United announced today that ‘we’ will invest over $500 million in renovating terminals 7 and 8 at LAX.
The ‘we’ is mostly Los Angeles World Airports, and they’re putting the price tag at about $573 million, up from $413 million projected 18 months ago. United of course pays the airport authority rent on the terminals.
They held the groundbreaking, and are sharing that the project — due for completion two and a half years from now — will include:
- A streamlined check-in experience with more self-service kiosks, enhanced navigation and way-finding, and a new Global Reception facility
- An expanded, 12-lane security checkpoint enabling improved wait and processing times
- A brand-new United Club℠ above the concourse level, featuring an outdoor terrace
- Enhanced gate areas with additional seating capacity, power outlets and work stations
- A redesigned baggage claim, with carrousels relocated for enhanced navigation and faster baggage collection
They’ve put out several renderings. While I wouldn’t be surprised to see completion delayed and the price tag rise, these photos give a sense of what $600 million buys. Frankly the only piece that impresses is that the United Club will have an outdoor deck, though the Star Alliance business class lounge in the Tom Bradley terminal at LAX has one and that looks nicer (with fire pits).
Here’s the United Club rendering:
Here’s the outdoor deck of the Star Alliance lounge in the Tom Bradley terminal. I think I like it much better.
No word yet on whether the new United Club will have showers, though I’d certainly hope so.
This is the new space being built between terminals 7 and 8:
The renovated terminal will have a single security checkpoint with 12 lanes. That’s more efficient for processing, I suppose, than having multiple checkpoints. But it means more walking for passengers.
Here’s the entrance to security.
And the checkpoint:
They’re renovating baggage claim. I’m surprised that was even a rendering. Nothing to see here…
Net net LAX is improving. I actually like the Tom Bradley terminal, something I didn’t think I’d ever say about the international terminal at LAX in my lifetime. I’m perfectly happy with the American terminal as-is. They need to be making investments and they are, I’m genuinely shocked at the expense and timeframe of the projects and don’t expect this to be all that impressive overall. But at the end of the tunnel it will be better than what LAX offers United customers now.
I’m nervous about the single security checkpoint though. Although maybe it’s just because the lines for the one checkpoint in the Bradley terminal are almost always long.