can be logged here although care must be taken not to miss those arrivals which turn off early. Some photography possible when traffic is westerly, few arrivals come far enough down although spectacular departure shots can be had with a long (300-400mm) lens, though shorter lenses work. A 200mm lens is sufficient for any aircraft larger than a 757. On the rare occasions traffic is landing to the East this is one of the finest locations in the land. Aircraft taxiing on taxiways B and C in the general vicinity of the American Airlines hangars, American Eagle remote terminal building, taxiways Q and S, and the Tom Bradley International Terminal can be photographed from here with a sufficiently powerful lens (300-400mm).

  • JetPhotos.net sample photo: large (25R departure)
  • JetPhotos.net sample photo: large (taxiway B)

In-n-Out Burger

The Westchester location of the popular Southern California-based fast food burger chain is a well known location for spotting at LAX, though generally most spotting actually occurs at the park across the street (see #Airplane Landing View Point). It has some outdoor tables along 92nd Street that easily accommodate spotting while you eat.

Vicksburg Avenue Bridge

Passing over Sepulveda Boulevard and about 500 yards south of the In-N-Out Burger spotting location is the Vicksburg Avenue bridge. This location gives an amazing view of north side (Runways 24R & 24L) arrivals as the aircraft pass above the parking lots to the east of Sepulveda Boulevard. A 200mm or 300mm lens is perfect for this location. This location will give both classic arrival shots (1st Example Photo) taken at around 250mm though 200mm will do as well as profile shots (2nd Example Photo) taken at just over 100mm for heavies and just over 150mm for smaller aircraft. This location is less than a 5 minute walk from In-N-Out. To get here from In-N-Out, cross Sepulveda Boulevard at the crosswalk and walk south to the bridge. It is about 500 yards down. Under the bridge is always a cool and shady spot especially useful on hot summer days. Going up onto the bridge using the stairs on the south side of the bridge will also give good shots at about the same angle though you must cross to the north side of the bridge. This spot on the bridge also gives a glimpse of aircraft lined up on 24L and 24R (3rd Example Photo) This spot can be used year round and all day.

  • JetPhotos.net sample photo: large
  • JetPhotos.net sample photo: large
  • JetPhotos.net sample photo: large

Proud Bird Restaurant

Off Aviation Boulevard beside the approach to the Southern runways. Good landing shots but care must be taken to avoid lampposts and trees. Shots can be taken from both the parking lot, and from the "backyard" where the old planes are on display. A good lens is suggested.

To achieve shots similar to those taken by In-n-Out, walk north on Aviation Blvd. to under the approach path for 25L (you will see the ILS antenna). Be warned as there is no sidewalk, so caution is advised when going for a shot.

Flight Path Learning Center

The Flight Path Learning Center is located at 6661 Imperial Hwy, and was formally known as the "Imperial Terminal". This building used to house some charter flights, and regular scheduled flights from MGM Grand Air. It sat empty for 10 years until it was re-opened as a learning center for LAX. The center contains information on the history of aviation, as well as several pictures of the airport (some notably from famed photographer Sam Chui) as well as aircraft scale models, flight attendant uniforms, and general airline shwag (playing cards, china, magazines, signs, even a TWA gate information sign). If you ask nicely, one of the fine docents (who are usually retired Flight Attendants who started work in the 1950's, or have been working at the airport for many years. Great conversations to be had), they will be glad to open one of the restricted access doors and allow you to stand out on the tarmac (behind a small fence) to get shots of the South side. The center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 3pm. While it does not provide the greatest shots, it is defiantly worth a visit.


Dockweiler State Beach

Along Vista Del Mar, there is a beach. On Vista Del Mar, there is parking along the streets and there are staircases that go down to the beach. You can watch takeoffs from both runways here either from your car, or down on the beach. You can stay as long as you want and since it is far enough from the airport, no one will yell at you for taking pictures. A good lens is suggested, and it may be busy in the summer.

Westchester Parkway Bridge

About 3/4 mile West of the In-N-Out Burger on Sepulveda is a bridge over Route 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) that offers good views for aircraft arriving and departing on the 24s on the north side of the airport. During the winter, this spot is backlit with the sun to the south. The ideal time to utilize this location is summer evenings as aircraft use the 24s. When on this bridge you are very exposed to passing traffic and can make spotting in this location stressful or uneasy.

  • JetPhotos.net sample photo: large
  • JetPhotos.net sample photo: large

Locations to Avoid

Cargo Parking

There are 2 parking lots off the first and second cargo roads respectively. These were good locations prior to September 11, 2001, but are now patrolled frequently by not-very-friendly LAWA police and spotters will be asked to leave. However, a two person operation could be useful. Some have reported good experiences driving through the cargo complex. A common method is to drive constantly, stopping only when no police are around.

The Parking Spot

This is a multi-story car park with good views from the top floor, located behind In-n-Out Burger. No photography signs are present, and you will likely be told to leave.

Spotting Locations Map

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Regular Traffic

In some cases, airlines operate their check-in counters in a different terminal; this table reflects the terminal where the aircraft park.

