The Californians
June 7, 2013 4:58 PM   Subscribe

Angelenos, help me out: a family needs to get from the Valley to Long Beach Airport and back. This is like an extremely difficult word problem from a graduate-level course in Advanced Los Angeles Traffic. Help!

THE PARTICIPANTS: me, Mr. BlahLaLa and ten-year-old Kid BlahLaLa.

THE GUIDELINES: well, I'd rather not spend a jillion dollars. If I had a jillion dollars I'd just hire a limo. Take it as a given that we do not have any friends or family to call upon. We will not do any kind of SuperShuttle-esque shared van ride. (I've been burned in the past.) Nor will we call upon a total stranger with a van -- no dudes from Craigslist. Too sketchy.

Ready, Angelenos? This is a toughy:

OUTBOUND: Friday, late afternoon. Need to make it from the Universal City area to Long Beach in plenty of time for a 7pm flight. Three humans, three rolling suitcases and some kind of easy carry-ons. We could drive (what time would we leave? where would we park?)...we could take the subway to where exactly? (And where would we leave our car, since we'd have to drive to the subway station?) We could...hire a car? We could call a cab? Bonus difficulty: duh, it's Friday afternoon.

THE RETURN: Weekday, early morning. Our red-eye flight gets in around 7am. We'll be tired. Odds are we'll be cranky, too. We need to get from Long Beach Airport to the Universal City area. Bonus difficulty: duh, weekday morning traffic.

posted by BlahLaLa to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Looks like there's parking at the airport itself.
posted by The Michael The at 5:02 PM on June 7, 2013

There's no need to make this rocket science. Just drive. If you leave around 3 or 4pm on Friday you won't hit much traffic, and the weekday morning traffic probably won't be too bad either (though you might want to stay clear of the 110N into downtown if you can).
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:13 PM on June 7, 2013

I live fairly near Universal City and have made that drive to the airport a few times. If you leave at 3pm you should arrive by 4:30 or so. The basic route from there is 101 to 5 to 710 to CA-91. In general, it can get ugly around downtown, so keep an eye on traffic on sigalert or whatever ahead of time, in case you need to leave early. There is a lot of parking there, I'm not sure about the fees but I am sure that's easily found online, but I don't remember them being atypical for airport parking.

The reverse might be pretty nasty on the return trip, there will likely be a lot of traffic, especially as it gets later. It will be worse traffic wise, but you could take the 405 all of the way to the 101 and at least it'd require minimal effort in terms of worrying about making exits and being in the correct lane. You can pretty much stay in the right-most lane of the 405 (keep an eye on the signs) the entire way.
posted by feloniousmonk at 5:36 PM on June 7, 2013

A cab fare would be nuts, but you might have luck with a car service with a fixed price deal. I would imagine that due to the park there should be something like that out there.
posted by feloniousmonk at 5:37 PM on June 7, 2013

Fixed price car service is probably about $150 bucks each way. I looked for a service that did an online quote, but didn't see one. You don't need a limo. A town car transports 3 people and luggage without a problem. Look for online deals and get a few quotes, because companies vary a lot. You may do best using 2 different companies so you can use the "first time" deals for both trips.

The other option is to drive with parking being $17 or $19 bucks a day.

Car service will be the least hassle (especially upon return), but driving is the least expensive option.
posted by 26.2 at 5:51 PM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Theoretically getting to Long Beach is easy from Universal City. Take the red line to 7th/Metro, then the Blue Line to LB. But that takes you to downtown LB, which is nowhere near LGB. But a cab is cheaper from there than LA, FWIW.
posted by hwyengr at 5:56 PM on June 7, 2013

If you really wanted to try public transport, it looks like you could probably cover most of that distance with the Red Line and Blue Line, and finish off with a Long Beach Transit bus or a Taxi. It seems likely that's also true on the Universal City end. Maybe 2 1/2 to 3 hours?

Cabs fare for the whole trip seems likely to be on the expensive side -- it's a 30+ mile trip in Friday afternoon rush hour, so estimating $30/hr waiting + $3/mi, you'd probably pay at least $120, maybe $150. Then again, that's in the ballpark for what a shuttle ride for two might cost.

For $120, though, you could also cover a week's parking at the airport ($17-$19/day), and the drive can probably be done in two hours unless there's some monstrous snarl.
posted by weston at 6:01 PM on June 7, 2013

Response by poster: Just in case anyone wants this info for the future: we drove. Getting from Studio City to Long Beach Airport on a Friday afternoon took about 1.5 hours. Getting home at 7:30 on a weekday morning took only an hour, which was sort of amazing to me. We parked in the airport's Lot B, the cheapest (!) option, which was $17 per day, and is a 2-minute walk to the terminal.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:11 PM on June 26, 2013

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