Getting to LAX for 5:30am flight
May 26, 2015 9:37 AM   Subscribe

I have a 5:30am flight from LAX on a Thursday morning in July and I don't have a car. I will be in Norwalk. What are the most affordable options for getting to the airport?
posted by Triumphant Muzak to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Metro Green Line light rail terminates at Norwalk—so you're in luck, in a sense. You can take it to Aviation station and then get a free shuttle to LAX from there (the light rail doesn't go all the way to LAX thanks to some ridiculous concessions the city made to taxi unions decades ago; eventually, it will go to LAX, but you'll have to wait until about 2020 to fly...)

Even so, that's by far your best option—just $1.75. You'll need to get to Norwalk station, of course.,-118.104717,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x51e36deea70766ad

Alternatively, are you an Uber user? Uber can get you to the airport cheaper than a cab. If you have never used uber, private message me—I can send you a referral link that will give you $20 off your first ride, which should more than cover getting you to LAX from Norwalk at that time of day (of course, you'll need to not use it until then...)
posted by soulbarn at 9:51 AM on May 26, 2015

Lyft is another option, and has a reputation for treating its drivers better (and has friendlier drivers, in my experience). They offer similar first ride deals (just search Lyft promo codes).
posted by three_red_balloons at 10:07 AM on May 26, 2015

I agree, btw, that Lyft is better than Uber for many reasons, including their treatment of drivers, and I neglected to mention them only because I've found that it is way tougher to find a Lyft driver in less-central neighborhoods like Norwalk. That said, since both the Lyft and Uber apps can show you where nearby drivers are—and in LA, many drivers are on both systems—there's certainly no reason not to try Lyft first.
posted by soulbarn at 10:13 AM on May 26, 2015

Just wanted to chime in that the issue with the Metro is going to be timing--the first train leaves Norwalk at 4AM, and it'll take at least 40 minutes to get to the airport. So you might find this option too risky in terms of possibly missing the flight.

My approach when I lived near LA and faced the same problem was to leave the night before and sleep in the entrance of the airport, which would still be the most affordable option but probably not the best one.
posted by cogitron at 10:20 AM on May 26, 2015

Just keep in mind that the Metro Green Line takes awhile, as it makes a number of stops along the way, and then the transition from there to the shuttle to the terminal, while not overly long, does add time. So, if your flight leaves at 5:30, you'll want to buffer that appropriately in a way that a direct drive to your terminal would not have to take into account.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:23 AM on May 26, 2015

I believe an airport shuttle like Super Shuttle would run you <$40 for a ride to the airport. The van picks you up and drops you off at your terminal - there may be stops in between to pick up other passengers, so plan accordingly. I wouldn't imagine there'd be too many people flying at that time of the morning.
posted by Everydayville at 10:23 AM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

the first train leaves Norwalk at 4AM, and it'll take at least 40 minutes to get to the airport.

There is no way I would recommend arriving at LAX at 4:40 for a 5:30AM flight (and that's not even accounting for the shuttle). Especially if you don't have Pre-Check to help you speed through security. Yeah, I'm more conservative than most about this, but I don't think I'm being overly-conservative in this case. The security lines at LAX can take a while, and the plane would start boarding 20 minutes after the bus arrives.
posted by primethyme at 11:00 AM on May 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

I would spend the night at the airport. Bring a sweater!
posted by aniola at 11:16 AM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

I would not want to take public transportation in the middle of the night from Norwalk to LAX - particularly not with a lot of luggage. I would not want to sleep in the airport either, but I would do that before trying to get to LAX from Norwalk using public transportation at 4am - you plain won't make your flight. According to this, the Lyft ride, with no traffic, will be approximately $33.

There's a flyaway from downtown LA (the closest shuttle I can find to Norwalk), but you'd need to get a ride to Union Station, which is almost the same cost.
posted by pazazygeek at 11:57 AM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

I live 10 minutes from LAX and I have Couchsurfers all the time.

If you don't want to be bothered with any of this, send me a MeMail and you can crash the night before.
posted by mykescipark at 12:18 PM on May 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I didn't take into account that Metro doesn't open until 4AM. Even if you got on the first train, you'd be cutting it very close—even if you have pre-check or some elite status that gets you through the line.

Your best bet is Lyft, I'd say. The shuttles are fairly close in price and you have to get up way earlier, since they pick up everyone everywhere to fill the shuttle before actually going to LAX (in my experience, shuttle rides take at least an hour more because of this...)
posted by soulbarn at 2:33 PM on May 26, 2015

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