Airline Aircraft Terminal
Aeroflot Russian Airlines 777-300ER TBIT
Aeromexico 737-800, 787-8 TBIT
Air Canada 737 MAX 8, A220-300, A319, A320, A321, A330-300 5, 6
Air China 787-9, A350-900 TBIT
Air France 777-200, 777-300ER TBIT
Air New Zealand 787-9 TBIT
Air Premia 787-9 TBIT
Air Tahiti Nui 787-9 TBIT
Alaska Airlines 737-800, 737-900, 737 MAX 9, A320, A321, A321neo 6
Allegiant Air A319, A320 TBIT
All Nippon Airways 777-300ER TBIT
American Airlines 737-800, 777-200, 777-300ER, 787-9, A319, A321, A321neo 4, 5
American Eagle CRJ-700 (SkyWest), E175 (SkyWest) 5
Asiana Airlines A350-900 TBIT
Austrian Airlines 777-200 TBIT
Avianca 787-8, A330-200 TBIT
Avianca Costa Rica A319 TBIT
Avianca El Salvador A320 TBIT
Boutique Air PC-12 6
British Airways 777-300ER, A380-800 TBIT
Cathay Pacific Airways 777-300ER TBIT
China Airlines 777-300ER, A350-900 TBIT
China Southern Airlines 777-200, A380-800 TBIT
Copa Airlines 737 MAX 9 TBIT
Delta Air Lines 737-800, 737-900, 757-200, 757-300, 767-400ER, A220-100, A320, A321, A350-900 2, 3
Delta Connection E175 (SkyWest) 2, 3
El Al Israel Airlines 787-9 TBIT
Emirates Airlines A380-800 TBIT
EVA Air 777-300ER TBIT
Fiji Airways A350-900 TBIT
Finnair A350-900 TBIT
Hawaiian Airlines A321neo, A330-200 TBIT
Horizon Air E175 6
Iberia A330-200 TBIT
Japan Airlines 777-300ER, 787-9 TBIT
jetBlue Airways A320, A321, A321neo 5, TBIT
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines 777-200, 787-9 TBIT
Korean Air 777-300ER TBIT
LATAM Airlines Peru 767-300 TBIT
Lufthansa 747-8, A350-900 TBIT
Philippine Airlines 777-300ER TBIT
Qantas Airways 787-9, A330-200, A380-800 TBIT
Qatar Airways A350-1000 TBIT
Saudia 777-300ER TBIT
Scandinavian Airlines A350-900 TBIT
Singapore Airlines A350-900, 777-300ER TBIT
Southern Airways Express Cessna 208 6
Southwest Airlines 737-700, 737-800, 737 MAX 8 1, TBIT
Spirit Airlines A319, A320, A320neo, A321 5, TBIT
Sun Country Airlines 737-800 TBIT
Swiss International Air Lines 777-300ER TBIT
Turkish Airlines 777-300ER TBIT
United Airlines 737-800, 737-900, 737 MAX 9, 757-200, 757-300, 767-300, 777-300ER, 787-8, 787-9, 787-10, A320 7, 8
United Express CRJ-200 (SkyWest), CRJ-700 (SkyWest), E175 (SkyWest) 7, 8
Virgin Atlantic Airways 787-9 TBIT
VivaAerobús A320 TBIT
Volaris A320, A320neo, A321, A321neo TBIT
Volaris Costa Rica A319 TBIT
WestJet Airlines 737-700, 737-800, 737 MAX 8 2
XiamenAir 787-9 TBIT
Zipair 787-8 TBIT


  • AeroUnion (Airbus A300, Boeing 767-300)
  • Air China Cargo (Boeing 777F)
  • ABX Air Cargo/DHL (Boeing 767-200)
  • Asiana Cargo (Boeing 747-400)
  • Atlas Air (Boeing 747-400, Boeing 747-8)
  • Cargolux (Boeing 747-400)
  • Cathay Pacific Cargo (Boeing 747-8)
  • China Airlines Cargo (Boeing 747-400)
  • Emirates Sky Cargo (Boeing 777-300)
  • China Cargo Airlines (Boeing 777-200)
  • EVA Air Cargo (Boeing 747-400)
  • Kalitta Air (Boeing 747-200, Boeing 747-400)
  • Korean Air Cargo (Boeing 747-8, Boeing 777-300)
  • FedEx (Airbus A300-600, McDonnell Douglas MD-10, McDonnell Douglas MD-11, Boeing 767-300)
  • Lufthansa Cargo (Boeing 777-300)
  • MAS Cargo (Boeing 767-300)
  • Nippon Cargo Airlines (Boeing 747-8)
  • Polar Air Cargo (Boeing 747-400)
  • Qatar Air Cargo (Boeing 777-300)
  • Singapore Airlines Cargo (Boeing 747-400)
  • United Parcel Service (Boeing 767-300)

Facilities and Transportation

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority operates several bus lines that serve LAX and the surrounding area. Consult their web site for specific information. They also operate the Metro Rail system, with service to LAX provided at the Green Line's Aviation/LAX station, where a free shuttle bus provides connections to the airport terminals.