Stopped Dead on the Runway at LAX

Gary Toebben

October 15, 2012

Four weeks ago I had a frustrating and embarrassing experience at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) that underscores the urgency of modernizing our airport and widening the distance between the two runways on the north airfield.  

My wife and I were flying home from a delightful anniversary trip on an Airbus 380 airplane. After we landed on the north airfield, the pilot brought the plane to a dead stop on the active runway for nearly five minutes. The pilot had no other option because there is no taxiway on which to exit an A380, and another plane was approaching the runway to the left over which we had to cross. I felt like the dead skunk in the middle of the road even though I was sure that air traffic control was aware of the situation and had delayed the flights behind us from landing while we sat on an active runway.  

After air traffic control delayed the flights on the runway to our left, we crossed over that runway and began our taxi to the international terminal. There we waited another 40 minutes for a gate to open up because LAX has only three gates that can service an A380.  

All total, it was nearly an hour between landing and deplaning after a 12-hour flight. And we still had customs ahead of us. No one on that flight was smiling when they deplaned except the Air France attendants who were trying their best to make the end of our flight as pleasant as the beginning.  

Modern airports that cater to international travelers must have the facilities to handle the new generation of bigger and more fuel efficient planes like the A380 and the Boeing 787. I can assure you that as I deplaned that day, I did not tell anyone that I was the CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. I was embarrassed for the City of Angels and for the inaction that led to this horrific welcome to the United States for so many international visitors. It's time to Fix LAX Now

And that's The Business Perspective



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Comments


Speaking for those that live in the Westchester/Playa del Rey area, this plan is a nightmare. Moving the north runway to accommodate these behemoths would wreak havoc with the residents of these communities. LAX is already trying to shoehorn in flights that should be handled elsewhere - the airport is to small to continue this type of expansion. Look back (before the recession) when this issue was front page news. You'll see all of the issues that were raised about the environmental, noise pollution, property values, lifestyle effects, that were raised at that time. The LA Chamber needs to address the needs and concerns of all of its residents. Not just those that may be inconvenienced by a lengthy deplaning.
Posted by: Webmaster @ 10:37:00 am

This is a common occurrence at LAX, more common is the International arrivals posting their arrival gate at the Tom Bradley terminal, unless there are no gates or you are on a A380 then they move you to another terminal without updating the arrival screen. Prearranged transportation is left waiting in baggage claim at the wrong terminal. Many international guests that speak little english arrive at LAX and are told a greeter or driver will meet them in baggage claim with a sign once they clear customs. When this frequent event of changing arrival gates occurs, the greeter is at the wrong location, no updates, and the poor guest is lost looking for their contact in a foreign country and no one can help. We appear disorganized, unfriendly and uncaring. LAX is rated near the bottom in every category, this needs fixing and needs someone with vision, not the current Mayor or other political suit, to fix it.
Posted by: Mike O'Connor @ 10:21:00 am

Here is another reoccurring story that happens frequently at LAX. International flights are generally arriving at the Tom Bradley International terminal. That is unless they are Airbus 380 or all the gates are full, then they are moved to another terminal. When prearranged transportation is scheduled and the airport posts the arrival gate incorrectly, people are waiting at the wrong terminal. Many times these travelers are from foreign countries, they speak little english and were told a greeter with a sign will meet them outside baggage claim once they clear customs. All too often, they are standing around baggage claim looking for this sign when their greeter or driver is at the wrong terminal because the airport has not updated the arrival gate and still shows the wrong gate. It makes everyone look stupid and the poor customer views LAX as confusing and unfriendly. They have to do a better job. LAX is rated near the bottom in customer service, ease of negotiating the airport, transferring to other terminals and access to ground transportation.
Posted by: Mike O'Connor @ 10:11:00 am
 

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